Acer Connect Enduro M3 5G Mobile WiFi review

TMI Newsdesk
13 Min Read


30-second review

 

Those who work on the move are always challenged with how to connect their devices to local data services, and the more devices you have, the more complicated this can become.

The Acer Connect Enduro M3 aims to solve this problem by providing a dual-channel WiFi access point for the devices to connect to and then accessing mobile data services to connect them to the Internet.

It’s battery-powered, and this device effectively delivers the guts of a mobile phone with a much smaller screen, no apps, but a vSIM solution to connect you to the mobile data network.

As part of the package, 20GB of international data are included, and this amount can be topped up online with an account. Alternatively, there is a fiddly SIM slot, and any mobile Nano-SIM can be used to connect to a specific local service supplier.

The battery is 6500mAh, which doesn’t sound huge by phone standards. However, the majority of phone power is used for screen and processor use, neither of which is an issue with the Enduro M3. That’s sufficient power to be connected throughout a working day.

However, it’s not all plain sailing; a few issues exist.

The first is that at 250g, this is yet another item that weighs as much as a mobile phone. And, if that’s not an issue for you, then why not get an inexpensive, rugged phone with a much larger battery and get a backup phone?

And surely, if you strip down a mobile phone to make it a mobile hotspot, it should be cheaper than a phone? The Acer Connect Enduro M3 is £299.99 in the UK and $546.60 in the USA.

Acer Connect Enduro M3

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Acer Connect Enduro M3: Price and availability

  • How much does it cost?  From £300/$550
  • When is it out? Now
  • Where can you get it? Amazon

There appear to be two versions of the Acer Connect Enduro M3, with one including 1GB of international data via SIMO and the one we reviewed with 20. The hardware in each case seems the same, and curiously, in the UK, the 20GB option was cheaper.

The 1GB model costs £390.16, and the 20GB model costs £299.99, both from the Acer store on Amazon.co.uk.

Acer Connect Enduro M3

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

The same 20GB option in the USA costs $546.60 from Amazon.com, making it markedly more expensive for American customers.
Compared to other 5G travel routers, the only one that’s more expensive than this is the Netgear Nighthawk M6. It’s even more than the ZTE MU5120, which has a 10,000mAh battery and can reverse charge your devices.

Acer Connect Enduro M3: Specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Feature Spec
Connectivity WiFi 6 or USB-C 3.0
WiFi Wi-Fi 6 2×2 MIMO
Comms 5G 2.77GBps downlink, 1.25GBps uplink
5G Global NR Bands n1, n3,n5, n7,n8, n20, n28, n38, n40, n41, n66,n71,n77, n78,n79
5G US NR Bands n1,n2,n3 n5, n7, n8, n38, n41,n66,n71, n77, n78
4G LTE Global B1, B2, B3,B4, B5, B7, B8,B12,B17,B18,19, B20, B26,B28, B38, B40, B41, B42, B66
4G LTE US B1,B2,B3, B4, B5, B7,B8, B12,B13,B14,B17, B25,B26, B29, B30, B38, B41, B42,B48,B66, B71
Battery 6500 mAh
Dimensions (L x W x H) 138 x 83 x 17.1mm
Weight 245g
Protection Rating Certified MIL-STD-810H durable and with IP54 protection against dust and water

Acer Connect Enduro M3: Design

  • Phone-like
  • Robust
  • Redundant screen

Acer Connect Enduro M3

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

With its little strap attached, the Acer Connect Enduro M3 looks in profile like a small hot water bottle, ironically.

According to Acer, the Enduro M3 is certified to be MIL-STD-810H durable and has IP54 protection against dust and water. The protection should enable it to handle a light rain shower or being dropped onto a sandy beach.

Front and back is a rib-texture pattern on the blue glass reinforced polycarbonate, making it relatively easy to hold. The power button is on the right, and the USB charging port is at the bottom, where you would expect to find them if this were a phone.

Pressing and holding the power button launches the device and immediately makes a WiFi access point available on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. A single device can also connect via the USB port to avoid using WiFi.

The small 2.5-inch display shows the date and time, the number of connected devices, the cell service, and the battery percentage.

A menu via the display is provided, but some options seem designed for much smaller fingers than a typical adult or the sausage-like appendages featured on this reviewer.

Interestingly, some configurations were clearly intended to be achievable through this tiny touch panel, but a level of sanity kicked in.

For example, you can’t change the SID name or the password using the screen, and this is done from a web page using another device. The assumption, and not an unreasonable one, is that you will have a phone with you and one you can connect to the Internet to perform these adjustments.

