Mobile Hotspots, USB and Home Modems
Since last year, the Clear 4G Devices’ line has been simplified from 5 categories to 3:
- Mobile Hotspots
- USB Broadband Cards
- Home Modems
Mobile hotspots (marketed as Clear Spots) are convenient for connecting multiple devices or people while on the go.
USB broadband cards (or USB modems) are good for connecting just yourself (one device) while in or out and about.
Home modems, as the name suggests, are stationary devices for your home or office and allow you to connect Clear Voice as an option.
Mobile Hotspots (Clear Spots)
Clear mobile hotspots are compatible with ‘take it with you’ plans. For more details see the Clear 4G plans review.
|Full Review||Clear 4G Mobile Hotspot|
|Form Factor||4G Mobile Hotspot|
|External Antenna Jack||No|
|Download Speed Potential||
Up to 10 Mbps
|OS Compatibility||Anything that works via WiFi (computers, phones, game consoles, etc)|
|Network Compatibility||4G WiMAX Only (No 3G)|
|WiFi Connections||Connects up to 8 Devices|
|Price||Available from Clear for $99 or $5/month lease|
Currently, Clear only offers the Clear Spot 4G. Sadly, they don’t offer the Sierra Overdrive Pro which also connects up to 8 devices but connects to Sprint’s 3G network as well.
While this is a strong offering, the Overdrive Pro does everything this device does and more (with a microSD slot to boot).
USB Broadband Cards
Clear USB modems, like hotspots, are compatible with mobile ‘take it with you’ plans. For more details see the Clear 4G plans review.
For practical purposes, there are two Clear USB broadband cards. One with 4G/3G connectivity and the other with strictly 4G connectivity.
As mentioned in the plan review:
– If you use larger amounts of data and want unlimited mobile broadband but don’t travel, get the Clear 4G Mobile plan.
– If you use larger amounts of data in your home city and also need the internet for traveling but can cut back when you do, get the Clear 4G/3G Mobile plan.
Clear 4G Plans | 2011 Review
The above also applies to 4G modems.
If you don’t travel, then 4G only will be enough. However, if you do travel, you’ll need a 4G/3G hybrid device to be connected in places that don’t have Clear 4G coverage.
Clear home modems are compatible with home internet and voice plans. For more details see the Clear 4G plans review.
Like the Clear USB Modems, there are essentially 2 kinds of Clear 4G home modems: those with WiFi, and those without WiFi.
While you can purchase a non-WiFi modem and connect it to a wireless router painlessly, the Clear Modem with WiFi eliminates the need for extra equipment.
It makes sense to go this route if you don’t already have a wireless router. If you do already have a router, you can save some extra money by purchasing or leasing a regular Clear modem.
Which Device Should You Get?
Unlike other mobile broadband providers, Clear offers home and mobile options.
If they offered the Sierra Overdrive Pro, then that device could double as a home and mobile nationwide option.
However, since they don’t, the device(s) you get will depend on how you plan to use the device along with how much you’re willing to pay.
If going the mobile hotspot route, you don’t have a choice:
The Clear Spot is it.
If going the USB broadband card route, your best bet is to get the Clear 4G+ Mobile USB Series S. As an added bonus, it’s very small. Don’t let its unique form factor throw you off.
Even if you plan to use just 4G, if you ever have the need to use 3G, the option will at least be there.
If going the home modem route, the best device is the Clear Modem with WiFi that eliminates the need for an extra router.
In my testing, it receives consistently 1-2 bars more than the older Sierra Overdrive even when placed well within doors (while the Overdrive sits by the window).
Also in this review:
Check Out The 4G Comparison Infographic to see how Clear stacks up against the competition.