Thursday, November 08, 2007

Verizon Releases UM150 USB EVDO! Excited? We're not.

Verizon released their latest USB device - the UM150 made by Pantech - and we are not impressed! While the UM150 is inexpensive - $29.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate - it is just not up to par with the other USB devices available now.

Let's take a look at size. Considering the USB727 just came out and is 1/3 of the size of the USB720, one would think this other new device would be nice and compact as well - no suck luck. The UM150 is even BIGGER than the USB720! Here's a comparison shot next to the USB727 and the CDU-680 (offered on Sprint):

In addition to it's size, the UM150 has no router support at all. It doesn't work in the KR1, MB6800, or the CTR-350. While this could change down the road, any customer interested in sharing their EVDO connection is certainly not going to be interested in the UM150.

The UM150 is cheap - both in price and in quality. It is made of a cheap, flimsy plastic, and you can tell.

Now, the UM150 does have two features that are completely new to EVDO devices. One of them is a telescoping antenna. While at first this may seem like a good way of increasing signal, at second glance you see this for what it is - a HORRIBLE IDEA! This skinny little antenna is just BEGGING to be broken or snapped off. It will break. Easily.

The other new feature is actually pretty neat (must have had one person on their design team who wasn't falling asleep at the wheel). Users can see their signal strength via LEDs on the front of the card. Also, the UM150 has a microSD slot that will support up to a 4GB card for storing pictures, videos, etc. And with this external LED display, you can see when the microSD card is actively reading or writing data.

A couple of other good things about the UM150 - it has external antenna port, and we have the antenna adapter available for it - so any antenna/amplifier combination can be used. Also, it has the same swivel feature as the CDU-680, so you can use it up, instead of straight out, which might decrease the chances of breaking that already highly susceptible antenna.

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