D-Link DIR-457 pocket WiFi router review

Posted:  May 24, 2010   By:    32 comments   


Have you ever been in a situation where you wish that you had a WiFi hotspot to connect to the Internet to? If you wanted to get some surfing done while out and about you would be limited to hotspots at restaurants or cafes; or you’d have to get a dongle and plug it into your laptop – not really a feasible option for someone who needs to whip out his computer get connected right away.

Also, we’re putting it on record that 3G dongles are ugly. We just hate looking at the thing jutting out of a laptop USB port with a blinding blue lights flashing at every single click.

Enter the WiFi pocket router. A WiFi pocket router grabs 3G signals and turns it to WiFi connectivity for you to use. Unlike USB dongles, these pocket routers allow you to share your 3G connectivity with as much as five WiFi devices.

Some people will instantly see how a WiFi pocket router would be tremendously useful for them but for others, they might not see the point. Which side do you belong to? Well, read the rest of this review to find out.

This is our review of the D-Link DIR-457 pocket WiFi router.

What’s inside the box…
The contents of the box that come with the DIR-457 are a pretty standard affair. Apart from the router itself, you get a padded carrying case that’s made out of a velvety material. We like the padding but the velvet-like material is an excellent dirt and dust magnet so we didn’t bother using it and we don’t recommend you use it either.

You also get a two-pin USB power adapter and, curiously, a very long mini-USB cable – all in white. We’re not too fond of the colour white for mobile devices. We’re sure road warriors will agree, white devices and accessories get dirty and turn gray almost instantaneously. Those who are using iPhones will know what we mean (hint: iPhone charge/sync cable). So we’d prefer the device and it’s assortment of accessories to come in a more robust colour. Black or gunmetal gray would be nice, in our opinion.

Another minor gripe is the two-pin USB power adapter. We’d prefer it to be a three-pin adapter instead.

D-Link is pretty confident that the device is very easy to setup so there’s no full-on manual per se, just a quick start guide and warranty booklet, that’s pretty much what you get for RM499.

A closer look at the DIR-457…
Size-wise the DIR-457 is very pocketable. As you can see by the picture, it’s just slightly larger than a Bold 9700 but thinner. It’s also slightly larger than an iPhone but still sits very discreetly in a shirt or jeans pocket.

On top of the device, there’s just one button. This button switches the router on and off. Just next to this is a hidden LED that serves as a status indicator to tell you what the router is doing. Both the power button and the LED light up red, blue and green. The quick start guide does give some indication of what these colours mean but there are various colour combinations of colours (i.e. blue power button, red LED etc). So you’ll have to figure out what they mean by yourself.

On one side of the device, you get a mini-USB port that serves both as a data transfer port and a power/charge port. On the other side, there’s a rocker switch that toggles the router between two modes – router and modem – more about the modes in the next section.

At the back is a removable backplate which slides down to reveal a replaceable 1330mAh lithium-ion battery, a micro-SD slot and a standard SIM card slot.

Built-quality of the device is good but we’re not too sure if the materials will stand up to being thrown in a bag with keys and other gadgets unprotected. The gloss finish looks like it will get scratched easily. In our case, just in a day’s use unprotected, we’ve already managed to scuff the matt backplate. Not to mention the white colour will turn gray quite quickly, so we’d recommend you keep the DIR-457 safely protected in a case most of the time.

How does the DIR-457 perform…
We’re very happy with how the performance of the DIR-457. For such a small device it packs quite a punch with features very much like a full-sized router. All the standard router functions are accounted for: VPN pass-through, port forwarding, UPnP, MAC filter and all the latest security encryption standards are all there.

The admin page from which you configure the device is just like any D-Link router you’ve used previously. And if you’ve used quite a number of D-Link routers, it’s something you will familiarise with quickly. Setting up the device was very easy too. For first time use, all we did was slot in a SIM card and switched it on. The DIR-457 did the rest and we were surfing in no time.

