10 Best Wireless Hotspots for Travel in 2017

One of the challenges of traveling is getting access to a high-speed, secure internet connection. Sure, you can try your luck by searching for a wide-open WiFi or ducking into a Starbucks for a quick net session, but you can never be sure how safe your information is. If you’re doing mobile banking or accessing sensitive information, hooking into an unsecure or public network is definitely not an option.

The market is slowly inundated with wireless hotspot options that don’t cost an arm and leg, are sleek and portable, and that feature excellent signal quality and coverage, making your search an utter chore. Whether you’re out and about, cable’s simply left at home, or headed overseas, here are 10 of the best wireless hotspots for travel to keep you connected.

1) Netgear Sprint Zing Mobile Wifi Hotspot

 

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Type: Wi-Fi Hotspot
  • Carrier: Sprint
  • Wireless Standard: 4G
  • Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.4 x 2.4 inches
  • Weight: 9.6 oz

Netgear’s Zing Mobile Hotspot for Sprint comes with features such as a long-lasting removable battery, third-party antenna, and global roaming capabilities. With its front-facing touchscreen, you can easily adjust settings and features on this roaming device to fit your specific needs. If you want even more management options, you can plug the device into your computer and access the Netgear online-management console. This wireless hotspot also comes with its own iOS and Android app called AirCard Watcher, which lets you manage and navigate its settings through a user-friendly interface.

PROS:

  • External antenna ports
  • Internationally-capable
  • New tri-band LTE network-capable
  • Long battery life
  • User-friendly touchscreen interface

CONS:

  •  Short WiFi range

VERDICT:

Since the Zing operates on the Sprint network, it may not have as wide a coverage as other wireless networks. This means that when you have a hard time with the coverage, you might have to consider getting another hotspot or adding an external antenna. However, if you plan to travel overseas, this device works exceptionally on foreign HSPA+ networks. Its easy-to-use touch-screen/ management features, long battery life and a host of other useful features make it a solid option for people who need a portable hotspot for both domestic and international trips.

2) Verizon MiFi 6620L Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot

 

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Up to 20 hours of battery life
  • Touch navigation keys
  • Comes with a universal charger
  • Connect up to 15 WiFi-enabled devices
  • Dimensions: 3,7 x 2.6 x 0.76 inches
  • Weight: 4.8 oz

This hotspot is one of the few unlocked options available, and while it is meant to be used with Verizon’s network, you have the option to switch carriers if you like. The highlight of this product is the 4,000 mAh LI-Ion battery, which can last for 20 hours of internet time and is more than twice as powerful as the iPhone 6’s battery. This wireless hotspot works on Verizon’s 4G LTE network and can connect up to 15 different devices on WiFi connection. It comes in a compact design, make it a nifty solution especially for frequent travelers who can’t afford to go offline.

PROS:

  • Supports up to 15 devices simultaneously
  • Long battery life
  • External antenna port means stronger, more reliable connection

CONS:

  • Doesn’t have international LTE bands

VERDICT:

The Verizon Jetpack MiFi 6620 lacks unlimited data, which makes it relatively expensive compared to some competing offers. But what it is deficient in that aspect, it compensates with a host of useful features, among which are the capability to charge external devices such as your mobile phone and a long-lasting battery. Succinctly put, it is an enduring workhorse that can let you stay connected wherever you go, just not overseas.

3) Virgin Mobile – Overdrive Pro 3G/4G Sprint Network

 

 

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS:

  • MicroSD slot for shared network storage
  • No contract/lock-in period
  • LCD view: hidden 1.7″ (160×128 pixel display)
  • Can connect up to five WiFi devices simultaneously
  • Dimensions: 2.7 x 0.7 x 2.7  inches
  • Weight: 12 oz

Connect conveniently to your tablet, laptop, and other gadgets while you’re on the go with the Overdrive Pro 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot. It automatically switches between 3G and 4G depending on the available coverage by accessing Sprint’s Mobile Broadband networks. That way, you’re always getting the fastest data speeds. With the Overdrive Pro you can connect up to five WiFi enabled devices.

PROS:

  • Affordable
  • Unlimited 4G WiMax data
  • Plenty of router options
  • Convenient, easy-to-read LCD

CONS:

  • Limited 4G coverage
  • Bulky
  • Unreliable speed and reception

VERDICT:

The Overdrive Pro can be best compared to a buffet—you can get as much data as you want, albeit not particularly top-quality. It’s a relatively bulky mobile hotspot that hooks into Sprint’s unreliable 3G network and abandoned 4G WiMAX network, to be able to provide a wireless connection for up to five devices. And even though neither of those will deliver speeds that are on par with 4G LTE, you’ll be paying a whole lot less. For as long as you live within the coverage area and use lots of data, it’s still worth considering.

