Three MiFi Review | TCL 4G Mobile WiFi Router | 2024

Considering getting online using Three MiFi?

In this article, we’ve reviewed the TCL 4G MiFi device, sold by Three in the UK.

We’ve shown how to set up this mobile Wi-Fi device, performed some speed tests, and timed its battery life. Plus, we’ve assessed whether or not it offers good value for money, when purchased from Three with one of their data plans.

Our verdict: we rate Three MiFi 4.3 out of 5. It’s cheap, easy to set up, and offered good 4G speeds in our testing. We just wish it had better Wi-Fi signal.

Let’s get started.

Contents

Three MiFi overview

Holding the Three MiFi device.

BrandThree
Name4G MiFi
ManufacturerTCL
ModelMW63VF3
Dimensions92 x 62.5 x 13.3mm
Weight105g
Battery2150mAh, up to 8 hours of usage or 300 hours on standby
Maximum concurrent connected devices32
Maximum download speed300 Mbps
Maximum upload speed50 Mbps
Wi-Fi frequency bands2.4GHz and 5GHz
SIM slot typeNano SIM
Recharging portMicro USB
Data plans10GB, 40GB, or unlimited data
Contract lengthsMonthly, 12 months, or 24 months
Our rating4.3 (out of 5)
PriceCheck on Three

Three currently sells a mobile Wi-Fi (MiFi) device, made by TCL, called the MW63VF3.

This is a small, pocket-sized gadget that creates a Wi-Fi hotspot you can use to get online.

The Three 4G MiFi device comes with a battery, and connects to the internet using the 3G or 4G network, just like your phone – this is known as mobile broadband. As a result, you can get online from almost anywhere in the UK, without needing to plug into anything.

The design of the Three MiFi device also makes it very easy to set up. All you need to do is insert the battery and the supplied SIM card, turn it on, and connect to Wi-Fi.

Buying the Three TCL MiFi device

When you buy this mobile broadband device from Three, you get to choose a data plan to pair it with, as well as a contract length.

You can choose one of three data packs:

  • 10GB of data per month
  • 40GB of data per month
  • Unlimited data

Each is available on a 1 month pay as you go plan, or a 12 or 24 month pay monthly contract.

Before buying, it’s important to check that you have good Three 4G signal at your address, to ensure that you’ll get fast download and upload speeds.

Three 4G network coverage map.
Three 4G network coverage map.

You can use the Three network coverage map to check your 4G signal. Ideally, you should have good indoor and outdoor 4G coverage at your address before buying this mobile Wi-Fi device, however you can use it in areas with only 3G signal as well.

Comparing the TCL MW63VF3 to the old Huawei 4G Plus

Up until late 2023, Three sold a Huawei MiFi device, rather than the TCL MW63VF3.

From our testing, the two devices are very similar. They look and perform almost identically. We think that Three likely switched to TCL just because they ran out of Huawei devices to sell.

Turning on the Three 4G Plus MiFi device.
The old Huawei 4G Plus MiFi device.

The main difference between the two devices are the old one had 350 hours of battery life on standby, rather than 300. However, its battery capacity only allowed for six hours of usage – you get eight with the TCL MF63VF3.

Given it has slightly better battery life when in use, we prefer the new TCL mobile broadband device, but there’s not a big difference between the two mobile routers.

Three MiFi unboxing and setup

After we purchased Three MiFi online, our shipment arrived two business days after ordering.

When the Three MiFI device arrives in the mail, in the box you’ll find:

  • The MiFi device itself
  • A battery
  • A SIM card
  • A micro-USB charging cable
  • A quick-start guide

Three TCL MiFi device with box contents.

Here’s what you need to do to get set up, and begin browsing the internet.

1. Insert the SIM card

Take the MiFi device, turn it around to look at the back, and slide your fingernail under the small opening on the side of the device.

Lift up, and the back cover will begin to come off. It is held in place with a number of small clips located around the edge of the device.

Removing the back cover from the Three MiFi device.

Once the back cover is off, grab the SIM card package, and remove the SIM from its plastic punch-out card. You need to remove the nano SIM, which is the smallest of the three sizes.

Getting the nano SIM card from its packaging.

On the back of the MiFi device, there is a small area where you push the SIM card down, then slide it across into its slot.

Place the SIM card with the Three logo facing up, and the cut corner in the top left, relative to the direction you will be pushing it, as shown in the image.

There is a small graphic on the device which shows which direction the cut corner of the SIM card should be facing.

Then, slide the SIM card into its slot, continuing to push down as you do so, until it won’t move any further.

Inserting the SIM card into the TCL mobile Wi-Fi device.

2. Take note of your Wi-Fi login details

Before you insert the battery in the next step, it’s a good idea to take a picture of your Wi-Fi login details, because the label under the battery is the only place they’re printed.

