HomeInternet PlansStarlink Mini Dish Buyers Share Their Thoughts on Speedy Connectivity, But Express...

Starlink Mini Dish Buyers Share Their Thoughts on Speedy Connectivity, But Express Concerns Over Data Caps

Starlink Mini Dish Buyers Share Their Thoughts on Speedy Connectivity, But Express Concerns Over Data Caps

A portable version of Starlink is here with SpaceX’s new Mini dish. But is it worth paying $599? 

To find out, PCMag spoke to Starlink subscribers who were invited by SpaceX to buy the Mini dish, and the early verdict is that buyers are pleased with its portability and ease of use. But customers are hoping that SpaceX raises the product’s monthly data cap and includes an easy way to pair the dish with a portable power bank or a car’s auxiliary power outlet.

“It’s amazing how far the [Starlink] experience has come,” says Ryan Slinger, a Mini dish buyer based in Oregon. “I had it aligned and up and running in less than three minutes out of the box.”

Indeed, the 2.5-pound Mini model stands out by packing the Starlink antenna into a dish that’s about the size of a laptop, making it easy to carry. But despite its small size, the dish can deliver download rates around 100Mbps or higher. 

Ryan Slinger dish

(Credit: Ryan Slinger)

Slinger posted photos of his Mini dish being used with his Tesla Cybertruck. “The Mini is sturdy, but not the premium build of something like an Apple product,” he says. “Very plastic, but build quality seems very good, just not premium. Which is fine with me, I would rather save weight if I had to carry it in a backpack.”

Slinger also likes how the Wi-Fi router is built into hardware, making the dish even easier to set up over the standard V4 Starlink dish, which includes the Wi-Fi router as a separate device. 

See also  GRA Cracks Down on Companies for Failure to Issue VAT Invoices to Customers

On the downside, the built-in router is only capable of Wi-Fi 5 speeds. But users say the Mini dish can still broadcast a Wi-Fi signal to a user’s device over 50 feet away. Matthew Williams, another Starlink subscriber who bought the Mini dish, says he received a Wi-Fi signal as far as 400 feet when he had a clear line of sight. 

Matthew Williams Mini Dish

(Credit: Matthew Williams)

Williams, who is based in north Idaho, also confirms that the dish can easily fit in a backpack. But ironically, the 49-foot power cable isn’t as portable. “The cord is excessively long, but I can see why they did that for people who would do a more semi permanent install and would need the distance,” he says. 

So far, Williams has been using the Mini dish with his camper vehicle and to live stream baseball and softball games. “It really comes in handy, especially as most places that we are here the cell internet gets a little slow due to saturation,” he says.

The network congestion means Williams receives about 50Mbps in download speeds through his Mini dish, “but it works extremely well for my needs as a developer and streaming to a max of three TVs at a time,” he says. “The connection speeds have been somewhat better too. My last test was 90Mbps down and 18 up.”

‘Way Too Limiting for Most People’

That said, the dish has one key limitation that can prevent long-term use. In the US, SpaceX caps data at 50GB per month for Mini dish users. If you run out, it’s $1 per additional GB used.

See also  Starlink Unveils Mini Satellite Dish That Fits in Your Backpack for On-the-Go Internet Access

“It would be way too limiting for most people,” William says of the current data plan. “To give you an idea, we use about 300GB per month for our main Starlink dish. I think the Mini is designed for occasional use.”

Starlink specs

(Credit: Starlink.com )

The other problem is that the product doesn’t come with a port or cable to hook up the Mini dish to a USB-C connection or to a car’s plug. Instead, the hardware is designed by default to connect to a standard electrical outlet, although SpaceX plans on selling a “USB-C to Barrel Jack Cable Accessory” with the Mini dish. In the meantime, Starlink user Nick Jamieson tells PCMag he searched online for a third-party adapter to connect his Mini Dish to a power bank. 

“Users are going to take this on camping trips. So [SpaceX knows] this is going to be used with a power bank or something beside a regular plug. Why didn’t they make it more of a universal connection right from the get go?” he asks. 

Nicholas Jamieson Mini Dish

(Credit: Nicholas Jamieson)

Jamieson, who lives in California, also worries about wear-and-tear to his Mini dish. “I don’t know how much impact in your backpack it can take when you’re bouncing up and down,” he says. But on the plus side, the Mini dish has delivered download speeds at about the same rate as his standard Starlink dish. In addition, the router can beam a Wi-Fi signal well past 250 feet in outdoor conditions, according to his own tests

Still, the $599 price tag is a substantial increase from the standard V4 Starlink dish, which is available for as low as $299 in select US states and delivers even faster internet speeds. 

See also  Jacob Zuma Surges in South Africa's Elections. Will He Have the Last Laugh over Ramaphosa?

SpaceX indicates it’ll eventually lower the Mini dish’s price once it ramps up production and improves network capacity. The company is already selling the Mini dish for $200, but only in certain Latin American countries where SpaceX has more network capacity to serve users. 

In Latin America, the company is also offering the Starlink Mini dish with a monthly internet plan that only costs $35 per month with no data cap. In the US, Jamieson says SpaceX offers an option to receive unlimited data with a Starlink Mini dish, but it costs $250 per month.

Others, like Slinger, also tested the Mini dish while in a moving vehicle. Slinger got download rates between 25 to 35Mbps while driving 80 miles per hour on a highway. However, SpaceX’s support page says in-motion use is technically prohibited with the Mini roam plan.

Get the news that matters! Join our WhatsApp channel for trusted, timely, and relevant updates.
RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -
fairafric

Most Popular

Recent Comments

error: Content is protected !!