REVIEW: Tata Photon Max WiFi is a cheap, portable and stable internet connection

If you need a stable, portable Wi-Fi connection at home or office, then the Tata Photon Max Wi-Fi will be an excellent purchase

Written by Pranay Parab | New Delhi | Published:January 25, 2014 7:52 am
The price is a reasonable Rs 1,999 The price is a reasonable Rs 1,999

Do you panic when your internet connection drops? When the deadline looms, I do. Many of us rely on the Internet to earn a living so whether it is power cuts, poor network coverage or unscheduled downtime, the cost of such outages is huge.

During one such deadline-hour power cut, I realised that my phone had run out of charge. I had to borrow a neighbour’s phone and use it as a Wi-Fi hotspot to send my story. To put it mildly, the editor was not happy.

When I first used Tata Photon Max Wi-Fi last week, a USB dongle that lets you access the internet on up to five devices, I wished I’d had it a year ago. The amount of hardware and software configuration needed for a broadband connection make it unviable for many. If you had a USB stick that you could use to quickly connect five devices to the internet, things would be a lot more convenient than a broadband connection. That is just what the Photon Max Wi-Fi offers.

SETTING IT UP

The review unit we got was pre-configured, so all I had to do was connect it to a power socket and the device started working in half a minute. I couldn’t find the installation manual on the Tata Photon website, so I have uploaded it here: http://is.gd/mg1pr4. Going by those instructions, it looks like the installation process and changing Wi-Fi passwords is going to be difficult for most people. However, it’s a one-time hassle.

COVERAGE

As mentioned above, the device works as advertised after you configure it. It is almost identical to the Photon Max, whose coverage I’ve found to be very reliable in most big cities. The Photon Max Wi-Fi has a blue and a green light. A stable blue light means that the device has connected to the Internet, while a stable green light means that your gadgets are connected to Photon Max Wi-Fi. In over a week of testing, I faced no downtime.

M2SPEED

Tata promises up to 6.2 Mbps speed on the Photon Max. The speed we got ranged between 1.4 Mbps and 2.6 Mbps, when tested on speedtest.net. By no means should this be considered slow. Three to four people had connected phones and tablets to the Wi-Fi network and were constantly browsing, chatting and updating apps. The connection did not slow down much during that test.

RANGE

The most surprising aspect that emerged during testing was the range of the device. The Tata website says the range is up to 100 metres. In our tests, we got a range of up to 20-30 metres in The Indian Express’ office. As is common, the signal went weak when there were thick walls between the Photon Max Wi-Fi and my phone. This means that the device may not be best for homes with more than two rooms. But most offices don’t have those walls, so the range should be much better there.

ONE MORE THING…
It has been quite some time since we last came across a device that is so obviously useful, but as reviewers, our job is to find the catch. While using the Photon Max Wi-Fi, I wished that the device had a battery or that Tata had offered a battery pack as a bundle offer of some sort. While you’re travelling, sometimes you may not find a power socket or working USB port. For those cases, we recommend purchasing a portable battery pack – one that lets you plug in USB devices.

Should you buy it?

If you need a stable, portable Wi-Fi connection at home or office, then the Tata Photon Max Wi-Fi will be an excellent purchase. The price is reasonable – Rs 1,999. Plans range from Rs 650 per month (up to 3 GB) to Rs 1,500 per month (up to 15 GB) excluding taxes. However, if you use more than 15 GB data per month, then it would be better to get a broadband connection as Tata curtails speed to 153.8 kbps once you hit the limit.

For all the latest Technology News, download Indian Express App

  1. M
    manju
    Jun 14, 2017 at 2:52 pm
    better donate money to poor than buying this. worst service.too costly .they are going to charge even if you don't use .stupid postpaid. postpaid k naam pe loot rhe hai sab. they are cheaters. never ever buy this. the worst part is you have to pay even to deactivate the service.I really regret of buying this now .only way to escape from them is to break that pathetic device
    Reply
    1. A
      Anu
      Feb 19, 2016 at 8:32 am
      Waste product. Always at low speed. Could not even connect to messenger or whatsapp When we call to customer care, they will always say a single answer " you are in high utilization Area". Answer will be same, irrespective of the area, you call from. Precisely, it will not work in any area. I am paying 1000 rupees a month, which is completely into drains.
      Reply
      1. A
        ashish thakur
        Sep 3, 2016 at 5:13 am
        its the most dissapointing device i have ever seen ..total waste of money i am struggling with it for 6 months now and after so many calls to reps no one has ever turned up..i told them on call that i am not getting a 3G speed as promised they told its ok at least 2g is there..what an answer..plsz do not buy this device.
        Reply
        1. S
          Sunil kumar
          Feb 26, 2016 at 2:04 pm
          Worst and disastrous service I ever received from any company. Please don't buy any tata photon products.It will bring disastrous to your mental peace
          Reply
          1. N
            Nari babu
            Feb 15, 2016 at 11:50 am
            It's worst product It's showing signal strength was excellent but even i could not able to open Gmail page it is taking 3 minutes to open my gmail account . my friendly advice please don't buy this product . if u have any 1% of thought to buy this product please ignore it.
            Reply
          2. S
            shaik sameer
            Jun 15, 2016 at 5:20 am
            Worst, waste of money and time spend on it "tata docomo Photon max wifi data card", is the worst product i have ever known, please try any other products but stay as much away as possible from this device, this is totally s__t. I Hope i could spread the word as much as possible to save their money and time in this device.
            Reply
          3. S
            shivam jain
            Nov 2, 2016 at 10:35 am
            very worst product dont ever think about it to buy
            Reply
            1. S
              sunkarasrikanth
              Jul 18, 2016 at 3:16 pm
              tata photon is waste of money customer care useless staff i pay my regular bill while browsing suddenly it disconnect when call customer care they say follow the setting in photon but no service many times same issue we cancel connection .
              Reply
              1. Load More Comments