Three mobile Wi-Fi login details label.

If you don’t take note of your Wi-Fi login details at this stage, you’ll need to turn off the device and remove the battery to access them again.

Unlike with their old Huawei 4G Plus mobile Wi-Fi device, Three doesn’t provide a separate keepsake card with your Wi-Fi login details when you buy their TCL device.

3. Insert the battery

Putting the battery in the MiFi device is relatively simple.

Rotate the battery until you find the corner with the four golden squares. Then, match up this corner with the four golden squares on the back of the mobile broadband device.

Slide the battery into place, beginning at a slight angle as shown below. If everything is lined up correctly, the battery will fit snugly into position.

At this point, you can put the cover back on.

To do this, line up the cover, ensuring it’s the right way around, and press down along the edges. You should hear it click into place. Continue around all four edges until the cover is completely clipped in.

Inserting the battery into the Three mobile broadband device.

4. Turn on the MiFi device

Hold down the button on the top of the device for about five seconds, or until its lights turn blue.

Turning on the Three MiFi device.

Once switched on, the device will set itself up, establish a 3G or 4G connection, and create a Wi-Fi network. This may take a few minutes the first time you turn it on.

Note that you should not expect the lights to turn green on this MiFi device. When it’s ready, the Wi-Fi and network lights will both be blue.

If the MiFi device’s lights do not illuminate, it may be out of battery. From the factory, our TCL Linkzone MW63VF3 came with about half a charge, however this can vary from unit to unit, so you may need to charge it for an hour or two before turning it on for the first time.

5. Connect to Wi-Fi

When the device has configured itself, you can use the Wi-Fi login details shown on the label inside the device to get online.

Unlike on a router, there is no WPS button on this MiFi device, meaning you’ll need to type in the Wi-Fi login details manually on your phone, tablet, or computer. Unlike with Three’s previous mobile Wi-Fi device, there is no QR code provided you can scan to connect to Wi-Fi.

Three MiFi speed tests

Using Three mobile broadband, from our testing, a typical speed test result is:

  • Download speed: 30-40 Mbps
  • Upload speed: 8-10 Mbps
  • Latency: 30-40ms
Three mobile broadband speed test result.
A fairly typical speed test result using Three mobile broadband (upload is a bit higher and download is a bit lower than usual).

Our speeds were generally very consistent, as long as we stayed close to the hotspot. We did not suffer from evening congestion.

In most cases, you can expect download speeds of about 30-40 Mbps with Three mobile Wi-Fi, assuming you have good 4G signal according to their network coverage map.

Our latency was generally good, but since you have to use a wireless connection to the hotspot, it wasn’t great for competitive gaming, where a low latency is required. The Three 4G Hub or 5G Hub are better choices if you want to play ping-sensitive online games using mobile broadband, since you can connect to these routers with an Ethernet cable.

It’s important to note, there are things you can do to improve your download and upload speeds when using Three 4G MiFi.

To get the best possible speeds, you might have to do a bit of experimentation.

  • To begin with, position the router somewhere high up, ideally on an upstairs windowsill. This will generally allow it to get the best possible 4G signal.
  • Try to point the device in different directions, to adjust where its internal antennas are facing.
  • Avoid placing the device near any other hardware that emits radio waves, such as baby monitors – this can interfere with the 4G signal.

Three MiFi Wi-Fi performance

As a mobile Wi-Fi device, the TCL MW63 doesn’t offer as good Wi-Fi signal as a proper router, like the Three 4G Hub, in our experience. However, it did perform well overall.

  • From close range (in the same room, or the next room), our Wi-Fi signal was essentially flawless. We received good speeds on a consistent basis, tested using both our phone and our laptop, and didn’t experience any Wi-Fi signal dropouts.
  • From further away (downstairs), our speed began to drop by around 25-50%, although our connection did not drop out.
  • From outside the house, or on the opposite side of the house, our Wi-Fi signal began to drop out.

If you live in a small flat or caravan, or just want to get online with a few devices at once, Three MiFi works well.

However, for families and larger households, you may want to invest in a 4G router to get better Wi-Fi signal throughout the house.

Three MiFi battery life

Close-up of the TCL MW63VF3 mobile Wi-Fi device from Three.

We experienced quite good battery life with the Three TCL MW63VF3 MiFi device.

Using it with a computer and a phone connected, we typically saw about seven hours of usage from a full charge. This includes breaks, where the device was on standby and our computer was off for an hour or two.

When not in use, but still switched on, the device’s battery would typically last for about 10 days, which is a bit shorter than the 300 hours of standby battery life that Three advertises.

