Andromax M2S Late Review: Quality Components = Quality Product?

I originally wanted to review this little gadget last year, a few weeks after it came up. However, as usual, laziness, jobs, and thoughts about thesis overpowered me. So, instead of reviewing this device, I ended up abusing it instead :p. However, thanks to that, I think now I know how I feel about this device. Enjoy the review! Though it's a little bit late...

Smartfren's Current LTE Mi-Fi Lineup
If you live in Indonesia, I'm sure you know about Smartfren. It's probably the only CDMA operator left in the country (after Flexi's acquisition by Telkomsel and Esia's bankruptcy. Esia's dead, isn't it? CMIIW), and the highest-growing LTE operator. Highest-growing? Yes. Compared to major GSM operators (such as Telkomsel, XL Axiata, and Indosat), Smartfren has the largest LTE coverage to date. It's amazing, considering how one of the major operators had a head start, but still loses to the CDMA operator.

One of M2S Ads
Anyway, to let people use their LTE, Smartfren outed a range of affordable smartphones and Mi-Fi devices, one of which I reviewed here. After a short while, Smartfren released another Mi-Fi device, the M2S, which is manufactured by LG Innotek, a subsidiary of LG Electronics, and boasts Qualcomm chip. It was more expensive at the time, but recently had a price cut. Now it has the same price as other Smartfren Mi-Fis. Though I was kind of disappointed with this discount (they almost gave a 50% price cut for God's sake!), I don't have the right to complain...

Anyway, with your choice of Mi-Fis being widened, should you take this gadget instead of its siblings? Why don't we find out after the break?
As usual, the review is going to be divided into several sections:

Overview

The Andromax M2S Official Shot
Okay, so, first thing's first. Before the review, let's see what the device is claimed to be capable of. For your information, I took the following information straight from Smartfren's website:
  • LTE Cat.4
  • Qualcomm MDM9320 Chipset
  • 2.4GHz Wi-Fi Band
  • Maximum number of simultaneously connected users: 15
  • 2,000mAh non-removable battery
The first thing that came to mind when reading an article about this gadget is the Qualcomm chip which is powering it. However, when I searched the Internet about the chip, I couldn't find anything. So, you could say that I bought this gadget out of curiosity, and that costed me. I still can't move on from Smartfren's decision to chop the price from Rp499.000,00 to Rp299.000,00. Anyway, let's continue.

Design and Packaging

The box design is rather flashy IMO
Just like its siblings: M2Y and M2P, the M2S is boxed in a neat, modern-looking black box showcasing the device's name and the device itself. On newer boxes, you may also see a sticker boasting the benefits you get from buying the device. Sadly, though, the box in the picture is no longer sealed, since I missed taking pictures during the unboxing session...

The package contents
Anyway, again, just like its siblings, you'll have your standard equipment bundled with the device: a SIM card, a bunch of paperwork containing manual book and warranty card, a wall adapter, and a USB cable. It's a standard package, what more can I say? Please don't say you're expecting a pair of earbuds here...

From the Front
As for the device itself, it's quite thin and compact. I won't bother measuring the dimensions but let me tell you one thing: it's compact enough to put in your pocket. The black variant is made of matte plastic which feels very nice to the touch and doesn't feel slippery at all. The black plastic block is surrounded by grey plastic frame housing the SIM slot at the bottom, power button on top, and the micro-USB port as well as the reset button on the right side. There's nothing on the left side, though.

Bottom part of the device

On top of the device, you will see a noticeable Andromax M2S logo as well as three LEDs which represents the following from left to right: signal strength, wireless mode, battery level. It may turn either green, blue, or red depending on the situation faced.

The right side houses the micro USB port
and the reset button

Power button is on top
The back is quite lively thanks to the huge Smartfren 4G logo and a flashy white sticker containing information about the device. 

There's some essential information on the back
As I've mentioned before, the M2S has non-removable battery, meaning that you can't easily replace your battery when something goes wrong. Well, it makes up for the thinness and the sleekness of the Mi-Fi, though...

Usage

You can turn on the M2S by holding down the power button for a few seconds. Once it's done booting, take a look at the signal LED. If it's green or blue, you're good to go (blue means signal is good while green means medium). The middle LED indicates wireless capability. If it's green, it means that it's on but nobody's connected to it right now. If it's blue, it means that there's at least one user connected. If it's blue and it blinks, there's data traffic going on. If it's red, something's wrong with the wireless. Lastly, the LED on the right is the battery. Simple to say, it's blue if there's plenty of juice left, green if you have moderate amount of juice, and red to tell you that the device needs charging soon.

