Sunday, September 20, 2020
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Mifi Comparison: The Best Mobile Wifi Hotspot for International Travel

huawei best mifi

Those looking for the best mobile wifi hotspot for international travel, this is the post for you. Below, we’re going to reveal some of the best mifi device choices to keep you and your friends connected no matter where you travel.

What Is a MiFi?

Before we reveal the best mifi device options, we should probably clear up a few points right off the bat. For starters, you might be asking “what the heck is a mifi?”

Mifis, Mifi dongles, or mobile hotspots, are portable compact wireless devices designed to enable several different users or devices to share one internet connection. In this mifi comparison, I take a look at some of the most popular models.

Mifi is a brand name used to describe a wireless router that acts as mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. These allow you to create a travelling bubble of internet; – a mobile hotspot, generally with a radius of around 10m. The Mi fi trademark is owned by ‘Three’ in the UK, and Novatel Wireless in the US.

The Two Major Mifi Options

There are generally two options when buying a Mifi. Just like mobile phones these are essentially Pay as You Go or contract. You can either:

  • Receive one as part of subscription to a mobile operator. These are often locked to that particular operator. Check out my comparison of International Mifi Rental Plans here.
  • Buy your own unlocked mifi to use with any data only sim – which is generally a cheaper option

On this page I look at the latter option; comparing the best free standing Mifis in terms of function and quality. If you are on an international trip – you will need to use these in conjunction with a data sim.

When are MiFis useful?

You might also consider using a dongle, or simply tethering other devices using your smartphone, but mifis are advantageous over dongles in that they:

  • Allow multiple users to connect simultaneously.
  • Can be placed in an optimal position to get good signal

Mifis are advantageous over tethering your phone in that:

  • You can keep your phone accessible and available to use: If your phone rings, you won’t lose connection. If you receive a text – it won’t disrupt your internet.
  • You can use a different and cheaper sim, which provides data only. You could then change this sim according to the best plan you can get for wherever you happen to be.
  • Large battery packs on mifis mean you can stay connected for longer, and spare the battery of your phone.
  • Enjoy higher wifi strength than tethering

What’s the Best MiFi Device for You?

Although we’ll give you our pick for the best mobile wifi hotspot for international travel, there are a few basic features every consumer should look out for when shopping. No matter what you’re looking for in a MiFi, these factors will undoubtedly come into play before making a purchase.

  • Consider if you will need 3G or 4G, which likely depends on the countries that you are visiting. 3G is adequate for most purposes, but 4G is 5-7 times faster.
  • if portability is a factor, all of the hotspots reviewed are pocket-sized, some more than others.
  • These hotspots allow for up to 15 connections. A large number of connections might be desirable if you plan on using this in a business setting.

To give you an idea of what kind of speed you might be able to achieve, the average broadband speed in the UK is around 28.9Mbps (according to Ofcom), and the mifis on this page offer download speeds of between 21 and 150Mbps.

If you plan on sharing a connection with many people, or using data heavy services like streaming videos and catch-up TV, then it might be worth shelling out for a higher download capacity. Higher upload speeds can be useful for seamless video calls or sharing media with others.

The Best MiFi Devices for 2020

Now that we’ve gone over those preliminaries, it’s time to take a look at our choices for the best mifi devices for international travel for 2020.

ZTE Velocity Mobile Wifi Hotspot 4G LTE Router MF923

The ZTE Velocity Mobile Wifi Hotspot is a product that frequently makes it onto lists of the best mobile wifi hotspot for international travel. With its Qualcomm MDM9225 Processor, this ZTE product can handle Wi-Fi connectivity with 10 devices on 4G.

The 2,800mAh battery inside this device will last about 10 hours without needing to be re-charged. Also, at 2.5” x 0.7” x 4.5” and 4.6 ounces, it’s extremely easy to pack in your luggage.

Just note, this product was only made to handle roaming throughout North America, Asia, and Europe.

Pros

  • Connects up to 10 devices.
  • Reasonable price.
  • 4G connectivity.
  • Battery life 10 hours.

Cons

  • Can’t be used with Sprint, Verizon, Boost, or Virgin.
  • Only works best for use in North America, Asia, and Europe.

Specs

Download speed150MbpsUpload speed50Mbps
Number of connectionsUp to 104G?Yes
Operational battery length10 hoursPrice$60

GlocalMe G4 4G LTE Hotspot

If you read a lot of travel blogs, you’ll likely find the GlocalMe G4 4G Hotspot listed as the best mifi device. The GlocalMe G4 LTE Hotpost is often considered the best mifi device for international travel thanks to its relatively small size and suprising power.

There are quite a few things to like about this device from its compact size to its long 15 hour battery life. As suggested in the device’s name, GlocalMe G4 is compatible with 4G.

