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.

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  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
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      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
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          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
          1. 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
            1. 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. R
                  Rajesh
                  Aug 17, 2015 at 2:29 pm
                  I loved it. Speed is good, does not get disconnected, reasonable price.
                  Reply
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                    Ajay R
                    Jun 15, 2015 at 5:51 pm
                    I have been using the product from the past 4 months. Initially the product performed well, but lately it has started to give issues: 1.) signal just disappears in between a download / browsing intermittently. 2.) device warms up and look like it will blow up any time 3.) Download and upload speeds can be challenged and are nowhere near the mark the company claims. Being a Tata product, it sells on trust. There is absolutely no one from the customer service center who is ready to take down the complaint or resolve issues. Verdit : If you want to get conned, here is a golden opportunity.
                    Reply
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                      Akshay
                      Jan 23, 2015 at 7:07 am
                      Seriously, this is a worst product I've ever used. I was using Airtel 4G in Karvenagar area in Pune. I was not getting that much speed as I wanted. So I bought Tatat Photon Max. I thought that I can use it on cell phones as well as for laptops. But for my disappointment, it was unable to load pages on laptop. And when I used it as wi-fi, the speed was reduced very low.I called the customer care, they told me to reset the dongle (didn't help), then change settings like change connection and all. None of these helped. Next day I received call from customer care regarding my complaint. The lady on the phone asked me to meet local service center. I went to the service center, and their answer was "the area in which you are using this network service is a high usability area". LOL what an answer.So I would suggest Airtel 4G to others not Tata Photon. At least they (Airtel people) check connection and speed at your place and then only sell their product.
                      Reply
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                        Akshay
                        Jan 23, 2015 at 7:07 am
                        Seriously, this is a worst product I've ever used. I was using Airtel 4G in Karvenagar area in Pune. I was not getting that much speed as I wanted. So I bought Tatat Photon Max. I thought that I can use it on cell phones as well as for laptops. But for my disappointment, it was unable to load pages on laptop. And when I used it as wi-fi, the speed was reduced very low.I called the customer care, they told me to reset the dongle (didn't help), then change settings like change connection and all. None of these helped. Next day I received call from customer care regarding my complaint. The lady on the phone asked me to meet local service center. I went to the service center, and their answer was "the area in which you are using this network service is a high usability area". LOL what an answer.So I would suggest Airtel 4G to others not Tata Photon. At least they (Airtel people) check connection and speed at your place and then only sell their product.
                        Reply
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                          Anil
                          Mar 9, 2015 at 12:07 pm
                          Tata wifi dongle gives speed of about .25 MBps or less in Pune pimple saudagar area, if you are paying for this speed anything it is useless. Please do not buy this even if it is available for free and if you want to use it in pimple saudagar area in pune.
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                            Biju Thomas
                            Sep 1, 2015 at 11:14 pm
                            a worst product, and nil customer care ,net speed is showing 0.04 mb when dial through max/photon plus/ hybrid and shows 0.20 when dial through basic photon wizard. i think their emp and staffs are even not at all any basic knowledge about internet, like gazal singh. if you mail them their auto reply is "You live in a high utilization area" and their is no timeline when it will solve. you should pay the amount properly, very very worst company,ealry it's ok (before 3-4 yrs back) but now a days very bad company(cheater)
                            Reply
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                              shailesh
                              Mar 19, 2015 at 11:34 am
                              Dear all, Tata photon wifi max is a complete rip-off. The device is pathetic when it comes to speed. Max you can get is 1 mbps. The worst part is yet to come is the customer service. They are rude, pathetic and have absolutely no knowledge of what you are talking about. I bought this dongle and will regret this for life. The customer service will only talk to you when you don't pay their bill. They will talk to you otherwise as if they are doing a favor to you. Please I request them to stop this non sense. Reliance netconnect is way much better.
                              Reply
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                                Dheeraj
                                Mar 21, 2015 at 8:58 pm
                                I bu tata photon max wifi on 18-03-2015.. it is activated on 19-03-2015 morning.. I took the 850 plan I will get 10gb data. on 19th my net speed speed is 2Mbps but coming to next on 20th my net speed is 0.12Mbps very slow I called to customer care he told you have used all the data in one day.. then next day my speed is 0.02mbps then I called and told I dint used the w data then they told me to buy the speed booster I told I don't need it please disconnect me.... then they told we will provide you free speed boster...they are playing games...
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                                  Dheeraj
                                  Mar 21, 2015 at 9:03 pm
                                  TATA PHOTON MAX WIFI IS WASTE!!!!!... PLEASE DONT BUY IT....... CUSTOMER CARE IS NOT RESPONDING GOOD..... AS MUCH YOU TAKE THE PLAN BUT IT WILL COMPLETE IN 1 OR 2DAYS..... MY REQUEST TO NOT BUY THIS.. 100% MONEY WASTE!!!
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                                    frank
                                    Jan 12, 2015 at 8:19 pm
                                    The first thing is that speedtest doesn't shows your original speed use torrent to calculate that this is worst device that I bu don't go for this it doesn't even gives spedd above 20k/s even after paying bills it doesn't' goes up when I called Customer Care they say that you have used your 4 gb high speed data in a day that's not even possible i beg you guys don't go for this it the ed device fraud and all if anyone know how to get refund please tell thanx and one more tip never ever go for wireless device it speed always peaks go for wired one I taked a wrong without reading any review s i bu this and yes 6.2 mbps is a ing joke you get not even more then 500k/s so just don't go for this
                                    Reply
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                                      Chaitanya
                                      May 26, 2015 at 12:19 pm
                                      TATA PHOTON MAX WIFI IS WASTE!!!!!... they are the best cheater in this WIFI trade.. They say Up to 6.2 mbps that was the biggest Lie of the decade... i have using it since 6 months in HYD...speed was never above 1mbps and the avg speed is half of the 1mbps. .. infact lower than that.. Their web site is never UP...most of the time it would be down. CUSTOMER CARE IS the wort part i don't want to talk about such a non-sense ..... PLEASE DONT BUY IT.......
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                                        girish
                                        Nov 7, 2015 at 3:26 pm
                                        Very poor connectivity. Customer care staff are pathetic. Do not use Tata Photon.
                                        Reply
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                                          AKSHAY GUPTA
                                          Oct 20, 2015 at 8:27 pm
                                          I AM USING MTS WIFI FROM LAST ONE YEAR, IN INITIAL STAGE THE CONNECTIVITY IS GOOD BUT AFTER TIME THE SERVICE STARTS GOING WORST. YESTERDAY I MADE THE COMPLAINT ABOUT CONNECTIVITY THEY REPLY IS A GENERAL WE CAN'T DO ANY THING, THE AREA OF NETWORK IS CROUDY SO WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE. I THINK ITS A WORST REPLY FROM THE COMPANY SIDE, APART FROM SOLVING THE ISSUE THEY ARE TAKING IT LIKE JOKE. IF MTS COMPANY IS NOT ABLE TO HANDLE NETWORK THEN WHY ISSUE THE CONNECTION FREQUENTLY. HOPELESS COMPANY AND NETWORK.
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                                            gurmeet
                                            Jul 10, 2015 at 7:45 pm
                                            Most frustrating network ever and very poor service ..i recommend never to use this tata photon service
                                            Reply
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