We all know when you’re travelling around – often in our case as we’re working away from home – finding decent Internet access can be a complete nightmare. Patchy networks and spending time logging into password protected systems are really frustrating, especially when you’re abroad and you don’t have data roaming on your phone.
The Ladies What Travel team have been pretty busy whizzing around the UK in recent months, both for work and for pleasure, so we were quite intrigued when Cellhire got in touch to ask us if we’d be interested in reviewing their MiFi portable wireless router.
During our review we put the MiFi through its paces to find out whether it provides a decent alternative to free public access WiFi – especially from personal experience knowing that GWR’s public service barely lets you get online, let alone post a piccie on Instagram!
What is a Cellhire MiFi?
MiFi is a small, portable wireless router that comes with a SIM card which provides 5GB of data over a 30 day period. Simply pop in the card and connect with your smartphone, laptop or tablet to get online via a 3G or 4G signal (depending on the package you choose).
Much more secure than using a WiFi hotspot that’s open to the public, the MiFi has its own username and password and can be used by several people at the same time – just like your router at home.
How we used it
You can use the MiFi overseas with the correct SIM card slotted in place, but as we were UK-based for that month, we tried out the 4G MiFi with UK SIM and decided to take it with us during our jaunts around the country.
The MiFi has travelled to North Wales and made several trips to London, amongst others and has been used on trains, in hotels and even in the SkyGarden at the top of London’s Walkie Talkie building!
What we thought
The MiFi was really easy to setup and use and were were able to get online very quickly. I found it most useful when travelling on the train as I was able to save my phone’s data allowance and instead get online with a sturdier signal using the router.
Obviously, as it works via SIM card, the quality of the WiFi depends on the mobile signal, so if you’re far from a signal mast it may be patchy. However, overall we found the router to offer a reliable service and when it we did have signal, pages and apps were quick to load, with music and video streaming problem-free.
On one trip to London our train was delayed by half an hour and so we decided to do a little test and compare the train’s free service to the MiFi’s. As well as being much slower to log into, the train’s service was struggling under the weight for an entire train’s worth of people attempting to amuse themselves online while they waited for us to get moving. But with only two of us connected to the MiFi we had no such problems, and were able to smugly while away the time with our fast and stable connection.
In the UK it may be of limited use if you have a large data allowance, but for someone like me who regularly runs out a week before the allowance resets I found it a godsend. I reckon it’d be even more useful when travelling abroad, allowing you to access the Internet easily when out and about and without accruing roaming fees.
Cellhire MiFi – Pros
- Easy to setup and use
- Quick to log on – no faffing around entering your details like you have to on public wi-fi networks
- The small and portable unit is light enough to stick in your bag without it getting in your way
- Good battery life – on a recent trip to London, Emma & I were both using the unit pretty much all day and it lasted well into the evening train journey home.
- Quick to charge up to full power.
- With no overage there is no risk of running up a large data roaming bill.
Cellhire MiFi – Cons
- Signal can be poor if out in the countryside
- Almost £40 seems quite a lot of cash for 30 days worth of WiFi access, but if you need constant, reliable access and use the Internet often then it may provide value for money.
Pricing for the UK Cellhire MiFi 5GB bundle is as follows.
- £19.99 for SIM Only
- £29.99 for 3G MiFi + SIM
- £38.99 for 4G MiFi + SIM
To find out more visit Cellhire’s website.
We were provided with a free Cellhire 4G MiFi and SIM card for review purposes however, all opinions are our own!