10 best laptop modems

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective and does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

A computer without the Internet can be compared to a TV without an antenna. This concerns a laptop to a lesser extent, but the ability to establish an Internet connection in a place where there are no free Wi-Fi hotspots can also be extremely important. Today's rating review from is dedicated to compact devices – modems that solve the problem of the Internet in places where there is at least a mobile connection. In the old fashioned way, they are called modems, although the principles of MODulation-DEModulation in them are already completely different.

Universal models that support both 3G and 4G standards will be presented here, since the coverage of the new generation 4G network is far from everywhere, and with 3G the situation is better. All have a USB interface. PCMCIA modems were not included in our review, as they are in extremely low demand.

Rating of the best laptop modems

Nomination a place Name of product price
Best Simple Laptop Modems 1 HUAWEI E3276 RUB 3,100
2 HUAWEI E3372h RUB 3,190
3 ZTE MF823 RUB 2,699
4 Alcatel Link Key RUB 2,080
5 HUAWEI E398 4 400 rub.
Best 3G modems for laptops 1 HUAWEI E1820 RUB 1,500
2 HUAWEI E1550 RUB 700
3 ZTE MF627 1 200 RUB
The best modem routers for laptops 1 Huawei E8372 RUB 3,390
2 HUAWEI E8231w RUB 1,990

Best Simple Laptop Modems

Let's start with modems, the functionality of which includes the performance of their direct functions – to receive the Internet directly into the laptop of its owner. Here, our experts were guided by the fact that the device worked normally, did not slow down, did not break, communication, did not freeze and, if possible, did not cost too much. Let's take a look at six decent models. All of them “by default” support the LTE standard, work via USB, do not need additional power, and are adapted to work in Russian mobile networks.

Let's make another remark for a complete understanding of the rating logic. In the review, we have as many as four models from HUAWEI. It just so happened that this particular company produces good and inexpensive communication equipment on such an industrial scale. And let us remind you that just a high-quality device is not enough – it is also important that it be 'sharpened' for the mobile networks of Russian mobile operators.

HUAWEI E3276

Rating: 4.9

HUAWEI E3276

Let's start by looking at one modem that customers love. This is HUAWEI model E3276. It is even characterized by its shape and folding design – the USB-contact is conveniently hidden inside the case, and the user is spared such a frequent chance of losing the lid sooner or later.

Due to such a foldable form factor, the modem, when worn, has a compact size – 92x14x32mm and a weight of 30 g. The design even has a touch of originality. The plastic of the case is of good quality, it does not backlash after several SIM card replacements, as in cheap and simply low-quality models. On the front side there is an LED that starts blinking green as soon as the modem picks up a signal.

This model supports the following data transmission technologies: GSM, GPRS, EDGE, 3G, LTE, HSDPA, HSUPA, HSPA +. Operates in the B38 TDD / 2600 and B40 TDD / 2300 frequency bands. Does not support R-UIM technology. Has a socket for an external antenna and a slot for a flash memory card.

The maximum data transmission / reception rate is 50/75 Mbit / s, respectively (depending on the modification). These are rather modest values, but for such an inexpensive device and for such stability, it is quite acceptable.

This model has 10 modifications, so you should definitely ask a specific seller for specific characteristics before buying.

Advantages

  • convenient form factor without a cover;
  • stable work;
  • supports all popular data transmission technologies;
  • relatively low heating (depending on the mode).

disadvantages

  • the maximum speed is not the highest among other models.

HUAWEI E3372h

Rating: 4.8

HUAWEI E3372h

The rating is continued by another worthy product from HUAWEI. This model has quite tangible differences from the previous one. First, the form factor. Here it is a compact monoblock in black or white.

The dimensions of the device are 91x29x10cm. The body is made of high-quality plastic with a special hole in the side of the lid. You can thread a thin chain, thread or anything else into it, which will allow you to wear the modem around your neck or on your arm for a while. This will make it impossible to lose the cover.

