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That's a good summary.  What I've heard is that if you NEVER pair the Hum with a vehicle, you can use it anywhere.  I have not confirmed that myself.  You would use a 12v lighter socket to OBD2 port adapter to power it instead of the car's actual OBD port.

"Is it the same" is not a yes/no question.  It depends on your expectations/needs.  It might be the same for some.

 

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I wonder if the SIM can be removed and used in a more useful device like a hotspot. Or does the device report to the mother ship that it's not installed in a vehicle...

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The Hum IS a hotspot, Mifi, Jetpack, whatever terms you want to use.  It provides a wifi connection to devices, and connects to the cellular network.  "Hotspot" is a vague term that really doesn't mean anything in this context.

 

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Of course the HUM is a "hotspot" along with its OBDII related features. Moving the SIM to another hotspot would make it more useful as a hotspot though, less the OBDII features of course. More portability, better antennas, etc...

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