My Airtel broadband always gives me some or other issues and so I wanted to have a reliable backup internet to keep me connected. I have been using a TATA Photon+ USB data card for backup internet in my home office as well as when we travel. However, one of the issues was, we can connect only one device at a time. Usually, when we go on long drives, my wife and kids want to connect to internet from various devices including iPad, iPod and iPhone. A single TATA Photon+ datacard wouldn't meet our requirements.
I have been shopping for a portable WIFI hotspot device, also known as a "Pocket WIFI Device". After looking at various options, I had a chance to take a detailed look at the LEO-USB-WIFI device from Leoxsys. Read this hands-on review of the LEO-USB-WIFI device to learn more about this product and my own experience with it.
Review of LEO-USB-WIFI Hotspot device
Let us take a detailed look at all aspects of the device.
Packaging and accessories
It came in a standard package and included the following accessories, in addition to the LEO-USB-WIFI device itself.
1. Network cable to connect the device to computer or external modem
2. microUSB cable to connect to USB port or to a power adapter
3. A/c power adapter with USB port
The device looks rectangle in shape and the dimensions are almost the same as a credit card. It is about 1 inch thick.
The top of the device has got an elegant glossy finish. The company name "Leoxsys" is written in the middle center in golden color and the name "LEO-USB-WIFI" is written in smaller size on the corner. The 6 colorful LED lights, indicating various statuses like power on, internet connection status etc, give it a fancy gadget look.
The sides are filled with buttons, ports and air vents. On the front side, you will see the following buttons/switches:
1. Mode switch – allows you to choose from Router/Client/Access point modes
2. WPS switch
3. Power on/off switch
On the backside, it has the microUSB port for power source and the WAN/LAN port for connecting the network cable.
On the right side, you will find the USB port, where you can connect your external USB datacard/USB modem for the internet connection.
When I was reading about various WIFI hotspot devices, I often read that some of the devices get very warm pretty quickly and making people uncomfortable using it further because of the fear of damaging it. I have kept the LEO-USB-WIFI continuously 24 hours on power and up to 12 hours continuously connected with internet. There was absolutely no heating. If you take the device in your hand after keeping it ON for some time, you will feel mild temperature but that was very well within reasonable limits. This device has got enough air vents on the sides good enough to keep the temperature under control.
I had to spend sometime trying to figure out how to configure it initially. After wasting sometime switching the modes on the devices, I decided to read the manual:-) The instructions were pretty clear and there was a quick setup guide, which describes the easy procedure applicable for most common scenarios.
Here is the quick setup guide: connect the device using microUSB cable, insert the external USB datacard, keep the mode switch to "Router mode" (I did all these without reading the manual). But what I missed was the steps to configure TATA Photon+ using the admin panel http://192.168.1.254.
In fact, it was very straight forward to configure TATA Photon+ with the LEO-USB-WIFI device. The Setup wizard already has the entire default configuration for TATA Photon+ and all other popular USB modems/service providers in India. All I had to do was, type my TATA Photon+ PIN in the provided textbox.
Internet connection speed with LEO-USB-WIFI
So far I have used only TATA Photon+ with the LEO-USB-WIFI device. It works perfectly fine and I am very happy with the speed of the connection. I used speedtest.net to test the speed and multiple random checks showed this device is capable of giving me the maximum internet speed which my USB modem gives me in my location. I was afraid using another device between my computer and the USB modem could reduce the internet speed significantly, but that wasn't true. Even with WIFI, when I keep the device close to the computer, the speed is almost same as the normal speed when I connect directly to the USB modem.
I have used internet connection for about 8 hours continuously and never got disconnected. In fact, I think this device was able to improve the reliability of the data connection. When I was using the TATA Photon+ directly on the laptop, I had to redial several times during the day. I believe LEO-USB-WIFI unit is doing the redial by itself internally, making it much easier for me. I am very impressed with the reliability of the device so far.
Connect as you drive - WiFi hotspot for your car
Since the device can be powered from any USB port, you can use it in your car and enjoy internet while you are driving. Do you use a GPS on your smartphone that require active internet connection to give you realtime traffic information? Go for LEO USB WIFI to have your private WiFi network in your car. Do you switch off the car to take a short break and afraid of losing your WiFi network? Don't worry, LEO uses rechargeable battery which gives plenty of backup power even when your power source is turned off.
My kids enjoyed playing online games on iPad using the Leo Wifi hotspot connected to the USB port in the car. It has been very helpful to keep kids occupied in long drives.
Disadvantages and drawbacks of LEO-USB-WIFI
I really can't think of any serious drawbacks for the device. Some minor concerns I can point out are:
1. Size: If you are looking for a really tiny travel WIFI router, there may be more choices out there.
2. Length of the microUSB cable: The cable is only 1 foot long. If you are connecting it to A/c power, in most cases you will have to keep it hanging on the wall unless you can find a table or shelf to place the device.
3. SIM card option: This device requires an external modem/internet source. You cannot use SIM cards with it. If you want to use a SIM card and setup a WIFI hotspot, you need to choose it's companion product LEO-SIM-WIFI or something similar.
With my experience so far, I recommend this product for anyone who wants a multipurpose, portable WIFI hotspot device for their car, home or small office. It offers value for money without doubts. The MRP of the device in India is, RS 4,999 but I saw it is available for purchase at a special price of Rs 2,999 directly from Leoxsys' online store.
Have you used LEO-USB-WIFI hotspot? Share your experience below as a comment.
|Article by Tony John|
Tony John is a professional blogger from India, who started his first Weblog in 1998 at Tripod.com. Tony switched to blogging as a passion blended business in the year 2000 and currently operates several popular web properties including IndiaStudyChannel.com, Techulator.com, dotnetspider.com and many more.
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|Guest Author: sd 26 Feb 2013|
|Can u please suggest a pocket wifi which can be used with 3g sim in affordable range? have an ipad and need wifi connectivity for it.. am not very tech oriented so specific model suggestion would be very helpful..thanks|
|Guest Author: Vinci 03 May 2013|
|Build quality is not really good. Very cheap plastic feel.|
|Guest Author: Arun 18 Sep 2014|
|Hi. Thanks for the great review. Can you tell me if the LEO USB WIFI Hotspot device is compatible with the reliance data card which is CDMA? Thanks in advance.|