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

UPDATE (mid July 2018): Verizon has pushed a firmware update (version 3A) that adds LTE Band 66 support, as well as a few other fixes.

Unfortunately - we are hearing from many of our readers that the 7730L is proving to be less reliable once this updates is installed, including many reports of it spontaneously rebooting every morning - and even breaking tethering connections. We are reaching out to our contacts at Novatel to see if we can learn more about this issue, and if there is a fix coming.

We've also been able to confirm that the update breaks USB tethering with the Pepwave Surf On-The-Go entirely.

The Surf On-The-Go is very rarely updated by Pepwave, so we are not sure when (or if) there will ever be an update released that fixes this incompatibility. Since this firmware update on the hotspot is mandatory, if you rely on this combination it might be time to consider upgrading to a more capable mobile-friendly router.

It is very disappointing to hear that an update is causing these new issues with a hotspot that had proven reliable for so long.


7730 Getting Old?:

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

We have no information that a new device is actually upcoming but we have our eyes out regularly, 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 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 announced a new flagship and rival for the crown - 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)

Get the Book

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.

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Comments Rating 4.33 (3 reviews)

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