Smartfren M2Y 4G Mi-Fi: A Pebble That Connects To The World

(Update: Due to comments of one of our readers +Detrio Detrio, I've updated the conclusion in this review. Be extra careful when using this device, as any cosmetic damage will void the warranty.)

In this modern day and age, Internet has been moved from tertiary necessity to secondary (or even primary for certain people in certain countries). Internet connection is no longer tied to messy, limited cable, for wireless is the current way to go. Unfortunately, even so, not all areas in our life is covered by wireless networks. Although this limitation has been slightly overcome with cellular data connection, some devices still don't support SIM cards such as laptops and Wi-Fi only tablets. Wi-Fi tethering would certainly kill our phone's battery, so what's the solution? That's right, Mi-Fi. Mini Wi-Fi router which supports SIM cards and cellular data connection on the go.
M2Y's Official Shot
One example of Mi-Fi is the ZTE MF90 I've reviewed quite some time ago. Recently, a new model has popped out on the horizon. Outed by Smartfren to promote its newly-launched 4G LTE network, the M2Y is the sibling of its counterpart, the M2P, and cheaper than its newer brethren, the M2S. Smartfren is one of the operators who are known to offer affordable data packages so I'm quite inclined to try this one out. So, is this package worth the money? Let's find out below.

Design and Packaging
The Box
The package is small and compact. Inside the package, you'll find the modem, a 2,000mAh battery unit, data cable, charging adapter, Smartfren SIM Card, and a bunch of paperwork (user manuals and warranty cards). All of these items are packaged inside the compact black box neatly.


The bulky 2,000mAh battery unit to power the device
Charging adapter. It comes with your
standard USB cable
The modem. Looks like a pebble,
doesn't it?
As the packaging goes, the modem unit is also small and compact. Its shape reminds me of pebble stones you usually find in a home garden. With that oval shape and matte casing, the modem is comfortable to hold (although I doubt you'll want to hold it for long).

On the front, we have the fancy-looking transparent glass covering the colorful LEDs beneath. It looks nice, but I suggest you handle it carefully, since it's prone to scratches (the owner of the review unit carelessly puts the device inside her purse, and now there are scratches on it). There are five LEDs and the power button on top of the device, whose usage will be explained more later.

On the right side of the device, you'll find the micro-USB port used to charge or manually connect the router to the computer. It's very useful if you don't want to share your connection wirelessly. On the left side, you'll find the WPS switch. You're supposed to be able to connect to the device without inputting the password using WPS but I never succeeded doing so unfortunately. Not on this device, not in others, too…


WPS Switch
Micro-USB port for charging and wired
connection























Anyway, on the back, you have the back cover with a huge "Smartfren" branding. Taking off the back cover is harder than I thought. You'll see, at the bottom of the device, a small opening in which you can use your nail to pry up the cover open. Once you see a small opening between the device and the cover, pull the cover up to take it off. It may sound easy, but I didn't feel that way at all when opening it.


The back. Extra care is needed to
take it off
Anyway, beneath the back cover, you'll find a SIM card slot and a microSD slot for the wireless storage feature of the device. Snap the cards in their appropriate slots and put the battery in. Put the back cover back onto the device and you're ready to go.


What's Lying Beneath The Back Cover
Overall, the packaging is standard while the device itself looks… modern. The transparent glass-like front with embedded dim LED lights really make the device looks premium, but it stops there. Additionally, it's also compact, which means you can easily find a place to store the device in your bag. Just try not to put it anywhere carelessly, though.

Overall Package Content
In Real Life
Taking it for a spin outside, Smartfren's 4G signal is one of the best and largest in Indonesia. No, I'm not endorsing it–I'm not even paid to say that. But this is great, since Smartfren's EVDO used to be losing to competitors in terms of both speed and coverage in my opinion. Anyway, turning it on is easy. Just press the power button and hold it down for a few seconds until all five LEDs are on. Do the same thing if you want to turn the device off.

If you're turning on the device for the first time, chances are the sales assistant will activate and set up the device for you. Otherwise, you'll have to activate the device manually. To do this, just use the device for browsing and you should be prompted to activate the device. If not, however, I suggest you activate the device by registering for an account in my.smartfren.com and follow the procedure there to activate both your device and number.

Now that you're ready, let's get on it. Do you have an Android or iOS device? If yes, then you're in luck. Smartfren has a range of "MyLink" apps in both Play Store and App Store for conveniently controlling your device. Just pick the app whose name includes the model number for your device. In this case, MyLink M2Y is the correct app. Install it, and it will automatically detect your device, signal, battery, and data usage. Data usage is accumulated, so you'll always be able to keep track of how much data you've used. Additionally, you'll also be able to use the app to change the SSID, password, and login password. Convenient, isn't it? Oh, and the default admin login is as usual: admin for both username and password. I suggest you change them as soon as possible to avoid mischief by others.


