12 August 2017


Y pay more?

This review is not being written in Test Pit Towers (that homely, if tatty, den of testing), but rather in a coffee shop in Stavanger, Norway. At time of writing we're in Scandinavia filming a travel vlog, but still need a near-constant connection to the internet. While most hotels will give you free (if quite un-secure) WiFi, connecting to a network while out and about will be always be an issue. Your network provider will probably charge you an arm and a leg for data while roaming, and buying a SIM while away can be expensive and a tonne of hassle. That is why we took with us the YRoam.

YRoam is a MiFi device, meaning it is small, portable, SIM-free, and capable of generating a strong and stable WiFi hotspot. Take this with you wherever you're going, switch it on, and it will automatically network to the best local network to provide super fast 4G. You then simply connect your phone, tablet, and laptop to it, as you would a conventional WiFi network.

The YRoam itself looks a little like a chubby iPhone 5, with a white glass from and rear, and metallic frame running around the edge. The side buttons for power and volume are also in a very iPhone-like position, but the device itself actually uses Android to run it. It charges via Micro USB, features a full-sized USB port to lend power to other gadgets (the battery is an impressive 6000mAh), and there are two additional ports for SIM cards.

However, unlike the MiFi we got from Cellhire for our Brussels vlog, the YRoam doesn't use a SIM card of any kind, as you deal directly with YRoam about how much data your device will have. The SIM ports that are on the device are there so you can, if you wanted to, insert your own with a separate data plan, to act like a MiFi in its own right, without any dealings with YRoam. Which is nice.

But, you probably will want to talk to YRoam, as their data plans are fiercely competitive. The example they state on their website is how much it costs to get just 100MB of data in China with some leading UK providers. Apparently (the site states - not our findings!) it can cost as much as £600 with 3, £300 from Vodafone, a much better, but still expensive, £10 from EE, but only £4.40 direct from YRoam.

When you first buy the device and switch it on, you'll find 1GB of data waiting for you to use, for free. This is what we've been using while in Norway, and no matter where in Stavanger we wandered, the 4G was always fast and stable. Just so you know, that free first 1GB is worth £34.99, so thanks for that, YRoam.

So although it is useful to have for travelling for fun, as we're doing, it could also solve some business issues. If you're travelling with work with a few colleagues, you're all probably going to need to get online at the same time. The YRoam allows up to five separate devices to connect simultaneously, so a small group can sit together and go online. Because of that, YRoam is perfect for business trips, and your boss could purchase a Worldwide 10GB package for use during the company's time away. Then all you'll have to argue about is who gets it at night to stream YouTube videos in bed.

Infinitely useful, the YRoam is a solid device that has helped us stay online, connected, and working in a foreign country. For that, we are very happy.

£199 for the YRoam itself (and 1GB of data), with additional data plans on top of that.

Visit www.y-roam.com

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