One drawback of using this mifi is that it only connects a max of 5 devices. For that kind of connectivity, the GlocalMe G4 might be considered a tad expensive. Also, at 14.6 ounces and 6.7” x 4.4” x 1.8”, this device is on the heavier side.

Pros

  • Unlocked all major networks.
  • Clear screen indicating data usage.
  • Long battery life at 15 hours.
  • Easy to transport.

Cons

  • Only supports 5 connections
  • Relatively heavy at 14.6 ounces.
  • Somewhat expensive.

Specs

Download speedUp to 150mbpsUpload speedUp to 50mbps
Number of connectionsUp to 54G?Yes
Operational battery length15 hoursPriceUSD $145

Netgear Nighthawk MR1100 GSM Unlocked

In terms of strength, the Netgear Nighthawk MR1100 certainly deserves consideration as the best mobile Wi-Fi hotspot for international travel. People who order this product enjoy unlocked 4G LTE Internet access with up to 1 Gbps download speed. This Netgear product can also keep up to 20 devices on Wi-Fi for 24 hours without re-charging.

Another benefit of the Netgear Nighthawk is its convenient LED screen that clearly displays all your data usage. Measuring 4.2” x 4.2” x 0.8” and weighing 8.5 ounces, it’s very easy to pack this mifi in your luggage.

The major drawback of the Netgear Nighthawk MR1100 is its price. You’re going to have to pay a lot extra for all of these premier features. Still, if you’re someone who needs a super strong Wi-Fi connection and are willing to pay the price, this product might be worthy of your consideration.

Pros

  • Superior download speeds at up to 1 Gbps.
  • Connects 20 devices.
  • 24 battery life.
  • LED display.
  • 4G connectivity.

Cons

  • Expensive.
  • Not as pocket-friendly as other mifis.

Specs

Download speedUp to 1GbpsUpload speedUp to 50mbps
Number of connectionsUp to 204G?Yes
Operational battery length24 hoursPrice$300

Best MiFi Devices for 2017

Below you can find some older MiFi models.

Chinese brand Huawei dominate the mifi market, with several available to suit a range of budgets. All of these are unlocked;  allowing you to insert a sim of your choice.

Huawei E5770s-320 – ‘A good all-rounder’

This wallet-sized mifi has a nice build quality, a great reputation, and a range of features.Finished with a leather texture, and wallet-sized to easily slip into the pocket, it allows you to:

  • Transfer a mobile 4G sim card into a wi fi connection
  • Change a physical ethernet cable into a wifi connection to be shared
  • Transfer a 4G connection from your sim into an ethernet cable.

Pros

  • Good build quality
  • Can also act as a portable powerbank
  • Doubles as booster / Wi-Fi Extender, allowing you to extend your home internet if for example you have poor signal upstairs.
  • Can add an SD card for network storage and easy sharing of media files

Cons

  • If you wanted to extend the range, there is no connection for an external antenna, 

Stats

Download speedUp to 150mbpsUpload speedUp to 50mbps
Number of connectionsUp to 104G?Yes
Operational battery length16 hoursPriceUSD $155

Huawei E5330 – ‘A good low budget option’

Simple, easy to set-up, and very reasonably priced – this option should suit most needs.

Pros

  • Two year warranty if purchased in UK

Cons

  • No 4G so relatively low download speed

Stats

Download speed150MbpsUpload speed50Mbps
Number of connectionsUp to 104G?Yes
Operational battery length10 hoursPrice$60

Huawei E5331 – ‘A very portable option’

Ultra portable, but allows for a lower number of connections and has a shorter battery life in comparison with other models.

Pros

  • Very compact
  • Fast set-up

Cons

  • Shorter battery life than other models

Stats

Download speedUp to 21mbpsUpload speedUp to 5.76mbps
Number of connectionsUp to 84G?No
Operational battery length5 hoursUnlockedYes

TP-LINK M7350 

Very good features for the price, and includes a power plug meaning that it can draw electricity from the mains instead of using the battery like other models.

Specs

Download speedUp to 150 mbpsUpload speedUp to 50 mbps
Number of connectionsUp to 154G?Yes
Operational battery length10 hoursUnlockedYes

So, Which MiFi Should You Buy?

This depends on how you are likely to use it.

  • If you are providing a data connection for a family, perhaps with children who might use data-heavy applications or watch movies, I would suggest the E5770s-320 or the TP-LINK M7350.
  • If portability is key – then take the Huawei E5331 
  • For those with a very low budget – The Huawei E5330 would be a good fit.

SIM Tourist Top Pick – Huawei E5770s-320 ‘A good all-rounder’

This wallet-sized MiFi has a nice build quality, a great reputation, and a range of features. Finished with a leather texture, and wallet-sized to easily slip into the pocket, it allows you to:

The Rating: 8.5/10

  • Call Quality: 8
  • Noise cancellation: 4
  • Battery life: 8
  • Comfort: 9.5
  • Range: 7
  • Value: 9.5
  • Size: 10

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