The Best Portable WiFi Hotspot
A mobile WiFi hotspot is a very useful tool to have on a long trip, or anywhere without steady Internet access. Put simply, this is a device that allows you to connect to the Internet from a remote location via a satellite connection, making it completely portable. The best portable WiFi hotspot will have you covered with an Internet connection no matter where you are, which has several advantages, especially when located in a foreign country.
The main benefit of portable hotspots is that they accept foreign SIM cards when you’re on a trip. Data roaming charges can be very expensive, but stick a local SIM card into your hotspot, and you can browse at the country’s regular rates that are much more affordable. Dedicated hotspots are also far more stable than creating a virtual WiFi connection with your smartphone. These integrated chipsets are much better at receiving a wireless connection than transmitting it, and even the best mobile WiFi device can’t emit a signal strong enough for 10+ connections.
There are many great choices out there, and while they all do the same thing, some of them are very different in terms of features and capabilities. I’ve put together an extensive list of some high-quality mobile hotspots, so you can choose the one that works best for you depending on your personal requirements.
Verizon Jetpack AC79IL
The AC79IL boasts an amazing 20 hours of battery life and lets you connect 15 devices. You can also use Verizon’s own battery to charge your smartphone if need be, a feature that many mobile hotspots are including these days. The Jetpack is classified as a “world device”, meaning that it can be used with a multitude of networks, in over 200 countries. Verizon offers two primary data plans; the 4GB plan costs $40, and if you want more data you can opt for the 12GB plan which is $70.
This mobile hotspot offers 2.4GHz and 5GHz capability at the same time, and its battery life is nothing short of incredible. AT&T’s primary data plan for the Velocity costs you $50 per month for 5GB, but you can add more data if you wish, at the price of $10 per 1GB. This is probably as cheap as you can get with a WiFi hotspot device, no contract included. The Velocity supports up to ten connections at a time and boasts a maximum speed of 20 Mbps.
Jetpack MiFi 7730L
The MiFi counts as Verizon’s first touch-screen hotspot, which is a big deal for user-friendliness. Like the AC79IL, it doubles as a smartphone charger, and supports broadcasts at both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The price is $200, but if you opt out for a two-year contract, you get a 75% discount, so you pay only $50. As for the monthly plan, there’s a wide range to choose from, varying between 4GB and 100GB per month.
A satisfied user of the Karma reported that the maximum download speed with this unit was 33 Mbps (26.4 Mbps for the upload). This is a solid speed for a mobile hotspot, even for streaming movies in HD quality. The downside to this unit is that the data plans can get rather pricey, starting at $14 for only 1GB of data. Still, you get what you paid for and you can get one of the Amazon deals to get a great value deal on this portable WiFi hotspot.