You may be asking yourself: what is a dongle? A dongle is a device that can plug into a computerised device in order to increase its functionality. The most common usage of the term dongle these days is when it comes to mobile broadband. Mobile broadband dongles receive the connection from the network and provide the user with the ability to get online with 2G, 3G, or even 4G speed.
4G connectivity provides superfast broadband comparable to fixed broadband speeds. Everything Everywhere has been the first to launch their network because they already had the technology to do so before the Ofcom auction. They have averaged 8 12MB per second, which is extremely creditable. It means that you can send large photos, video stream and listen to online radio without any issues.
So lets take a look at the top ten dongles available on the market.
The globalgig hotspot
The global gig hotspot is operational in Australia, America and the UK and is extremely good value. You can buy it for around Â£80 with 1GB of data. One of the biggest benefits is obviously when you are travelling. If you were to take an Everything Everywhere dongle over to the US and use it for your activities, you would pay Â£8 for every MB of data. Over a course of a GB, you would be saving almost Â£8,000 by going for a global gig hotspot.
Overall the price is pretty good and its likely to be cheaper than if you were paying the fees that you attract in hotels. The Global Gig Dongle partners with the various networks in the countries of operation and therefore this device is perfect for the business traveller. Although, it is quite pricey.
The Huawei E549 on 4G
This cracking dongle provides 10 hours of battery life which is excellent when it comes to 4G. It plugs into tablets, laptops and just about any device you could want to use it with. It copes with the fastest broadband around, meaning you can get online and stream to your hearts description.
At the moment, 4G is pretty expensive. The device comes at just under Â£50 as an upfront payment and you have to have a contract which starts at Â£15.99 per month for 3GB of data. You can also go for 8GB of data at Â£25.99 and have the device for free.
With the long battery life, you are onto a winner with this, however you have to suffer or enjoy an 18 month contract.
The Huawei E5331 MiFi device on 3G3
This device comes at Â£29.99 and you can get 5GB of data at Â£15.99. It can be got on essentially a pay as you go deal, paying monthly for your data. You are charged quite a lot if you overuse your data at around 10 pence per MB. There are also 24 month contracts for 1GB of data at Â£10.87 or 15GB at Â£18.99 per month. This is pretty affordable and really will help you to stay within your limits because its a large amount of data for mobile broadband.
The starter kit comes with 3GB of data and costs Â£15.99, and unlike many contracts where the data only lasts one month, the data lasts for 3 months. Its a small and easily portable device and is cheap compared to the other contenders on the market. Its an excellent option for students and people that use a fair bit of mobile data.
The Huawei E3131 on T-Mobile
T-Mobile and Orange are on the same network which has been joint-ventured as Everything Everywhere. Essentially, this device is a USB stick rather than a MiFi device. Its relatively cheap at Â£29.99 for 1GB of data including 90 day use. In addition, you can pay per day for Â£2 for 250MB of data. Its an excellent option for a backup for holidays and for your children. Its a pocket-sized and easy to use simple device.
The ZTE MF60 O2 hotspot
This device costs Â£70 with 1GB of data or Â£75 with 2GB and is a pay as you go option. After the initial outlay, then you pay Â£10 for a GB of data, or Â£15 for 2GB and the data is usable for 30 days. After these 30 days, the data is gone. This is an excellent pay as you go option for low to moderate users but people that want a regular solution for their devices as its a hotspot you can get several devices on at the same time unlike a mobile broadband stick.
The Huawei E173 modem on O2
Again, this is a USB stick and a traditional dongle rather than a MiFi device. It costs Â£20 with a GB of data, or Â£25 with 2GB. Your data runs for 30 days and you can get a daily option at Â£2 for 250MB of data. The other packages are Â£10 for 1GB and Â£15 for 2GB. Data runs for 30 days and this is a good device for a quick break as it is a cheap upfront cost. Its one of the most affordable options on the market to get online but it isnt as powerful as some of the other devices.
The K3772 through Vodafone
This device costs Â£25 which includes 500MB of data and lasts for 60 days, a happy medium between the 30 and 90 days. It really is a bargain introductory device that you can use occasionally, although youll pay more if you want to do high intensity activities. You can spend Â£15 and get 2GB of data per month. Its a short term contract and a low priced device. In addition, Vodafone is a pretty good network.
The 3GB gigabag SIM on giffgaff
This doesnt actually offer a dongle, rather it is a SIM only solution. Youll need a dongle that is unlocked to be able to use it and you may be able to purchase one from the likes of Amazon for around Â£10. You just have to top up every month and 3GB costs just Â£12.50. Essentially, this is offered through the O2 network and is a very affordable way to get data but youll have to get your own dongle.
The Huawei E160 unlocked
If youre wondering what kind of dongle you can get on an unlocked basis with the previous giffgaff offer, this is one of the products. It is for the consumer looking for the best value and low outlay as it costs around Â£9.99. Its unlocked to networks, meaning you can get onto O2, Vodafone or any of the other networks. Its very basic as a piece of technology but it gets the job done and its cheaper than buying from a network.
The WiFi Huawei R205 from Vodafone
This device comes at Â£49 including 2GB of data and data lasts for 30 days. Its a relatively low monthly outlay at Â£15 for 2GB on a monthly 18 month contract. It offers HSDPA, high speed 3G and looks very stylish too. Its reception isnt as good as Everything Everywhere and you may struggle if you are around the country a lot, even if you get good reception where you live.
Different dongles suit different purposes and different people. Therefore, its important that you get the right data costs and type of deal, whether it be a contract or pay as you go, for your particular requirements. Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what a dongle is and which dongles may suit your purpose.
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