When Smart announced the 5G Rocket WiFi, I was excited to find out if it was just hype or lived up to its promise.
DESIGN – 4 / 5
The Smart Bro 5G Rocket WiFi is a 5G-enabled multiband portable router that comes in a black plastic casing. Slightly larger and heavier than other pocket WiFi devices, it has a 2.4-inch color touchscreen display on the upper surface. A USB-C port is located on one side while the LAN port is found on the other side. Smaller but thicker than the typical smartphone, the Smart 5G Rocket WiFi can be easily popped into a backpack or purse when you need to be out and about.
HARDWARE – 4 / 5
The most distinctive feature of this device is, of course, its 5G connectivity, that supports 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi. You push open the back of the case to access the nano-SIM card slot as well as the 5300mAh removable lithium-ion battery. It comes with a USB Type-C charging cable recommended for use with a 5v 2A USB charger. The RJ45 LAN port is an option for those who prefer a wired connection.
USER EXPERIENCE – 5 / 5
Out of the box, the Smart Bro 5G Rocket WiFi is virtually plug-and-play. As soon as it was charged to full, I pried the back cover open and popped in the Smart Bro 5G-ready SIM that came with the package. The power button is right beside the screen to turn the device on/off.
After the Smart Bro welcome screen, you see the indicator screen with the following information clock, WWAN signal and type, provider, number of connected devices, battery percentage, and day/date. Sliding the screen brings up additional menu features, such as Connection Guide to help you set up your wireless network; Power Saving for screen-off and WiFi auto-off; SSID lets you rename the network and reset passwords; SMS to check your text messages; Settings to configure the device; and About for detailed device information.
The Smart Bro prepaid welcome pack automatically gives you 100MB of data, which you can use to download the GigaLife App on your smartphone or tablet. Through the GigaLife App, you can then avail of a suitable data package, particularly the Unli 5G promotional offers which give you unlimited data within 5G-covered areas nationwide.
What’s the big deal about 5G, you ask? Well, my home internet is fairly decent, giving me average speeds of about 100Mbps on a fiber connection. Speed tests on the Smart 5G Rocket WiFi gave me 150Mbps download speed at home. I took the device along during a drive and was able to get 234Mbps download speed in an open-air 5G setting.
I found 5G coverage to be unexpectedly extensive, even in areas outside of central business districts. In case you do find yourself somewhere without 5G, this portable router will still allow you to connect through the best available LTE or even 3G signal.
VALUE – 4.5 / 5
The Smart Bro 5G Rocket WiFi Prepaid bundle is available from the Smart online store for a one-time cash-out of PHP 15,995, inclusive of a 5G SIM card with 100MB and PHP250 Smart Bro voucher.
While the initial investment may be a bit steep, it is definitely cheaper than getting a 5G-enabled smartphone, which is the only other option currently available to enjoy 5G speeds. If you’re in a 5G area, the Unli 5G data plan offered by Smart Giga Life allows you to enjoy uber-fast internet without data caps for very affordable rates, starting at just PHP 299 for 1 week or PHP 599 for 30 days.
That’s not bad at all, considering that the connection can be shared simultaneously with 15 devices — more than enough for a whole family’s schooling, work, gaming, and streaming needs.
For those who prefer a postpaid subscription, it is also offered under the Smart Signature Data plans. As a reference, you can subscribe to the Signature Data Plan S for PHP 1,324/month for 36 months, with a one-time cash-out of PHP 5,300. Data Plan S comes with 20GB per month to cover all online activities. Any unused data can be carried over to the following month with the Data Rollover feature.
For people who absolutely need to have fast, reliable internet access not just from home but from virtually anywhere, the Smart 5G Rocket WiFi is an investment that’s going to be worth its price many times over.
OS: Qualcomm Snapdragon X55
Display: 2.4-inch TFT color LCD panel, capacitive touchscreen
Battery: 5,000mAh lithium-ion
Features: SMS viewing, with USB and LAN
- Super fast 5G speeds
- Can link up to 15 devices
- Signal strength varies with location
- It’s expensive
Faster even than your home broadband — and you can take it to the beach or a mountain retreat.
Reviewed by Belle Alba. Also published in GADGETS Magazine 2021 vol 22 no 1.