A few years ago, I introduced readers to a roaming WiFi hotspot device, a portable gadget that latches on to the local mobile data service in the country you are visiting and supplies internet wirelessly to your phone, tablet and laptop, circumventing hotel and public WiFi – and, most importantly, saving a heap of money.
While roaming in the EU with a standard UK SIM can now be done for £3 a day, slip outside the area, even just to Switzerland, and it can cost £6.50 a megabyte. Check the sports results and you can end up spending £100. Which is why I am now a paying customer of the Finnish operator Goodspeed, whose fast and robust system allows me to use 500Mb a day in non-EU countries for £4.90, which otherwise could cost as much as £3,250 a day.
This is the new 4G Goodspeed device, which has provided me with up to 29Mbps in Manhattan. In Brooklyn, where I’m writing this, I’m getting 19Mbps. So it works superbly. It has other advantages: the battery lasts much longer than the previous version, which created a lot of pointless heat and lost power quickly; and it is easier to open, a handy feature if you use Goodspeed in many countries and often find yourself switching SIM cards.
The most important improvement, however, is the on-screen readout that tells you how much data you’ve used each day. Last year I had big arguments with Goodspeed when I started hitting the 500Mb barrier (yes, the £3,250’s worth) halfway through each day. It offers a further 500Mb for £4.90, but I was burning through that, too. Its investigation yielded a crucial caveat regarding hotspots: a number of devices update apps overnight if they think they are connected to WiFi – which, with a WiFi hotspot, they are – sucking up huge amounts of data. In one case, an iPhone with a few popular apps was using 588Mb on the quiet.
Knowing this, I now turn the Goodspeed off when I don’t need it, plus I keep an eye on the new data meter, to check whether streaming video or Skyping, perhaps, is gobbling the megabytes. These measures place Goodspeed at the top of its field, and this is pretty much the ultimate business travel gadget.