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Three In-Car Wi-Fi

Road testing the superhighway

Review As we all get increasingly used to the benefits of broadband it gets harder than ever to tear ourselves away from our streamed music and video, online gaming, immediate e-mail access and the rest. Smartphones take us part of the way to remaining fully connected when on the move, but now Three - the company formerly known as, er, 3 - has gone one better with its In Car Wi-Fi dongle, which promises access to the Internet for up to five devices over the network's 3G service, while you're in the car.

Three In Car Wi-Fi

Motoring modem: Three's In Car Wi-Fi

The In Car Wi-Fi will immediately look familiar to anyone who's seen Three's MiFi wireless modem from last year. It's essentially the same device, though it now comes with a car charger as well as a mains charger, plus a sticky windscreen holder to help you arrange it for the best reception.

Like other Three dongles, it's made by Chinese manufacturer Huawei, and it's shaped like a very small mobile phone, measuring 95 x 48 x 12mm and weighing 90g, so it's easy to carry or just keep in the glove compartment. It also comes with a 1GB Micro SD card for data storage.

The dongle doesn't have a screen as such, but instead features five LEDs to tell you what's going on. There are three buttons on the side for power - press it and icons light up for power and signal; Wi-Fi - - 802.11b/g, a blue W comes on when it's activated; and network.

Three In Car Wi-Fi

For the traveller with Internet separation trauma issues

With the latter, it shows a flashing green M while it's searching, changing to bold blue once it's connected to Three's data network – dark blue for the standard 3G connection, pale blue means you're on high-speed HSDPA. There's also a roaming icon which only comes into effect when you're abroad.

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