Review of Verizon Pantech UML290 4G USB Modem

There are many choices for wireless broadband out there, but none, at the moment, as fast as the new 4G service that Verizon Wireless is now offering. Today for review I’ve got the new Pantech UML290 4G USB Modem and it’s fast, seriously fast, it gives you the speeds you want when and where you want them. The UML290 though is a bit on the large side, but you  might forgive the size for the speeds you’ll get.


The Pantech UML290 comes in a small box, inside you’ll find a plastic container.

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Once you get everything unpacked you’ll find a lot of documentation including a 4G sim card and a USB cradle along with a software/driver disc.

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The UML290 is rather large, and at first look you won’t notice the USB connection.

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The top cover swivels to access the USB port, it’s semi spring loaded and pops partly out.

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The USB connection can be positioned at most any angle.

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On the bottom is where you’ll find the sim card slot.

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Specifications:

Pantech UML290 4G USB Modem

The UML290 USB modem together with the most advanced 4G network in the world transforms your laptop into a mobile powerhouse, providing 4G speeds, wide area, wireless connectivity from virtually anywhere! Users will benefit from speeds up to 10X faster than 3G. The UML290 comes equipped with a fold–away, 180 degree rotating USB connector, an LED Service Status Indicator and a internal antenna. UML290 users will have the capability to run much more complex applications, stream live, high–definition video, enriched navigation experiences, multiplayer interactive gaming, and richer advertising and entertainment options, all while being mobile.

Specifications:
Dimensions:
* 3.5″ (H) x 1.4″ (W) x 0.6″ (D)
* Weight: 1.8 oz
* SAR = 1.15 W/kg – body

Operating System Support:
* Windows Vista (32/64–bit) (SP2), Windows XP (32–bit) (SP3), Windows 7 (32/64–bit)
* Not MAC OS compatible at launch

System Requirements:
* One Type A USB Port
* Processor: 150 MHz or higher
* Disk Drive: CD ROM
* Memory (RAM) requirement: 64MB
* Hard disk space requirement : 28.1MB
* Internet Browser Software

Technology Bands:
* CDMA 1xEV–DO Rev. A/Rev. 0: 800/1900 MHz
* LTE CDMA (700MHz)

Memory / Chipset: Qualcomm MDM9600

Full Retail Price: $249.99
2-Year Contract: $149.99
Online Discount: -$50.00
PRICE: $99.99


I used the Pantech UML290 with my Acer AspireOne D250 netbook for testing.

I think this picture really shows just how big the Pantech UML290 is:

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Anyway, before you plug in the UML290 you’ll have to install the drivers and software from the included disc. Not sure why the software and drivers just weren’t included on the modem itself like others are. To use it with my netbook I had to dig out my external USB DVD drive.

Once you get everything installed you can launch the software to get access to the Verizon 4G network.

There’s four screens to the interface, the first of which is the connection screen which shows all of the available wireless connections. I hadn’t realize so many were around me…

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The next is the Statistics page which tells you your usage:

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Then the next page is for Text Messaging:

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The last page is so you can find wi-fi locations around your area.

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Once I got it hooked up and running I was quickly on the 4G network, but I didn’t have full signal strength and once or twice it actually switched to roaming off of the 4G network. This very surprised me as I‘ve never had an issue with anything from Verizon and their network before.

The results varied greatly during my testing.

speedtest dslreports1

java speed test

According to Verizon, the speeds should be for download between 5 and 12 Mbps and for upload between 2 and 5Mbps.  For my testing though the speeds where everywhere as you can see from the above results, I’m not sure exactly what’s going on though something with the Verizon network is all I could guess. You do have to remember that I’m testing in the Pittsburgh area and from what I’ve read the results vary where you are. Others have had much better results than I did and some had similar.


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Conclusion:
There’s no doubt that the new Verizon 4G network is fast, that’s for sure, I guess it just depends where you are on what speed you’ll get.

The Pantech UML290 is rather large, much larger than any other wireless modem I’ve ever seen recently. I also found that you won’t be able to use the USB port next to or over or under the modem when it’s plugged in. You can of course use the extension cable if need be, and that would free up the USB ports for you.

9

Pros:
+Fast speeds
+Easy to install
+Seems well made
+Easy to use

Cons:
-Large in size
-Speed not consistent in Pittsburgh area
-Software is not the greatest

Grades:
Overall score-9-10
Design score-8-10
Performance score-10-10

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  • Ray

    Thanks for the review.

    I went to Verizon to buy the Pantech UML290 and the sales guy said it was only for international use (not true) and told me I should buy the LG VL600 instead. So I did.

    You think the Pantech is big, you should see the LG. Anyway I ran some test from my home in Tempe, AZ and was getting on the web at about 6-8 MB / sec. Not bad. But I still wanted the Pantech so I call Verizon tech support. They told me that either modem would work on their new 4G network.

    With flames coming out of my ears, I went back to Verizon to exchange the LG for the Pantech. When I told the geek manager I was lied to and wanted the Pantech he still argued with me that the LG was a better modem. I told him I wanted the Pantech anyway.

    To make a long story short I got the Pantech home. A cool thing is the Pantech as place for an external antenna. The LG does not. Also, when I tested the speed it hit the web at 11-15 MB / Sec, way faster the LG.
    I’ve been in IT for over 30 years and don’t need some $10/hour wanna be geek telling me what I need or don’t need. Do your own research and don’t ever trust the sales people at the Verizon stores. They have no idea what there’re taking about.

  • Matthewgmunro

    I work for verizon and to stay constantly connected you must go into ” options, preferences, device and click the enable or unblock sim card then when it asks for the pin, type in four 1’s. 1111. That’s it and you’ll be zooming in no time! Hope this helps :)

    • Sol305

      hi i have the pantech ut once u uploaded the software updat it stopped working. i was told to uninstall and reinstall the program with i did uninstall, but have been unable to find the software online to re install. i do have the cd but its at home and i am traveling for work till july 29,2011 can you help me since you work for Verizon?

  • Ramesh

    I dont know I got this today. For some reason Access Manager still says 3G and it tool about 50 minutes to upload about 95MB file. I dont know whether I am supposed to change something in settings. I dont see any big speed change yet in this compared to 3G usb I had.

    • Suziequzie

      4G isn’t available everywhere. In fact, it’s only available in a few cities. If not available, you get 3G. I’m in Tucson, AZ and we don’t have 4G yet. But, I travel and I see a definite difference in speed when 4G is available.

  • Jim

    I live in the  pittsburgh area too (actually 25 miles south).  It connects initially at 3.1 mbps, routinely goes down to 318.6 Kbps, and also routinely disconnects and reconnects, though the signal strength always shows as high in the vzaccess software.  It also frequently comes up with the error message that a network cable is unplugged. 

    My older 3g mifi2200 stick, which was basically high speed dialup, was MUCH more reliable and faster, since I didn’t have all these disconnect and reconnect problems.

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