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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Kyocera KPC650 review by PC Magazine

Kyocera KPC650 review by PC MagazineKyocera KPC650
REVIEW DATE: 05.06.05

Total posts: 3
Buy It Here $99.99

By Sascha Segan

How short some leaders reign. After only a few weeks, there's a new leader in the land of high-speed cellular cards: the Kyocera KPC650. Like our previous Editors' Choice, the Novatel Wireless V620, the Kyocera card uses the new Qualcomm MSM6500 chipset to squeeze the maximum possible bandwidth out of Verizon's excellent EV-DO data network. But the Kyocera card adds a swiveling antenna, which boosts its ability to capture signals.

During a week of testing in Manhattan, the KPC650 beat the Novatel V620's downlink throughput two-thirds of the time, with an average margin of 56 Kbps. It beat our baseline Verizon Wireless PC 5220 card 77 percent of the time, with an average margin of 108 Kbps. Because network conditions greatly affect these tests, it would be unfair to compare these test results with the results from earlier reviews. A better means of comparison is to test each card at the same time and in the same locations, which is what we did.

* Sierra Wireless AirCard 775
* Sierra Wireless AirCard 580
* Kyocera Passport
* Verizon Wireless PC 5220
* Wireless Without Borders: Networks for Those on the Go

Overall, the Kyocera card averaged speeds of 700 to 764 Kbps on our tests. Since we test in a wide variety of conditions, we saw results ranging from 107 Kbps to 1.23 Mbps.

Most impressively, the Kyocera card worked in areas where other cards didn't. In a stone building where our readings showed a very low -100 dBm to -108 dBm of EV-DO signal, we got a consistent, albeit slow, connection with the KPC650, whereas we saw frequent signal dropouts with the other two cards.

Since EV-DO uplink speeds are capped at 153 Kbps, we saw much less difference between the cards, but the Kyocera squeaked ahead of the other two by an average of 4 to 5 Kbps.

The KPC650 is available from Verizon for $99.99 ($50 more than the V620), with a two-year contract at $79.99 per month. It's also available from regional carrier Alltel, which is selling the card in Tampa, Cleveland, and Akron under the name "Passport" ($159.99 with a two-year contract, plus $69.99 per month for service). We haven't tested Alltel's network, though, so we can't tell you what kinds of speeds you can expect.

If you just bought a Novatel V620, don't throw it away. It's still a great wireless card. But the Kyocera KPC650 is even better, especially in low-signal areas. That makes it our new Editors' Choice—for now

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