In our estimation NetZero has won the battle of the dial-up ISPs. They have on the order of 5 million subscribers (including those
who subscribe to their related ISPs Juno and Bluelight).
Now, using their proprietary technology, NetZero HiSpeed 3G allows you log on at near-broadband speeds
for only $9.95 per month - about a third of the cost of a typical cable or DSL connection. Juno (NetZero's sister
company) offers a very similar service called Juno Turbo, while AOL, MSN and EarthLink offer more expensive dial-up packages.
NetZero's very affordable solution doesn't include a ton of fancy features like extra Web site space,
multiple in-boxes, etc. However, for the customer who only needs access to the internet and wants something better
than standard dial-up, NetZero is THE solution. The technical support is satisfactory for the price. And don't worry,
NetZero HiSpeed comes with advertisement free access.
In summary, if you're looking for accelerated dial-up at a low price, you won't find a faster or
cheaper choice than NetZero HiSpeed 3G.
NetZero Setup and User Interface
NetZero HiSpeed 3G's setup is very simple. First you go to the NetZero site and provide your billing information. Second,
the process verifies that service is available to your area (don't worry, if you have access to an ISP you'll be covered).
Third the process guides you to download an installation file. The system then walks you through the process of installation.
The setup takes approximately 10 minutes to get online.
NetZero's user interface is a thin toolbar that goes across the top or bottom of the
screen with icons for e-mail, web search, and a bunch of Web channels (travel, news, and shopping).
The NetZero system uses your default browser and goes to the NetZero home page - a portal with tons of content.
Your Windows system tray is populated with a small toolbar that lets you control settings for Web acceleration.
That's all there is to it. NetZero is very simple to set up and use.
As with most low-cost Internet Service Providers, NetZero doesn't offer a ton of features.
However, they give you plenty where it counts. For instance, NetZero HiSpeed 3G comes with
2GB of e-mail storage with spam and email virus protection. Your can use NetZero Webmail, an online email
system or an e-mail program such as Eudora or Outlook Express. With HiSpeed 3G you also get NetZero Instant On!
to access your email and favorite Web pages INSTANTLY, without waiting to connect. This feature works by downloading
content to your system at times when you're not using the internet. So, when you come back to your computer
the data is available immediately. This is a cool feature.
NetZero HiSpeed 3G's premiere feature is it's blazing speed. While it is much faster than standard dial-up, the
user must understand that Cable and the higher speed versions of DSL still outperform NetZero. But this is clearly
stated by NetZero. Their product is for those who don't need ultra-faster-than-life internet speed with it's associated
costs - but would like to do better than standard dial-up. Clearly NetZero HiSpeed 3G is the flagship product.
NetZero comes with some cool features like My Ticker - news headlines and stock quotes that
scroll across the screen, similar to CNN or Fox News. You can click a headline and go to the story online.
You also get also get a great pop-up blocker and Norton Anti-Virus Online for free.
NetZero HiSpeed Performance
NetZero HiSpeed connections are very reliable - we've seen more reliability than even with EarthLink and AOL
in our tests. Logging in is very quick and we had no problems connecting. However, we did experience one lost
connection. NetZero offers several access numbers in most areas, more than most other ISPs we have reviewed.
You can adjust NetZero HiSpeed's acceleration controls to make graphics faster, but the resultant images will
be slightly fuzzy. HiSpeed is just downloading less data, thus saving you time at the cost of some clarity. Don't
worry, this only pertains to images. All text is downloaded instantly. NetZero wins the race for speed.
We've shown that NetZero proved more than twice as fast as standard dial-up and quicker than other accelerated dial-up
solutions. However, as stated before, NetZero HiSpeed still is slower than the faster DSL and Cable solutions.
NetZero Service and Support
If there's one area in which NetZero could improve, it's in their support department.
The live phone support is not included free with your service. You must pay a moderate fee. However, we've
found that NetZero is fairly straight forward and doesn't require much support if at all. They promise to
respond within one business day when requesting support by email.
No internet service solution is perfect. But, NetZero HiSpeed 3G comes pretty close as far as accelerated dial-up
internet service goes. We highly recommend HiSpeed 3G for users wanting accelerated speeds for a very reasonable price.
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