3UK release new MiFi bundle

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

3UK MiFi In Car Wi-Fi

3UK have announced an updated bundle for their 3UK MiFi, called the In Car Wi-Fi.  As well as the device itself, and 1GB of data allowance (valid for 30 days), they have included a mains charger (as before), but now a car charger and also a windscreen suction mount, and all for £59.99.  In comparison, normally you would pay £69.99 for just the device, although with 3GB worth of data valid for 3 months.

Suddenly providing Internet access for Sony PSP / Nintendo DS / iPod Touch devices whilst travelling has just got a lot easier, and with the ability to share the internet with multiple devices, this does seem a nice offer; especially with a car charger to keep the device working even on long trips.

This new bundle is not yet available online, but I’m sure it will be soon.


3UK Mobile WiFi device Hands On

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

3UK Mobile Wi-Fi Device (MiFi)

I’ve had access to one of these devices since yesterday, and I am quietly impressed by the device, and it’s capabilities; it’s not perfect (more later), but it certainly is a very useful device…

Although it costs a little more than a standard 3 Mobile Broadband USB Modem, the extra facilities it offers may make it worthwhile for many.  Basically, it shares it’s 3G connection over Wi-Fi to upto 5 devices at the same time.  Now, the 3G network speed is not enough for all 5 devices to be streaming audio or video, but would cope with all 5 checking mail and web surfing.  In fact, I’ve been sat here with 2 laptops connected to it, with one streaming Spotify music for over 2 hours now without any glitches or problems.

One problem with the device is that it is 3G / HSPA only; it will not fallback onto the Orange 2G data network (like a 3UK Handset would), so if you are out of coverage of 3UK‘s own 3G network, it will not work at all.  3UK claim to be at 70% population with 3G, which is still one of the highest (if not the highest) for pure 3G connectivity, but the lack of fallback may leave you stranded in the short term.  Last night, 3UK showed their plans for a “monster” 3G network for 2010, which fills in a lot of gaps in their current coverage, so as this better network comes online, this problem will fade to some degree.

One key use of this device is for Wi-Fi only devices, such as the iPod Touch, the Nokia Internet Tablets, PSPs etc. and certainly all these devices gain extra features with connectivity, and it’s very easy to just turn the device on and be able to access the internet anywhere (with signal).  The battery is claimed to last 5 hours, and althougwe haven’t yet got to 5 hours of usage, it’s certainly a plausible figure.  If needed, you can turn off the wireless to limit it to local wired USB connection only, or you can turn off 3G to just give you a local wireless network hub for file sharing.  The network name (SSID) is quite obviously a 3UK device, so you may want to change it (all mangement needs to be performed via a wired cable connection).  You can also change the encryption key, although given this is listed under the battery, it may be easier to leave this alone for convenience.

Other positive points? 3UK are trying to ensure nothing (legal) is blocked by their Internet connection, and certainly everything we accessed worked fine without any issues.  As 3UK have good support for Skype, they are happy for you to run the client on your laptop.  Also interesting to note is that iPhones and iPod Touch can also use a MiFi to allow full access to Skype for calls; whether or not you are allowed to make calls on the Skype client is based on whether the connection is 3G (from the phone) or WiFi (from the phone); the fact that the WiFi access point then uses 3G is not factored in to the switch within the application, so these functions work fine too.

The only other downside we can find is that when you turn it on, you then seem to need to turn on 3G every time; it’s a shame it needs 2 buttons presses, and not just one, but this is a minor point.

The 3 MiFi will be available on Friday in Stores (and available to order online on Thursday)with two pricing options; the “Broadband 5GB 1 month” service will cost £69.99 upfront and then £15 per month for 5GB of data (with a rolling 1 month contract), or you can select the PAYG “Ready To Go” option at £99.99, which will include 3GB of data to be used over a 3 month period, and then it will move onto standard Mobile Broadband PAYG pricing.  3UK have indicated that there may be more tariffs in the future, and they will also review the 5GB limit over time too.

If you are worried about “Bill Shock” with this device (you will get warning SMSes, but as these are only available if you have the connection software installed and connect to the device via the wired USB cable, most people will never see these), 3UK have a “hard block” of £25 per month; once you hit this limit (comprised of the original tariff and then the overspend), 3UK will block the SIM for the rest of the month.  This is a nice feature to limit exposure, and you can ring up 3UK to increase or decrease this limit if you wish.  Of course, the My3 portal is accessible from any connected device (even on wireless) which gives you a live data usage figure should you wish to check how much you have used.

All in all, a useful device, and one you should consider if you want to have the capability of easily sharing your Mobile Broadband and have sufficient 3G coverage in the areas you want to use it.


New PSP firmware out soon

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Sony PSP 3000

We’ve been informed by Sony that we should soon see another firmware update for the PSP, taking it to v5.51.  This new firmware is about stability and bugfixes; ie no new functionality will be released.


