There's no denying the usefulness of Wi-Fi, especially when you're out and about and need a fast internet connection. Finding a hotspot, however, can be a hit-and-miss affair. You either have to wander around with your laptop on, waiting until it finds a network, or ask around.

But with Trendnet's snappily titled TEW-429UB – which combines a Wi-Fi USB adapter with a hotspot detector – those days are gone. To find an available network, simply switch it on, press the seek button and wait a few seconds. It'll scan the area and bring back a list of available networks, including whether the networks are encrypted or not, which is a useful feature.

Once you've found a suitable network, boot up your laptop, plug the TEW-429UB into a spare USB port and surf away.

Unfortunately the Trendnet is let down on the software side – the supplied utility for configuring the device is quite temperamental.

Trendnet TEW-429UB: Specs

  • 802.11b/g USB Wi-Fi adapter
  • HotSpot Detector
  • LCD screen
  • 97x29x14mm
  • 35g
  • 802.11b/g USB Wi-Fi adapter
  • HotSpot Detector
  • LCD screen
  • 97x29x14mm
  • 35g

OUR VERDICT

The TEW-429UB is a great idea, and as a Wi-Fi detector it works incredibly well. As a wireless adapter it's passable, provided you avoid the bundled software. The recommended price is also high – you'll find it for half that on the web.

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