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Review: Smart Bro Plan 499 (6GB monthly + FREE LTE pocket wifi)

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Curious about this offering? Here's my take on it. Who knows I might save you from a useless subscription, or not. We'll see!

Promo valid until December 31, 2016
When I heard about this promo I knew I had to get it. In this country where we're so deprived of internet speed, a slight raise in data cap or a promise of increased minimum speed will make us scramble to our feet for an upgrade. Most of the time it only serves to strengthen the chains keeping us enslaved to these telcos, but there are times it makes being their cows much bearable. Enough metaphors lol.

So this Saturday I went to Smart SM Fairview to inquire, bringing along with me 2 valid IDs, a billing statement, and cash amounting to the monthly service fee just in case I jump in with the subscription. Those are the usual requirements, and it still holds.

According to Smart's website, here's what's new:
  • Bigger data for all plans  - ₱299 for 3.5GB, ₱499 for 6GB, ₱799 for 10GB, ₱999 for 15GB
  • Faster Speed - 48 to 256kbps minimum speed with 80% reliability. This minimum speed achuchuchu has been largely misused lately, I remember seeing a SkyMobi commercial saying they offer 12kbps minimum speed with 80% reliability, I was like wtf are we still living in a 2G world, surfing over WAP? Or did they want us to read that off as 12mbps? At least they're honest haha.
  • Free device on all plans - No cash out needed for the free pocket wifi. For plan 299 you get a 3G pocket wifi, for the rest, you get an LTE pocket wifi. Uhm, yey.
That's definitely worth checking out don't you think? I don't know how much Smart has improved its infrastructure, but to be able to promise these "much" to its subscribers (see, I have higher internet standards but where I live that's already a stretch offer lol), I'm about to cry here guys. Srsly. Joke lang anuba.

Anywaaaay,

Before signing anything I made sure the following was clear to me:
  • The free pocket wifi is an LTE one and not the older 4G units they have. Customer rep assured me they're giving an LTE unit, provided by Evoluzn (not Huawei or ZTE).
  • I can pay my bills online.
  • The 6GB monthly cap is a continuous one and doesn't have a daily limit.
  • If I consume my allocation before the next monthly cycle, I can opt to buy additional data packages and it will be added to my bill. Fair enough.
I have to wait for my application to be approved before I can pick up my unit. So I did. The next day (Sunday) I received a call from them telling me that the unit is ready for pickup. Earlier today (Monday), I drove to the mall to get the unit after paying the ₱499 down payment.

It was nice that the customer rep setup my username/password for me. Saved me the hassle of fumbling through the admin page. I mean, if you're not too arte about giving your password, why not diba haha.

Unboxing
Do you even need this? But anyway,


I personally don't like pocket wifis with screens like that cos it's ugly. I don't like how it lights up and I don't like the fonts. I prefer those with little icons lighting up cos it's cuter but that's just my kaartehan.

Off the box you get your unit w/ battery, a charger, a charging cable, and a bunch of manuals nobody really reads. This unit is an Evoluzn model FXPR2L, and it has a microSD card slot. It's good to note the battery has 2050mAH capacity, for a small device I'm assuming it'll last long. The front is still printed with their old logo, so obviously it's an old stock but whatever, it still works; and I prefer the old logo anyway.

Okay, this review will consist mainly of speed tests. I will update this regularly, whenever I get into a new area, and check over time if the quality of my connection will be consistently strong (cos right now it frkn is and I'm impressed). I'm trying to manage my expectations seeing that my plan just got activated haha. But we'll see.

Dashboard
You can access the router admin panel by going to 192.168.1.1. From there you can login using the default username and password (make sure to change it), update your wifi SSID and password, and check messages. I have yet to find an android app that makes the admin panel easier to navigate, as in like a mobile app where I can easily check messages and even text.

To manage your acount, pay bills, and update your profile info, login to your My Smart dashboard by heading over to www.smartbrosettings.net (always access with a www), or my.smart.com.ph (works better). Sign up for an account, and everything will be pretty straightforward from there.

Speed Tests
I'll try to keep the tests regular, but maybe monthly only 'cos the test itself is consuming a lot of data lol. But so far, so good! Since we already have DSL at home, it's a good thing to have when you're outside or travelling. :)
Date Time Location Download (mbps) Upload (mpbs) Ping (ms)
Oct 26 2016 1:10 AM UP AyalaLand Technohub (LTE covered) 26.14 11.85 19
Oct 26 2016 1:11 AM UP AyalaLand Technohub (LTE covered) 23.61 12.57 19
Oct 26 2016 1:12 AM UP AyalaLand Technohub (LTE covered) 25.79 9.75 19
Oct 26 2016 1:13 AM UP AyalaLand Technohub (LTE covered) 32.66 16.79 20
Oct 26 2016 1:15 AM UP AyalaLand Technohub (LTE covered) 27.40 10.71 20
Nov 20 2016 3:28 AM UP AyalaLand Technohub (LTE covered) 23.76 17.00 17
Nov 20 2016 3:29 AM UP AyalaLand Technohub (LTE covered) 18.87 15.45 20
Jan 4 2017 3.32 AM UP AyalaLand Technohub (LTE covered) 31.27 15.89 16

Update
I think my speed tests are enough proof that it's really fast especially in LTE covered areas.
I tried using it in Batangas City and it's pretty weak there. Signal at our place in Fairview used to be soooo bad but now it's pretty good. I can connect in my room now! Hehe

So, should you get it?
If you need something fast and reliable while on the go - go get this plan.
If you need something to use at home regularly - get yourself a DSL connection instead. Capped services like this isn't good for home use, specially one that involves a lot of video streaming. :)

Hope this guide helped you somehow!