A WiFi hotspot can be a great way to stay connected while on the go. The speeds are typically much faster than you can expect to get from public WiFi. Plus it’s much more secure than connecting to your local coffee shop’s open WiFi. Whether you’re using it with your laptop for work, or sharing access with your kids or friends for their WiFi devices such as tablets. It can really come in handy for staying connected.

The AT&T Unite Explore Hotspot from Netgear is more than your typical hotspot device. The Explore part of the name is what makes it stand out. It has a rugged soft rubber case around the outside. It’s rated for IP65 water and dust resistance and meets US MIL-STD-810G for shock-resistance. This is a rugged hotspot for those times when you’re outside and need a connection, or if you’re one of those people who is a bit rough on devices and doesn’t want to worry. This would be great out camping or for a day out on the beach. You won’t want to submerge it in any water, but you won’t have to baby it or worry about a little spill. Plus with a limit of 15 users you’ll be able to share with everyone.

The front of the device has a 2.4 inch 320×240 LCD display with a home and back button on the right side. The display is pretty dim which will help save battery, but will not be your friend in the sunlight. Hopefully you won’t have much need to view it in direct sunlight though. It features a notification LED as well.

The power button is located on the top with a USB 3.0 port on the bottom. Along with a pair of external antenna ports. On the back side there is a removable panel which houses the 4340mAh battery and micro SIM on the inside. It’s a decent size that fits in the palm of your hand with a nice soft touch feel. There is also an included pouch to carry it around in. It weighs in at 4.9 ounces so it’s not too heavy, but you will notice it.

The AT&T Unite Explore offered a good connection in my testing. While using the 2.4GHz band I was easily able to get 100ft. Away. This should be plenty for anyone traveling and looking to share their connection. While I typically keep it close to me, you won’t have to worry about keeping it too close to get your connection.

It features 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi along with 4G and 4G LTE bands. The 2.4GHz offering you further coverage and the 5GHz offering you short coverage but faster speeds. When I tested speeds though I found no reason to really use the 5GHz band. As speeds topped out at 20mbps but averaged closer to 10 to 14mbps. At least in the areas I was testing it. Your experience will vary depending on your coverage.

If you’re not in the sharing mood or you don’t want to worry about battery life. The AT&T Unite Explore also features USB tethering. Just by plugging the hotspot into your computer with a USB cable you can access the network. It gives you an option of keeping WiFi on as well.

When it comes to security your WiFi is protected by a password, that you can set to be displayed on the screen if you wish. As well as lock down the hotspot with a PIN just like you would your phone. It also features WPA2 encryption making it more difficult for people to try to view your WiFi traffic.

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With the Unite Explore you can also setup a guest network. Allowing people to join with a different password from your main password. You can setup a time limit and number of guest devices allowed to connect. It also gives you a list of all the devices currently connected to your WiFi hotspot. Allowing you to block anyone that you choose. Plus you can set up content filters.

Battery life is really quite good on this little hotspot. It is rated for 22 hours of use and I can vouch that it will keep you connected for a full day. If you allow it to idle and turn off WiFi when not in use you can get days of usage out of it. However you’ll have to wake it up when you want to connect occasionally. Another great reason to carry this around is that it acts as a power bank. Included is a USB OTG cable, that you can use to juice up your devices anytime you need it.

With the Unite Explore you have a rugged, fast, secure, and long lasting way to access the internet. It’s great for sharing with your friends or family while on the go. You won’t have to worry about the occasional spill or drop. For those times when you need a fast and secure connection, or just a little battery boost. This is a great tool to have in your bag.