Until the Philippines gets nationwide free internet, going online outdoors pretty much sucks. We mere mortals have to make do with leeching free internet from malls, or getting phone+data plans. I have the latter, but my needs have somehow evolved from reading and answering push email on just one phone to actually working on several devices during meetings and shoots. And everything needs internet. What has become of our lives right.
I just found a very small but quite capable solution (thanks to my cousin for tipping me about this):
Size comparison of the Cherry MF1 against several 5-peso coins!
So far I really like it. The gist: it’s a small phone that can share its internet connection.
Wait, can’t an iPhone/Blackberry/Android device do that already?
Well actually, yeah. But here are some scenarios that would beget you to acquire this small phone:
1. You have a prepaid / postpaid internet SIM but you want to use it on more than 1 device at once (i.e. broadband sticks).
2. Your phone has data but can’t do hotspot — Me. It was a toss-up between upgrading my phone (damage would be about 15-20k) or getting this (2k). And since I bring my other devices with me all the time anyway (work requires a backpack sort of office), the decision wasn’t so hard to arrive at actually. And also, saving up for a March trip. :))) #cheapskateforever
So this is the Cherry MF1 Broadband Phone: basically a very affordable device that answers a very specific need in the market: how to share your internet as cheap and as flexible as possible? It’s small and it doesn’t even have a camera, but share internet it does.
Can receive wifi, has bluetooth, and share internet via a) Hotspot b) Modem c) USB Tethering. I’ve tried it so far, you just have to select the right data account depending on your network provider (as I’m on Globe postpaid it’s Globe Internet. I think this is pretty easy to figure out by looking around online).
Dedicated dials at the side allow you to turn connectivity options on and off, easily. If it were not for the keypad and the fact that I do still receive messages and calls, this thing easily just resembles a MyFi egg. But the advantage is that a) it can work with any network provider and b) it really is a phone! (not to mention the basic Huawei egg is about 3k I think?).
At the phone’s base is a USB plug that you use to charge the phone…
Or directly plug into your laptop to use as a modem! On this photo I tried it out on my mum’s laptop because I haven’t figured out how to make it work on OSX yet 😦 I’m not even sure if it has drivers for Mac because all spec / reviews say that it works for Window specifically. But anyway, can Hotspot so pretty good with it already.
Just in case that’s not good enough for you, it happens also to be able to browse the internet by itself (and even stream video), as I spazzed about in THIS VIDEO *click*. And then there are games, an FM radio, and an ebook reader inside too. Haha right.
Internet speed runs depending on your network’s signal but the device can transfer up to 7.2 mbps (double the speed of a typical broadband dongle). I’m quite surprised that such a small phone could actually so much. It’s a very basic phone, no whistles or conveniences, but really, it does the one thing which I really need – Internet sharing when I am out of the house (told you, backpack office). So I think it’s a really great deal!