4) T-Mobile ZTE Z915 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot

 

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Can support up to 10 devices at a time
  • Up to almost 7 hours of battery life
  • Dimensions:  5.4 x 4.6 x 2.6 inches
  • Weight:  12 oz

T-Mobile’s 4G LTE HotSpot Z915 makes an appealing attempt to entice business travelers with its affordable data and coverage in Mexico and Canada. It is designed with a SIM card slot and a recessed reset button, right next to the power switch. It has four navigation keys that you can use when choosing an item and to go right, left, or back. It is among the options on this list that boast the easiest user interface, which allows you to effortlessly navigate through the device and check important information like how much data you’ve already spent.

PROS:

  • Affordable
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Excellent navigation
  • Good coverage on the east and west coasts
  • Comes with a new frequency band for rural coverage

CONS:

  • Irremovable battery
  • Front panel display shows limited info
  • Poor LTE coverage

VERDICT:

The ZTE Falcon is T-Mobile’s only portable hotspot that’s worthy of the spotlight. However, it comes as a mediocre option, when compared to its leading competitors.  As far as data and coverage are concerned, you only get what you pay for (though they have gotten quite better recently). If Verizon’s and AT&T’s hotspot prices throw you off, this one might suit you well.

5) Keepgo Global Lifetime Mobile WiFi Hotspot

 

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Comes with a SIM card (1 GB data allowance included)
  • Data allowance valid for one year
  • Can be used in 64 most traveled countries
  • Can connect up to 10 WiFi-enabled devices
  • Dimensions:  3.6 x 0.6 x 2.4 inches
  • Weight: 2.64 oz

If you’re the frequent international traveler, you wouldn’t want to go through the hassle of getting a new rental hotspot for each single trip. The Keepgo hotspot comes with a 1GB Internet SIM Card, and should you need more data, you can just top up the SIM card that it comes with as you go. It can connect up to 10 devices to the internet simultaneously, works in 64 countries, and has up to 6 hours of battery life. Also, since the Keepgo allows you to keep your original SIM card in your phone, you can still make and receive regular voice calls on your usual phone number while overseas.

PROS:

  • Features the right combination of flexibility and no-hassle default
  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight

CONS:

  • Mediocre battery life

VERDICT:

All in all, the Keepgo is a nifty little device that lets you stay connected especially in places abroad when your phone may not be enabled. Easy to use and convenient to take with you especially to European destinations, this device can help you save a lot of money that you would otherwise spend on buying phones that would work. It can connect up to 10 devices at a time, so you can keep your family members in the loop as you go.

6) Skyroam Mobile Hotspot: Global WiFi

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Comes with three free unlimited day passes (@ $30 value)
  • Instant coverage in 100+ countries
  • Can connect up to five devices simultaneously
  • Dimensions: 4.2 x 2.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Weight: 2.4 oz

Skyroam’s personal WiFi hotspot offers secure, speedy, affordable mobile internet in 45 countries without the need for a sim card. It is one of the most practical ways to stay connected wherever you go, without the need to change SIM cards, rent hotspot equipment, unlock phones, or put up with the burden of subscriptions.  It comes with three free unlimited day passes and can connect up to five devices at a time, which makes it a convenient choice when traveling with your entire brood.

PROS:

  • Fast boot up
  • Excellent coverage
  • Economical (flat data rate in 45 countries)
  • Useful on-screen display
  • Lightweight/ portable

CONS:

  • Vibration mechanism produces annoying tactile feedback
  • Instructions provided with the device aren’t entirely accurate
  • Unreliable hardware quality

VERDICT:

The Skyroam is well recommended for worldwide use. You just need a ton of patience, as it may do its intended job well, but it has the tendency to take a long time to do it. While it promises vast international coverage, its signal and hardware quality and data caps leave a lot to be desired.

7) Huawei E5770s-320 150 Mbps 4G LTE Mobile WiFi Pro Hotspot

 

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS:

  • 4G LTE 150 Mbps download, 50 Mbps upload / 3G DC-HSPA
  • Wallet design
  • Up to 10 simultaneous users / RJ45 Ethernet port
  • 5200 mAh battery (up to 20 hours working time)
  • USB interface
  • LTE/3G/Wi-Fi Auto Offload
  • Dimensions: 5.6 x 4.1 x 3.5 inches
  • Weight:  15 oz

The Mobile WiFi Pro comes in a wallet design, fashioned with an ornamental plating mid-frame and leather texture. Compact enough to just slide into your pocket, this device doesn’t just look good; it has also been fitted with various built-in innovations. It is built with with protected and hidden ports, an Ethernet/3G dual link, and the flexibility to support WAN/LAN auto redirect. It comes with a 5200 mAh battery, which means you can use it up to nearly a day.