The modem supports data transmission technologies GSM, EDGE, 3G, LTE. Operates on a number of possible frequencies: within the 3G technology – UMTS / HSDPA / HSPA / HSPA + / DC-HSPA + at 900/1900/210; when working in LTE: band 1/3/7/8/28/40 (FDD 700/900/1800/2100/2600 MHz, 2300 MHz TDD).

The highest possible speed: reception – up to 63.3 Mbit / s for 3G, 150 Mbit / s for LTE, sending – up to 12.6 Mbit / s for 3G and 50 Mbit / s for LTE.

The modem is 'stitched' with a web interface, with which you can easily configure it directly from your laptop. But the initial settings, according to user reviews, are so successfully 'picked up' in many networks that this is enough to connect to the Internet.

In places with a weak signal, or where a laptop acts as a stationary computer, a special external antenna can be connected to the modem. For this, there are two whole CRC9-type connector holes at the end of the device case. The modem also contains a card reader for microSD memory cards up to 32GB.

Advantages

  • built-in web interface;
  • easy setup;
  • finds the network quickly;
  • verified by many users;
  • available firmware;
  • works for days without interruption.

disadvantages

  • some problems with NAT of a highly specialized nature.

ZTE MF823

Rating: 4.7

ZTE MF823

Now in our rating is a modem produced by another equally well-known manufacturer of telecommunications equipment – ZTE. Externally, the modem is expectedly similar to the previous model – a 'large flash drive' with rounded edges. This form is generally recognized as optimal in all respects.

The dimensions of the device are 91x34x13mm, the weight is 45 g. There is a signal presence indicator on the case. Also on the ends there are holes protected by plugs for connecting cables of external antennas and a slot for a MicroSD card reader.

The modem covers the communication standards GSM, GPRS, EDGE, 3G and HSPA +. Frequency bands layout: GSM 850/900/1800 / 1900mHz, UMTS 900 / 2100mHz, 4G LTE 800/1800/2100 / 2600MHz.

The highest possible speed: reception – up to 42.2 Mbit / s for 3G, 150 Mbit / s for LTE, sending – up to 5.4 Mbit / s for 3G and 50 Mbit / s for LTE.

Advantages

  • high actually achievable speed (according to user reviews);
  • stable connection;
  • many settings;
  • open root access (for enthusiasts);
  • works with OpenWRT and standard router firmware.

disadvantages

  • no objective shortcomings were noted.

Rating: 4.6

Alcatel Link Key

The fourth position in the ranking of the best modems for laptops according to the version is the best device of this type produced by the brand of French origin Alcatel today. It is in every way as good as the above models, but it also has a few interesting additional functions and useful 'effects'.

This is a laptop modem of the same form factor as the majority of those presented in the review measuring 28x11x88mm in a case made of high-quality, pleasant to the touch plastic. Like almost all modems for laptops of this type, it has an LED indicator on the case, signaling the presence of a connection, a connector for an external antenna, a card reader slot (flash cards up to 32GB).

What is interesting about this laptop modem is the presence of internal memory already by default from the factory – 1GB of its own internal memory and 2GB of flash memory.

The modem supports communication standards GSM, GPRS, EDGE, 3G, LTE. In the GSM standard, it can operate in five bands – 850/900/1800/1900. In the LTE standard, the maximum data reception rate is 150 Mbps.

Advantages

  • easy installation, automatic software updates 'on the fly';
  • built-in, intuitive web interface;
  • stable connection, strong signal;
  • defined by the system as a network card;
  • built-in memory by default;
  • minimum heating.

disadvantages

  • expressed no.

HUAWEI E398

Rating: 4.5

HUAWEI E398

And again in our ranking is the modem from HUAWEI, model E398, only this time it will be something special. The model differs from all the previous ones with unexpectedly expressive design. Such a thing looks spectacular and futuristic in tandem with any laptop.

The dimensions of the device are 92x32x15 mm (as you can see, this modem for a laptop is slightly larger than the others), the weight is 40 g. The dimensions are compensated for by the swiveling mechanism of the USB connector – it can be installed in a vertical position, and this is important for thin laptops.

