One of the reasons I got a Droid X is that I thought it could replace my Verizon MiFi hotspot when I travel. The cost of carrying the Droid X and the cost of carrying the MiFi are within $20/month of each other.
Last weekend I traveled to Durango, CO with my family and tried to use the Droid X as I would have used the MiFi: To create a WiFi hotspot that connects to Verizon’s CDMA data network so that my iPhone and laptop could get data.
As expected, my AT&T iPhone showed “No Service” nearly the entire time I was in Durango (we were in the woods). My Droid X showed service nearly all the time, although the service was spotty.
Unfortunately, the Hot Spot feature of the Droid X is nearly useless compared to the MiFi. First, it times out deliberately after ten minutes of inactivity even if the Droid X is plugged in. This makes zero sense. Hence, you can’t just plug the Droid X in and provide data for a period of days in a foreign location. Instead, whenever you want to use your laptop, you need to go to the phone, navigate to the hotspot app and turn it on.
But that is not the worst of it. Even if you are continually using the device that is connected to the Droid X, the hotspot randomly turns off periodically. In my experience I got about 5 minutes of work before it would fail. Utterly useless.
There is some chatter on the Moto forums that the Droid X brings the hotspot down when it loses the CDMA uplink. Ok, it was a pretty spotty in Durango. I tried the hotspot again in Princeton, NJ when I returned. Same thing.
I had better luck using Bluetooth to attach the laptop. To do that, I paired the laptop (Macbook) with the Droid X over Bluetooth and then used the built-in networking on the Mac to establish a data connection over Bluetooth. I just had to Google for what username and password to use on the modem configuration screen (not sure the values mattered; what probably mattered is that my Droid X was provisioned for tethering). That link, once established, worked very well.
That said, I found that because I had the Droid X, I needed the MiFi a lot less because the Droid X is a perfectly fine email and web device and did work reliably over Verizon’s network. The big thing I missed: My iPhone takes great photos and I can email a downsampled version of a photo. The Droid X takes mediocre photos and as far as I can tell, you can’t downsample a photo when you email it via Gmail. Maybe that’s solved in Froyo.
If you have a MiFi and love it, don’t trade it in for a Droid X. You will be disappointed.