PROS:

  • Seamless performance
  • Wide coverage
  • Versatile/ multi-purpose
  • Excellent battery life

CONS:

  • Poor setup instructions

VERDICT:

Bottom line– the Huawei E5770 works very well for its intended purpose. It combines three main functions (power bank, Ethernet router, and wireless hotspot) to one, which makes it very practical to use. While it is not without disadvantage, the seamless performance and versatility of this device easily compensate for what you would have to spend for it.

 

8) GlocalMe G2 World’s First 4G Global Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS:

  • 1GB initial global data:
  • 4G high speed
  • Shareable connection up to five devices
  • Two simcard slots
  • SIMless: powered by innovative Cloud Sim technology
  • Dimensions:  4.6 x 2.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Weight: 7.8 oz

Developed with the Cloud Sim technology, GlocalMe G2 is hailed as the world’s first pocket WiFi to connect in over 108 countries, allowing travelers to conveniently access the Internet without requiring local SIM cards and having to pay roaming charges. It is 4G/3G high speed — connect up to 5 Wi-Fi enabled devices to the Internet with the GlocalMe G2 and get download/upload speeds up to 10 times faster than that of 3G. Through GlocalMe’s never-before-seen smart user interface, it manages your data usage smartly and effectively.

PROS:

  • Great for families (can connect multiple devices seamlessly, simultaneously)
  • Reliable, fast connection
  • Wide coverage
  • Superb battery life
  • Simless feature makes it hassle free
  • Very flexible (two slots should you need to use it with simcards)
  • Fast start-up time

CONS:

  • Doesn’t provide notification when data is running low

VERDICT:

We have seen a fair number of consumers liking this device. It does its intended purpose very well, but still leaves so much room for improvement. Hopefully, the company would take note and seriously absorb feedback from its users. Most of these issues are software-related. We are optimistic that improvements will come in the updates in the near future.

9) Huawei E5577Cs-321 Mobile Hotspot

 

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS:

  • TFT-LCD screen with 2D Barcode
  • Provides up to 150 Mbps on a 4G network and 43.2 Mbps on a 3G network
  • Can connect up to 10 devices simultaneously
  • Dimensions: 3.7 x 2.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Weight: 4.2 oz

Huawei E5577Cs-321 provides a menu-style LCD UI with support for multiple languages such as English, Spanish, German, and Italian. You can browse the information on the LCD or configure settings. Aside from that, you can scan a 2D barcode on the E5577’s LCD to download the HUAWEI Mobile WiFi App or quickly connect your device to the E5577 to access the Internet. With microSD card support, you can store data on the card or use the Web management page to share data.

PROS:

  • Excellent connection and speed
  • Wide coverage
  • Outstanding performance for its size

CONS:

  • Poor design
  • Poor battery life
  • Not very easy to set up

VERDICT:

The Huawei E5577C is just a good wireless hotspot– nowhere near exceptional. Its poor design, misleading battery life, unaffordability, and setup complexity easily offset its signal quality and performance. That said, if you think it’s still worth the risk, go for it. If you want better battery support, just take a backup with you.

10) Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot – AC791L

 

 

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Up to 24 hours battery life
  • Coverage in 200+ countries
  • LTE network compatible
  • Can connect up to 15 devices
  • Dimensions:  2.7 x 0.8 x 4.3 inches
  • Weight: 5.8 oz

Netgear and Verizon has created a powerful tandem to offer a new hotspot boasting an incredible battery life and fast enough LTE speed to sustain up to 15 devices. The Verizon Jetpack AC791L connects gadgets like WiFi tablets, laptops, and even mobile phones that have poor signal quality with another provider. With a vast international coverage and LTE network compatibility, the AC792L blows away the need to rely on mobile phones that come with a built-in hotspot feature.

PROS:

  • Consistent and fast LTE connection
  • Convenient for use overseas
  • Charges external device
  • Exceptional built-in antenna
  • Dual band WiFi
  • Very long battery life

CONS:

  •  Sluggish buttons

VERDICT:

Connection and convenience wise, the Jetpack AC791L is one of the best wireless hotspots we’ve ever come across. With its longer-lasting battery and device charging capability, it comes as a more improved version of its precursor MiFi 6620L. Highlighting the combination of Verizon’s XLTE network and a reliable selection of international roaming bands, this wireless hotspot easily strides ahead of the pack.

Marv Perez

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