TRENDnet TEW-429UB review

£30
Price when reviewed

Wireless hotspots have opened up all kinds of possibilities – for instance, you can now connect to your office network from the local coffee shop. But there are unadvertised wireless hotspots in all kinds of places and, if retrieving your laptop from your bag seems like a lot of trouble, the TRENDnet TEW-429UB is the answer.

TRENDnet TEW-429UB review

Not only can you use it to connect a PC to an available wireless network, as you would any USB wireless adaptor, but the two-line LCD shows the name and security status of any networks within range, as well as their type (a, b or g) and signal strength. Once you’ve found a network you can access, turn the detector off from the bottom, plug it into your PC and surf away. The hotspot detector is powered by a lithium ion battery that recharges whenever the TEW-429UB is plugged into a PC.

As an adaptor, it supports 802.11b and g, as well as WPA and WEP encryption, and we couldn’t spot any performance difference between it and Intel’s integrated wireless adaptor in our laptop. Another plus is that it’s only marginally more expensive than a wireless adaptor without the hotspot detector, so if working in the great outdoors appeals this is a superb gadget.

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