TataPhoton +, Reliance Netconnect Broadband+ and Virgin Mobile vFlash…. These are the devices that have thrown open the gates of onthe-move high-speed internet access in our country. And for us poor Indians, who are used to working on slower than slow speeds, these USB-powered gadgets sure seem god-send .
In fact before we go any further, ponder a bit over the speed that your service provider gives; the amount of time it takes to browse form one page to another, stream videos and download content. Now we’re not claiming that the 3.1 Mbps is the best possible speed available in our country, but still at least it’s a start towards a better tomorrow…. Let’s see what these devices are made of.
The Photon was one of the first high-speed USB internet devices that landed on our test table. And after our experience with some similar USB devices from some companies, including Tata and Reliance, which promised an amazing on-the-move experience, we were quite sceptical about this one.
But after the dead speeds at our home and workplace this device’s speed was quite a refreshing change. There were no more ‘page loading’ bars on our browser tabs or cussing aloud while waiting for data to be streamed. In fact for the first time ever we really felt like surfing the net just because the speed was great. We surfed sitting at home, under a tree at our neighbouring park and a moving car…
And that’s where the problem cropped up. While on the move it tends to loose some steam, but nevertheless doesn’t give a disappointing show. The maximum speed we got while downloading data was 330 kbps and on an average the speed stayed at around 250 kbps and never went below 125 kbps.
By the time we got our hands on this device we were quite used to the high speeds of Photon. And considering that all these devices work on the same technology we were expecting quite the same performance out of the Netconnect too. But somehow we were proved wrong.
Though it managed to provide us with downloads speeds in excess of 150 kbps, with an average of about 230 kbps it just kept on disconnecting itself every now and then. Another major problem was the streaming bit.
Where Photon was performing like a super-sports car, this was more like a simple sedan which was thriving on sudden bursts of speeds that would invariably die down just when it mattered. What was most irritating was its inconsistency in maintaining a certain speed.
The best thing about the vFlash is its design. It’s very thoughtfully designed to come across like a young, hip looking trendy piece. Exactly the way the company positions its brand image. But when we come to its performance bit, everything just spirals out of control!
Forget matching the Photon and the Netconnect, it was hardly able to reach even half of what they were capable of. Frequent disconnections, utterly exasperating speeds of 30-40 kbps and with an all time best average of 70 kbps it easily came out as the most disappointing of the lot.
And that’s not done, we can easily list out some more problems with the vFlash, but it’s just that we don’t have space for that! Now all we can hope for is that they tighten up all the loose ends, get their act together and improve something which actually works on the same technology as the rest.
Photon+ and vFlash can also stream select television channels through the Internet. But frankly we found the Internet bit more interesting. In the Photon at least!