The JetPack features a 1.4-in. LED display that offers a great deal of information about your connection and account. A glance offers immediate information about your signal strength and battery level.
Verizon Wireless JetPack MiFi 5510L
But wait, there's more. You can access the menu by using three touch controls below the display that let you move your cursor left or right and make a selection. From there, you can do things like get usage data, change your account name or password and see a list of the devices connected to the signal -- you can connect up to 10 devices on a 4G LTE signal and up to 5 on 3G.
You can make additional changes to the hotspot settings via a Web-based interface on your computer -- for example, you can change the times for the device's automatic shutdown or decide how long the JetPack's display stays lit.
Besides the LED and controls, the top of the black JetPack is edged by a bright red illuminated ring that indicates when the device is on or being powered. Like the Photon, the JetPack is powered by a micro USB connection; unlike the Photon, the battery is accessible by opening up the bottom.
The JetPack uses Verizon's very speedy 4G LTE network (and can use 3G where that isn't available), so you shouldn't find yourself without Wi-Fi almost anywhere in the U.S.
Price and plans
The price of the JetPack and its associated plans, of course, fit the convenience they offer. The JetPack itself costs $19.99 with a new two-year activation; without a contract, the price goes up to $199.99.
What you pay after that depends on how much data you plan to use; prices start at $30/month for 4GB of data and then go up by increments of 2GB and $10 until you hit 12GB a month for $70. And add to that a $20 monthly access fee. If you go over your allotted monthly allowance, you pay $15 per 1GB.
If I were choosing my Wi-Fi hotspot just by feel and style, I'd go for the FreedomPop Photon. It doesn't offer any of the bells and whistles that the JetPack does -- it uses LEDs to give you the status of your connection, and that's pretty much it -- but I like my hotspots as simple and lightweight as possible, and the JetPack's larger hockey-puck look just doesn't appeal. On the other hand, the JetPack's display gives you access to a lot of useful information, such as how much data you can still access before you run past your plan, which is always nice to know.