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Review: Verizon's Blazing PC5750 EV-DO Rev A Card

Review by Michael Oryl on Friday March 16, 2007.

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Since we recently reviewed Sprint's U720 USB EV-DO Rev A modem and compared it to a regular vanilla Verizon EV-DO card, I thought it might be nice, in the interest of fairness, to give one of Verizon's latest and greatest EV-DO Rev A devices a chance show what its capable of. As such, I had Verizon send me one of their new PC5750 cards so that we could put it through the ringer, so to speak.

Like the Verizon PC5220 card that I've been using for over two years, the PC5750 slides into a single Type II PCMCIA card slot on a laptop or other computing device. Like Verizon's V640 ExpressCard and USB720 (nearly the same as the Sprint U720), the PC5750 can be used with Mac OS machines as well as Windows computers.

The PC5750 ships with an updated version of the Verizon VZAccess Manager application, which serves as the control panel for the PC5750. From the VZAccess Manager you can connect or disconnect the modem, send and receive text messages, launch applications, or review the usage log. If you choose the appropriate option when you are first installing the application, the VZAccess Manager can also manage your WiFi connections so that it can switch back and forth between the EV-DO Rev A network and WiFi access points without user intervention.

In terms of physical attributes, the Verizon PC5750 is fairly typical. The card weighs 51g (1.8oz), which is about 25% heavier than my older PC5220 card. It measures up at 116mm x 54mm x 13mm (4.6" x 2.1" x .5"), with the thick part of the card extending about 30mm beyond my Panasonic laptop's card slot. The PC5750 has a nice antenna on it that can be positioned in any of a number of different ways - no matter how you choose to hold your laptop, the antenna can be positioned in an upright stance. It also gently clicks into its resting place when not in use. A good design, it seems.

Installation was pretty painless. We installed the VZAccess Manager from the supplied CD, inserted the card, and went through a very brief activation process. The entire process was completed inside a minute and a half, and then we were off to the races. For those not too familiar with the difference between plain Jane EV-DO and the newer EV-DO Rev A spec, the main advantage of Rev A devices is that they can upload data (from your computer to a remote machine) nearly as fast as they can download it. Regular EV-DO cards (also known as EV-DO Rev 0) download data quickly but typically have upload speeds that are one sixth as fast.

We tested connection speeds by uploading and downloading a 6MB JPG image file, the same file used in the Sprint U720 review. The PC5750 managed an average download speed of 800kbps and an average upload speed of 450kbps. That is well within the realm of wired DSL connections. For comparison's sake, the older PC5220 card averaged 579kbps on the downlink side, and a mere 85kbps on the uplink side. This equates to the EV-DO Rev A PC5750 being 38% faster when downloading files and a whopping 530% faster when uploading files. For folks like me that need to upload a lot of large photos while on the road, this is a massive time savings. For those keeping score, Sprint's U720 USB modem was slightly faster (5%) when downloading and slightly slower (9%) when uploading.

While the technical achievements of the PC5750 are undeniable, this kind of speed doesn't come cheap. The card itself is available online for the fairly reasonable cost of US$99.99 after rebates with a new 2 year contract, but the monthly service is going to run anywhere from US$59.99/mo for customers that already have a Verizon voice plan to as much as $79.99/mo for stand-alone EV-DO unlimited data service for those that don't. That's a lot of money for most people, but at least with the new Rev A data cards like the PC5750, you get more for your money than with the older cards.

In spite of the expense, there simply is no alternative for some people and $80/month will seem like a drop in the bucket. That's why I still give the Verizon PC5750 card a "Highly Recommended" rating.

Highly Recommended (explanation)
Fast uploads and downloads
High monthly service fees


About the author

Michael Oryl
Michael is the Philadelphia based owner and former editor-in-chief of MobileBurn.com. You can follow him on Twitter as @MichaelOryl

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