The AT&T USBConnect Lightning 305 (built by Sierra Wireless) has what you’d expect in a USB broadband card:
MicroSD storage up to 32 GB & 7.2 Mbps HSPA-capable download which AT&T promises to bring on-stream by the end of 2010 everywhere.
While this is good news, they stand a chance to lose their ‘fastest 3G network’ title to T-Mobile who launched a 21 Mbps downloading webConnect Rocket.
Nonetheless, the USBConnect Lightning still has an ace up its USB sleeve. With a port that can literally swivel in any direction, this looks like quite the convenient & durable little number.
Take a look for yourself:
Stuff You Should Know (Good & Bad)
Design & Aesthetics
At a quick glance, you’ll notice the USB port is flipped horizontally and vertically. If plugged into a laptop, the USBConnect lightning could lay on its side or point upwards.
The Lightning 305 is 3.1 x 1.4 x 0.5 inches and weighs 1.6 ounces. That’s smaller than an iPhone and about the weight of 3 tablespoons.
When not in use, the USB port is stored in a sleek fashion to avoid any potential damage that could lead to breaking your broadband card.
- USB connection in an ultra-flexible, custom designed articulating hinge
- Capable of download speed up to 7.2 Mbps and upload up to 5.76 Mbps
- Global roaming capabilities with tri band UMTS (850/1900/2100) and quad band GSM/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900)
- microSD™ slot supporting up to 32 GB of storage
- Includes Windows 7, Vista, XP and Mac Drivers
- External Antenna Connector (External Antenna Jack)
Click ‘Play’ for an Interactive Getting Started Guide that’ll walk you through just about anything on the USBConnect Lightning (opens in a new window).
What’s Speed & Coverage Like?
The USBConnect Lightning runs on the ‘nation’s fastest 3G network’. Unfortunately, they don’t have the largest mobile broadband network. In an indirect way, you trade 3G speed for 3G coverage.
For the most part, urban areas are covered. However, if you’re a road warrior, you may need to look at Sprint or Verizon:
|Mobile Broadband Provider|
|Advertised Download Speed||700 Kbps – 1.7 Mbps|
|Real (Tested) Download Speed||900 Kbps – 2 Mbps|
|Advertised Upload Speed||500 Kbps – 1.2 Mbps|
|Real (Tested) Upload Speed||550 Kbps – 1.1 Mbps|
|Regional or National?||National
|Full Review Available?||AT&T Wireless Broadband Review|
If you’ll be using AT&T’s 3G network, you’ll definitely want to read “How Much is 5GB & Is It Enough” to avoid $51.20/GB overage charges.
AT&T’s Communication Manager shows you how much data you use per session to help keep track (and avoid overage fees.
In addition to keeping track of how much data you use, the connection manager has a WiFi locator to help conserve your 3G data along with the days remaining before your data cap resets.
Should You Get It?
The Sierra USB Lightning 305 is a solid card with an innovative design. With a microSD slot for up to 32 GB, an external antenna connector for better coverage where you need it and a very adjustable USB port, it’s a keeper.
The AT&T USBConnect Lightning is free on the spot (aff link).