20 December 2017

REVIEW: Skyroam Solis

The sky's the limit.

One thing we've found to be totally invaluable when taking trips in other countries is a MiFi. These small devices, which often double as a portable charger, allow you to connect to the local mobile networks and project a short-range WiFi signal. This way you'll always have a connection to the internet, and you won't get charged for roaming. We've been checking out such a device recently; the very eye-catching Skyroam Solis.

Compared to the two previous devices like this that we've reviewed (Cellhire, which we took with us to Belgium, and YRoam which joined us on a trip to Norway) the Skyroam Solis certainly stands out and is by far the easiest to use. There is no screen on the hockey puck-shaped gadget, and in fact all you get is a power button and an illuminated WiFi sign to confirm that you're up and running.

Other than that, the Skyroam Solis is a slab of soft-touch plastic which has clearly been designed to be turned on and kept hidden away in a bag or pocket - just as a MiFi should. One other thing to note about the physicality of the thing, is the USB C port on the rear. This is there to allow you to plug in your phone, tablet, camera... whatever, to receive a charge from the Solis's battery. But why USB C? All other MiFis we've reviewed featured a full-sized USB port, to let you plug in the same cable you'd normally use to charge your phone, regardless of it leading to a USC C, Micro, or even and Apple Lightning. Skyroam have included an adaptor that lets you do this, but we feel it is a bit of a miss. Sure, having only one port for both charging and powering other devices looks great, but that adaptor is gonna get lost pretty quick.

Still, set-up was very quick, without the need for an app. You simply turn it on, connect your mobile device to the WiFi network the Solis immediately produces, then visit the Skyroam website (there is a QR code on the underside for speed). There you get 20 minutes free connection time, in which you can purchase whatever data package you require (although at the moment, you get a free Day Pass included with the purchase of the Skyroam Solis, which is nice).

From the look of the website, a five day pass will set you back around €40 (£35), and is for the entire world. We do like that this is a go-anywhere device, and there is no need to buy specific packages for certain countries or territories. That way, getting online is very quick - far quicker than the other MiFi devices we mentioned above.

The Skyroam Solis will automatically connect to the fastest available network. We were unable to test this in another country, unfortunately, but the few places dotted about the UK that we've been lately all produced strong three or four bar 4G internet. Using it on a phone felt just like using the phone's actual 4G connection, so once set up and connected, it'll be just like you were surfing the net at home, while potentially being in a museum in Bruges, or in a brothel in Bangkok. Tee hee.

So it just works, and that is what we've read in other reviews from people who were lucky enough to try it in multiple countries. For holidays and trips, or for use at home when you're going somewhere you know your mobile network reception will be poor, or where you don't fancy using up all your allocated data, it's great.


Available from www.amazon.co.uk

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