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CD-R King personal wireless 3G router: Long term review

We’ve told you about the CD-R King 3G Mobile Wireless-N Broadband Router (scientific name: CW-G4). That was ages ago. I’ve been busy putting it through its paces, and now here’s my verdict.

First of all, recall that the CD-R King Mobile Wireless-N Broadband Router (let’s just call it the G-Router, which is the monicker stamped on its body) is a portable device that allows you have your own personal Wi-Fi hotspot using your 3G USB stick. Got Globe Tattoo? Got SMART Bro? Got Sun Broadband? Then share it across several of your devices.

Battery life

Compared to a Huawei E5 wireless 3G which can run for five hours, this CD-R King product barely taps three hours before sputtering off. Then again, it’s less than half the price of the Huawei E5. So there.

Besides, if battery life is an issue, you can always plug it into your laptop’s USB port and just let it feed off your laptop’s battery. It uses a standard mini USB port, so getting a USB cable for it is not a problem.

My beef: the G-Router doesn’t seem to charge at full force when it’s being used. It’s as if most of the power gets tapped for running the device, leaving little for charging the battery with. So if you need to charge its battery to full, then you better turn it off first.

Compatibility

The G-Router is compatible with prepaid 3G USB sticks out of the box. SMART, Globe, Sun, they’re all good. However, if you are to use a “postpaid” plan, then some tweaking is required. Your friendly (hopefully) CD-R King technician will take care of punching in the proper settings, so make sure you bring your USB stick with you.

Bonus: this thing runs SMART’s new SMART Bro Rocket USB sticks out of the box. No need for setups. I haven’t tried it with Globe’s Lambor– oops, er, whatever they plan to call their high speed sticks now.

You can even use it without a USB stick attached to it, in which case it just acts as a personal network. I do this whenever I use the iPad as a remote controller for my Powerpoint presentations — I need the Wi-Fi hotspot, but not the Internet connectivity.

Oh, and here’s where the G-Router kicks the Huawei E5′s sorry ass: while the E5 can connect only up to five devices into its network, the G-Router claims to connect up to thirty! I’d believe that. I once went to Seattle’s Best and kept my Wi-Fi open… and pretty soon a huge throng of strangers were latched onto my network!

Connection

I use a Sun broadband stick whenever I’m out of the house. Latched onto the G-Router, it allows me to have Wi-Fi in the car.

Tip: CD-R King also has a low-cost USB lighter-to-power plug that can feed the G-Router on car trips. Jason hated this product, but it works for me.

Problem: every now and then, the router loses 3G connectivity, downgrading to 2G (the green light goes on rather than the blue light on the USB stick), and it’s as if the router couldn’t recover. I have to manually unplug the USB stick and replug in order for it to get back to 3G’ness. I don’t know if this is an issue with the USB stick or the router, but I suspect it’s the latter. That would be the biggest annoyance with this unit.

Durability

Well, I basically manhandle the G-Router a lot and it’s still alive and kicking. However, I did have someone comment before that he bought this and it died on him almost immediately, so buyer beware. I guess it’s the nature of the CD-R beast that you’d get a lemon every now and then. But this G-Router is one tough cookie. For me, at least.

The downside: the soft fuzzy finish scratches easily. Here’s what my unit looks like nowadays:

But if you don’t care about looks and you just want a unit that works, then the G-Router gives that.

Bottom line

I don’t know if I was just lucky to get a tough unit, but I’m very happy with the G-Router. It’s usually on during my road trips, and the battery life is decent enough for mall excursions, meetings and the like.

The ergonomic downside is that the USB stick juts out at an angle (why? why?), so it’s bulky when you want it running in your bag. Other than that, you really can’t complain. Especially because it’s just a little over two thousand pesos for a personal Wi-Fi router.

CD-R King 3G Mobile Wireless-N Broadband Router (“G-Router”)

Price: Php 2,180.00

Likes

  • Bang for the buck!
  • Up to thirty freakin’ devices can connect to this at one time!
  • Dude, you get a personal router that doesn’t discriminate against your network of choice

Dislikes

  • After a couple of months or so, it looks as if a cat used it as a scratching post
  • Bulky form factor when the USB stick is connected — not exactly bag-friendly, unlike the Huawei E5
  • Battery life is nothing to crow about — 2.5 to 3 hours
Art

Art

Art is a long-time editor for a number of technology publications. He is a Palanca-winning writer (he got lucky) whose day job is to try to be as serious as possible while being a management consultant and lecturer. His favorite noodles: chapchae.

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