Huawei E5: Connect up to five devices to the Internet

by Volker Weber

Huawei E5
Photo: vowe

When I was using the Palm Pre (Plus) and the Nexus One, I never needed this device. But now, that I am mostly carrying an iPhone 4, I cannot connect other devices to the Internet, like the MacBook Pro or iPad Wi-Fi. Enter the E5 from Huawei. It provides exactly the same service the Mobile Hotspot does on the Pre and the Nexus: a Wi-Fi access point for up to 5 devices.

It's a nimble plastic thingie, smaller than a mobile phone and lighter than all smart phones. It has a 1500 mAh battery, that will provide 100 hours of standby or 4 hours of continued operation exchanging data over Wi-Fi and the mobile network. On the back there is a sticker with the default SSID and WPA password, but you can manage the device through a browser, once you have connected:


It will store the PIN to unlock your SIM, so in the future you will just need to turn it on and off. There are manual switches for Wi-Fi and the connection to mobile network, but you don't really need to bother. Best of all, there is no software to install on your computer. None. Zilch.

The short USB cable that Huawei supplies is only needed to charge the battery, but your trusted old BlackBerry charger (miniUSB) does the job as well. You can also put a little microSD card into the E5 which provides extra storage when connected through USB. When you are using the E5 for more than 4 hours, you need to either plug it into the charger or use the short lead to attach it to your notebook. If you need a longer wire, use your own.

This sucker is much more versatile than the predominant UMTS stick. Those are also made by Huawei, but you need to install software on your computer, and you can only connect one device at a time. Plus, a UMTS stick is useless with an iPad Wi-Fi.

The first E5 devices I saw had five LED indicators, this latest edition has an OLED status screen and an upgraded HSPA modem: HSDPA 7.2 MBits/s and HSUPA 5.76 MBits/s. Instant editor-refuses-to-give-it-back award. This is just too useful. Until Apple wises up to provide this capability in the iPhone. When hell freezes over.


If Apple sells such a product, I would understand that they are not implementig it on the iPhone. I think it will happen before hell freezes over. But only some hours before.

Sven Richert, 2010-09-17

Yes, I can confirm, a great device. We have two of them, one E5 and the Trekstor WLAN hotspot that uses the same hardware.
The only thing missing is WebDAV support for the microSD card's data to share files between the 5 users. You can only upload data via the web interface or use the device on the USB port.

Karsten Lehmann, 2010-09-17

Kann mich dem Lob nur anschließen: das E5 ist wirklich klasse. Es bietet einen sehr guten Empfang, und in kritischen Empfangslagen kann man es problemlos an die beste Position legen, ohne sich selbst dort aufhalten zu müssen. Der Verbindungsaufbau dauert nur wenige Sekunden. Für mich war es der wesentliche Grund, beim iPad die WiFi-Version zu bevorzugen. Ich brauche die 3G-Option nur selten, und nutze dafür prepaid, das ist mit dem E5 wesentlich unkomplizierter als mit dem 3G-iPad, das bei jedem Start nach der Micro-Sim fragt. Im Urlaub bot das E5 der ganzen Familie einen Webzugang: mir per iPad, meiner Frau per MacBook, und den Jungs per iPod touch ;-) Das einzige, was ich etwas nervig finde, ist der Vertrags- und Ratenkauf über O2, mit Anmeldung und personalisierter Zustellung. Das erhöht zwar für O2 die Zahl ihrer Vertragskunden - doch ein unkomplizierter Kauf mit Komplettpreis wäre mir lieber.

Dieter Schmidt, 2010-09-17

Sach ich doch, dass das Ding klasse ist ;-)

Alexander Kluge, 2010-09-17

Seit ich das iPad habe, liegt daneben auch immer der E5830 griffbereit.

Mein Webinterface ist aber noch nicht so schön wie das Neue von Dir.

Thomas Köster, 2010-09-17

I've been using the previous model for 6 months now and that's even with my Nexus One. Serving wifi on the N1 just eats the battery, so when I'm sat in a customer office (as I am today), this MiFi works perfectly. A great little device. The only tip I'd give is to buy from eBay, as there is a healthy market in unlocking devices which are tied to individual networks here in the UK, so you can just throw your own SIM card in instead.


Matt White, 2010-09-17

For Germany, it's no problem to buy the E5 without a contract. Cyberport for example sells it for 129 €. There may be cheaper offerings.

