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4.0 out of 5 stars34
4.0 out of 5 stars
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
What is it and what does it do ?

I am on the road with my work and business a lot and often get problems with Wi-Fi being slow or not avaiable - this device offers an alternative to Wi-fi by using Mobile masts and data points.

The TP-LINK HSUPA USB Adapter allows you to connect a notebook, Laptop or tablet to a mobile broadband service wherever you are in the world providing there is suitable coverage. You will need a mobile data SIM from one of the mobile providers to use this device.
It also has a slot for an SD card to allow data to be stored directly onto the MA180. I cannot see a use for this for me at the moment unless you have a tablet with limited storage and no expansion capabilities.
When connected, you can transfer data, stream media, login to social media and send SMS messages. The TP-Link MA180 is unlocked and works with data SIM cards from any operator. I tried Orange and O2 and it worked with both.
The device is 3.9 cm long and 1.10 cm wide.

To get at the slots for the SDcard and SIM you slide the top cover off. It looks like the bottom cover in the diagram in the instructions (to me anyway !!!).

Some of the info about it and what signal it supports (at the time of writing 3.75 HSUPA is the fastest - 4G will change this !)

The TP-Link MA180 supports the latest 3.75G High Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA) technology, which offers data rates up to 7.2 Mbps (5.76 Mbps upload) and helps to reduce latency. 3.75G is also backwards compatible with 3.5G, 3G and 2.5G technologies according to the spec sheet. It supports USB 2.0

Setting up

This is a full plug and play device and has no Cd with drivers etc. The instructions are a simple single sheet - basically add the chips to the device and plug it in and it will do everything for you. On my Asus Windows 7 laptop it did just this and found a much stronger signal that the Wi-Fi ever does. I then set it up on a Windows 8 machine with O2 and again it sorted everything for me and I could use it. Again with O2 the signal was much superior than a Wi-Fi spot.
I don't suspect it will be as easy as this to set up on Android or older operating systems - I have no older machines around to try but if I can will report back. I will also try my iPod and report back later.

In use

I had very good connections with ample speed and no slow down when doing read and writes simultaneously. I managed to transfer data to the 32Gb SD card I had installed without any problems. The computer just sees this part as a removable drive. It justed worked withy no problkems (I wish everything I plugged into my computers worked like this !)

Overall

If you are on the road a lot or go to far out places where Wi-Fi is thin on the ground but mobile communications services exists then you need this. For most uses Wi-Fi will suffice but the signal quality and stability I got from this was better than my built in Wi-Fi so it will now find a place in my laptop bag as a backup way of connecting to the net. A neat gadget and very useful for the travelling person who wants another way of connecting to the net if Wi-Fi is not available or poor. The price is very resonable for the spec too !
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on 29 October 2013
I live abroad but was visiting Scotland for a couple of weeks and wanted an internet connection in the flat I was using. I didn't have a smart phone at the time so this seemed like a good option. I simply ordered a free sim card (any network will work) I used Giffgaff which offers good rates for internet. I paid for 1GB of data upfront which was more than enough for checking email and light internet surfing.
Only problem I experienced was when the 3g signal dropped below full signal, the internet connection would intermittantly cut out, requiring me to reconnect. This was a minor irritation. Whilst receiving a strong signal, it worked flawlessly.
Overall, a good solution for a temporary internet connection
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on 15 January 2015
It works as described, but I have two issues with it.

1.. It's not the most intuitive admin interface on the planet. The unit was taking quite a long time to initialize the SIM which was making me think that it wasn't working correctly. I phoned the TP-Link support number for some assistance and got through to a support person in Japan (I think) who was worse than useless. I was repeatedly told to connect the dongle to my computer, despite me telling her repeatedly that I didn't have a computer and I was connecting it to a TP-Link router and wanted to use it with an iPad. I just wanted to know if there was any diagnostics I could do, but I may as well have asked the nearest sheep.

2.. When I eventually got it going, I discovered that it gets a weaker signal than my iPhone when situated in the same location using the same service provider. I've always thought that the 3G signal on an iPhone was worse than just about every other 3G device on the planet, but I'm clearly wrong. The TP-Link MA180 beats it hands down.