MyLink M2S Android app

Just like its siblings, the M2S also comes with mobile applications for both Android and iOS which can be downloaded on their respective app stores. First, you'll need to login using the default "admin" username and password. Then, finally, you'll be able to tinker with the settings, from the basic ones such as changing SSID and Wi-Fi key to complex ones like URL and IP filtering.

Settings available on the mobile app
It's quite liberating to say that the web management app also does the same as the mobile app. The difference is how you access it. Access http://192.168.1.1 to get into the management app. As usual, you'll have to login first before being able to tinker with the settings. Again, use the usual login credential if you haven't changed them: "admin". Now there's no reason not to change your login credentials, right? :p

Web management app screen
Example of setting screen
During casual use, in an open area (not put inside a bag or a pouch), the modem doesn't give out much heat, especially in an area where there's plenty of signal (blue light). When you put it inside a bag, it'll gradually get warmer and warmer (because it has no way to vent out the heat). It gets uncomfortably hot when you're in an area with medium to low signal, and you put the modem inside your bag. When it gets hot, don't even think of putting it inside your pocket. It burns, I tell you...

Anyway, please kindly remember that more heat means more strain towards the device. Therefore, means shorter battery life, which we're going to cover right after this.

Battery Life

The 2,000mAh battery unit planted in the M2S lasts for quite a long while. Though I haven't exactly measured the usage, I usually find it capable on surviving through a 8-hour work day before asking for a charge. Of course, I'm not using it like crazy and downloading torrents. The conclusion is, if you're using it casually, it should last a day in the office.

Again, let me remind you that battery longevity depends on many factors, especially usage scenario. If yours last shorter than mine, then maybe you're straining the device for quite a bit.

Perks and Comparison

Just like other Mi-Fis offered by Smartfren, by buying this gadget, you're eligible to get free 1.5GB of data + 3GB of night data (usable between 12:00AM and 07:00AM). Furthermore, for 12 months or 12 top-ups (which one is reached first), you'll get additional 2GB data. There's a catch, though. You'll have to top up at least Rp100.000,00 to get the bonus.

As for the comparison, I think the M2S is more or less on par with its sibling M2Y. Unfortunately, I haven't got my hands on the M2P yet, so I can't tell. Battery life is more or less the same, having the same 2,000mAh juice. As for the signal, sometimes the M2Y is able to receive more signal than the M2S, even though the latter has a Qualcomm chip. In terms of connectivity, the M2Y is able to accommodate up to 32 users at the same time while the M2S is only able to accommodate 15, even though it's really not wise to have that number of users at one time. Again, the M2Y has a micro SD slot while the M2S doesn't.

Oh, and it's also pretty important to note that the M2S, just like its siblings, can only get 4G LTE signal. It can't catch any signal lower than that. So, if you're considering to buy one, make sure to check whether there's Smartfren's 4G coverage in your area.

Conclusion

Sleek? Yes. Value for money? Probably not.
After using the product for a few months, here's what I can say:

Pros:

  • Sleek design, good materials.
  • Long battery life
  • Mobile app support

Cons:

  • Can only get 4G signal
  • Somewhat offers less than its siblings (MicroSD card slot, removable battery)
Honestly, if you're asking me, I somehow prefer the M2Y. However, the M2Y's glossy plastic surface is very prone to scratches. I don't know about the M2P since I never got a chance to hold one. Well, both devices are equally good in terms of personal usage (yes, please note the word 'personal'). With the same price and benefits, the choice merely depends on you as a customer.

Okay, guys. I guess that's all for now. I know I'm missing a few things in this review, since I've already played with the device for months. If it was newer, I'd likely go deeper into the device. Anyway, I hope you find this review useful and if you think you have something to contribute in making this review better, sound off in the comments below. If you have any questions about this device, just ask. I'll try my best to answer.

Finally, thanks for reading and I'm looking forward to your next visit. Have a nice and productive day, everyone!

Comments

  1. Hi, I live in Bali and someone gave me this andromax. first time using it, everything's fine. but until now, the LED for signal keeps blinking green or blue; where the LED for wifi did not turn on - even when my device is connected.

    Is it because I don't have 4G in my area?

    Thanks before!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Ina.

      I don't think it's lack of 4G signal. If there isn't any 4G signal, the LED for signal will turn red. Either green or blue indicates that there's 4G signal in your area.

      As for Wi-Fi, have you checked the web settings yet (via 192.168.1.1)? There's a tab called "Wi-Fi Setting" there which lets you enable or disable the Wi-Fi module. See if your Wi-Fi is disabled. If problem persists, I suggest you go to the nearest Smartfren Gallery to have your device checked.

      Thanks!

      Delete

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