I received the CradlePoint PHS300 from the fine folks over at 3Gstore.com, along with a handy travel pouch to store the router and wireless card in. Included with the product were some tips and quick startup guide from 3Gstore along with a custom CD complete with the latest firmware available for the router. There are only two main hardware pieces, the PHS300 itself and an AC adapter. The UM150 USB Modem was purchased at our local Verizon Wireless store when the plan was activated. 3Gstore.com does offer the modems and plans as well, and will pre-activate them for you so everything is ready to go when you receive it.
The PHS300 is small, shown here with a CD-R for size reference. It is hardly much bigger than the USB modem and if it weren't for the AC adapter, it would be no more bulky to carry. The case does make it nice for packing your travel WWAN gear away, however you're still stuck with finding a spot for the adapter. Due to its small size, the PHS300 does not support PCMCIA cards, but only USB modems or phones with USB connectivity. Unlike some of its bigger siblings, the PHS300 also has no RJ-45 jack for wired connectivity, but only supports 802.11b/g wireless. But what the PHS300 does have is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that CradlePoint claims will operate the unit for roughly two hours before needing a recharge. Of course you can also leave the AC adapter plugged in, but having the option to go completely cordless more than makes up for the lack of interfaces IMO.
With the Verizon UM150 plugged in and the unit turned on, we get three green status lights on the PHS300: one indicating battery charge, one for WWAN signal and one for the WLAN. An orange/amber LED on either of the wireless indicators means a loss of signal, while on the battery side it means low charge. Unfortunately there's no signal strength indicator using multiple bars, although the Verizon UM150 does have its own LEDs to show this. It might also be nice to have some sort of battery meter so you know about how much runtime is left, so keep that AC adapter handy in case your orange light comes on in the middle of that presentation.
Next up, setup and configuration.