• Full Review
  • Specifications

Full Review

4G home broadband never really took off, as while it has a lot of advantages, it tends to be slower than fibre broadband, which was reason enough for a lot people to ignore it, but now we have 5G, and the Three 5G Hub promises to offer all the advantages of 4G home broadband, coupled with the sorts of speeds you’d expect from fibre.

On paper then, it sounds very promising, and when you consider that Three’s plans come with unlimited data it sounds even better.

So is the Three 5G Hub what you should be opting for? Well, very possibly, but it’s not quite a perfect device. Below we’ll dive into all the good things about it, and the few not so good ones.

Design

The Three 5G Hub is a large, rectangular white block, with a look that would be a bit like the Huawei AI Cube, if not for that device’s speaker.

Huawei 5G CPE Pro

Like most 4G and 5G routers, it doesn’t particularly stand out, which is good, as it means the Three 5G Hub should fit inoffensively into most rooms.

It has a few indicator lights on the front, telling you if it’s connected 5G or 4G, and a larger one near the base, but otherwise this really is just a white block, and at 99 x 107 x 215mm it’s a similar size to rival devices, though a rather different shape to, say, the Huawei B535.

Setup

One big advantage of the Three 5G Hub is that’s it’s incredibly simple to get up and running. Just plug it in and the device will use Three’s 5G service to start broadcasting a Wi-Fi network that you can connect your gadgets to.

That’s a stark contrast to most conventional broadband, which typically requires an engineer visit. The fact that you don’t need to wait for that means the Three 5G hub isn’t just simple to get up and running, but also very fast – quick enough in fact that it could serve as a viable option while you wait for fibre broadband to get installed or repaired.

There’s also no need for a landline (and therefore line rental) with the Three 5G Hub, so you can potentially save money there.

Huawei 5G Hub - Back

The simple plug-and-play setup also means you can easily get up and running again if you move house, or even take the Three 5G Hub with you to a hotel or similar – though to take advantage of 5G speeds there will of course need to be 5G coverage.

There is of course more setup that you can and should do with the Three 5G Hub – it’s absolutely worth logging into the device’s dashboard, from which you can change the Wi-Fi name and password, among other things. But that’s a simple process too.

Performance and speeds

The Three 5G Hub is a rebranded Huawei 5G CPE Pro router, meaning that it theoretically supports download speeds of up to 2.33Gbps and upload speeds of up to 1.25Gbps.

However, in reality your speeds won’t be close to that at the time of writing, with Three reporting an average download speed of up to 400Mbps (depending on where you are). That though is still very fast. As a comparison, the top theoretical download speeds offered by the Huawei B535 (aka the HomeFi Plus) are 300Mbps, and real world speeds typically top out at around 100Mbps – and that’s the fastest 4G router Three offers.

Huawei 5G Hub Speeds

Even compared to fibre broadband, Three’s 5G Hub holds up well. BT’s most popular package for example only has average speeds of 50Mbps, which is far, far slower than Three’s 5G Hub. At the top end there are things like Virgin Giga1, which has an advertised speed of 1,104Mbps, but that’s not widely available at the time of writing.

And don’t forget – theoretically the Three 5G Hub can get far faster than even that. We doubt it ever will hit its theoretical speeds in real world use, but there’s certainly room for improvement as Three’s 5G infrastructure improves.

Plus – while less notable – the Three 5G Hub also supports both 2.4Ghz and 5GHz Wi-Fi.

Features and software

There’s a lot of handy tech inside the Three 5G Hub. For one thing, it has ‘dual X full 6-GHz antennas’, which, while compact, are designed to provide 360-degree coverage, meaning you don’t have to stress about the placement of the 5G Hub – wherever you put it you should get a strong signal in every direction.

It also supports 4G (though if you only have a 4G signal at home this is probably overkill), and has two ethernet ports for wired connections, and two extension ports for external antennas, so you can boost performance.