The device can be fully charged from empty in about two hours, however we normally charged it overnight, since it lasted about a day each time we used it. You can also leave it plugged in all the time, if you’d prefer.

Three MiFi pricing

THREE MIFI

Three logo.

Device

TCL 4G MiFi

Data

10GB – Unlimited

Currently, you can expect to pay about £15-£25 per month for Three MiFi, with data included. There is also a small upfront cost (up to £39) if you choose a 1 month or 12 month contract.

The exact amount you’ll pay will depend mostly on the contract length you choose, as well as the amount of data you go for (10GB, 40GB, or unlimited usage).

If Three 4G mobile broadband will be your main way of getting online at home, you are most likely going to need unlimited data. It’s easy to get through a 40GB monthly limit very quickly, unless it’s just one or two people at home, and you don’t get online much.

Unfortunately, there are no 50-100GB data plans at the moment. If you need this much monthly usage, you’ll need to buy an unlimited data deal.

Three MiFi is significantly cheaper if you commit for 24 months, so this is worth considering if you don’t mind doing a credit check. The pay as you go plans and 12 month contracts are not too expensive, but do come with a decent upfront fee, as well as higher monthly costs.

It’s also worth noting, Three often runs promotions for new customers on this MiFi device. Sometimes, you can get six months free on a 12 or 24 month contract.

Visit their website to see what prices are currently available on this mobile Wi-Fi device.

Is Three MiFi good value for money?

Relative to other mobile broadband solutions, Three’s MiFi deals offer great value for money.

Other 4G mobile Wi-Fi devices from companies like Vodafone and EE typically come with a lower data allowance, and higher monthly costs. Three is usually much cheaper, especially if you want unlimited data.

Given their speeds and roaming allowances, and the performance of this TCL device, we think Three MiFi offers good value for money.

However, Three’s 4G/5G routers offer slightly better value in our opinion, as long as you don’t need a battery-powered device, due to their better speeds and Wi-Fi signal strength.

Roaming with Three MiFi

While you can get online anywhere in the UK that has Three 4G signal using this mobile broadband router, you might be wondering whether or not you can get online overseas as well.

It is in fact possible to roam with the Three 4G Plus MiFi device, using Three Go Roam, as a pay monthly customer. However, there are extra charges involved.

  • You can pay £2 to use your data allowance for 24 hours in certain European countries, up to a 12GB monthly limit.
  • You can pay £5 to use your data allowance for 24 hours in certain other countries not in Europe, up to a 12GB monthly limit.

71 countries in total are covered by this roaming policy. You will need to activate roaming before you can get online overseas, however. To do this:

  • Connect to the MiFi device’s Wi-Fi hotspot.
  • Open your web browser, and type in 192.168.8.1 in the address bar.
  • Login to the admin settings – the default username and password are provided on the label on the inside of the device.
  • Enable data roaming.

If you want to roam in another country, you can pay £5 per day for a Data Passport from Three, and get unlimited data, or use their pay as you go roaming rates.

You can also use this MiFi device with a different SIM card overseas, if you’d prefer, as it’s not locked to the Three network. You could consider buying a more roaming-friendly SIM in the UK, or purchase a foreign SIM card to use with this device.

Just note that this device is not guaranteed to work in every country. In some countries it might not work, due to the mobile network using different frequency bands.

Is Three MiFi any good? Our verdict

Three mobile Wi-Fi device with box.

There are a lot of things to like about Three MiFi:

  • It offers one of the cheapest ways to get online in the UK at the moment, especially if you don’t need unlimited data.
  • Getting set up is very easy – simply install the SIM, insert the battery, turn it on, and connect to Wi-Fi.
  • Three offers great value for money compared to alternative mobile broadband providers like Vodafone and EE, even if you want unlimited usage.
  • We were able to get good battery life and decent 4G speeds with this device.
  • You can get online almost anywhere in the UK with this mobile broadband solution, as well as in other countries.

However, there are some downsides to using the Three 4G Plus MiFi device:

  • You are limited to 4G download and upload speeds.
  • If you choose to pay as you go, Three MiFi has relatively high upfront costs.
  • The Wi-Fi signal isn’t as good as using a proper home broadband router.
  • With lots of devices connected to the hotspot at once, your internet speeds will slow down. The TCL MW63VF3 is not a good choice for large families – it’s best for getting online on two or three devices at once.

Overall, we rate Three MiFI 4.3 out of 5. This is a cheap, simple way to get online, with good data allowances included.

We’ve spoken to people who have used this mobile broadband device to:

  • Get faster broadband speeds at home. If you are stuck with ADSL broadband speeds of 10 Mbps or less, chances are, Three MiFi will be faster.
  • Save money on broadband. Buying this MiFi device with unlimited data is almost always cheaper than using superfast fibre broadband.
  • Get online when travelling. If you live in a caravan for example, or frequently travel around the country, using MiFi might make more sense than using fixed-line broadband.
  • Access the internet when their home broadband drops out – Three MiFi works great as a backup device.

