Sep 17, 2013

Huawei E3276 LTE test drive

The Huawei E3276 LTE-Stick is the successor to the popular Huawei E398 , which is to date probably the most sold worldwide LTE stick. For many users, the E398 was the best surf stick on the market, he distinguished himself by receiving on average values ​​and very good facilities. With the E3276, the Chinese manufacturer trumps its predecessor, again significantly: up to 150 Mbit / s download should now be possible - LTE Category 4 is due. We have tested the Huawei E3276 for two weeks on the heart and kidneys, and it is certain that the E398 was replaced as prime surf stick! If you want to know why, then you should read the full test.

With the Huawei E3276läutet a new generation of devices one: it is one of the first devices that is equipped with an in-house modem HiSilicon taken exactly the Hi9620 chipset. To date, Qualcomm is the leader puttering in the field of cellular modems in virtually any device with wireless connectivity have a Qualcomm chip. On the data sheet of Hi6920 chip is the best, what it currently on the world market are: LTE Category 4 with up to 150 Mbit / s downstream and 50 Mbit / s upload represent only a world first, the other is in the UMTS chip built: DC-HSPA + in the UMTS network with up to 84 Mbit / s downstream and 23 Mbit / s upload one searches in vain about at Qualcomm.

Delivery, facilities and first impression

Since the Huawei E3276 LTE stick is not sold in Germany, we had our test unit from Europe, get more specifically from Sweden. Except in Sweden, the Huawei E3276 is currently sold in Austria, Portugal, Poland and Russia, in the world of course many more countries. The packaging is very small and contains the E3276 only a few paper leaves with notes on the device. The first impression is very good: the design meets the predecessor of the Huawei E398, the USB connector can be swiveled. What is new is that the USB port is firmly snaps into place and with a click mechanism can be folded back. In terms of size, there are no major changes, the workmanship is good and the beautiful design than most other surf sticks. To insert the SIM card the entire top has to be removed, also the Huawei E3276 is still on standard size simcards.

Its decor is what you expect from a high end modem expected: in addition to a slot for MicroSD memory card has two connectors for external antennas. The connections have the format of CRC-9, the short trip to TS-9 connectors such as the E392 or E398 seems to be over. Which of these is the diversity connection port, but unfortunately is not it - if you want to connect only one antenna (eg UMTS), so you have to try a bit.

Equipment and software

Commissioning is quite simple: after inserting sim card and connecting to the USB port, the drivers are automatically installed. If you already have a current Huawei dashboard software on the computer, so you can use them directly if necessary. Otherwise, the connection software is installed on request and after entering PIN and connection settings (APN) you can connect to the Internet. So much nothing unusual. Huawei advertises the E3276 sometimes even as HiLink stick, but our test devices do not have this functionality. HiLink means no software on the PC must be installed anymore and the connection is within a few seconds - we were on the Huawei E303 tested times and were quite impressed ! If you configure the automatic connection, the connection is established but without HiLink takes only about 20 seconds. E3276 to Windows

The software on the E3276 may of course vary depending on the network operator, the branding-free version comes with original Huawei dashboard version, the stick has the firmware version An LED on the front of the LTE stick shows the current connection status, for UMTS and LTE stick of cyan light. More specifically, the network is displayed in the software: next to the signal strength indicator is either LTE or DC-HSPA +, HSPA +, etc. - the signal strength indicator in dBm, but seems to not work in the LTE network, only the bar shows correct values.
Speed ​​and connection

The Huawei E3276 is ahead of his time: in Germany there is (in contrast to other EU countries) currently only LTE category 3, ie a maximum of 100 Mbit / s Correspondingly, the data transmission rates up to 86 Mbit / s in LTE1800 network of Telekom we could measure. Also in the UMTS network the stick is far better than the wireless network are maximally expanded 42.2 Mbit / s via DC-HSPA +, but the surf stick can be up to 84.4 megabits / s download - this speed is achieved by the combination of DC-HSPA + and MIMO, the network operators have announced some time ago that they completely focus on LTE and the use of MIMO in 3G networks is planned. So you will probably have to live with the maximum of 31 Mbit / s in the future, we have measured the DC-HSPA + network with the E3276.

The reception is good and about on par with the Huawei E398. The connection stability, however, has significantly improved compared to the E398 and generally all LTE sticks with Qualcomm chipset, as well as Ralph reader can report:

"Even at work, I can now be online 8-9 hours at a time without disconnection, as before. The stick is what I am looking for one and a half years, it seems. "

On train rides while there are still crashes here and there, but the causes is certainly in large part also in the mobile network - a car I repeater is in any case always of great advantage. The change between 2G and 3G is very fast and the transition to LTE works fine.

Use the router with external antenna

During a Fritz box 7390 with the Huawei E3276 did not start too much and it only recognized as a connected USB device, the operation worked Dovado Tiny router with the latest firmware smoothly at first. Thus the surf stick is in combination with a router and stationary use.

If you have the necessary CRC9 to SMA adapter bought, so can also be commercially available LTE connect external antennas. In the test we could with the Funkwerk 800 LTE MIMO antenna measure a good signal gain on the Vodafone network and the telecommunications network at 1800 MHz brought a radio station in 1800 LTE MIMO antenna significantly improved data rates. However, you should pay attention to a stable assembly, as the small CRC9 connectors are quite delicate and thus prone to damage.

Conclusion: a new star among the surfsticks

After our test is certain: the Huawei E3276 is a worthy successor to the Huawei E398 and affords virtually no weaknesses. The Hi9620 modem from Huawei HiSilicon daughter is at least equal to the modem by Qualcomm and Huawei deserves great respect for the development of its own chipset, which works so well. Currently the stick is as I said available only abroad, but also in Germany, the operators will certainly take the E3276 into the program soon. Vodafone, the model has been in Portugal under the name K5007 at the start, a market is likely to start here with us. Who wants it fast: Amazon, there is the drive current for a hefty 180 euros without branding and more recently in the telecommunications design as LTE Speed ​​Stick III for much cheaper 100 € .


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