Last week I found that nifty little device called SkyRoam which sounded too good to be true. Mobile WiFi in any of the 83 covered countries for one daily flat rate?
The Skyroam now sells with 3 free passes for $99.95 with free shipping if you use my link (otherwise it is $124.95 and no passes).
This week I got the package in the mail (the company is located in San Francisco and also ships the device via UPS Ground from here). The packaging looks very iPhone-like with minimal clutter and a tiny booklet for a ‘Quick Start’.
So far so good and I eagerly dropped in the battery and booted the device up. It started and showed a ‘searching for network’ status – but after that nothing really happened. I was able to access the WiFi information (it comes up as any standard WiFi router) but when i connected the router would always disappear.
In fact the device kept searching and restarting itself without any indication of what it was doing for almost two hours. The ‘Quick Start’ guide mentioned nothing about such an initial phase. At one point I was asked if I want the device to update – I pressed yes and the reboot loop seemed to continue forever. During those two hours I was driving through an area with very good connection (the US101 freeway south of San Francisco).
I thought the device was broken and called support and my call promptly landed on a voice box. 4 days later I still hadn’t received a callback yet. The website also makes no mention if that behavior. So if you need support with SkyRoam count on sloooow service (if ever).
However magically after two hours the device was finally ready to go and had logged into the AT&T network with 4G. Unfortunately it is really 4G NOT LTE. I activated my day pass and started using it as a router while driving out to Napa valley the next day.
The network performance was good but ping times long – it’s very similar to using your phone on 3G/4G but NOT LTE. Since AT&T in the Bay Area has a lot of cell towers the connection was stable even on the smaller back roads of Napa valley.
I used it for browsing, playing games and watching Youtube videos. It all worked albeit slowly. You need to wait a few seconds for a download to start – once it does it’s fast. Here is the average connection speed that I saw in my tests.
The company says that speeds drop to a slower level after 350MB of data used – I could not see that though. The device was as fast (or slow) after or before 350MB. You can certainly get more than 1GB in a 24 hour time frame – but I did not push it much further.
The battery life was about 8 hours of heavy usage as advertised in the little booklet.
The display is as basic as it gets and hard to read in bright sunlight.
Now even for the US this is a great device if you just need to to add a few GB and use it within a 24 our time span. However $8-$10 for a day pass is a lot of money – your phone plan will get you this for less usually.
Internationally it’s often difficult and expensive to buy data plans and if the device performs as well in other (international) networks that would be marvelous.
Let’s see about that next week!
Get your Skyroam with 3 free day passes for $99.95 with free shipping if you use my link (otherwise it is $124.95 without any passes).