While Three MiFi is very good, and offers great value for money, we would recommend looking at a 5G router instead, such as the Three 5G Hub, if you don’t mind sacrificing a bit of portability.

This will offer better speeds and Wi-Fi signal, for a similar monthly cost.

Three MiFi alternatives

If you’re not sure whether Three’s MiFi device is right for you, here are some other mobile broadband solutions you might like to consider.

1. Three 5G Hub

THREE MIFI

Three logo.

Device

5G Hub Router

Data

Unlimited

Three 5G Hub home broadband router.

Rather than having a battery, the Three 5G Hub plugs into the wall, and functions like a normal Wi-Fi router. But it still takes a SIM card, and uses the mobile network to help you get online.

The 5G Hub is less portable than using a MiFi device, but it provides better Wi-Fi signal, and also supports much faster download speeds, using 5G.

You get unlimited data as standard with this 5G router, and it’s not much more expensive than using Three MiFi. You can still use this router almost anywhere in the UK, and it will connect to 4G if you’re in an area without 5G signal.

Read our review of the Three 5G Hub to learn more about this 5G router.

2. Vodafone 5G Mobile Hotspot

VODAFONE MIFI

Vodafone logo.

Device

5G MiFi Device

Data

4GB – Unlimited

If you want the portability of a MiFi device but need 5G speeds, Vodafone’s 5G mobile Wi-Fi is worth looking at.

You can get download speeds of up to 300 Mbps with this hotspot, which is significantly faster than what Three’s 4G broadband device offers.

The downside is, this MiFi device is much more expensive than Three’s one – 5G mobile broadband devices are often quite costly. The upfront costs in particular are very high on their short-term plans, although the 24 month contracts are less expensive.

3. EE 4GEE MiFi

EE MIFI

EE logo.

Device

4GEE Wi-Fi Mini

Data

5GB – Unlimited

EE 4GEE MiFi device.

EE 4GEE MiFi is a lot more expensive than buying from Three. You’ll have to pay a lot more per month for the same amount of data.

The upside is, EE has the best 4G network in the UK. If you want to get online when travelling, especially in rural areas, EE is a great choice.

Read our review of EE MiFi to learn more about this mobile broadband device.

Conclusion

This is the end of our Three 4G Plus MiFi review.

Still not sure if this mobile broadband device is the right choice for you? Leave a comment below, and we’ll respond as soon as we can.

About the author

10 thoughts on “Three MiFi Review | TCL 4G Mobile WiFi Router | 2024”

  1. Hi,

    I have just bought this today for my man cave. I am trying to stream using my Amazon fire stick through my tele. It is not working.

    Do you think the machine is faulty as the light next to signal bar keeps going off instead of just going red or green.
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi, does it work in other areas? If so, it’s more likely to be a signal issue. If not, it could be faulty and Three should send you a new one.

      Reply
  2. hi i have just got this device is it normal for the speed to fluctuate in the same location often in a day one time i get 3 mbps then other times 20 or 30 mbps do you now why this could be ?

    Reply
    • Hi, it is normal for it to fluctuate but it should not be going that low. We would recommend trying it in a different place, or ringing Three and asking for help.

      Reply
  3. Very good analysis and I have this Three Mifi router paid £39 up front for the router and I pay £28 per month for unlimited data on a monthly contract so far so good as it covers our needs for WiFi connectivity. My question is will I be able to use it in South Africa by using a local data only sim card as I won’t take the roaming option with my Three UK sim as it will be too expensive.

    Reply
  4. I’m in a top floor flat over looking Heathrow. I have one of these 4G mobile routers. Over the last year my daytime download speed has dropped from 1.5Mbps down to nothing. I’m getting less than 1.0Mbps for uploads. At night the speeds are equally dire, typically less than 3Mbps. There are also too many outages or disconnects. Also the battery has given up, I get less than 30mins from it. I can’t buy a replacement from Three, nor on eBay or Amazon. Bye, bye, Three.

    Reply
    • Is this affecting your phone 4G/5G as well? If other networks are better, we’d recommend switching. You should be able to use a different SIM card with this device.

      Reply
  5. Very informative article, thank you.
    Can you tell me please, would it be safe to have the unit connected to a power supply permanently? Six hours seems very poor.
    The operative who sold it to me assured it could be used 24/7 but that doesn’t seem to be the case?

    Reply
    • Hi, it would be safe, but the unit may get quite hot, and doing this will degrade its battery life over time (potentially not an issue for you).

      Reply

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