Great product. 4G wifi on the go. December 13, 2012
Reviewer: Randy M "rdm" (Des Moines, IA United States) -
Using this product right now for this review. Name says AT&T cause its AT&T. Pretty clear! Price is unbelievable low. AT&T 2 year contract. Blazing 4G speed. Use it for up to total of ten connected wifi devices at one time. Use this with my new iPad mini on the go, and at home when my cable ISP goes down. Can't not believe the easy of operation, and great speed. How did I ever live without this? Previously had a iPad 3 with cell service. Problem was service was tied to only that one iPad device. Now I use the wifi only iPad mini version, plus this hotspot. The perfect solution. Wifi here, wifi there, wifi everywhere. Connect all your wifi devices and pads. This is the only way to fly!!! Seems so good I can't believe it's legal. Forget pad devices with cell service built-in only usable by that one pad device. Expand your wifi world. Cover all the bases. Hotspot your wifi. It's always nicer to share and not hog wifi service. Hotspot lets you share with ALL your wifi ready toys, anytime and anywhere.
unsteady performance, iffy documentation January 8, 2013
This is an initial out-of-the-box review of this product. This particular unit was purchased in-person at an AT&T owned store.
The unit was activated in-store with the $50/mo no-contract plan. There is also a $36 activation fee which is added to your first bill. The local store offered a two year plan as well, but not the one-year version offered on the website.
Setup was completely painless. The unit came with a 75% charge on the battery. Starting it for the first time entailed only pulling out the battery protector and pressing the power button. After an initial minute of what I would assume was first-time startup processes, the unit went directly to the remote-device setup information. This was presented clearly allowing for immediate connection of a Nexus 7 tablet. WPS is also supported.
The screen has relatively bright colors. Based on performance, I would guess it is resistive-touch. Icons and text are large and easy to read. Basic access information for both connecting devices and using various secondary devices is easy to find, although trying to remember the various web addresses for the different functions could prove a bit unwieldy for some; there are contextual help popups available on some screens, however.
Initial speed test was completed using Speedtest.com's Android app in AT&T's newly-activated 4G LTE service based in Springfield, MA on a Nexus 7 approximately 5 feet from the hotspot. Speeds were 11922kbps down, 6722kbps up with 84ms ping from a server based in West Plains, MO. It may be just the light 4G load in the area so far, but performance was excellent.
This unit supports up to a 32GB micro-SD card, offering not only file sharing, but also streaming directly to either a web browser or DLNA-supported unit. This and many more functions are all accessed through a web or networking interface depending on the device or computer.
The directions are extremely light in several areas pertaining to the physical unit itself. Other than an overlay pointing out the power button, charging port and a reminder to pull the battery saver tab, there are few instructions given for accessing the unit. Micro SD cards are inserted along the front edge, with a small rubber cover protecting the port. Two other access areas, however, are not as simple to get into. The rounded, smoked cover on the back bottom has a small tab that would lead people to believe it can be opened, but I found no easy way to do so without feeling like I might break it. Tucked in partially under this cover is what looks to be the sim holder, complete with an arrow that I was not sure meant directions on opening it or orientation of the sim card that I couldn't get at.
In all, my first impression is mostly positive. I have not had occasion to check actual battery life use as of yet, or it's ad-hoc networking capabilities. I will update when I do.
While the unit performs very well initially, I must deduct one star due to a few minor concerns:
- Uneven documentation
- Even when set to USB Charge-only mode, plugging a cable in to charge on a computer forces the unit to start up.
- Screen covering is a fingerprint magnet.
Update after using for nearly 3 months:
The unit overall has performed well... when it responds at all.
On occasion, the unit will stop responding to the power button, whether the unit was already turned on or not, requiring a reset via battery removal. It won't do it for a few weeks, then will do it a few times in the space of half an hour. Very annoying.
As I write this, the unit is installing several firmware updates downloaded automatically. I am hoping they fix this annoying issue I have had.
If the problem continues, it would cause me to lower my rating of the product further.
Further update to above: The updates have still not gone through, despite a reset of the device. It does not always ask me to update, but when it does it still locks up for hours.
The random lockups shutoffs have also increased. The power button will refuse to respond at all, sometimes with the screen off, other times on. The only way to fix it is to pull the battery.
The AT&T store I bought it from was not helpful, telling me is it was "expected of such a complex device." Bullpoopy.
Based on the continued problems, lowering my rating to 2 (edit, was 3 while writing this originally) stars... and that is being generous, especially given that it did it again TWICE while I was writing this review!
