Huawei E5577C Mi-Fi Review: Compatibility over Battery

Huawei E5577C Official Shot
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Well, it's been a while since my last article. I scored myself a new job (yay!), and I had to focus my attention on it, leaving no time to attain to my own blog(s), let alone write a new article. But yeah, I finally got both time and idea to come up with a new article.

Anyway, enough with the excuses. Meet Huawei E5577C. I wanted to switch from the M3Z because of multi-carrier compatibility and that little square screen. I still had that device, though stored in the drawer because I've been using the Huawei more. So, let's just get to the point: with a much more expensive cost compared to Smartfren's (almost twice), does the Huawei Mi-Fi stack up with its compatibility and screen? Let's find out after the break!

BEFORE YOU BUY:
I bought this Mi-Fi bundled with XL Axiata's XL GO. Normally, it should be locked. However, I bought it from a third-party store and claimed that this device is already unlocked. If you're aiming for multi-carrier compatibility, you should consult it with the seller before you buy.

Design and Packaging

A little beat up, but that's not Huawei's fault, is it?
The box looks neat and compact, even though a little beat up. It's probably the fault of the courier. Fortunately, the contents weren't damaged. Open up the box and you'll find the Mi-Fi, the battery, a cable for both charging and data transfer, and a couple of sheets (quickstart guide and warranty card). Oh, and there's also a SIM card since I bought it bundled with a carrier. Unfortunately, there's no AC adapter included as opposed to Smartfren M3Z. 

Where's My AC Adapter?
Let's take a closer look at the device. The most eye-catching part of the device is its square, 1.45" 128x128 monochrome screen on the front. It's placed between the Huawei logo and the power button. To turn the device on or off, just hold the button for a few seconds. Once it's on, you can use it for navigation as the 'Enter' key.

The Screen is The Thing I'm Most Interested In
There's nothing on the back, just a battery cover with a logo printed on it. Take out the cover, and you'll find two slots. One for SIM (normal-sized), and the other is for a microSD card. Unfortunately, the spec sheet doesn't specify the capacity it supports, but I got an information that it supports up to 32GB.

Pretty Simple at The Back
Let's go to the sides. On the top, you'll find a 'MENU' button. This button is used to access the on-device menu, also serves as a 'next' navigation button. On the bottom, there's the microUSB port for charging and data transfer, as well as a plastic lid covering a couple of external antenna slots... if you have that kind of thing. There's nothing on both left and right sides, though.

Solitary 'MENU' Button on Top
microUSB and Two Antenna Slots on The Bottom
Measuring at 96.8 x 58 x 13.5 millimeters, the Huawei E5577C is a slim and compact device that will easily fit either in your pocket or your bag.

Using The Mi-Fi: The Experience

Using the E5577C is simple and straightforward. Press and hold the power button for a few seconds and the device will immediately turn on. When you use a SIM card for the first time, as per Indonesian government regulation, you need to register your SIM card. If you buy the modem bundled with an operator, there should be a pamphlet that can help you with that.

Press the 'MENU' button on the top to access the menu. From here, you can access your SMS messages (yes, this modem supports SMS), view the device info (SSID, IP Address, and Wi-Fi key), or even show a QR code to quickly connect your phone with the device. To confirm, use the power button. Simple, right?

Quickly View The SSID, IP Address, and The Wi-Fi Password
View An SMS Message
Show A Barcode for A Quick Connection
Compared to the M3Z, the E5577C's screen really helps with everyday operation. Gone are the days when you need to access the web portal just to view your signal strength. You still need the web portal to configure some advanced settings or send SMS, though... Which brings us to the next point.

The E5577C's Web Portal
By accessing the E5577C's IP address, you will have access to the web portal. This is similar to M3Z's web portal, where you can view your device's statistics and change some configurations. With E5577C, though, you have a few additional features: USSD, Phonebook, and SMS. There's also SIM Toolkit and SD files, but I'll skip those for now.

SMS Is Very Handy
As for the battery life, I don't think it's fair to compare with the M3Z, as the competitor has roughly twice the size of E5577C's battery. However, I can't help but wishing E5577C could last longer than 6 hours. Fortunately, Huawei was being honest, promising 6 hours LTE connectivity. Your mileage may vary, though... Depending on your environment and how many devices are connected to the device.

Oh, and do you know that the E5577C can also be used as a Wi-Fi extender? Unfortunately, I haven't had the chance to try this one yet, so I can't write a review about it.

Overall, the experience using the E5577C is quite... pleasing. The screen, albeit small, really helps in quickly identifying your connection's information such as signal, SSID info, and password. However, the mediocre battery life means you should keep either a charger or power bank handy. You know... Just in case.

Companion App: Huawei HiLink

If you think changing a Mi-Fi's settings through the web portal is... outdated, then you're in luck. Huawei provides a mobile app named Huawei HiLink. The app is available for free on both App Store and Play Store. What's great about this application is, aside from its refined interface, its versatility. You can change your configuration straight from the app, reboot, power off, or browse files stored in your Mi-Fi's SD card. You can also read and send text messages straight from the application. No way to dial USSD though, unfortunately.

Yes, this is the application.
The interface is much cleaner than Smartfren's.
And look at what the application can do!
Reading SMS from your Mi-Fi has never been easier.
Even though the app is not mandatory, it certainly is a lot more practical than having to open browser then access the web admin.

Perk: 90GB Bundled Data Package

As I mentioned before, I purchased this Mi-Fi bundled with XL Axiata. The SIM includes a pleasing benefit: 90GB of data for 3 months. That's 30GB per month for you (6GB data in 3G/4G and 24GB data in 4G). XL's 4G coverage is already quite capable in major cities in Indonesia, so you should be able to use the 24GB bonus data well.

Conclusion: Small, Versatile, but Short-lived

If you can cope with its cost and small battery life,
the E5577C won't disappoint you.
So, after using the E5577C for a few weeks, I've finally concluded that the E5577C is worth buying if you can cope with its small battery life and cost... or if you really need to use an unlocked modem. In my opinion, any one of Smartfren's Mi-Fi offers better value in terms of price and battery life, whereas the E5577C wins in terms of connectivity (it's unlocked, duh...) and well... features (has a screen, better app). Well, in the end, it's your choice.

Anyway, here's my verdict:

Pros:

  • The screen really helps in operating the device.
  • Unlocked.
  • Decent and pleasing native application.

Cons:

  • Expensive (Rp580.000 or ~U$43)
  • Short battery life.
There, I've given you my verdict. Now it's up to you to vote using your wallet. Remember, though, make sure you got the unlocked Mi-Fi. Otherwise, you'll only be able to use the Mi-Fi with XL.

Well, I guess that's all for now, Folks. Again, I apologize for the long delay to my new job. I got to pour my all in order to fulfill the new expectations. Anyway, I hope this article is useful for you, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments section below. Finally, thanks for reading and I'm looking forward to your next visit! :D

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