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HTC 5G Mobile Smart Hub: Everything you need to know

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The HTC 5G Mobile Smart Hub has a tiny screen and built-in battery pack

EE reveals 5G mobile broadband pricing

EE has finally launched the UK's first 5G network. Along with a handful of 5G-equipped smartphones, the network is also selling HTC's 5G Mobile Smart Hub for use as your own home broadband.

EE says that the HTC 5G hub costs £500 as a standalone device, but is only available to purchase on a 24-month contract. This includes a one-off upfront fee of £100 with either 50GB of monthly data for £50 per month or 100GB for £75 a month. When your 24-month contract comes to an end, this will accrue a hefty total cost of either £1,300 or £1,900. 

My original HTC 5G Mobile Smart Hub article continues below.

HTC 5G Mobile Smart Hub: Everything you need to know

This year’s MWC conference has been full of 5G announcements. From smartphones to 5G-connected kettles, tech manufacturers are elbowing each other to get the first slice of that super-fast mobile internet pie.

Nestled between its many VR headsets and mid-range smartphones is HTC’s own 5G Mobile Smart Hub. This smart-enabled hotspot has a tiny screen and a large battery pack for portability, but is HTC jumping on the 5G bandwagon a little too soon?

HTC 5G Mobile Smart Hub: Key specifications, price and release date

  • 5in HD (1,280 x 720) display
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • 7,600mAh battery
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
  • USB Type-C and DisplayPort connections
  • nano-SIM
  • Dual speakers
  • Bluetooth 5
  • Android 9 Pie
  • Connect up to 20 devices
  • 129 x 100 x 43 mm
  • 340g
  • UK release date: Out now
  • UK price: £100 upfront cost, £50 a month (50GB), £75 a month (100GB)

HTC 5G Mobile Smart Hub: Design, key features and first impressions

The first thing you’ll notice is that the Mobile Smart Hub looks a lot like a miniature Echo Show. Complete with soft-textured sides, its 5in, 1,280 x 720 screen is angled upwards ever so slightly, which allows you to interact with the device and scroll through its various settings.

The Mobile Smart Hub is powered by Qualcomm’s most up to date mobile CPU, the Snapdragon 855 chipset, which allows you to use this as a mini 5G-enabled hotspot. If you don’t know the benefits of 5G yet, you should expect lightning quick transfer speeds of up to 1Gbit/sec, which essentially means you should be able to download high-quality movies in a fraction of the time as you would with a bog-standard 4G connection. To do this, you’ll need to insert a 5G-capable nano-SIM into the back of the hub.

HTC says the Mobile Smart Hub is able to cope with up to 20 connected devices at once, with support for two UK network providers at launch: EE and Three. We should expect HTC’s 5G Mobile Smart Hub to first show its face on shop shelves sometime in Q2 of 2019.

Perhaps most interesting of all is that the Mobile Smart Hub doesn’t need to be plugged into a wall socket. There’s a coaxial DC connector on the back of the device, but you can also make use of the Smart Hub’s in-built 7,600mAh battery. HTC says this should allow for up to a day’s use on a single charge with moderate use.

Elsewhere, you’ll also find a pair of speakers on the back of the device, which can be used to belt out your favourite tunes on Spotify, or for when you need to follow a soufflé cooking tutorial on YouTube. There’s also a Gigabit Ethernet port on the rear, along with USB Type-C and DisplayPort connections, if you wanted to hook the hotspot up to a better display.

HTC 5G Mobile Smart Hub: Early verdict

HTC’s Mobile Smart Hub isn’t quite in the same league as Amazon’s Echo Show or Google’s Home Hub, but I really don’t think we should see it in those terms. This is predominantly a 5G hotspot, albeit with the added benefit of a tiny screen, an in-built battery and a decent pair of speakers.

That’s quite a nice list of extras, and I think when the influx of 5G hotspots come rolling in towards the end of the year, HTC’s Mobile Smart Hub just might have the credentials to stand out from the crowd.

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