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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Smart Bro USB - First Impression

Smart Bro USB is fast. In fact, the fastest I've tried so far.

Here in the Philippines, the top three telcos (Smart, Globe, and Sun) offer USB modems to provide Internet access for people who want to connect to the Web practically anytime/anywhere. My first try on such a device was Globe's product - the Globe Tattoo.

My first impression on that one? - a total disappointment. Not only was the connection super slow in most places I went, it was also super slow most of the time. Since I reside in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, most of my observations have been confined to this area. However, I've also tried somewhere in Iligan City in Mindanao and still got the same poor speed.

When our broadband connection at home (I use Sky Cable's ZPDee) experienced some serious downtime earlier this week, Joy and I decided to try out the Smart Bro USB device a.k.a. Smart Bro Prepaid. So far, it has performed much better than Globe Tattoo. If the web speed meter was accurate, the device was able to breach 500 kbps mark.

I'll try to post a screenshot one of these days.

Of course, I believe the performance of these USB plug-in modems largely depend on the wireless signal in the area. For instance, if Smart has HSDPA or 3G in your area while Globe only has GPRS, naturally you'd experience much faster speeds with the Smart Bro USB device. However, if your location has HSDPA in the Globe network and not in the Smart network, then the performance would certainly be the other way around.

People who need to connect to the Web frequently will find these USB modems quite handy. However, I suggest you still get a regular broadband connection as the airtime rates of these devices are just way too expensive for regular use.

Smart and Globe, for example, charge about PhP20 per hour. By comparison, a Sky Cable ZPDee 1Mbps connection will cost you only around PhP1,800 per month. That's already 24/7 Internet access. Just imagine how much you'd have to pay for airtime if you had to connect via the Smart Bro USB even just for 8 hours per day over a one month period.

I'll have more posts like this in the future, so do keep coming back.


Chris said...

I have a terrible experience with Smart Bro. It crawls so slowly, it almost seems like I'm not connected at all. I've tried different times of the day and different days. Awful. It's basically useless. I need a refund for this one.

Read about my Smart Bro horror stories before you even think about buying a kit! I might just save you money.

johnV said...

Hi Chris,

I failed to post about my observations re SmartBro's performance while I was in Mindanao. Was there for a little over a month.

Anyway, I experienced atrociously slow speeds most of the time when I used it in a subdivision in Cagayan de Oro. However, the speed was excellent when I tried it at the CDO airport.

Also got pretty decent speeds when I was in Iligan. Still, like I said earlier in this comment, there were times when it really crawled.

I guess the location really matters.

Chris said...

Well I can't really change my location since was planning to use it in the house. I use Bayantel now (not a USB kit) which runs great. Smart Bro will always be a bad experience for me.

johnV said...

My Smartbro speeds have been crawling for the past couple of months and I should say it's gotten to the point of being practically useless.