The app on Android. Looks neat,
doesn't it?
If you don't, however, you'll have to access the web management through the web browser. Access 192.168.1.1 while connecting to the device to access this feature. The features are roughly the same, including the Wi-Fi Disk and LAN Camera.


Web management interface
Now, let's explore the LEDs on the device. On the power button, the power symbol will pulse to indicate that the device is on. On the right side of the button, you'll have the battery LEDs. Instead of showing different colors, the number of battery LEDs turned on will be dependent on how much battery left you have. For example, all three will be on if you still have 75% battery and up. Only two will be on if you have around 50% battery, and so on. On the upper part, you'll have four different LEDs which have different functions. We'll cover these lights from left to right.


All LEDs on Device
First LED from the left is the connection status. It will change color depending on the signal you're getting. Red means you're getting no signal, yellow means you're getting fair signal, and green means you're getting great signal. Oh, and this LED might blink red, which means you're inserting non-Smartfren SIM card. As you can see, this modem is locked to Smartfren… and only Smartfren.

The second LED is the transfer status. Unlike the first one, it doesn’t sport different colors but rather just blink or stay on depending on appropriate conditions. If it's just on, that means you're connected to data services but there's no traffic. If it's blinking, then there's traffic, whether it's upload or download. If it's off, well… you're not connected. Probably there's something wrong either with the signal or your APN.

Moving on, the third LED indicates the status of the device's WLAN. Again, there's no other color besides white and it won't blink, so it's just on or off. If it's on, that means the Wi-Fi is up and running. If it's off, well… it's not transmitting any Wi-Fi signal. Lastly, the fourth LED indicates WPS. Since I have never used WPS before, I'll just skip it.

Signal reception is great, but again, this is dependent on your position. Though Smartfren's 4G coverage is deemed to be one of the largest, there are still chances where and when you don't get signal. And when that happens, you'll have to give up because this modem, unfortunately, doesn't support EVDO or lower. Yeah, that's right: this device just supports 4G. According to my usage, its speed tends to be slower than other networks, but at least it's stable.

Battery life is decent and the device doesn't heat up quickly. The advertisements promise 10 hours of usage with the 2,000 mAh unit and with 2 devices connected for around 4 hours a day, I could easily get by 3 days without a charge. Of course, this is dependent on your signal reception, the amount of data you use, and the number of devices connected to the device.

Oh, and one more thing. This device can have up to 32 devices connected to it. That's right, thirty two. That's a ridiculous amount of devices. I don't have that many devices, but I can assure you that I've connected 5 devices to it and the connection still works fine. I can't say the same thing for more devices, though…

Extra Features
The M2Y has two extra features worth noting: Wireless Storage (dubbed Wi-Fi Disk) and LAN Camera. I don't really have much time fiddling with these features so I'll just get to the essentials:

Wireless storage basically opens up a file manager in which you can upload or download files stored in the device's MicroSD card. I don't think you need an Internet connection for this, since all you need to do is stay connected with the device. Secondly, the LAN Camera will activate your device's camera (I've tried it on my Android device and that's what it does). Every snap you take from this will automatically be uploaded to the device's SD Card. Sounds convenient? Yeah, quite.

Depending on how you use it, they might come in handy.

Conclusion
Okay, so we've finally reached the end of the review session. So, based on my short time spent with this little fellow, I've concluded the following points:

Pros:
  • Slim and compact
  • Decent battery life
  • Mobile app and disk storage
Cons:
  • Device doesn't support other network types beside 4G
  • Device surface is prone to scratch (and if it's scratched, your warranty is void according to one of the readers... and according to the warranty card.)

I apologize if my current review isn't as deep as before, since I didn't have much time playing with the device. It's my friend's, and I merely had 2 days to play with it, so that I could teach my friend how to use it properly. However, if you have questions, feel free to sound off in the comments below. I'll try my best to answer them. Finally, thanks for reading and have a nice and productive day!

