Feeds
90%

Novatel Merlin XU870 ExpressCard 34 'super 3G' datacard

High-speed net access for the hottest laptops

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Next page: Verdict

More from The Register

next story
HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'
This affects every broadcaster, every cable guy
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
iPhone 6 shunned by fanbois in Apple's GREAT FAIL of CHINA
Just 100 Beijing fanbois queue to pick up new mobe
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.