The DIR-457 even has some functions not seen on a full-sized router. One in particular is the file-sharing support across WiFi. The DIR-457 has a micro-SD card slot that supports cards up to 8GB in size. With a card installed, the device is affectively a wireless thumb drive of sorts. You can share files over-the-air effortlessly. All you need to do is call up the router via it’s IP address or a specific folder name you specify and you’re free to drag and drop files into the storage card just like you would on a normal folder in your computer. We find this feature useful and very easy to use.

The DIR-457 has two modes: modem and router. In modem mode, the DIR-457 is very much like a standard dongle where you plug it in and connect to the Internet for single user use. In router mode, the DIR-457 functions as a router where you can share you 3G connection with up to five devices.

For a fully untethered experience, the battery life of the DIR-457 is not up to what we expect. The manual claims the 1330mAh battery will provide four hours of WiFi connectivity. During testing, we managed two and half hours running time being connected to the device and downloading data constantly.

This was insufficient for the way we intended to use the device – that is, to have it constantly on stand-by, always ready for us to connect to it. We found the best way to extend the battery life of the DIR-457 is to switch it on only when you need to use it.

For those of you who are wondering if you can run the router purely on external power without the battery installed – you can’t. The manual says so and we did try it. The DIR-457 simply didn’t want to power up. You can however, have the DIR-457 plugged into a USB port or a wall socket and run it in router mode simultaneously.

When it comes to WiFi range, the DIR-457 left us thoroughly impressed. We managed to connect to the router while being a whole office floor away from device. Getting connected is one thing, file sharing and web browsing all worked flawlessly as well while we were that far away from the device. The router supports both WiFi b and g standards.

That much power in WiFi range means that the router produces a lot of heat. So hot in fact that we feel it gets hotter than most laptops running in full whack. If you’re carrying the device in a case, we recommend taking it out during prolonged use. You don’t want to burn the circuit board – that’s RM500 down the drain!

At the end of the day…
Bottom line is we were impressed with what the DIR-457 brings to the table. At RM499 some may find justifying such a purchase difficult but having used the device we don’t see the point going back to fiddling with USB dongles. Even if you’re primarily the only person using the connection, the flexibility that device offers really justifies its existence. It’s just that much better.

Apart from the convenience, the DIR-457 gave us tremendous flexibility and we find that we we’re using it to connect to the Internet more and more. We like the possibilities that the DIR-457 open for us but for very little change from RM500, it’s not for everyone but if you can afford it, it’s worth a look.

One caveat thought, for the asking price, we’d expect the DIR-457 to support HSPA as well considering it allows 3G connections to be shared with up to five devices simultaneously. It only allows for HSDPA connections with 3.6Mbps download and 384Kbps upload which we find is rather dissapointing.

For more information on the D-Link DIR-457 click here.

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32 Comments for D-Link DIR-457 pocket WiFi router review

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[...] reviewed a similar device – the D-Link DIR-457 – we’re convinced that a MiFi has its uses for those who run with multiple devices. We noted in [...]

Dee Lern

Heys! Thanks for the review, read it before deciding on buying one yesterday. Anyway, I'm still trying to figure out the LEDs! The manual does tell me what that the Power Button LED colour mean, but the hidden LED, i'm not entirely sure. The solid green probably mean that wifi is running and blinking green means that there's data being transmitted/received. But i've seen it in Red, no idea what that means! :S

    soyacincau

    We had the same problem, the first time using the device and despite owning one, we still can't completely decipher what some of the lights mean. However, here's what we do know:

    LED on power button: Solid blue – switched on with enough battery. Blinking red while switched on – battery low. Blinking blue while swithced on and plugged into USB port – in use and charging. Blinking red with device switched off and plugged into USB port – battery charging (LED will switch off to indicate charging completed).

    Status LED: Blue – good reception. Blinking blue – device in use. Red – reception not good. Green means reception is medium, blinking green means device is in use.

    That's as far as we know. Hope it helps.

