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Vodafone GigaCube review

13th December 2021

Vodafone Gigacube Review

Overview

Pros

Cons

High speeds

Not much better than rivals

Simple setup

Moderately expensive

Can connect lots of devices

 

Verdict:

The Vodafone GigaCube is a top mobile broadband device no matter which version you choose, with both being among the best of their category. But the 5G model is the clear winner if you have Vodafone 5G coverage.

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100GB Data
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£100.00

Vodafone GigaCube

100GB Data
£30.00 a month1 month contractVodafoneSee Deal
  • Full Review
  • Specifications

Full Review

The Vodafone GigaCube is Vodafone’s alternative to conventional fixed-line broadband. It provides internet to your home, but does so using either a 4G or 5G connection, rather than a cable.

There are two versions of the Vodafone GigaCube – a 4G one, which is essentially a rebadged Huawei B818-263, and a 5G one, which is the TCL 5G CPE. And these two devices differ in more than just their mobile data credentials, but we’ve included them both here.

Below then, we’ll talk you through both versions of the Vodafone GigaCube and help you decide which if either you should opt for.

Before we get started though it’s worth being aware that confusingly Vodafone used to offer different devices under the GigaCube name, but in 2021 it refreshed them without changing the name.

In short, the old 4G GigaCube was a Huawei B528, and it’s a significantly lesser device than the new model, with lower speeds and support for only 20 simultaneous device connections. The old 5G GigaCube meanwhile was the Huawei 5G CPE Pro, which theoretically can’t get quite as fast as the new model, but in practice is a very similar device.

With that said, on with the review of the current GigaCube models.

Design

The design of the Vodafone GigaCube varies a little depending on which version you go for. They’re both essentially white boxes, but the 4G GigaCube is more rectangular while the 5G one is more of a tube shape.

Like most broadband boxes though they’re both ultimately designed to fit with and fade into most normal décor.

Design-wise there’s little of note to choose between the two, or between them and other routers, other than the fact that these are taller and narrower than most fixed-line routers. We’d probably give the GigaCube 5G the edge in terms of style, as it arguably looks slightly more modern, but that’s subjective.

Setup

An advantage of devices that rely on a mobile connection for your home internet is that they’re typically plug and play, and the Vodafone GigaCube is no exception.

Both devices have a SIM card slot so if the SIM doesn’t come pre-installed you simply pop it in, then plug the box in and you’re ready to go.

There are settings to be tweaked if you want, but no need for an engineer visit or any other wait to get online.

Being plug and play also means you can easily take these devices with you and plug them in elsewhere. So if you move to a new house for example, or even go somewhere short-term, it’s a simple matter to get online again, as long as there’s a socket and coverage.

Performance

Performance will differ dramatically depending on which version of the Vodafone GigaCube you have, as while the 4G model offers download speeds of up to 1.6Gbps and upload speeds of up to 50Mbps, with the 5G version top download speeds shoot up to 2.8Gbps.

Though in both cases of course your actual speeds will depend on the network and coverage, and are likely to be a lot lower. Indeed, even on 5G, you’re unlikely to get average download speeds of more than around 250Mbps at the time of writing. Vodafone itself claims that the maximum speeds on the 5G GigaCube are 1Gbps – which will presumably be a network rather than hardware limitation if true.

The network doesn’t provide real-world stats for the speeds you can expect with the 4G GigaCube, but you’re probably looking at average download speeds in the region of 20-30Mbps, depending on coverage.

In most other ways though these devices are similar, with both allowing you to get up to 64 gadgets connected to the internet at once (which is far more than most people should need), and with both supporting dual-band Wi-Fi and having two sockets for external antennas. They also both have Gigabit ethernet ports for a wired connection.

Alternatives

If you want 4G or 5G home broadband then there aren’t really any alternatives on Vodafone, but you can find other options from other networks, such as the Three 4G Hub, the Three 4G Hub Plus, and the Three 5G Hub on Three, or the 4GEE Home Router 3 or 5GEE Router 2021 on EE.

In terms of the 5G options, Vodafone has the edge over Three on paper, with the Three 5G Hub topping out at 2.33Gbps, but the 5GEE Router 2021 potentially supports speeds of up to 4.67Gbps.

In practice though that’s all very theoretical, and real-world speeds are likely to be comparable between the three – or where they’re not, that will be more down to the network than the hardware. They all also support 64 simultaneous connections.

As for the 4G options, the Three 4G Hub theoretically supports download speeds of up to 600Mbps – as does the Three 4G Hub Plus, so both are below the Vodafone GigaCube 4G there. Device connections again top out at 64 though.

EE hasn’t revealed how fast the 4GEE Home Router 3 is, but as with all of these things the network and coverage will likely be the bigger factor there, and it matches rivals for the number of devices it can get online at once.

Conclusion

The 5G Vodafone GigaCube is a great home broadband option for houses with a 5G signal from Vodafone. It’s fast enough to be a real alternative to fibre broadband, especially with its support for a high number of connected devices and the option of an unlimited data plan.

It is however very similar to devices offered by a number of other UK networks, as explained above in ‘alternatives’, so beyond potentially price and coverage there’s little reason to pick it over them (or them over it). You should simply check your coverage on each network and the plans and prices available when you choose to buy.

The 4G Vodafone GigaCube is a little harder to recommend, as 4G home broadband in general isn’t typically as fast as speedy fibre, but if you live somewhere with poor wired broadband and a good 4G signal then it could well be worth it, especially as this is one of the best 4G home broadband devices.

That said, even in the world of 4G home broadband devices, the Vodafone GigaCube isn’t one of the best, so if you have coverage on other networks, and the price is right, you might want to consider one of the alternatives above.

Specifications

Specifications

  • Dimensions (mm): 103 x 103 x 225 (4G model) / 115 x 204 (5G model)
  • Modem: 4G or 5G
  • Battery capacity: N/A
  • Colours: White
  • Download speeds: Cat 19, up to 1.6Gbps (4G model) / up to 2.8Gbps (5G model)
  • Upload speeds: Up to 50Mbps (4G model) / TBC (5G model)
  • Wi-Fi specs: Dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (4G model) / dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax (5G model)
  • Launch date: Out now
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