Friday, October 7, 2011

Smart Rocket Review



4G. Also known as HSPA+. The promise of faster Internet without wires. Come and get it with Smart Rocket, basically Smart Buddy on steroids. Smart Rocket promises speeds of up to 12mbps. Those are crazy fast speeds, considering the fastest regular DSL connection you can get is 3mbps. Does this Rocket deliver? Read on.


By now, you've probably tried out Smart Buddy, Globe Tattoo or one of those wireless Internet services, so I won't go into much detail in this review.



Design

Nothing much to be said on the design front, really. Smart Rocket looks like a USB stick, much like other wireless Internet dongles. You remove the cover to insert a SIM card inside.


The difference is it connects to HSPA+  (4G) networks in addition to the WCDMA networks.

Mac users however will not be pleased. The Smart Rocket dongle is quite fat. Since MacBooks only have a maximum of two USB slots, they'll be plenty miffed because the Smart Rocket doesn't allow you to use the adjacent USB slot at the same time. Nothing that an extension cord, or a USB hub can't fix.


Software

What we're looking for here is software that will get you connected and get out of the way. Smart's Mobile Partner software does the trick, but it earns no points for beauty.



The connection screen.


There's a tab for your messages. (Yes, this is still basically a phone.)



There's a tab for your phone book.



There's a tab for statistics.  

Now let's get surfing.


Speed

Sorry, I'm not about to go running around the city, testing the speed of Smart Rocket, so for this section, I'll crowdsource it. Maybe when this blog actually makes money! Hahaha.





(This is actually an article about Smart Bro in general, but there's some Rocket tests in there.)


So is Rocket fast? The long and short of it is this: it really depends where you are. Sometimes 6 to 7mbps fast, which is incredible. In general, slower. Even at the lower end though, it's faster than the real speeds of a 2mbps DSL connection, so yes, you are well and truly in 4G-land with Smart Rocket. 

Is the Rocket 12mbps fast? Nope. That's to be expected though, as this is really how Internet speeds are measured (burst speeds vs steady download/upload speeds). 

Is it bad? Not at all. Many people will be perfectly happy with speeds faster than DSL, myself included.


What you get in the box.

Overall

If you have the need for speed, look no further. Just make sure you have decent HSPA+ signal in your area. Smart has kindly given a full list of areas with HSPA+ here.

As SMART can only add more HSPA+ areas over time, it won't hurt you to wait. P3,995 for the basic package isn't cheap either. As usual, it doesn't pay to be an early adopter. But if you really want a fast Internet connection, live in or frequent the right places, and prefer your Internet wireless, take the 4G plunge.

5 comments:

KrissyKross said...

hi, vince.

this is kris gonzalez. formerly of summit media media relations. was wondering if i could seek your expertise. i need to buy an mp3. my old one broke down and i usually use these for recording interviews and also to listen to the radio. can you recommend any good brands? mine was just given to me (sansa brand.

thanks!

The Third World Nerd said...

Precious few companies make and sell voice recorders nowadays. Not exactly much demand. Sony still does! You can also get an iPod Touch. The voice recorder works fine. The iPod nano has an FM radio, and if you can get your hands on the 5th gen nano, it has a microphone too. The new 6th gen nano has no microphone, but all you have to do is plug in headphones with a microphone and the voice memos app will pop up. Or just use your phone. Any modern smart phone will surely have an app for that.

Bogey said...

Smart Rocket's "rocket speed" is only good if you're accessing local content that's found in PLDT's network. If you're going to make a speedtest outside of the country, it won't be rocket speed anymore :-)

KrissyKross said...

thanks Vince! and congratulations on Wiggle. :)

chuvaness said...

i hate mine. I get less than 2 MBPS on my Rocket plug