These web-based diversions include setting up the SIMO account for the internal vSIM and configuring the WiFi.

After a few trips around the menus offered by the touch screen, I found that it’s not easy to use and yet offers relatively little to do, confusingly. In retrospect, it might have been better to have not included that feature and used a mobile application to do all the housekeeping functions.

Acer Connect Enduro M3

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Acer Connect Enduro M3: Features

  • SIMO Global data services
  • Plenty of options
  • No guarantee of 5G

People buying this device will need to pay for the data service that can be distributed to other devices, either with a user-provided SIM card or using the vSIM functionality of SIMO.

Unless there is a specific reason for using a SIM card, most purchasers are likely to use the SIMO service since it promises to be an “always-on, anywhere, anytime connection!”

Although we realistically never confirmed this, SIMO offers a service that should work in 135 countries worldwide, although we noticed that North Korea isn’t currently part of the deal.

Breaking down the pricing, the services on offer are either Global (135+), most popular countries, Asian business destinations or a specific country, and the data can be bought either unlimited or a specific period of time and in blocks of 1GB, 3GB, 5GB, 10GB, 20GB or 50GB.

In the USA (including Canada and Mexico), for example, 30 days of Global coverage with unlimited data will cost $99, whereas 1GB for the same period and coverage will cost you $8.

Europeans have less of a mobile data monopoly than the USA, and therefore, prices are lower, especially for local countries or European destinations.

UK users will pay £99 for Global coverage and unlimited data for 30 days, more than Americans pay per GB. But, in Europe and Africa, unlimited for 30 days is just £29.99.

Another difference in pricing worth noting is that some countries, like the USA, have provisions that allow the customer to buy data packages that aren’t time-limited, or the time limit is 99 years. These aren’t offered in Europe, where the limit for any amount of data is a maximum of 30 days.

With so many choices, it’s easy to get confused, and even SIMO has muddled managing the options and made the Unlimited Global service for the USA $120 for 20 days but only $99 for 30 days, perversely.

If you plan to take a trip somewhere, it might be worth researching how much a local SIM card with unlimited data might cost and weighing that against the convenience of using the SIMO vSIM.

Part of the problem is that until you get to your destination and sample the service, you have no idea if the investment in unlimited data for a month through SIMO was worth it.

Thankfully, the 20GB of data bundled with the Enduro M3 should help you find out, but don’t activate this until you are there since it is time-limited from the point of activation.

It also needs to be said that not all countries have 5G, and even in those that do have it, there is no service guarantee. The UK is well supported, but not the part where this reviewer lives despite it being decidedly urban.

Acer Connect Enduro M3

(Image credit: Acer)

Acer Connect Enduro M3: Verdict

Acer Connect Enduro M3

(Image credit: Acer)

Normally, with wireless equipment, we’d talk about performance. But, the numerous variables in this instance make this analysis entirely moot. In theory, Acer’s SignalScan technology should locate the fastest 4G or 5G service in your location and deliver that, but that assumes SIMO has a deal with those carriers. This device is designed to work with fifteen different 5G bands and nineteen 4G bands, so it should cover most scenarios.

There are two issues with this product: the design and the price.

The distinctive feature of the Enduro M3 of the tiny touch screen isn’t one that works in the way that users would expect before purchase. The screen is mostly redundant, and the few things it does could have been achieved with stickers or a low-power paper-white display.

The other is the price, and that includes the cost of purchasing and the cost of ownership.

The technology inside the Enduro M3 should be closer to $200, not the eye-watering $546.60 that it costs US customers on Amazon.

The cost of data on the SIMO service isn’t silly expensive, but it is more than most customers would pay in the country of use for a SIM-provided service.

In the UK, unlimited monthly data from SIMO in Europe costs £29.99, whereas most local providers typically charge £25. Therefore, it costs £5 to avoid inserting the SIM and use the SIMO vSIM.

One advantage of this solution for business users is that the cost of the data packages can be separated from personal phone use, making life easier for company accountants.

Those wanting similar functionality at a lower price should consider buying a good powerpack and using their phone to share connectivity.

Should I buy a Acer Connect Enduro M3?

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Value Expensive way to share a 5G connection 3/5
Design It has a tiny screen that refers you to a website 3/5
Features vSIM technology avoids inserting Nano SIMs 3.5/5
Overall Expensive and bulky option for 5G sharing 3.5/5

Buy it if…

Don’t buy it if…



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