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jeng

Now they already have DIR-457U.. 3.75G can support 7.2Mbps… How about this available in Malaysia?

    soyacincau

    Not sure when it's coming but we'll definitely keep a look out. Thanks for the tip!

RDX

I just saw the DIR-457U model here in Hong Kong. I didn't ask how much it cost.

alain

I have a problem with the divice DIR 457 also, when it is connected in modem, it is perfect, as soon as i go for the router and wifi, the network shows on my IPAD full all the switch are blue , but it can't connect to the web !!! . i think my configuration was done properly, by entering in the 192.168, etc…..actually i set it up with the wizard and not manually. I do not understand…………If somebody can help, will be great because on modem it works perfectly.

    Massimo

    I have the same problem!!! :-( have you solved it??

    soyacincau

    Hmmm…we couldn't replicate the problem on our end. Will investigate more and update if there's anything.

      Carmen

      Was teh item solved, because Ï have the same problem

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[...] that the aspiring 4G conglomerate is will be bringing Android powered 4G mobile phones and 4G MiFi [...]

speekac

where can I buy one in KL/PJ ? thanks

    soyacincau

    Best bets: Digital Mall SS14 or LowYat. We saw units being sold at AllIT Ikano Power Centre as well.

soyacincau

Hi….shouldn't be an issue. It works on our G3 Touch. Hope this helps

KohJL

Phone with WiFi + 3G/4G MiFi with mobile broadband subscription = Cheap data. Win!

That's basically how I'm using Yes' 4G MiFi now (plus occasional surfing on my laptop of course). For some reason, mobile internet is ridiculously more expensive than mobile broadband.

sadhish

how i can configure the 3G maxis into dir 457U. when i login into the router i cannot access. i type 192.168.0.1 its open the mylauchpad.com page not the router page…..what i should do…pls help me

Jason

Hi, I insert my Singtel 3G SIM card into D-Link DIR 457U.
Nothing works except a solid red LED lit up.
Do I miss out any configuration? Is it notsupposed to be simple as plug n go?

CSL

so why one would pay 499 for a 3G MiFi when I can get a 4G MiFi – at much higher speed – for 399 from Yes 4G?

    soyacincau

    We reviewed this in May 2010, 6 months before Yes was launched. We would think that the price for this D-Link MiFi would have dropped considerable by then. Having said that, with the speeds that we're getting with Yes, 4G MiFis are better when you're sharing your connection with multiple devices.

Norlia

my usb cable & USB power adapter was missing, where i get one in KL/PJ

jpradana

go to management page and set your sim card pin number

needhelp guy

can someone help me??i have a ps3 and i want to play online but at my house only have celcom broadband,is it possible to transmit the broadband become a wireless network so i can play my ps3 online??are d-link router can be used to transmit my broadband into wireless network…please help,it is much appreciated.. :)

darren

dear,Soya cincau team i have 2 news for you guys 1 is good news and 2 is a bad news i would like to start with good news guys your work is really reaching with every gadget user in malaysia where people find you guys are good tech talker in town and i would like to wish continue the great work. and know for the bad news about how safety is that the pocket wireless router is i read a article in famous IT magazine that the WPA,WPA2 encryption processes can be cracked in a matter of hours because of a loophole in WPS protocol and the solution for it is turned of WPS in the device and if you turn it off there is no use for wireless router simply you can connect to any WLAN device and actually is waste of money and even reduce connecting speed.

prabhakar

I have purchased the said routerr . I myself and friends expert in this field tried to connect the router. Henceforth it is advisable not to purchase D Link routers ,it is rally wastage of time and money,

prabhakar.kul@gmail.com

Covalin in sudbury

Fantastic, that D-Link DIR-457 pocket WiFi router is looking great. This is an awesome review of such product. I'm already convinced to utilize D-Link pocket router to experience speedy network performance. Thanks.

Pratap

I love you

Appliance Wire

Now I know what to do..With your help and the idea of sharing I can handle my problems about this pocket wifi router. great review!

Zonan

does anyone know where can i get a battery for this….the battery on ,ine is bloated