Working away from an office on your terms and in a location that you love, whether that’s at a local cafe or on the beach, will ultimately require a reliable and secure WIFI connection. In the event of a power cut or the WIFI connection going down, having some sort of backup solution can be the difference between losing a day of work or carrying on as normal because you’re prepared for all eventualities.
As people who have worked on the road for years, if there’s one thing we’ve never regretted buying is our mobile hotspot and, for digital nomads, we would say it’s an essential bit of kit. Below we’ve listed our favourite portable WIFI and mobile hotspot devices used by us personally (or good friends) and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
There are a lot of devices out there but these are the ones that we think offer the best features and value for remote workers and digital nomads specifically.
5 Things to Consider When Buying a Mobile Hotspot
Size: Ultimately, this is another piece of tech you need to carry so the lighter the weight and smaller the size, the better. Luckily, these devices have become much less cumbersome now than solutions in the past and can even be carried in your pocket.
Multiple devices: Rarely are we working on just one device, you may need your mobile phone connected or your tablet or perhaps you and your partner will be sharing your mobile hot spot. The devices we’ve included below are capable of hosting multiple connections at the same time.
Additional features: It’s honestly surprising what kind of features portable wifi gear is capable of these days and as digital nomads, tech that provides multiple functions is always welcome. Many of these devices have additional functions such as portable charging, hard drive storage, and even cameras. Obviously, you may not need any feature like this so we have a range available depending on your needs.
Price: Mobile hotspots can be quite expensive so we’ve chosen a range of prices, hopefully, to suit any budget. Personally, we found that the relief of knowing you always have WIFI on you no matter where you are or go is certainly worth the investment in itself.
Battery life: Ideally you want a portable WIFI device that has good battery life as you don’t want to be left stranded or at the mercy of finding a power outlet wherever you go.
More great gear for digital nomads:
Here are the best tried and tested portable WIFI and mobile hotspot devices that are best suited for remote workers and digital nomads. Keep connected wherever.
This is the device we ultimately ended up settling on and has been incredibly useful to us while travelling and working 0 they recently rebranded from Skyroam to Solis WIFI so don’t be confused if you see both names. This portable hotspot ideal if you don’t think you’ll be using your hotspot consistently as you can pay for daily or monthly WIFI packages which work in 130 countries.
We usually buy a ‘pack’ of days and then use them as needed when we’re away from good WIFI. This avoids any monthly fees or purchasing SIM cards. It’s set up through an app and is very easy to navigate. Solis WIFI is definitely one of the pricier options (at around $250) but they also offer a cheaper Skyroam Solis Lite (around $70) which offers the basic features at a lower price point.
Skyroam Solis WIFI Features
- Lightweight at around eleven ounces and pocket-sized
- Unlimited LTE data with hyper-flexible packages – such as $99 per month or $9 per day. There is also a $6 monthly subscription that comes with 1GB of data for use in the US or Europe. There are no speed caps so there’s nothing to worry about once you’ve paid
- Also works as a portable hotspot, though is quite slow to charge devices
- Can connect up to ten devices
- Extra features can be enabled via the app such as ‘tweeting your location’, ‘finding your phone.
- Has a built-in camera and video (but honestly, they’re not great)
- Roughly around a ten-hour battery life
This device looks great but is slightly bigger than the others on this list and will require a SIM card plan but in terms of speed offered (and there are multiple device options for this depending on your needs and price point), the Netgear Nighthawk is very impressive, reliable, and has huge battery life.
The LED touch screen is very nifty and shows its current power, people using the device, signal strength and how much data you have left. Additional features include a data sharing solution for streaming and sending files between devices if needed and it’s also able to charge devices via a USB port. However, this isn’t a budget option with even the very basic model coming in at around $200.
NETGEAR Nighthawk Features
- Delivers download speeds of up to 1 Gbps
- Connects up to twenty devices so great if you’re working with a team
- Unlocked for 3G/4G LTE internet access around the world using your provider’s SIM card
- 10 – 15 hour battery life
- Handy data sharing – the USB port shares storage for data or personal media streaming with connected wireless devices
- Portable charger with good charging speeds
- Handy and informative LED screen
About the size and weight of a smartphone, this hotspot acts much in the same way as the Skyroam Solis in that you buy data as and when you need it and no SIM is necessary. You pay for GB data and they have packages based on country, multi-country, or region, allowing you to hook up to the local cellular service with a secure connection. The GlocalMe is just as handy if you need some backup WIFI for home use as well as travel.
The touchscreen is full-sized, like a smartphone so you can see your package, connectivity, and use preinstalled apps such as Google Maps, Tripadvisor, and a voice recognition translator. This device is priced at around $180 so not cheap but cheaper than others on this list.
GlocalMe G4 Pro Smart Features
- It can connect to ten devices
- Simple setup and flexible packages with the user-friendly app
- Full 4G speeds with no limits but can be easy to eat up data if not on the unlimited package
- The screen and pre-installed apps add some neat features
- Good battery life at around ten hours
This an ideal budget mobile hotspot for digital nomads, it’s simple to use and provides an ideal backup WIFI option for work or travel.You will need to pick up a global sim or local sims where you’re travelling to use as a travel device but there are many good multi-national SIM plans available.
It’s pocket-sized and lightweight though as a shorter battery-life rate to others on this list and has no extra features. This Huawei is your stripped down device that does what it says on the tin.
Huawei E5576-320 Features
- Connects up to sixteen devices
- Rechargeable battery which lasts around six hours
- Roams on all networks globally
This is such a good bit of tech for remote workers and available at such a budget price that it would be a shame not to mention it. Not a portable hot spot but more a security device, this mini GL.iNet pairs with whatever VPN service you use (such as Nord VPN, it works with 30+ providers) and routes all of your devices through making for a very simple and effortless security solution.
This colourful, small device allows you to convert a public network(wired/wireless) to a private Wi-Fi for secure surfing. You can also use this to access your favourite streaming services that aren’t available outside of their home country.
We hope you have enjoyed this article and found the perfect mobile hot spot for you. For more items perfect for digital nomads and remote workers, don’t forget to check out resources page.