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Vodafone R219 review

11th May 2020

Vodafone R219

Overview

Pros

Cons

Good battery life

Doesn't support 5G

Simple setup

No standout features

Compact

 

Verdict:

The Vodafone R219 is a very by-the-numbers device, but it does everything it needs to, has better battery life than some rivals devices, and comes in at an affordable price.

  • Full Review
  • Specifications

Full Review

The Vodafone R219 gives you Wi-Fi freedom, letting you bring a portable hotspot connection with you wherever you go, so you can get laptops, tablets and more online when you’re out and about.

So it’s a mobile broadband device, and while it’s limited to 4G speeds (as Vodafone’s only 5G broadband device at the time of writing is for the home) it still has a lot going for it and is a strong alternative to tethering.

So read on below for everything you need to know about the Vodafone R219 Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot, to see if it’s the mobile Wi-Fi device for you.

Design

We’re not sure why, but mobile broadband devices tend to be white, and the Vodafone R219 is no exception. It’s also just as plain as most other such devices. There are some status lights and a big power button on the front, and a Vodafone logo on the back, and, well, that’s about it. Otherwise this is just a slightly curvy white rectangle, with no display.

But then it’s not a device you’ll be interacting with or even looking at much once it’s set up, so it doesn’t need a flashy design or loads of buttons.

It’s 100 x 58 x 13.7mm and 95g, so it’s very compact and light, though no more so than alternative devices like the Huawei E5573bs-322. Still, if you want a mobile Wi-Fi device that you can just stick in your pocket and carry everywhere, the Vodafone R219 is a great option.

Setup

One great thing about the Vodafone R219 is that it comes ready to use – just take it out of the box, turn it on, and you can instantly use it. So there’s no need to install any software or anything.

In theory it should also come with some charge in the battery, so you won’t even need to plug it in.

As with any broadband device, you can do some basic configuration of the Wi-Fi network, such as adding security to it, but beyond that it will just broadcast a network that any Wi-Fi device can see and connect to, so it’s easy to get other devices online with it.

Performance

The Vodafone R219 Mobile Wi-Fi hotspot uses 4G and supports Cat 4 LTE, with download speeds of up to 150Mbps and upload speeds of up to 50Mbps.

If that sounds faster than you’re used to getting on 4G, you’re right, and it’s also faster than you’ll generally get with this, as those are the peak speeds. You can use Vodafone’s coverage checker to get a clearer idea of the actual 4G speeds you’re likely to get in any given area.

But, given that the peak speeds are high, the real world speeds will generally be similar to what you can expect on other 4G devices, which means it’s more than fast enough to stream music and videos, play online games, and browse the net. It won’t be as fast as the speediest fibre broadband connections, but will in many cases be faster than public Wi-Fi hotspots – as well as being more secure.

The Vodafone R219 can also get up to 10 devices online at once, so even if you’re with a group you should be able to get everyone’s tablets and laptops connected to the internet.

Battery

The Vodafone R219 Mobile Wi-Fi hotspot has a 1,500mAh battery, with life of up to 6 hours when in use, or 350 hours on standby.

Those figures are decent – better in fact than some rivals, and with 6 hours of use you should be able to use it for as long as you need to in most circumstances.

When it comes time to charge, you can do that via the device’s micro USB port, using a charger that comes in the box.

Alternatives

If you’re buying on Vodafone, then the only real mobile broadband alternative is the Vodafone K5161, but this is a dongle, meaning it needs to be plugged into the device it’s getting online – and can only get one device online at a time.

There are however other options from other networks and stores, but the Vodafone R219 compares well to them too. For example, there’s the Huawei E5573bs-322, which offers similar performance and is actually even lighter at just 75g, but has just 4 hours of battery life.

Plans

At the time of writing, Vodafone offers the Vodafone R219 on a range of both 30-day and 12-month plans. In both cases you can get up to unlimited data, though note that if you opt for an unlimited plan you’ll need to go for an ‘Unlimited Max’ one if you want the best possible speeds. We’d advise you to do that, since speeds is important for this sort of device

Still, there are plenty of options, including some with no upfront cost. Prices at the time of writing range from £6.67 per month with £16.67 upfront for 2GB of monthly data on a 12-month contract, to £27.50 per month with £29.17 upfront for a 30-day Unlimited Max plan.

Conclusion

The Vodafone R219 is a solid, competitive 4G mobile broadband device. It’s small, light, very simple to set up and use, reasonably fast, and has decent battery life, all for an affordable price.

That said, it’s not fundamentally very different to a number of other such devices, and has little to help it stand out. That’s fine really – most rival devices don’t stand out either, and if you’re set on Vodafone then this is the best and simplest option, but it would be nice to see more features or upgrades, such as 5G support or a display. Still, that would push the price up, so the Vodafone R219 is a strong budget option.

Specifications

Specifications

  • Dimensions (mm): 100 x 58 x 13.7
  • Weight (g): 95
  • Modem: 4G
  • Battery capacity: 1,500mAh
  • Colours: White
  • Download speeds: Cat 4, up to 150Mbps
  • Upload speeds: Cat 4, up to 50Mbps
  • Wi-Fi specs: 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n 2x2
  • Launch date: Out now

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