I mentioned earlier that I was considering several options for mobile connectivity on my current trip, and one of those option is using the Skyroam mobile hotspot. My summary review? It is marginally adequate, although in retrospect I really wish I had saved myself the money and simply paid a bit more for the date I use with the international package on my phone.
Let’s start with the positives for the Skyroam: It is easy to set up, it is small enough to fit inside a man’s pocket, and I have successfully connected using it in three different countries. Those are considerable benefits. However, it suffers from two major flaws:
- The speed is awful. I am a middle aged fat guy, and I can develop the motivation to one day take a short jog before I can finish a basic download using this tool. More specifically, download speeds in the U.S. and Japan were consistently below 1 GB/second. It was slightly faster in Indonesia- it approached 2 GB once on a speed test. In none of these cases, however, would it support fairly basic tasks such as uploading pictures. Essentially, it was good for preventing background data bleed on my phone.
- The battery is not good. It won’t get through 8 hours and is slow to recharge. That sharply limits a tool designed for mobility, because when I am near a plug I am probably near wifi.
I have had more luck religiously hunting for wifi connections, paying for the Verizon international package (neither Indonesia nor Japan are travel pass countries), and sharply limiting my data use. My recommendation on the Sky Roam is to take a pass.