Huawei E5730 MiFi – Our internet in a box

Is this thing even on? It can be a little hard to tell whether Huawei’s newest MiFi (Mobile WiFi) box is functioning unless you’re peering really closely at the power button or keeping an eye on the connection status of you computer or mobile device but that’s really a part of its charm. The E5730 is an upgrade on Huawei’s previous efforts along these lines but from the outside it just looks like a little white rectangle. Add in a data SIM card and an emergency and you’ll find it turning into the best friend you’ve ever had. Best friend in a box, anyway.

E5730-CHuawei’s E5730 is just a small box with a plastic outer shell that nonetheless looks and feels like a quality product. We wouldn’t like the chances of the top or bottom plates if something were to hit them at any kind of velocity, they’re something like Samsung’s smartphones in that respect, but it’s a minimalist look overall. There’s only one button on the top of this little wireless modem, with a collection of ports in the rear. Also on the top of the device is a bank of status LEDs that are invisible unless they are trying to tell you something or if the E5730 is booting up.

At the back there’s a micro-USB port marked IN, for charging the E5730, a full-sized USB port marked OUT, for using the embedded 5,200mAh battery to charge a mobile device that might be in danger, and then a standard ethernet port. A fairly simple setup but it’s also very versatile at the same time.

The MiFi is able to connect ten different devices to the internet at the same time, something that was attempted when the Stuff offices had a bit of an internet loss earlier this week. Once the E5730 has been set up, either using an internet browser in the same manner as a traditional ADSL router or with a smartphone app, devices can easily be connected by just locating the portable WiFi network, entering the password and starting to use the internet. Actual setup was minimal, we just picked a WiFi password and we were off.

It’s quite platform friendly as well. Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, everything will just connect with the right credentials. Even a 3DS we had lying around spent a little time online thanks to the E5730. Users have the option to connect a standard desktop PC to the MiFi as well, via the ethernet port, and this also works as though there was a proper internet line connected to the machine.

That said, the E5730 is subject to a few flaws. The browser-based interface is fairly useful but we were using a Cell C SIM card cribbed from one of the company’s (Huawei-made) Speed Stick 3G dongles. There is a way to get the MiFi to send SMS but we were unable to access any kind of dialler, a must when attempting to convert pre-paid airtime into data. This led to swapping between the E5730 and the Speed Stick. Of course, this isn’t a problem if you’re able to load data directly onto the inserted SIM card.

The interface isn’t all bad though. Users can set limits on the E5730 itself if they’re on a strict data plan and don’t want to go out of bundle, a process that is as simple and easy as clicking a tab in the browser-based interface. Users can also check for firmware updates and use a selection of wizards to set up the MiFi through the same interface and Huawei have made both of those options equally easy to use.

The E5730 is a bit like a shotgun. If you don’t need it, it’s not a big deal but in the event of a zombie apocalypse, you’ll be awfully glad that you have one on hand. It might be subject to the same vagaries as the average cellular phone when it comes to signal but it’ll breathe life into up to 10 devices with at least one of them not requiring any kind of WiFi connection, charge an ailing smartphone or tablet and it’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Okay, so it’s nothing like a shotgun then, we’ve never seen one of those with an ethernet port.

Stuff South Africa's online editor and print assistant editor, Brett Venter has churned out more words on more titles than most journalists will in a career. He's kind of shy.

11 Comments

  1. I like it, the standard ethernet port is what makes it so special !

    Reply
  2. Any tips on where to buy one? Huawei’s announcement said Edgars and Makro, staff at both looked at me like I had just told them I’m from Jupiter.

    Reply
    • Hey,

      Did you ever find out where to get one? I also checked with Edgars and Makro both had no idea….also checked Incredible Connection, Vodacom, MTN, Telkom….so just about every where. There are two online retailers but they Mickey Mouse suppliers so not so keen on giving them bank details. Ive been trying to get one since November (originally the E5151) but was then told they wont be bringing that model and now this E5730….seems crazy that they advertise in the last two issues of Stuff but no one can find anywhere to actually buy one.

      Many Thanks

      Reply
      • No, still no idea where to get one. Still looking though. Same price as the E5331 and with monster battery and ability to charge my phone in a pinch? What’s not to like?! Huawei have a store at Vodacom World in Gauteng but I’m in Cape Town so that’s not much help for me.

        Reply
  3. Brett cant even tell us where to get it, I want to replace my old b683 with this…

    Reply
  4. The only info I have about the E5730 is that it’s available from Makro and Edgars. I’ve been unable to find it at either, or at other outlets online (except for one place that has it available at nearly triple its recommended price). Your best bet is to contact the Huawei store that has opened at Vodacom World in Johannesburg (011 653 6510)

    Reply
  5. I finally got this lil device on Saturday, I was visiting Jhb for da wikend and went to the Huawei Store at vodaworld and they happen to hav it. They said it just arrived in stock during the week and the price is R999. Im guessing makro and edgars wil hav it soon also. Im just loving it, its totally awesome to have it…

    Reply
  6. I m not starting this portable wi fi pla help me

    Reply
  7. For those who are still struggling to get hold of these, especially if you aren’t within easy physical access of the Huawei store, they pop up on bidorbuy every now and then. Mostly around R1,200, but I’ve managed to grab 1 for R999 on 2 separate occasions already.

    Reply
  8. Hi there,

    Just purchased this model and i found it a bit tricky to setup but managed to get it working

    However,

    The device tends to “switch itself off” or go into standby mode. How do i go about changing it to never switch off or at least change the settings because i cant find it anywhere on the setup in the settings tab

    Help would be much appreciated

    Reply

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