The Three 5G Hub can also connect up to 64 devices to the internet at once, so you should be able to get even the techiest of homes fully online.

Alternatives

 

Three 5G Hub

Huawei 5G Hub

Huawei B535 (HomeFi Plus)

Huawei B535

Huawei AI Cube

Huawei AI Cube

Download Speeds Up to 2.33Gbps Up to 300Mbps Up to 300Mbps
Upload Speeds Up to 1.25Gbps Up to 100Mbps Up to 50Mbps
Maximum Connected devices 64 64 64
Wi-Fi 

Dual-band 802.11ax/ac/a/n 4 x 4 MIMO, and 802.11b/g/n 2 x 2 MIMO

(2.4GHz and 5GHz)

Dual Band 802.11ac

(2.4GHz and 5GHz)

Dual Band 802.11ac

(2.4GHz and 5GHz)

Ethernet Ports 2 4 1
External Antenna  Yes (sold separately) Yes (sold separately) No
Power Mains Power Mains Power Mains Power
Other Features     Alexa Smart Speaker
  - Huawei B535 review Huawei AI Cube review

The Three 5G Hub is in a class of its own – especially when it comes to Three’s offerings – as the network doesn’t offer any other 5G routers. Your choice is a 4G router, or to get 5G broadband from elsewhere (with your options again being quite limited), or to stick with conventional fixed line broadband.

Compare the Three 5G Hub to any 4G options and there’s no contest – the 5G Hub is far faster for both uploads and downloads.

That said, the Huawei B535 and Huawei AI Cube match it for Wi-Fi credentials and maximum connected devices, and the B535 also has more ethernet ports, though the AI Cube has fewer.

The Huawei AI Cube additionally stands out through its built-in Alexa smart speaker – though you could always buy a separate smart speaker if you have the money. The older Huawei HomeFi meanwhile can’t compete on any front – but this appears to have been discontinued by Three.

As for conventional broadband, we covered that in the performance section above, but the Three 5G Hub should be able to rival all but the very fastest of fibre connections – assuming you have the requisite 5G coverage.

Plans

The Three 5G Hub is available with unlimited data on a 12-month or 24-month plan. At the time of writing you’ll pay £34 per month on a 12-month plan or £29 per month on a 24-month one, and there’s no upfront cost on either.

Three 5G Broadband Plans

Plan

Monthly Price

Unlimited data

24 month plan

£29 a month

Check availability

Unlimited data

12 month plan

£34 a month

Check availability

While that’s slightly more than Three charges for 4G home broadband, given the speeds offered it’s still a very competitive price, beating out most comparable fibre broadband plans.

Conclusion

The Three 5G Hub is a true alternative to fibre broadband. With its simple setup, high speeds, and competitive pricing it’s arguably actually a better option – assuming you have strong 5G coverage.

At the time of writing that last bit rules most people out, but over time we could well see 5G broadband become a very popular service, based on the strength of the 5G Hub.

If you have the requisite coverage then the Three 5G Hub comes highly recommended, especially if you’re unhappy with the speeds or price of your current home broadband.

Specifications

Specifications

  • Dimensions (mm): 99 x 107 x 215
  • Modem: 5G
  • Colours: White
  • Ethernet ports: 2 ethernet ports
  • Download speeds: Up to 2.33Gbps
  • Upload speeds: Up to 1.25Gbps
  • Wi-Fi specs: Dual-band 802.11ax/ac/a/n 4 x 4 MIMO, and 802.11b/g/n 2 x 2 MIMO (2.4GHz and 5GHz)
  • External Antenna: 2 x 5G antenna extension ports
  • Power: Mains powered
  • Launch date: Out now

Featured Mobile Deal

phone deal
SIM Only
12GB Data Unlimited Minutes Unlimited Texts
£8.00 a month
See Deal
Advanced SIM Only Plan. 12 month contract

Latest Phones

x

EPIC SIM DEAL 12GB data £8 a month See Deal