5 bar signal but frequent disconnects February 2, 2013
Reviewer: David R. Carney (Derby, KS) -
I bought this to replace a MiFi 2372 that died (at&t says it died because it was left plugged in all the time??), and I am completely frustrated with it. The liberate cannot seem to hold the connection even though I have a 5 bar signal. It will lose the connection about every 3 minutes, then it's a 40 second wait while it reconnects. I'm running Windows 7 on a fairly new Toshiba Satellite. Tried various settings, not much seems to help. I'd like to throw it in the river but I have no other internet service available. The old MiFi 2372 did not have this problem. I'd take slower and more dependable then faster and unstable any day. What use is a high speed if you are waiting every few minutes for a reconnect. Try shopping online and having it drop during your checkout. Swell.
PS: It dropped twice while trying to publish this review.
Update 3/20/2013: I changed my rating to one star. Now, I have to pull the sim card out daily to get the thing to connect. This thing is junk.
malfunction after 3 mos April 23, 2013
Worked great after buying from ATT store for three months. Afterwards the device would constantly disconnect and shut down on its own. Resetted multiple times and then finally ended up canceling the service afte 5 months and paying the penalty.
Very pleased . . . February 23, 2013
Reviewer: Bookwaves (Atlanta, GA) -
I bought my MiFi Liberate directly from the local AT&T store in January 2013 and have been very pleased with it. I use it for websurfing on my tablet and am very satisfied with the speed. I've streamed movies on it with no buffering.
The long battery life is a definite plus (you can set it to auto shut off if there's no device connected), love the touch screen functionality and it's not overly large to transport, though I do wish that it were slightly smaller or at least more uniformly shaped. The battery area protrudes just a bit, but I can still fit it in my purse. The screen did freeze on me once and then shut completely off. I took it back to the AT&T store and the rep there advised I'd have to do a battery pull like the same as you would with your cell phone if it freezes. I haven't had the problem since....
Love the product but locked to ATT December 3, 2012
Reviewer: ATroy "ABH"
I bought this at ATT without contract as upgrade to my MiFi 2352. Quick connect to network, display was great showing relevant info like connection status, number of connections, allows you to easily change settings, all without use of a PC. Battery life is 11 hours. It is bigger than previous mifi models but its light and easy to carry around with no apparent external heat.
The biggest problem with this unit which is basically a mifi 2372 with a screen is that it is locked to ATT's network. After I got conflicting stories from AT&T, I spoke directly to the mfg, Novatel, who told me that it is not a hardware lock but a software lock that is controlled by ATT. ATT can only come out with the software unlock. Believe me I tried using the unlock solution for the mifi 2372 with no luck.
In conclusion, if you plan to use the liberate in the US only, this is a great product. However if you want to have the flexibility to travel outside the US and use local sim cards which are way cheaper to use (you can still use ATT expensive international roaming plan on the liberate), I would suggest you wait until ATT issues an unlock solution or Novatel comes out with a generic version.
Poor Device May 14, 2013
Reviewer: Regina Drahnak "notesinger" (Mt Prospect, IL USA) -
I bought this device online directly through AT&T. Setup was easy, but that was the only thing that was easy. As other reviewers have stated, it shuts down constantly requiring a battery-removal reset. Or it looks as if it is starting up, then stops. Could not update the device when it advised that updates were available. An extremely long and frustrating call to AT&T finally resulted in the information that it was a known problem and Novatel was working on it. AT&T agreed to credit my my overages since I went over my data plan trying to update. By the end of that billing cycle I was way over the amount. Now, a week into this billing cycle, I am over my limit of 5G. When the 4th person on another long phone call looked at the data the device had pulled an enormous amount on a couple of days. I don't use my computer for much more than surfing, email and a few other things because I don't want overage cahrges. However, this month, suddenly, I will be way over again. I've had the device for a few months and my usage has been pretty constant at just under 5G for a cycle. Yet another call to AT&T (after they did not follow up with a promised callback) resulted in a master reset and a promise for a follow-up call in 2 weeks to see how my data usage is going. I am extremely disappointed in the product and, as always, at AT&T's worst-tech-support-on-the-planet's inability to help in any meaningful way.
Good speed...Terrible usage May 4, 2013
Reviewer: curtis22 (Oklahoma) -
The product works and it has good speed that I will give it.
The only problem (which is a huge problem) is the data usage. It eats data like you wouldn't believe. Never download anything off it and just surf the web and it uses the 5gb data up very quick. I'm thinking it is more of an At&t ripoff to get you to buy more GB's myself.
BEWARE, tethering problems December 16, 2012
Reviewer: P. FARLEY (Pittsburgh, PA USA) -
This has the potential of being a great product. But if you need to tether to a lap top without a wifi card using USB which is supported in the documentation, AT&T does not provide the necessary drivers to download. I was referred to the manufacturer Novatel, to see if they had the drivers. It's Sunday and they're not open. And support at AT&T didn't know if Novatel had them either. I asked for a credit and got a one time $15 reduction. If this isn't resolved then I have to buy a wireless adapter for my laptop, but no one can tell me what's compatible. What? I bought this to get rid of expensive cable at 2 locations that I use infrequently for business. If I'm forced to keep this device with only partial functionality, I will file a complaint with our State Attorney General's office.