Comments

  1. I purchased this Smartfren mini router in Manado, Indonesia on June 2016. I like the unit and it worked great for two months then the router would not recharge the battery even when a new battery was installed. The local Smartfren store manager in Manado refused to replace the router because it had three tiny nicks on the outer edge of router. The store manager said the damage on the router even though it was cosmetic voided the warranty and read the warranty to my wife in Indonesian. There were several other routers exact model that were not recharging the battery but those were replaced because they had no nicks or scratches on them and were basically cosmetically clean. BUYER BEWARE THAT ANY COSMETIC DAMAGE TO YOUR ROUTER WILL VOID THE WARRANTY ON ANY SMARTFREN PRODUCT AND IF IT SHOULD FAIL AT ANY TIME DURING THE WARRANTY SMARTFREN WILL BLAME COSMETIC DAMAGE AS THE CAUSE LIKE THEY DID WITH MY ROUTER. THE STORE MANAGER SAID THEY ADMONISH ALL BUYERS OF THEIR PRODUCTS THAT COSMETIC DAMAGE NO MATTER HOW MINOR WILL VOID THE WARRANTY. THIS IS A TERRIBLE WARRANTY AND SMARTFREN CUSTOMERS ARE NOT VALUED BY THIS COMPANY.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Detrio.

      Well, that's new to me. Thanks for sharing, though it's such an unpleasant experience and quite a terrible warranty condition, as the front of the device gets scratched easily.

      Just curious, have you tried asking another Smartfren gallery or directly to the service center? They might have a different opinion. Secondly, you said the store manager read the warranty conditions to your wife, where did he read that from? Is it printed on a some sort of a manual?

      Thanks for coming!

      Delete
  2. Hello Bintoro,

    We did not try another Smartfren gallery. The store manager at the SmartFren office in Manado (Megamas Mall) said she took photos of our mini router to show the cosmetic damage (tiny nicks) on the outer edge of our router and sent them to the service center. She said the service center would not replace our mini router because of the cosmetic damage and she then read the warranty that stated any cosmetic damage voids the warranty. This is what she read to us in Indonesian directly from the warranty manual under 9 subsection (f) "produk rusak pada bagian permukaan luar lainya seperti tergores, memudar, retak atau patah karena penggunaan shear hari."

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is section 9 of the warranty card " selain sebab-sebab sebagaimana disebutkan pada kartu garansi ini, garansi batal dan tidak berlaku apabila."

    In subsection (f) it reads " "produk rusak pada bagian permukaan luar lainya seperti tergores, memudar, retak atau patah karena penggunaan shear hair."

    Based on what was written in the warranty, my mini router would be replaced and my only options were to pay to have it repaired or purchase a new router.

    I am providing the information to you and your readers top always read the warranty manual before purchasing any product because some businesses will have what I call "snake escape clauses" in their warranty to deny coverage when a product fails during the warranty period.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Detrio. Thanks for the follow-up. Sorry, I'm a little bit caught up.

      Anyway, you're right. I've just read my M2S' warranty card and found the same clause as the ones you copied. I wonder if Smartfren use the same clause for their phones as well, or just their modems, since I find this quite... annoying.

      Once again you're correct. We really should read the warranty card prior to purchasing something, especially electronic gadgets. But more importantly, we really need to be extra careful when using our gadgets. Thanks for sharing, I'll update this article.

      Delete
  4. Hi Bintoro,

    Thanks for your excellent review and updates. By the way, the M2Y mini-router was replaced by the AndroMax M3Z mini-router with an improved design. The design is squared with rounded corners and slightly larger to accommodate the larger 3000mAh battery. The AndroMax M3Z surface is textured on the front and back giving a very nice tactile feel. I believe the textured surface will also make it less prone to scratches and nicks. The only negative thing about the new AndroMax M3Z it still has the same poor warranty coverage. I look forward for your complete review on the M3Z in the future.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Detrio.

      Yes, I know. Coincidentally, I also plan to get an M3Z in near future, taking advantage of their current promotion (purchasing 300k Mi-Fi data plan gets a free Mi-Fi). I'm surely going to review it when I get it. I really hope they will never release another product with glass surface like the M2Y ever again. It's really, really, really easy to get scratched.

      Anyway, thanks. Look forward to my M3Z review if you please :D

      Delete
  5. Really, is this true that "If it's scratched, your warranty is void"?
    I have the device for about 1 year, but I just know it after reading your blog.
    Hahaha...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I, too, just knew it a fews days ago thanks to Detrio, the previous commenter. Apparently, it's true. When you're idle, try reading through the warranty card. I didn't believe it at first but well, the clause is there :s

      Delete
  6. hola buenas tardes mira soy de mexico en el estado de mexico y no se creo q me estafaron en una pagina q ofrecen el Smartfren y ya pague pero no me ha llegado nada amigo
    q hago en este cso

    ReplyDelete
  7. y de favor si me puedes decir donde obtener el mio de manera rapida

    ReplyDelete
  8. hola buenas tardes mira soy de mexico en el estado de mexico y no se creo q me estafaron en una pagina q ofrecen el Smartfren y ya pague pero no me ha llegado nada amigo
    q hago en este cso

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Logitech mk240 Mouse Combo Review

Smartfren M3Z Review: Bigger and Better