If a list of the most over priced computer utilities in the Indian market was to be made then 3G data cards would either top the list or will at-least be included in the top spots.
I still have my BSNL 3G USB data card (or dongle, as we usually call it) lying somewhere in my room, manufactured by Huawei. It’s a two year old dongle which I had bought for around ₹1800 (or $33). Fast forward to 2013 and the companies are still selling it for almost the same price.
If you compare it with other utilities in the similar range such as USB storage drives, portable HDDs, etc., whose prices have taken a huge dive since their release, you’ll understand the issue I’m talking about.
Thankfully, we have Mi-Fis to tackle this problem. A Mi-Fi is a mobile wireless router that does a lot more than traditional dongles for only a small increase in price.
The Micromax MMX400R is one of the two Mi-Fis available in the Indian market under ₹5,000. It’s an excellent portable wireless 3G router than only costs ₹2,400 (or ₹600 more than an average dongle) and even lets you connect 5 devices at once.
It’s been over a year since the Micromax MMX400R was released. But failing to find any good review, I decided to write my own impressions of this Mi-Fi.
The Micromax MMX400R comes in two body colors — white and black, sporting an impressive, slick body design, with my favorite being the white variant. The Mi-Fi has a pretty simple body design. Four LED indicators at the top and two buttons at the front side.
The LED indicators glow in different colors for signifying different network and battery states. The network signal LED, for example, glows red, yellow and green when the signal is absent, weak or excellent respectively. The two physical buttons are used for switching on or off the router and for enabling Wi-Fi.
IT’S EXTREMELY PORTABLE
The MMX400R is not a thin device by any angle. But its light weight (90gms) makes it extremely portable. You can easily carry it in your pocket and use it anywhere you wish to — college classes, meeting, cafeterias, just anywhere.
Connectivity and Initial Setup
The Micromax MMX400R is an HSPA network type compatible Mi-Fi, which can deliver download speeds up to a maximum of 7.2Mbps (or 0.9MBps) and upload speeds up to 5.2Mbps (or 0.65MBps).
It’s important to know the difference between the units ‘MBps’ and ‘Mbps’. The latter unit, which is frequently used by network companies to lure users, actually stands for ‘Mega-bits’ and not ‘Mega-Byte’. 1 byte = 8 bits.
So a speed of 7.2 Mbps actually equals to 0.9 MBps.
For the specification nerds, the Micromax MMX400R supports two wireless standards: 802.11g and 802.11b.
For those who’re unaware, the 802.11g standard is more efficient and supports faster data transfer rates than 802.11b. More information can be found here (Wikipedia).
Setting up the device initially was effortlessly easy, requiring no extra steps to be taken other than turning the Mi-Fi on and connecting to it. The device doesn’t come with any default Wi-Fi password configured, so make sure you do add one soon after setting it up or else your neighbors won’t take long for sucking up all your bandwidth.
The signal reception of the Micromax MMX400R is exceptionally great. I often found it to receive either equal or better signal than what my cell phones could manage.
An option for connecting to devices via WPS is included as well, which lets you connect to the Mi-Fi without requiring the password — good for occasionally sharing your internet with your friends without revealing your password.
The Micromax MMX400R has an intuitive dashboard for remotely controlling it from device connected to it. The dashboard displays an overview of the device such as the battery level, signal quality, network type and much more.
The administrator can further change the device’s setting such as the preferred network type, Wi-Fi band, data settings, Access point password, etcetera.
The battery life of the Micromax MMX400R is equally impressive. During our testing, the Mi-Fi lasted for about 4 hours on average while being connected to one device. The test included continuous web-browsing, video streaming and downloading stuff from the internet. This figure starts decreasing exponentially with the increase of users, which is nothing pretty-obvious though.
The Micromax MMX400R goes into sleep state when it’s not in use and can easily last for around 3 days in standby state, even with bad or no network.
Strangely, the device charges extremely slow with the provided charger. On average, the Mi-Fi takes about 2:30 hours to charge from zero percent to hundred, which is a bizarre figure.
I believe the low current output of the charger is to be blamed here as the Mi-Fi charges super fast with my Nexus 4’s charger, which has a current output value of 1.2A (as compared to the Mi-Fi’s 650mA).
Overall, the Micromax MMX400R is an excellent device. It’s battery life, usability, remote dashboard, connectivity and pretty much everything is excellent. And at a price of just ₹2,400, it’s a must buy device and completely worth the money.