This modem has a good history. It is a de facto follower of another successful development Huawei E392, and differs from it just by the rotary mechanism of the connector and some other details. Its electronics are based on the Qualcomm MDM9200 processor. Like all previous laptop modems, it contains a card reader slot for external memory up to 32GB.

To connect external antennas, the modem has as many as two TS9 sockets. You can connect to them either separately 3G and 4G antennas, or one dual-standard MIMO antenna. The second option is preferable in places of poor reception.

The modem supports GSM, GPRS, EDGE, 3G, HSDPA and HSPA + standards. Working frequency layout: 4G – TDD / FDD LTE 2600 MHz; 3G – UMTS 900/2100 MHz; 2G – GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz.

Data transfer rate in FDD LTE mode – maximum 100Mbps (receive) and 50Mbps (transmit); TDD LTE – maximum 68Mbps (receive) and 17Mbps (transmit).

Advantages

  • spectacular design;
  • two connectors for external antennas;
  • easy installation in automatic mode;
  • stable connection;
  • swivel mechanism of the connector.

disadvantages

  • not marked.

Best 3G modems for laptops

In this nomination of the rating, we will consider a selection of models that, in terms of supporting data transmission technology, are limited to the maximum by the 3G standard. It may seem strange to choose such a model, given that all LTE modems are fully backward compatible, but this is only at first glance. In certain cases, you may need just a previous generation modem – when and where LTE coverage is not and is not expected, and the connection is planned not only to a laptop, but also to a router, which is also morally outdated. There are more than enough such cases, and the very presence of demand for 3G modems clearly confirms this.

HUAWEI E1820

Rating: 4.9

HUAWEI E1820

First, consider a miniature gadget, smaller than any of the above LTE modems. Its dimensions are only 76x28x12mm, and its weight is less than 30 g. The form factor is a separate feature of the device – it is made in the form of a slider with a lock of extreme positions. The case is made of durable plastic that is resistant to scratches and chips, and the coating is oleophobic enough to minimize the formation of fingerprints.

The device is designed to work in networks up to the third generation (3G). Full range of standards support – GSM / GPRS / EDGE / WCDMA / HSDPA 850/900/1800/1900/2100 MHz. An external antenna can be connected to the modem to enhance the signal.

The modem has the following data transmission speed capabilities: maximum reception speed – up to 21.6 Mbit / s, transmission – up to 5.76 Mbit / s, in UMTS mode, reception up to 384 kbit / s and transmission up to 384 kbit / s, in EDGE class 12 mode, reception up to 236.8 kbps and transmission up to 118.4 kbps.

All the necessary drivers and software for operation are stitched into the device's own memory, and the installation is carried out automatically 'on the fly'.

Advantages

  • miniature;
  • exceptionally high quality and not easily soiled case;
  • slider construction;
  • stable connection;
  • easy installation.

disadvantages

  • not marked.

HUAWEI E1550

Rating: 4.8

HUAWEI E1550

The second number in the selection of the rating of 3G-modems for laptops, we will consider a solid workhorse made by the same HUAWEI. There is nothing exclusive in this model, but it is time-tested, and who needs reliability in the first place, this is the best option.

The dimensions of the device are 26x11x87mm, weight is 40 g. The case is extremely minimalistic in design, black, strong and solid. At the end there are slots for a SIM card and a memory card.

The modem works, like the previous one, in the networks of mobile operators, supporting data transmission technologies up to 3G: GSM, GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, 3G. In HSDPA / UMTS networks it operates at a frequency of 2100, and in GSM / GPRS / EDGE networks – at 900/1800/1900.

The maximum speeds are laid out as follows: under the HSDPA protocol – up to 3.6 Mbps for input and 384 kbps for output; EDGE class 12 – up to 384 kbps input and 384 kbps output; GPRS class 12 up to 80kbps in, 40kbps out.

Useful additional functions: support for group SMS-sending, voice calls via WCDMA / GSM, support for the WCDMA standard.

Advantages

  • exceptional reliability;
  • stable connection;
  • support for SMS-mailings;
  • useful additional functions.

disadvantages

  • there is no connector for an external antenna.

