UPDATE (April 2016):
Wow! This device or rather the service itself got horrible quickly. I had a great time as an early-ish adopter but once they started to really push the product the speed suffered exponentially. At one point, I couldn’t connect to the Internet for days on an unlimited package.
I stopped subscribing to the LTE packages almost a year ago from frustration. I still use the WiFi sometimes but only to finish my rewards points (no money spent on my part). Surprisingly, I get faster speed from the reward bundles. I get around 1-2MBPS download speeds.
I got my Smart Prepaid LTE Pocket Wifi today and what a handsome package it has. I tried ordering it online from the Smart website and it arrived within 5 days, not too bad. The whole package consists of a triangular box whose front flap opens to reveal the device. The device sits on top of another cover containing the User Guide, USB charging cable and power adapter. The device itself looks like a thicker iPod touch: glass face, rounded edges, the Huawei logo on the bottom and a small LCD for displaying the current status of the connection.
My residence in Quezon City was part of the current LTE Hotspots identified by Smart. However, the signal strength inside the house wasn’t so good at only two bars. Running Speedtest.net, I came up with the following result. Not nearly as close to the 42MBPS maximum speeds promised but much better than my SmartBro Canopy connection (FYI, I tried speedtest in SM Cebu and it reached download speeds of 60MBPS). Of course these numbers can change depending on the server chosen but it can be a useful comparison. I tried loading up 1080p HD videos on Youtube as a true test of speed and it did not stutter at all. I’ve seen faster loading times in the Jump stores in Megamall or SM Cebu but the fact that I did not need to pause at the start while waiting for the video to load proved its increased speeds over my SmartBro Canopy connection. Since smartphones consume less battery on wifi than through mobile data makes this product a compelling alternative to using the phone as a wifi hotspot if you have several devices. The built in battery can last quite long on a full charge (4-5 hours by my estimation) and is easily charged through the micro USB cable provided.
I can only hope that Smart continues to improve the coverage of LTE and strengthen its signals as there are times when the connection suddenly gets cut. Still, I’m very happy with the Pocket Wifi and with LTE as the future of mobile internet, transfer speeds should only get better. I will definitely recommend this product to whoever needs a fast connection on the go.