Karsten Lehmann, 2010-09-17

Cool. I was quicker then vowe. Once in a lifetime.
I got mine 8 weeks ago in an O2 shop and just paid the full O2 price. No registrations, no monthly charge.
Solved all my driver problems for my HUAWEI 3G stick.
Yes, it was a real shop and i had to GO to it. But i got it in 2 minutes, and the sales person looked at me and asked "what is that, please?".
I did not tell her.

Volker Jürgensen, 2010-09-17

und auch das gibts in der Schweiz mal wieder nicht....

Chris Frei, 2010-09-17

In Germany you can buy it in most O2 stores, too. So no contract or any hassle needed. Just pay €129 and it's yours.

Not having an iPhone but uing an iPod touch this little piece let's you almost forget that you don't use an iPhone. I even can phone in some way ... skype with a mic/earphone cable (only works with the new gen. ipods).

Beside my O2 card with data flat I bought a pre-paid data card from €20 got you 2GB of data that could be used in Austria, England, Ireland and some other european countries (no roaming costs!). So on my recent trip to the UK I just changed the SIM and was online everywere without a hassle. And after a week of reading email, updating twitter and facebook etc. I had just used about 50 MB of data.

That way this gadget might be even useful for iPhone users travelling abroad. No change of phone sim (and phoen number) but still able to connect to the web. A little research on the internet finds you pre-paid data plans for almost all places around.

Harald Gärttner, 2010-09-17

Ha! I was also faster than Volker: had mine for a couple of months. ;-)

This device rocks. In Germany, you might prefer the Trekstor (mentioned above); that is the device I have, and instead of the hassle with the O2 online shop (and their inistance on a copy of my passport), you can get the Trekstor e.g. at MediaMarkt for a dozen Euros less.

Very highly recommended. It.Just.Works.

Jan-Piet Mens, 2010-09-17

Huawei probably does not care, whether you buy the original device or the TrekStor branded one. :-) If the device shows five icons in the black display area, you are buying the old one. The new E5 has a small OLED display.

Volker Weber, 2010-09-17

Question regarding iPad use: Has anyone tried using the Camera Connection Kit adapter to supply power to the E5?

Quick sketch

Ole Saalmann, 2010-09-17

The iPad does not charge other devices. It disconnects anything that draws power from the port.

Volker Weber, 2010-09-17

I have the old one since april ... schnief ;-)

Thomas Koester, 2010-09-17

@Chris Frei

Doch, gibts bei Sunrise seit wenigen Wochen zu kaufen..

sunrise webshop


Michel Merz, 2010-09-17

Schön, dass es das E5 jetzt auch ohne Vertrag gibt. Als ich es kaufte, Anfang Juni 2010, war o2 in Deutschland der einzige Anbieter dieses Geräts.

Dieter Schmidt, 2010-09-17

During the last Fieldday we learned that the range outdoor is about 50 meters. Have mine since summer and it is a good feeling to switch to a resident, cheap data carrier when crossing a country's border without touching my notebooks or my phone.

Richard Kaufmann, 2010-09-17

Also faster than vowe this time. But not as fast as Jan-Piet ;-)

Thomas Lang, 2010-09-17

@Volker: I understand TrekStore has only the new models with the small OLED display, at least that's the one I got. I've seldom seen such an informative display on a small device. Lovely.

@ThoLa: Ah, yes, but you Sir, are the fastest when it comes to providing larger & louder devices.

Jan-Piet Mens, 2010-09-17

@Michel: das Geraet hinter dem Link ist das alte Modell, und es scheint umgerechnet EUR 188,- zu kosten. Sehr teuer!

Jan-Piet Mens, 2010-09-17

Alternative: MyWi - mittlerweile in Version 4 mit einstellbarer Sendestärke (!) für das jailbreak Prisonphone. Kostet 19,90 bzw 9,90 bei upgrade plus ein iPhone.

Armin Roth, 2010-09-17

ok, für 248 Stutz ohne Vetrag... oder 129 EURO: man rechne.

Chris Frei, 2010-09-20

I got one (unlocked) at the start of the year

Here is my review

Paul Mooney, 2010-09-20

Does anyone know how to get the WAN status to change? Barbara

Barbara Dale-Jones, 2011-05-21

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