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Review: Globe Tattoo 4G Superstick

I’ve been giving a Globe Telecom Tattoo 4G Superstick a spin over the past few weeks and here’s what I think about it.

By way of introduction, the 4G Superstick is Globe’s newest Wi-Fi ‘stick’ that runs on the company’s 4G network, which promises (OK, suggests) snappier performance than its older-generation 3G Wi-Fi Superstick devices – up to 7.2Mbps, says Globe. Globe further claims that this one is capable of connecting up to eight devices in one go.

In a nutshell, this Superstick is a pretty good investment if, like me, you have a wide range of devices and need to be out quite a bit yet constantly stay connected (even if, like me, you’ve got a smartphone with a data plan). And its exceedingly reasonable price – just PhP2,895, as we told you in our earlier post – is icing atop the cake.

First off, a bit of a background: I do a lot of my work, for Technoodling as well as for other clients and companies, remotely. I now have an unlimited data plan which I got when I purchased my iPhone 4S through Globe. But before I subscribed to that plan, I got myself a Tattoo 3G Superstick to help me stay mobile while I was out and about. Being able to go and stay online is key to my work, and in order for me to be reliable, what I have and use has to be reliable too.

My old 3G Superstick wasn’t perfect – it heated up rather ominously from time to time, for instance, and I had a bit of a hard time setting it up by myself (thankfully, Globe’s service staff helped me fix it up properly) – but despite these and other niggles, it was my go-to device for press lunches and launches, as well as what I’d use to download assignments and submit them to my clients when working outside and in places sans Wi-Fi, for many months. Whether I used my laptop or tablet, it didn’t matter – the 3G Superstick really helped me get my work done.

Now I’m using the 4G Superstick, and it’s proven superior to the 3G ‘Stick in almost every way – a compelling enough solution on its own merits. (For the purposes of this review I’ve compared the 4G Superstick to the 3G Superstick and by doing so I’ve tried to highlight the 4G ‘Stick’s merits and strong points.)

First off, the 4G ‘Stick is appreciably chunkier than its 3G predecessor, more or less larger in every dimension, and a tad heavier as well. But the finish of the 4G ‘Stick is nicer – matte as compared to the 3G ‘Stick’s glossy finish – and thus much less of a fingerprint magnet. It’s also proven a bit less prone to slipping out of my grasp than its 3G predecessor. When compared to other similar devices in the market, the 4G is still a bit on the hefty side.

In terms of displays, the 4G ‘Stick’s offers less information than the 3G’s; the former only provides you a smidgen of what you get with the latter. You get a little less info with the 4G ‘Stick’s simple display, if that’s important to you – battery life, signal strength and just one or two other things. Contrast this with the relative wealth of information you get with the 3G ‘Stick: signal strength, 3G/2G indicator, number of devices connected, ‘connected’/'disconnected’ status and so on. I daresay it does, however, translate into improved battery life (more on which in a little bit).

Secondly, unlike the 3G ‘Stick, the 4G one has had no problems with heat management – a major improvement, in my book. It’s remained cool as a cucumber just about every time I’ve used it, only warming up a little bit on certain occasions (like the time I watched a selection of YouTube videos for a couple hours straight). As a whole, in my experience, heat management is one area where the 4G ‘Stick shines. It takes almost everything with aplomb and doesn’t get too hot under the collar.

Thirdly, battery life has been quite satisfactory with the 4G ‘Stick. My trusty old 3G ‘Stick couldn’t be trusted to last for more than two or, at best, two and a half hours on a single charge; my fully charged 4G ‘Stick has lasted three and a half to four hours before it conked out. Not at all bad, actually.

As for speed (as can be expected), the 4G ‘Stick has been on average head and shoulders above the 3G ‘Stick – and that’s considering that the battery life has been noticeably improved. Its performance has depended on where exactly I am and, in some circumstances, what time it is; as a rule of thumb the further I get from areas like Makati or Ortigas or Alabang, the slower it gets, and during peak usage hours it can get, shall we say, a bit slow.

But that said even at its slowest, the 4G ‘Stick has still been no less than serviceable in most areas. I can load webpages rapidly enough and upload even large pictures just fine to our CMS or to Dropbox, for example. I’m just a bit sad that the best my 4G ‘Stick has been able to do has been a bit pedestrian – at its fastest, approximately no faster than 1.5Mbps down and 1Mbps up , rather a far cry from Globe’s maximum claimed download speed of 7.2Mbps – and it far too often performed much slower than that. But that said, still better on average than my 3G ‘Stick, and actually comparable with many wireless broadband home connections.

The bottom line is that if you can put up with its tubbiness, and there’s precious little reason you can’t, Globe Tattoo’s 4G Superstick is something you should consider if you’re in the market for one of these babies. It’s relatively fast and reliable and doesn’t heat up an awful lot even when you’re running it ragged.

My 4G Superstick is used almost daily, most especially since I go mobile quite a bit for work and to attend and cover quite a few events for Technoodling (and I have to admit that my 4S’s battery life isn’t the best and I have yet to invest in a battery case or any sort of battery extender). But with the 4G Superstick around, I don’t think I need to do so – as a matter of fact when I use the 4G ‘Stick and go online with my laptop or tablet, I shut my iPhone’s 3G and data off to conserve battery. So it all evens out pretty nicely.

And of course to top it all off, the 4G Superstick is now available for quite a bit less money than before. So it’s pretty good value for money as well.

Have you guys taken the plunge too? Let’s share experiences – tell me all about your own experience with the Tattoo 4G Superstick in the comments below.

Chris

Chris

Chris is into writing, tech, travel, photography, architecture, art and food - not necessarily in that order... He loves crispy Chinese noodles.

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