- The TCL Linkzone 5G UW is Verizon's newest 5G hotspot and features the Qualcomm X62 cellular modem.
- The TCL Linkzone 5G UW supports all Verizon LTE and 5G cellular bands, including C-Band and millimeter wave frequencies.
- The new hotspot also includes an Ethernet port providing a flexible LAN connection option.
- The TCL Linkzone 5G UW does not have antenna ports, limiting its signal-enhancing options.
Verizon released a new 5G mobile hotspot device, the Linkzone 5G UW, by TCL. With the introduction of this hotspot, Verizon now offers four different 5G mobile hotspots for sale. The other models currently available are the Inseego MiFi X PRO 5G UW, the Inseego MiFi M2100 5G UW, and the Orbic Speed 5G UW.
This new hotspot by TCL offers similar features to the other 5G hotspots, so what is different about this one, and which one is best?
Table of Contents
Linkzone 5G UW First Look Video
TCL Linkzone 5G UW Specifications
The cellular modem is the first consideration for any mobile hotspot device since it is the core component of any cellular data device and is critical to real-world data performance.
The modem in the TCL hotspot is the Qualcomm Snapdragon X62 - a modern and good-performing modem that is found in many flagship-level devices in 2022. The X62 is a "5G Phase 2" modem, which means it supports features and technologies that make it more future-proof than older designs like the X55.
Here are the cellular bands the MiFi supports:
- Sub-6GHz 5G: n2, n5, n46, n48, n66, n77, n78
- mmWave 5G: n260, n261, & n257(roaming)
- 4G/LTE (Cat-19): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 20, 28, 46, 48, 66
This includes all the native and major roaming bands Verizon uses, including Verizon's newest mid-band n77 spectrum.
Like most carrier-specific mobile hotspots, however, the TCL is optimized for Verizon's network and would not be a good choice to use on AT&T or T-Mobile.
Ethernet and USB Wired Connectivity
Ethernet ports are quickly becoming a common feature on 5G mobile hotspot devices, which we applaud, and the Linkzone 5G includes a gigabit Ethernet port. The Ethernet port allows much more flexibility for connecting to the hotspot, allowing it to be a WAN input for almost any router or as a direct connection to a PC or laptop.
Additionally, like almost every mobile hotspot device, the Linkzone 5G UW also supports USB tethering. The USB-C 3.0 port provides a data connection as well as power.
The Linkzone, unsurprisingly, supports Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), which is the current standard for Wi-Fi support in 2022. It supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies with a guest network for both. The Linkzone can support up to 32 Wi-Fi clients.
Battery and Charging Options
The TCL Linkzone has a 4500mAh removable battery with a claimed usage time of up to 8 hours and a standby time of 18 days.
TCL offers an optional (sold separately) On-The-Go reverse charging cable that allows the mobile hotspot to charge other mobile devices.
No Antenna Ports
The Linkzone 5G UW, like most modern 5G mobile hotspot devices, does not include external cellular antenna ports. For our audience of RVers, boaters, and nomads, antenna ports are a valuable feature that allows for the easy connection of a cellular antenna in areas with a weak signal.
Verizon 5G Hotspot Comparison
It's very unusual for a carrier to sell four flagship-level mobile hotspot devices at the same time. We suspect that some of the older models, especially the Inseego M2100, will likely be dropped.
The M2100 and Orbic Speed 5G UW both use older, previous-generation cellular modems, the Qualcomm X55. While this is a capable modem, it is not as future-proof as the X65 modem in the Inseego M3100 and the X62 in the TCL Linkzone 5G. Given there is no difference in price, it doesn't make much sense to purchase one of the X55 models if you are looking for a Verizon mobile hotspot device.
Here is a quick comparison of the currently-available models:
- Inseego MiFi M2100 5G UW - $349 - Launched in September 2020, this older-generation mobile hotspot uses the Qualcomm X55 modem.
- Orbic Speed 5G UW - $299 - Launched in March 2022, this hotspot also used the last-generation X55 modem.
- Inseego MiFi X PRO 5G UW (M3100) - $349 - Released this past August, this was Verizon's first mobile hotspot to feature the advanced X65 cellular modem.
- TCL Linkzone 5G UW - $299 - This new hotspot is similar on paper to the Inseego MiFi X Pro 5G UW, but utilizes the X62 modem instead of the X65. The X62 is a lower-cost modem that features lower peak theoretical speeds on both 5G and LTE, but is otherwise the same.
Getting the TCL Linkzone 5G UW
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- Understanding & Selecting Mobile Hotspot Devices (MiFi, Jetpacks, AirCards) - Our featured guide on all the mobile hotspot devices focused on the interests of RVers and cruisers.
- TCL Linkzone 5G UW - Our overview of this new mobile hotspot.
- Inseego MiFi X Pro 5G UW (M3100) Mobile Hotspot - Our overview of Verizon's other flagship mobile hotspot.
- Review: MiFi M2100 5G UW by Inseego (Mobile Hotspot) - Our review of Inseego's previous-generation 5G mobile hotspot.
- Review: Orbic Speed 5G UW (Mobile Hotspot) - Our review of Verizon's X55 hotspot that supports band n77.
- 5G Industry Update: Is 2022 The Year 5G Gets Interesting? - A look at what is on tap in 5G in the year ahead, including a deep dive into the importance of AT&T's "Andromeda" spectrum.
- All Our 5G Cellular Resources
- Netgear Releases Unlocked, All-Carrier Nighthawk M6 Pro 5G Mobile Hotspot Posted on: May 10, 2023
- The Franklin A50 - A New 5G Mobile Hotspot For AT&T Posted on: February 24, 2023
- Verizon Introduces a New 5G Hotspot - The TCL Linkzone 5G UW Posted on: November 17, 2022
- T-Mobile Launches the MiFi X PRO 5G - Their Latest 5G Mobile Hotspot From Inseego Posted on: November 17, 2022
- Netgear Releases Unlocked Nighthawk M6 MR6150 5G Mobile Hotspot Posted on: October 4, 2022