We’re finally getting a chance to play with one of Verizon’s LTE hotspots here at Mobilitysite, so today we bring you a quick review of the Samsung SCH-LC11 LTE hotspot!
The Samsung LTE hotspot is a cute little device. It’s very, very small, very light, and pretty good looking. The device sports a plain black soft-touch paint. The top of the device has all of the requisite branding (Samsung, Verizon, 4G LTE), along with a small power button, and 4G/3G/WiFi status lights. Along the side is a microUSB port tucked behind a sliding plastic cover.
The power button is a little too easy to press for us, so be careful when putting the Samsung hotspot away as you might just press the power button by mistake. The button also doubles as a battery indicator. The 4G and 3G lights simply show what network you’re connected to, along with signal strength (green/orange/red). The WiFi status light is green when in standby, and blue when connected – with flashing blue (a little obnoxious) when there is activity.
Unfortunately, the Samsung LTE hotspot has been plagued with issues since its launch. When we first received the device, we had no issues connection WiFi devices to it while in an area without LTE coverage. Once we moved to an area of LTE coverage though, we lost the ability to hold any WiFi connections. Our test machine, a 15” mid 2009 MacBook Pro, would connect to the hotspot and then disconnect a few seconds later. This same issue occurred with our iPhone 4. Obviously this is a maddening issue which made the device useless to use when in an LTE area.
Thankfully, Samsung recently released a firmware update that seems to have resolved all of our LTE connection issues. Our MacBook Pro had no issues making a WiFi connection and keeping it. We also did not experience any of the infamous random LTE drops that many users report.
3G speeds were what we expected – around 1Mb down and 500Kb up. But obviously you wouldn’t buy an LTE hotspot just to be using 3G…
Unfortunately, 4G LTE speeds were really disappointing. We tested out Verizon’s latest network about 20 minutes outside of Baltimore, in an area blanketed with LTE coverage. The Samsung hotspot’s 4G status light was always green, indicating good coverage. Below are a few speedtests run from our aforementioned MacBook Pro.
As you can see, this isn’t exactly the 20+Mb speeds most people seem to get while using Verizon’s LTE network. Certainly the speeds are good, but not mind blowing. In fact, we saw speeds in excess of 10Mb on Clear’s WiMAX network in the same locations.
Verizon says the Samsung LTE hotspot can get around 4 hours of use, which we would agree with. But don’t expect much more out of it. Thankfully, there are aftermarket extended batteries available for purchase, which would probably help out tremendously in the battery life department.
We had high hopes for Verizon’s 4G LTE network, but came away unimpressed. Combine the relatively slow speeds with the numerous issues we had at first with the Samsung hotspot, and the overall experience was pretty poor.