Review: Verizon MiFi 7730L by Novatel (Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot)

UPDATE (August 23, 2018): The recently released 3A firmware update for the Verizon 7730L was supposed to add LTE Band 66 support and provide various bug fixes, but for many Verizon customers this firmware update proved to be a disaster. We had dozens of reports of constant reboots, problems tethering, and other issues that for many made the hotspot essentially unusable.

Now Verizon and Novatel have released an updated 3.5 firmware release, and we are pleased to report that the issues introduced in the 3A firmware seem to be resolved.

Here's is our video about the issues, and this update:

We have been testing the 3.5 firmware update for over a week now, and our issues with the 7730L have cleared up - though we did have to force a factory settings reset after installing the update before the problems went away. (See the video for instructions on how to do this...)

We have heard from several others who have echoed this experience - and so far we've only heard of one person whose 7730L remains problematic even after installing 3.5 and performing a factory reset. If we hear of any more widespread reports, we will update here.

NOTE: The 3.5 update still breaks USB tethering with the Pepwave Surf On-The-Go, though tethering seems to be working fine with the Pepawve Surf SOHO and various WiFiRanger routers.


7730 Getting Old?:

The 7730 was launched in January 2017, and we feel that Verizon is now overdue for an update. But for now, the 7730L still remains the most current and technologically advanced Verizon mobile hotspot option.

Get the Book

We have no information that a new device is actually upcoming, but we have our radar up and will update this space if one should hit the market.  If you need a device in the near term, the 7730L will remain a solid choice for the foreseeable future.

Based on history, Verizon tends to release a new hotspot device every 12-18 months. We suspect Verizon might be holding off on its next new flagship hotspot until the first 5G deployments in late 2018.


The 7730L Jetpack is Verizon's first mobile hotspot with a touchscreen and USB-C. In some ways, it makes older models feel primitive.

In January 2017 Verizon announced a new flagship mobile hotspot - the Novatel 7730L.

Though comparable to the former flagship AC791L in many ways, the 7730L pushes the state of the art in consumer hotspots further than ever.

Read on for the details.

Specifications

  • Battery Life: 24 hours hotspot usage, 27 days standby.
  • # of Connected Devices: 15 Wi-Fi / Supports USB Tethering
    WiFiRanger Tethering: Work Great
    Pepwave Tethering: Works Great (except for Surf On-The-Go)
    Control Panel: http://192.168.1.1 or http://my.jetpack/
    Default Password: Random - Check Device Screen
  • Networks supported:
    Verizon LTE Bands: 2, 4, 5, 13, 66
    Global Roaming on LTE Bands: 3, 7, 20, 28
    4G/3G: HSPA+ 850/1900/2100MHz - Global roaming supported.
    3G: Verizon CDMA EVDO Supported
    2G: GSM EDGE - Quad band global roaming.
  • LTE-Advanced Carrier AggregationYes (3x 20MHz channels)
  • LTE Performance Category: Category 9
    (Max Theoretical Speed: 450Mbps Down / 50Mbps Up)
  • Cellular Antenna Ports: 2x TS9 'Test Ports' (not official antenna ports, but DO support MIMO)
  • Wi-Fi Technology / Frequencies: 802.11 b/g/n/a/ac - Simultaneous 2.4GHz and 5GHz
  • Dimensions: 4.29" x 2.64" x 0.7" /  5.38 oz
  • SIM Card Type: 4FF / Nano SIM
  • Retail Price:  $199.99 / $49.99 (w/ 2-year contract)

Review & Testing Status

Novatel sent us an evaluation unit in late January 2017, and we spent two months using the 7730L as our primary hotspot in a range of situations before issuing our below review.

We focused on testing it head-to-head against the AC791L, though we also compared the Novatel 7730L to the full past lineup of Verizon flagship hotspots: Netgear AC791L, Novatel MiFi 6620L, and the Pantech MHS291L.

Members can access some of our raw field testing results by viewing the embedded spreadsheet here:

Cellular Signal Enhancing Field Testing Results (Q1 2017)

In addition, we have included this unit in many rounds of testing since, including our most recent (1st Quarter 2018). Our field testing results can be found here, for our members who want to follow along: Cellular Signal & Embedded Router Field Testing – IBR900 | MAX-BR1 | Drive Sleek | MIMO Antennas (1st Quarter 2018)

Unboxing Video

Here is our unboxing video and first impressions of the Novatel 7730L after we received it:

Our deeper analysis and impressions are in our members-only section below.

Content included in the member area below:

MIA-final_FullColor web

The Rest of this Review is:
Member Only Content

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Purchasing Options

Verizon tends to closely guard new Jetpack releases, trying to make them only available in their stores.  As options become available on eBay, Amazon and other third party retailers - use caution. Make sure the devices are new, factory OEM and you are buying from a reputable seller.

Verizon 7730L Ratings
  • Overall Rating

Quick Take

Verizon's current flagship mobile hotspot has it all - LTE-Advanced, Cat-9, 802.11ac, and even antenna ports.

5
Comments Rating 4.33 (3 reviews)

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