There are few commodities more valuable to travellers than a reliable Internet connection these days. From keeping in touch with family and the world, to working on the road and just chilling out, staying connected is invaluable. Normally for me, that involves latching onto any free WiFi I can find, be it in my accommodation or at a cafe or restaurant.
Naturally I was interested then when iVideo approached me about reviewing their pocket WiFi hotspot. I’d long been curious about these devices and was keen to take one for a spin. So for two weeks I trialled their rental service as I made my way round the island of Taiwan. It didn’t take long for me to recognise how useful this service could be for travellers of every stripe, from digital nomads to families.
Benefits of a WiFi Hotspot
So what are the benefits of being connected with an iVideo pocket WiFi hotspot? Why not just go with a local SIM card instead?
Well personally, I find local/travel SIM cards a hassle and often not worth their cost. For starters there’s the annoyance of having to switch back and forth between SIM cards. This can be tiresome when you need your home number for things like validating credit card purchases. Also, I rarely actually need a local phone number and just want the data side of a phone plan. With things like WhatsApp, most of my communication needs require data and I don’t want to be paying for unused portions of a phone plan.
That’s why having a WiFi hotspot is so useful. It provides exactly what I’m after, without any unnecessary additional costs. Through my time in Taiwan, the iVideo hotspot proved useful on multiple occasions. For instance, when my train was running late into Hualien, I was able to quickly message my airbnb host and let her know when to pick me up. Having been in that situation before without internet, I know how stressful it would have been without connectivity.
Having the iVideo hotspot also meant that I didn’t have to put things off until I returned to my accommodation. Rather than waiting to upload my Instagram stories once I got back to my room, I was able to do it then and there. Having the freedom to google information on destinations while out and about or do some work on the train was a real boon and allowed me to make better use of my time. Yes I know that “having WiFi is good” is hardly a revelation but I had forgotten how true it really was.
Safe to say I was pleased with the performance of the iVideo WiFi hotspot during my time with it. Throughout the trial, I was always provided with high-speed Internet. Streaming Netflix in HD, for example, worked a treat. It worked flawlessly in each of the cities I tried it in around the country. The hotspot even managed the same signal strength from the depths of the mountainous Taroko National Park.
There were no issues using it on the trains except for the understandable lapses in connection as we passed through tunnels deep under the mountainous east coast of the country. I was also able to connect multiple devices, with both my laptop and phone connected at the same time. What’s more, I only charged the device once the entire time and that was more a precaution than anything.
The rental devices are specific to each country, so you collect the device on arrival and can return it when you leave. Using Taiwan as an example, you can collect and return the devices at booths in most of the country’s airports. They can also be collected at the dedicated iVideo stores. Otherwise it can be also delivered directly to your hotel for your arrival.
As for using the device itself, it couldn’t be easier. The name and password for the WiFi hotspot are shown on the device, with just the one power button. Too easy.
Try It Yourself
For those looking to try out or use the iVideo rental service in the future, you can receive a 10% discount when using the special “TRAVELSEWHERE” code (valid until 31/12/17). For more information on iVideo and their offerings, head over to their website.
Have you tried renting out a WiFi hotspot before? Do you think you would find the iVideo rental service useful on your travels? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
*Disclosure: I received a free iVideo Pocket WiFi Hotspot rental during my stay in Taiwan for review purposes. As always, opinions are my own.
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