Feeds
90%

Novatel Merlin XU870 ExpressCard 34 'super 3G' datacard

High-speed net access for the hottest laptops

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

First UK Review ExpressCard 34 add-ins are few and far between, leading a fair few notebook users to question the wisdom of laptop makers who've dropped the PC Card interconnect for the new, faster version. The mobile phone network Vodafone recently shipped a USB-connected HSDPA modem for PC Card-less. Perhaps it should have waited for Novatel's Merlin XU870, an ExpressCard 34 data card that does 'super 3G' up to 3.6Mbps...

The downside of having a slimmer add-in card is that there's less room for the internals. So the XU870 has one of the chunkiest-seeming antenna pods I've seen on a data card. First looks are deceptive, alongside Vodafone's PC Card 3G Broadband data card, it doesn't seem as large as it did when it was first taken out of the box. But it still pokes a fair way out of the side of your notebook.

novatel wireless merlin ux870

One advantage of ExpressCard is ease of removal. Just as the XU870 fixes into place with a click, so it's released with just a push against its spring-loaded locking mechanism, all without PC Card's little release button. This makes it much easier to take in and out than PC Card devices were.

Out of the box, the XU870 ships with Windows software, but Novatel's website has Mac OS X software ready for downloading, along with full installation and usage instructions. Well, sort of. While the Mac package contains the driver needed to get operating system talking to hardware, it doesn't include the MobiLink application that Windows users can run to not only connect to the network but do useful things like send and answer SMS messages.

Credit where it's due, though. Novatel does at least cater for Mac users, something so many other card makers fail to do. It also provides drivers and full instructions for getting the XU870 running on a Linux-based machine.

novatel wireless merlin ux870 vs vodafone 3g broadband card

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Next page: Verdict

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
Google looks to LTE and Wi-Fi to help it lube YouTube tubes
Bandwidth hogger needs tube embiggenment if it's to succeed
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.