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Huawei E5372 Review

Andrew Unsworth
10 Nov 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
60
inc VAT

The E5372's LED display gives away too much information, but we like its performance and features

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Specifications

Modem: 4G, Wi-Fi standard: 802.11n, Stated speed: N/A, USB ports: Micro USB, Wall mountable: no

The Huawei E5372 is an oblong portable 4G router moulded in the typical Huawei style, which is no bad thing, as it’s easy to throw in a bag or keep in your pocket. The battery-powered E5372 takes a full-size data SIM card, but you can use an adaptor to fit smaller SIM sizes. You can also fit a microSD card and share its contents with other people on your network, as long as it’s no larger than 32GB in capacity.

Although the E5732 provides network connections on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, it can’t provide them simultaneously, so you’ll have to choose to use either one or the other. If you’re using one device with the router, such as an iPad, then you can choose your preferred band and leave it at that, but if you’ll be letting many people connect to the E5732 with various devices then it’s easier to leave it set to the 2.4GHz band for maximum compatibility.

The manual has scant information that’ll only help you set up the E5372 physically and connect your laptop, tablet or other device to it, although there are more in-depth instructions in the web interface of the device itself.

Setup is straightforward, and is similar to the way you'd typically set up a mobile phone. You prise the back off the device, insert a SIM and microSD card and then insert the battery. It took 25 seconds for the E5732 to start up and connect to the Three network, which is an acceptable length of time. Meanwhile, Huawei claims the 1,780mAh battery will last up to six hours in use, depending on the network used. The default name of the E5372’s Wi-Fi network (SSID) and the Wi-Fi password is written on a card that comes in the box, and it’s also written on the inside of the E5732’s back cover. Worryingly, you can also see the network password on the E5372’s display, and while this isn’t a problem if the device is kept in your bag or pocket, it’s not so comforting if the device is lost or stolen. Sadly, you can’t stop the password being displayed.

Three is continuing to roll-out 4G across the UK, so at the moment only a few cities and large towns are covered. You can check to see if your area is covered at www.three.co.uk. We had no trouble getting a 4G signal at our central London office, and the router seamlessly switched to 3G when we returned to our homestead in suburbia or ventured further afield. We measured the internet speed using our iPad and the Ookla Speedtest app, and were a little dismayed to see that the highest 4G download speed in a battery of tests was 5.8Mbit/s, with a maximum upload speed of 9.5Mbit/s. When we tested the 4G download speed using a PC connected to the E5732 with an 802.11ac dongle, we saw speeds of 6.2Mbit/s and 6.3Mbit/s. It’s important to remember that the actual download speed could be higher but is limited by transmission speeds from the router to your device. However, we performed the same test in a 3G area and saw much higher download speeds that were around the 10Mbit/s mark, with a maximum of 14.5Mbit/s. 

The E5372’s web interface is well constructed and easy to understand. Understandably, the web interface doesn’t have as many options as a regular router would have, but there you can still configure port forwarding and set up a DMZ.

Sadly, you can’t access an installed microSD card via SMB for easy drag and drop, and so on, you can only access files via the E5372’s web interface. You use an FTP-style menu for navigating through the contents of a microSD card, and it’s pretty quick to traverse, but it’s not as easy a way of accessing your files as an SMB connection would be, and it’s a shame there’s no media server function so that you can access music and videos through a media player.

Helpfully, the E5372’s web interface displays a progress bar that shows you how much data is already stored on a microSD card, and how much capacity you’ve got left. You can choose to let people download and upload from their computers over the network, or you can choose to limit access to the microSD card to a USB connection, or disable it altogether.

The Huawei E5756 is an older router that isn’t available on Three any more, but in some ways we prefer it. You can more easily access a data SIM and microSD card with the E5756, and the display didn’t allow you to see the Wi-Fi password for the device. Even so, the E5732 is a good device that makes it easy to share a mobile internet connection among friends or your family, whether you’re at home, on the commute or in the car. We didn’t experience high 4G speeds with the device on the Three network, but it has some good features and it is easy to use. However, we think the 3G TP-Link M5350 is a good alternative if you simply want to share an internet connection, especially if you don’t live or work in a 4G area.

Hardware
Modem4G
Wi-Fi standard802.11n
Bands2,4GHz, 5GHz
Stated speedN/A
SecurityWPA2-PSK (AES, TKIP)
Upgradable antennayes
WAN ports0
LAN ports0
USB portsMicro USB
Wall mountableno
Size99x14.4x62.2mm
Software
Guest networks0
Media serverNone
USB servicesNone
DDNS servicesNone
Buying information
Price including VAT£60
WarrantyOne-year RTB
Supplierwww.three.co.uk
Detailshttp://consumer.huawei.com
Part codeE5732s-32