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Reliance JioFi 2 unboxing and first impressions: a feature-rich portable router that's easy to set up

|September 5, 2016 |First impressions, Reliance, Mobile Internet, LYF, Reliance Jio

“The portable hotspot is an ideal choice for those who plan to use Jio primarily as a data connection”

After facing several delays, Reliance Jio’s commercial launch was announced a few days back, and starting today, the connection can be availed by everyone. However, everyone has forgotten about those delays for the simple reason that it surely lives up to its promise of a game-changer. While the affordable tariffs play a huge role for that, another key factor is that Reliance has invested heavily in building the 4G ecosystem – infrastructure, content (the Jio suite of apps) and compatible devices under LYF branding.

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Along with an entire gamut of VoLTE smartphones, LYF has also introduced the JioFi portable Wi-Fi router. It's an ideal choice for those want to use Jio primarily as a data connection, since multiple devices can be tethered. We got hold of the JioFi 2, which is priced at Rs 2,899, and decided to take you through its unboxing, setup and our initial impressions.

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The Reliance JioFi 2 comes packed in a compact blue box, with branding at the front. Towards the right side, it mentions the key features. Prying open the lid reveals the router itself, which looks quite shiny thanks to its glossy finish. Below it, you’ll find the documentation in the form of setup guide and warranty card. Unlike many Wi-Fi dongles, the JioFi bundles a wall charger (rated at 1A) along with a micro-USB cable. Lastly, you get a battery of 2,300mAh capacity.

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While the Reliance JioFi 2 seems extremely lightweight initially, it;s only when you insert the battery that you realise it’s quite heavy for its size. The shape of the router is unique with curved edges and rounded corners. The top panel is quite glossy and would easily catch fingerprints and even scratches. Here you’ll find the Jio logo and power button. The right edge features a micro-USB port for charging, whereas the left side sports a WPS (WiFi Protected Setup) button.

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Unlike the front, the rear features a matte finish, and is removable. Opening it reveals the battery compartment, along with the SIM-card and a microSD card slot. Interestingly, the SIM-card slot can accept a full-size SIM card, but it also ships with a micro-SIM adapter. The JioFi 2 can accept a microSD card of up to 32GB, and allows you to access the files stored on them wirelessly.

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That's enough about the looks of the Reliance JioFi 2, now let’s set it up. Here’s a step-by-step guide to make it easy for you as well:

1) Before powering on the Reliance JioFi 2, note down the WiFi SSID and password, written underneath the battery compartment (it’s also mentioned in the retail packaging)

2) Pop in the battery and then long-press the circular power toggle on the router to turn it on

3) Search for the WiFi SSID from your computer or mobile device to connect to it, and enter the default password noted down in the first step (Tip: you can also connect by pressing the WPS button on the device instead, which is much faster and a hassle-free process)

Reliance JioFi 2 WPS connection

If your Jio SIM is already activated, you don’t need to do anything else and you can now enjoy 4G speeds, as promised by Reliance Jio. If not, then follow the steps mentioned in our Reliance Jio FAQs.

We’d recommend that you change the default password (and the SSID too, if you chose so) for security reasons. For doing the same, you need to access http://jiofi.local.html/ from the web browser. Login with the ‘administrator’ as both username and password. Ideally, you should change the login credentials too.

One thing which we really appreciate about the Reliance JioFi 2 is its LED indicators. Unlike usual WiFi dongles, this one not only shows you battery and network status, but also indicates WiFi and hotspots, along with WPS. The battery status (shows three bars, when the juice is full) is available alongside the power button, while all the other indicators are up top.

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While the speeds depend upon the network, in our initial tests, the Reliance JioFi 2 performed brilliantly. We were able to browse smoothly while streaming internet music in the background. The connection allowed us to download the Asphalt 8, which is around 1.1GB in size, within just 10 minutes.

One thing worth mentioning is that Reliance offers two portable Wi-Fi routers – the JioFi and JioFi 2. At Rs 1,999, the JioFi is cheaper of the two. We tested the JioFi 2, but our impressions of the JioFi would largely be similar to its sibling. In fact, the only difference we could find between them is that JioFi supports 10 devices, whereas the JioFi 2 can connect to up to 31 devices.

Reliance promises that the JioFi 2's battery would last about seven hours, which is quite impressive. We couldn’t verify the claim as we’re still testing it out, but we believe that it should be able to last a day, if used judiciously.

Another thing that differentiates the JioFi 2 is the fact that you can use the number to make calls. Yes, you read it right. All you need is the JioJoin app on your connected smartphone, and you can make free voice calls (did we mention that they are totally free?). You will also be able to access Jio suite of apps, including JioMusic to listen to music or JioCinema to watch movies, thanks to a free subscription.

Jio apps 1 Jio apps 2

The main pull of the Reliance JioFi 2 is the company’s aggressive marketing strategy offering free usage until December 31st, 2016 under the Welcome offer. We know that the regular Jio SIM's data is capped to 4GB every day, but we're unsure whether that applies to the JioFi router as of now. However, this is also the litmus test for the Jio network. Until now, users were able to enjoy high speeds because there were a limited number of subscribers in the trial phase. It remains to be seen, if Reliance Jio manages to deliver similar speeds when more users start using its service. We will get to know that over the next few days, so stay tuned for our detailed review.



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