Review: T-Mobile Falcon Z-917 by ZTE (Mobile WiFi Hotspot)

zte-falcon-z917-mobile-hotspot-reviewThe ZTE Falcon Z-917 is T-Mobile's entry level mobile hotspot, replacing the Z-915 model in T-Mobile's lineup.

It turns out that the newer model is actually just a cost-reduced version of the Z-915, with the exact same specifications and internal electronics.

The key difference is that the older and more expensive Z-915 has an LCD screen for changing settings and checking status. But on the new Falcon model there is only a series of basic status lights - and all changes must be made via a web interface.

In other words, if you have a Z-915, do not feel any pressure to rush out to upgrade to the new Falcon.

But if you don't already have a T-Mobile hotspot, the Z-917 Falcon is a great way to get started. It  supports all of T-Mobile's current frequencies, including "Extended Range LTE" on LTE Band 12,

But this is not a high-end device, and it does NOT have advanced features or support for combining multiple bands via LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation.

UPDATE (October 2016): T-Mobile has seemingly replaced the Falcon Z-917 in its lineup with the newer Alcatel LINKZONE - which has nearly identical specifications and capabilities.

Specifications

  • Battery Life: 6hrs (removable battery)
  • # of Connected Devices: 10 Wi-Fi / Supports USB Tethering
    WiFiRanger Tethering: Tested & Confirmed
    Control Panel: http://mobile.hotspot/ or http://192.168.0.1/
    Default Password: "admin"
  • Networks supported:
    LTE Bands: 2, 4, 12 (17)
    4G: HSPA+ 850/1900/2100MHz
    3G / 2G: Global Roaming NOT Supported
  • LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation: No
  • LTE Performance Category: Category 4
    (Max Theoretical Speed: 150Mbps Down / 50Mbps Up)
  • Cellular Antenna Ports: None
  • Wi-Fi Technology / Frequencies: 802.11 b/g/n - 2.4GHz Only
  • Dimensions: 4.13" x 2.36" x 0.63" / 4.23 oz
  • SIM Card Type: 3FF / Micro SIM
  • Retail Price:  $79.95

Testing Status: Unlimitedville.com has sent us a review unit Falcon Z-917, and we have been testing it along with the Unlimitedville unlimited T-Mobile hotspot data plan. Our hands on review is included below.

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Purchasing Options

NOTE: At present time, mobile hotspots can only be activated on T-Mobile's older data tiered 'Simple Choice' plans, not on their new unlimited T-Mobile One plans.

They can also no longer be purchased online directly from T-Mobile, and must be bought in a T-Mobile store or via phone.

ZTE Falcon Z-917 Ratings
  • Overall Rating

Quick Take

This hotspot is a solid choice if you need a dedicated T-Mobile data device.

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