The Best Portable WiFi Hotspot
A mobile Wi-Fi hotspot is a very useful tool to have on a long trip, or anywhere without steady Internet access. Put simply, a mobile WiFi hotspot 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. An alternative to this would be to use a free portable WiFi hotspot app, but these have proven to be rather unreliable and don’t provide you with satisfactory speed.
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 for mobile hotspots 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.
GlocalMe G3 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot
The GlocalMe is unique in that it can actually support 2 SIM cards at the same time. It offers a 4G-class speed of 50Mbps upload and 150Mbps download. However, it only has the capability for five simultaneous connections, less than what we’ve seen with the Verizon and AT&T devices. You also get a free 1GB as a gift when you purchase this device.
Keepgo Lifetime Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot
This hotspot provides you with online coverage in over 64 countries, and like the GlocalMe, it also gifts you 1GB of rollover data after purchasing it at $130. The device is compact enough to fit into a small bag or even your pocket, ideal for those that are always on the move. Keepgo delivers 4G network speed and offers ten simultaneous connections to the device for your laptop, smartphone or tablet.
The Skyroam model is a rather special device in that it doesn’t actually use a SIM card for establishing a connection. Instead, it connects to a remote SIM card located in Skyroam’s offices through the built-in GPS and gets an account assigned to it. The advantage of this is that you can use a different account every day, which allows you to bypass overpriced roaming charges and connect at affordable local rates. As far as WiFi hotspot devices go, this is probably the best alternative to an unlimited data plan (which is rather hard to find and very expensive).