Feeds
90%

Novatel Merlin XU870 ExpressCard 34 'super 3G' datacard

High-speed net access for the hottest laptops

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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

The essential guide to IT transformation

Next page: Verdict

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
EE plonks 4G in UK Prime Minister's backyard
OK, his constituency. Brace yourself for EXTRA #selfies
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.