The MiFi Liberate - Will The World Need A Mobile Hotspot With A Touchscreen? (Part 2)

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Performance and battery life

The mobile hotspot is useless if there is no stable performance, so luckily the Liberate is really quite good. We connected the tablet, smartphone and laptop to it for the whole day and got frequently the LTE speeds of around 15Mbps download and 8MP upload when the Liberate had around 3 bars of signal. We tried to open from 10 to 20 browser tabs simultaneously and the performance did not decrease much. Of course, the speed may vary depending on locations. At Potrero Hill district of San Francisco, the performance fell several points below the average, while we lost 5 points in Mission District where the signal strength sometimes reduced to 1 or 2 bars.

We have to say we were really happy with the battery life of the Liberate. After about 8 hours of continuous use (our computer was connected to the IRC and smartphones and tablets had push notification feature on), the battery only consumed around 20% of the power. We also left it connected all night long and it survived in about 24 hours idle. Novatel evaluated the Liberate’s battery life of about 11 hours, and this time we did believe it.

Novatel evaluated the Liberate’s battery life of about 11 hours, and this time we did believe it.

Novatel evaluated the Liberate’s battery life of about 11 hours, and this time we did believe it.

Price and competition

The Liberate is one of two mobile hotspots available from AT&T; the rest is from Sierra Wireless Elevate 4G. The Elevate also offers 4G LTE speed with one microSD card slot, but it only allows you to connect up to 5 devices while the Liberate is extended to up to 10 devices. Instead of the touchscreen and 2900mAh battery, the Elevate has a 1.77 inch LCD with simple 1800mAh battery, which is claimed to last 5 hours. It is also significantly cheaper than the Liberate, with just $1 on a two-year contract. While we are afraid of worse battery life of the Elevate, it is certainly a much better deal if you do not need the features of the strange Liberate. About the packages, AT&T offers a fixed price for the mobile hotspot, and you have 5GB per month at $50/month.

Sierra Wireless Elevate 4G

Sierra Wireless Elevate 4G

If you are not tied to AT&T, Verizon may have better options with the Jetpack MiFi 4620L or the Jetpack 890L designed by ZTE. The 4620L MiFi looks more like a traditional MiFi with just the most basic information on the OLED screen, while the Jetpack 890L is beautifully designed with a larger OLED. Both of them offer 4G LTE, the ability to connect to up to 10 devices, receiving alerts using SMS and compatibility with international networks. The MiFi is battery life claimed to last 10 hours, while the Jetpack 890L can reach 5 hours, and costs $50 and $20 after a 2-year contract. The packages of Verizon is different from those of AT&T: you can choose one of five different monthly packages: 4GB at $30/month, 6GB at $40, 8GB at $50, 10GB at $60 or 12GB at $70. Our personal preference is Verizon’s flexible 4620L MiFi due to more data as well as a simple interface and its familiarity.

Jetpack MiFi 4620L

Jetpack MiFi 4620L

Jetpack 890L

Jetpack 890L


Regarding the core functionality, the MiFi Liberate does what it is promised to do. It is truly a mobile hotspot with pretty good LTE speed and excellent battery life. The ability to connect to up to 10 devices is excellent, and it is priced at an affordable $50 after a two-year contract with AT&T. However, it is not without faults. Although the touchscreen provides quick access to valuable connection information, we wonder whether it is not excessive – a simple LCD screen like the one on the Elevate will be enough. The touchscreen itself is not so interesting to use with slow speeds. Features such as messaging, streaming media, and GPS are fine, we suppose – it does not hurt to have them but they do not seem necessary here. Finally, the Liberate MiFi is a pretty good shopping if you need a mobile hotspot. And if you want a hotspot with broadcasting equipment as well as a touchscreen with additional interesting features, you should use a smartphone instead.

Regarding the core functionality, the MiFi Liberate does what it is promised to do.

Regarding the core functionality, the MiFi Liberate does what it is promised to do.


·         Price: $50 on a contract


·         High speed

·         Impressive battery life

·         Good price


·         Not trustworthy touchscreen

·         Not necessary features

·         Bulky design

Key points

·         The MiFi Liberate is a fast and long-lasting mobile LTE hotspot from AT&T, but its untrustworthy touchscreen leads us to look for a less interesting MiFi or connect to a smartphone instead.

The MiFi Liberate Specifications

·         Packaged Quantity: 1

·         Device Type: Wireless router

·         Service Provider: AT&T

·         Enclosure Type: Desktop

·         Connectivity Technology: Wireless

·         Data Link Protocol: IEEE 802.11

·         Built-in Devices: Display

·         Type Wireless: cellular modem

·         Cellular Protocol: LTE

·         Networking type: wireless router


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