ZTE MF627

Rating: 4.7

ZTE MF627

And the last in this selection of ratings is a very simple, but efficient and fairly reliable modem from ZTE. In Russia, it will initially be 'imprisoned' for MTS, but it works in other networks as well, and you can use one of the many special programs to fully unlock it. This is not the newest model in the series, but it is time-tested, has earned an excellent reputation, and today its price is simply beyond competition.

The dimensions of the device are 69x26x12mm. The case is made of high-quality plastic, the assembly is high-quality, it feels strong enough, it is made in an attractive white and red color. Inside there is a separate slot for a flash memory card, and a 2GB card is included (this is an option, you need to check with a specific seller).

The modem supports data transmission technologies GSM, GPRS, EDGE, 3G, HSDPA. The maximum data transfer rate in third generation networks is 3.6 Mbit / s for reception and 0.38 Mbit / s for transmission.

Advantages

  • high-quality assembly;
  • stable connection;
  • flash card included (optional);
  • the cheapest.

disadvantages

  • limited by the MTS network (easily unlocked even on your own).

The best modem routers for laptops

Finally, in the ranking of the best laptop modems by version, let's pay attention to devices that are more than just modems. Actually, our experts gave the palm to two models, which are remarkable in that they combine two functions – a modem and a router.

Huawei E8372

Rating: 4.9

Huawei E8372

This laptop modem does not externally show its hidden capabilities. This is the same 'whistle' as almost all the previous ones, but with features that make it exceptional against the background of the entire previous group.

The dimensions of the modem are 30x14x94mm, the weight is 40 g. The form factor, as already mentioned, is the most common with one difference – there is not one indicator on the case, but a whole miniature display window with indicators, and then it will become clear what it is for. Inside there are two slots – for a SIM card and for a flash memory card. To connect external antennas, there are two jacks at the end, protected by plugs.

The modem supports data transmission technologies GSM, GPRS, EDGE, 3G and HSPA +. The distribution of possibilities for data transmission / reception rates is as follows: reception – 2g (EDGE) up to 236.8 Kbps 3g (DC-HSPA) – up to 42.7 Mb / s 4g (LTE) -150 Mb / s; transmission – 3g (DC-HSPA) – 5.72mb / s 4g (LTE) – 50mb / s.

And now the most interesting and important part. This modem has an integrated router. By connecting it to a laptop, you get the Internet not only directly to the laptop, but you can also distribute the Internet via Wi-Fi to as many as 10 devices via a modem router.

Connection statuses – inbound and outbound – are shown on a miniature LED display.

Advantages

  • stable connection;
  • high speed;
  • easy installation in automatic mode;
  • accessible and intuitive web interface;
  • built-in router for 10 clients;
  • one of the best feedback from real users among such devices.

disadvantages

  • not marked.

HUAWEI E8231w

Rating: 4.8

HUAWEI E8231w

The second and final modem in this collection and the entire review is a device with similar functions as the modem-router discussed above, but with some differences and a slightly different price. The form factor is exactly the same, they are very similar, but they are still different models.

An important note is that this is a 3G modem, that is, it will not work in LTE networks, but 'this is not a bug, but a feature' – the experts deliberately included it in the review as a kind of addition to the above nomination of 3G modems.

Dimensions of the device – 27x7x88mm, weight – 22 g. It is made in exactly the same form factor as the previous model, the body is made of high-quality plastic, and the body even has a completely similar miniature LED oblong display of status indicators. The modem works in networks up to the third generation: GSM, GPRS, EDGE, 3G, HSDPA, HSUPA, HSPA +.

Like the previous model, this modem can distribute the Internet to as many as 10 clients. You can distribute Wi-Fi by connecting the modem to a laptop through a miniature power supply with a USB connector, since the modem does not have enough power from the laptop to distribute the Internet, especially for several clients.

Advantages

  • stable connection;
  • easy installation;
  • high speed;
  • built-in router for 10 clients;
  • one of the most affordable laptop modems, capable of distributing Wi-Fi.

disadvantages

  • not autonomous, requires a power source.


Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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