Update (2017 April 28) – been in contact with their support since the device is on and signal LED lights are on but no internet. All I get is advice to reset 3-4 times (from different support personnel) using button presses and paper clip on reset pin. I can no longer recommend this product.
I’m a cheapskate. I don’t want to pay monthly for something I won’t use regularly enough. So I go prepaid whenever I can. No smartphones with monthly data plans for me (and my coworkers probably are tired of me saying that my 10$ flip phone can take pictures, email and browse too).
Between home and office wifi, I have more wifi than I would have wanted. If I need to get somewhere I have the good old Garmin GPS or an actual physical map so I barely need any portable wifi.
There is, however, those occasional
- “toddler is getting too bored reading magazines in the dentist office”
- while traveling, the “sure we can just eat the first restaurant we get our eyes on but while we’re here maybe we can check yelp for a better one”
- oops, someone crossed some wires in the apartment’s internet/cable cabinet so your internet is down
- hotel internet is too slow or expensive to pay for
Sure you can download videos offline, check out restaurants ahead of time, use Google’s free internet in Mountain View or just pay for that cafe/hotel internet, but having your own wifi/internet hotspot does come handy.
If you have a smartphone that comes with or can have a data plan then it might come out cheaper but if you don’t have and just want to get a hotspot or maybe you do but for some reason, your phone or provider does not allow tethering then you want a hotspot.
So we got a Karma Go from https://yourkarma.com/. They have monthly plans as well but I was more interested in the prepaid plan (as of this writing 1GB for 15$).
The hardware costs 149$ but you could get 50-100$ if you fill/load or get a monthly plan before Nov 30.
My thoughts on pros/cons below
- bytes/credits does not expire
- prepaid and all the good things that come with it – pay only for what you use
- you can setup auto-refill if you don’t want interruption
- they do have monthly plans if that works better for you
- up to 8 devices connected simultaneously
- setup was straightforward, instructions were clear
- no wifi password
- but they offer premium features for an additional fee
- even without premium, whoever connects will need to signup for Karma account as well and will not use up your credit
- no encryption might mean it’s easier for someone to snoop on your traffic but like above you can get premium features or by browsing only your trusted sites with https/SSL or using a VPN like TunnelBear (another fun/useful thing)
- coverage could be less than say Verizon – you can check their coverage from https://yourkarma.com/coverage
- took a week or two for unit to arrive but they did notify me of shipping delays and I was not in a hurry so all good but if you are in a hurry make sure to check with them (or see if there’s an expedited option)
- US only (for now)
The cons are non-deal breakers for me so I got it. I am sure there’s more PROS/CONS but will leave that up to you and their FAQ.
Have yet to use this extensively (then again my reason for getting is because of those rare occasions) but setup experience, performance and look (nothing wrong with judging by looks right?) tells me it’s well built and so far so good.
You should check for promotions in their website banners but if none, you can click here to get 10$ off