To its credit, once I found a place with a stronger signal the MA180 has performed happily and reliably but I would say it is best avoided in weaker signal areas.
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I've struggled with this for a week trying to work out why it won't work with my Windows 8 laptop - it just doesn't get detected (well, USB storage gets detected but not the 3G modem). Checked the TP-link web site where it says compatible.
Suddenly I spotted that it's the v2.0 that is Windows 8 compatible, whereas I was shipped the v1.1. Returning.
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VINE VOICEon 14 May 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Mobile connectivity via USB dongle is nothing new, but having said dongle not locked to a specific network sim is very hard to find. The darn things are exorbitant (bent a Vodaphone Huawei and it cost me a tenner more for a replacement)

This works plug and play. Vodaphone gives pretty good coverage so I had no discernible difference. TP link gives a very wide range of compatible networks globally on its site.

I am a fan of the 3g wifi routers and it worked equally well with both TPLink and Zoom's offerings.

The deduction of 1 star is the fact that you have to slide the cover off to insert SIM and microSD. The Huawei allows quick access with slots at the side.

I would also recommend

1)getting a USB male female cable (not supplied) which would allow better signal finding (hang dongle out the window) AND protect the dongle from getting bent.
2) if you're after connectivity only, it is best to not used the microSD slot as there is a perceptible delay in initially establishing broadband connection.
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on 10 November 2012
I chose this as the supplier is UK based resulting in a 2 day delivery time rather than waiting for it to come from China. Comes packed in an cardboard envelope with the Amplifier in the pictured box, which makes it too fat to be posted through a letter box. There is no power supply or instructions included with it.

This is small in size but allows for two inputs L+R phono sockets and a 3.5mm jack socket which are mixed together, so if you only want listen to one input the other device needs to be switched off or disconnected. Two pairs of spring loaded speaker terminals are fitted, which I am using to drive a pair of 6 ohm 40W Yamaha speakers. There is a small pop from the speakers when switching the Amp on only.
The tone controls provide a moderate amount of boost or cut and all controls are smooth and crackle free in operation. The amp only gets warm at mid volume levels.
The down sides are that there is no built headphone output socket and the light show behind the volume control still changes colour even when there is no input.

Output power: 800W Max!- more like the 2 x 10W RMS and handles speakers of 4 to 16 ohms impedance.
Input sensitivity: 0.25mV to 50mV at 4.7k ohm input impedance.
Signal/Noise ratio: -100db, Frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz.
Power supply: 12Volt at 5 Amps. (I am using a 12V 1A mains adapter at 50% volume with out any problems.)
The USB socket is only for charging a portable player or mobile phone this will require the use of a 3 to 5 Amp power supply to prevent noise or distortion.
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on 16 March 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Personally tried and tested with SIM cards from:

- Three (3UK)
- Vodafone
- O2

Great SIM-free solution. If you buy one from somewhere like CarPhone Warehouse, the danger is that it might be locked to one network. This isn't.

I have added a photo - find it on the top left of this page. Dongles seem to have gotten smaller in the last 5-10 years.

Note: I got it to work with Windows but NOT Mac.
review image
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on 14 June 2013
Most dongles are multi-platform, but not this one. Would have been nice to have that listed in the product description.
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on 13 October 2012
Good delivery time and well packaged. The radio stopped working on my boat and as I only wanted to play my MP3 player this looked ideal. It fitted into the radio compartment after a bit of reworking and works well with good quality sound. As a bonus my Sansa MP3 has a radio function and this works better than the original radio which was fitted. The USB charger is also ideal for keeping the MP3 charged up.

My only issue is finding the right power connector for the 12 volts was not easy as there are options, including the spec of the connector would be a good idea. Or even better include a loose plug for people running off 12 volt batteries.
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on 22 June 2013
Received in good time, plugged it into my Win8 tablet and installed simple software that worked straight away. Sim fitted into device no problem. Appears well made, no problems 3weeks in.
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