New Sony PSP

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Sony PSP Go

This appears to be the new Sony PSP, called the Sony PGP Go, which is due to launch very soon (as soon as today!).  The specs appear to include:

  • 3.8-inch display
  • 43 percent lighter than the PSP-3000
  • 16GB of Flash storage
  • Bluetooth built-in; supports handset tethering and BT headsets
  • No UMD drive
  • Memory Stick Micro slot
  • New Gran Turismo, Little Big Planet and new Metal Gear Solid (!) on the way
  • Full PlayStation Network support (movie and TV rentals / purchases)
  • Integration with PlayStation 3 (works the same as the PSP-3000 does)

Sony PSP Go 2

With the demise of the UMD drive, it will be interesting to see how this device fares in the current climate, in essence, forcing people to buy their games afresh…

Some content courtesy of Playstation Forums and Engadget.


PSP firmware update

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Sony PSP 3000

Although it’s been a while since we’ve mentioned the PSP, Sony are continuing to release firmware updates across the whole range of devices.  The latest firmware, v5.50 (due out soon), features an Information Board (similar to that on the PS3) to allow the user access to PlayStation and PlayStation Store News.  The update also includes other features, including:

  • Memory Stick improvements – You’ll be able to create and access sub-folders on your Memory Stick PRO Duo for music, videos and photos. Separately, the available space required to download a file from PlayStation Store to your Memory Stick has been reduced significantly.
  • Internet search for games directly from the XMB – You’ll be able to easily search the Internet for information about your PSP games. Select the icon for the game, hit the Triangle button, and then select [Internet Search] from the options menu to get search results based on the game title. This feature was added to PS3 with the recent 2.70 update.
  • Trend Micro trial – PSP’s Internet browser is a great tool for checking out your favorite Web sites on the go, and we’re teaming up with the Internet security experts at Trend Micro to make the Web browsing experience safer and more secure. With the 5.50 update, you’ll have the option to access a free trial of two Trend Micro services:
      Trend Micro Web Security uses Web reputation technology to block PSP owners from accidentally visiting a Web site that may contain malicious content designed to steal personal information and confidential data.
      Trend Micro Kids’ Safety uses URL filtering technology to prevent children from accessing Web sites that feature inappropriate content.

The inclusion of children safety features is interesting, and we wonder if this is a direct result of Apple’s iPod Touch features, and the fact that many are now buying iPod Touch devices simply to use as gaming devices.  We like some of the additional features the iPod Touch offers, like the ability to set a maximum volume that can be selected, to limit ear damage to children’s smaller ears (a feature that’s been available in many iPods devices over the years, but oft forgotten).  However, Sony are only including access to “trials”, implying at the end of the trial there will be a cost to pay…

Information on the new PSP firmware direct from Sony here.


New Sony PSP

Monday, September 8th, 2008

We first mentioned the rumours a while back, but Sony have confirmed there will be another PSP variant, the PSP-3000. This enhances the Slim&Lite version with a built in microphone, and a nice new screen, which should have little glare, even outside. Although the new screen will take slightly more battery power, Sony have stated that their designers have managed to improve battery usage in other areas, such that the overall impact should be negligent. It should go on sale in October (15th) across Europe.


New Sony PSP…?

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Sony PSP

We’re hearing rumours of a new Sony PSP due out soon. The PSP-3000 will follow on from the Slim & Lite PSP-2000 model, using the same form factor. In fact, there appear to be only two small minor differences; firstly a built in microphone, and secondly, the Home button is being replaced by a “Playstation” button. No information on when this will be available, or ship into the UK.

In other PSP news, Sony have hinted that they will be producing more GPS based games for the PSP. Currently you have to use the GPS Addon to achieve GPS support; we wonder if there might be a GPS chipset in the new handheld too…


Another new PSP firmware coming soon

Friday, July 18th, 2008

Sony PSP

Although we don’t yet have a release date for it, Sony will shortly ship another PSP firmware update, v4.05. This will add a number of new features, although the only one Sony have mentioned so far is new music visualisers whilst playing music. We’ll let you know once we hear a confirmed date.


New PSP firmware due “soon”

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Sony PSP

The PSP v4.00 firmware is due to become available “soon”. Despite the impression of a major update based on the version number, but actually, it appears the main new feature is the ability to perform Google searches direct from the menu system, with a search history recall of the last 20 searches. You will also be able to speed up or slow down the playback speed of videos from the memory card. This is achieved by pressing the up or down directional buttons whilst playing a video.

We’ll give you more news when it’s actually available.


Sony release PSP-Lite firmware with Skype

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Sony PSP

As discussed before here, Sony have now (finally) released the new PSP-Lite firmware (v3.90) which includes Skype support. You additionally need the PSP Skype Headset. This offers a full Skype experience, including SkypeIN and SkypeOUT. It is currently only available via the Network Update facility direct on the device, but a PC download option should appear soon.