Sprint Overdrive Pocket WiMax Router Hands On: Oversized Internet, Tiny BoxS

The Overdrive is Sprint's WiMax dream, in a little box. And mine too, I confess: Real broadband that I can shove in my pocket and take anywhere, a teleporting Wi-Fi hotspot.

Sprint Overdrive Pocket WiMax Router Hands On: Oversized Internet, Tiny BoxS

WiMax is pretty quick at its best, but speed depends almost proportionately on signal—in Las Vegas, at 100 percent, we were getting around 3.5Mbps downstream and close to 1Mbps up, but at 40 percent, we got 1.57Mbps downstream and around 0.3Mbps up, and more than a couple dropped connections. Latency stayed around 155ms. When it was at full strength, it feels a whole lot like real broadband.

Battery life actually got to around 4 hours of near constant usage by one person, with occasional people jumping on.

While it physically could fit into your pocket, it doesn't exactly slip in there like the credit card-sized MiFi—there's a definite not-happy-to-see-anything-cause-I've-got-a-brick-in-my-pants bulge. But the thumbnail of a screen that fades into the OverDrive's glossy surface fixes the MiFi's biggest problem—you can actually see what the hell's going on just by looking at the brick, vital info like: Battery level, signal strength, data used and your wireless password. That said, the web interface is nice—animated, interactive and fast.

We'll be hitting it hard while we're in Vegas for a more thorough review soon—like versus Clear's hotspot. Anything you want us to try on it?