A true king of roaming, the Goodspeed is a terrific device that takes mystery costs away.
Costs are clear
Slow to connect in new places
Another device to carry around
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Mobile data roaming is still a massive problem for most of us – and a huge cost of those of us who travel abroad on business. And even with the relaxation of EU roaming charges, data is still going to be expensive.
That's especially the case outside the EU where most UK networks currently charge several pounds per MB of data. And if they do have packages such as Three's Feel At Home plan, they aren't available in all countries and they don't include tethering.
Tethering is a big issue internationally - although many of us use mobiles and tablets for email and so on, most mobile workers still need to have a PC or Mac connected to the internet. And in locations where Wi-Fi is sporadic, this can be costly.
Goodspeed is a 127g device that aims to change all this. It's a multi-SIM mobile hotspot with numerous carrier partners – you pay a monthly subscription of €9.90, while the device costs €239 or £260 from Amazon with UK and German SIM cards included. Coverage is available in 57 countries internationally.
There is then a charge for data use - you pay €5.90 a for a daily pass (12am-12pm) and each daily pass is automatically activated when you use it anytime on that day. Data amounts range from 500MB – 1GB per day. Various country SIM cards can be ordered from www.getgoodspeed.com.
A Lite package comes with no monthly fees. A Destination Day Pass is available on that service for €16.50 per day for 1000MB.
Your account is managed via a web interface where you can access various settings, account statements and view your destinations. 850/900/1900/2100 MHz networks are supported, up to 3.5G and we can't wait for a 4G version to become available.
Goodspeed is made by Finnish company Uros and looks like this - a simple, black lozenge that boasts a rechargeable battery (it's charged via a micro USB cable, so you can plug it into various devices if you don't have a power outlet handy. An hour or so plugged into an outlet gives you a decent enough charge for a few hours of use.
The 2550 mAh battery can be fully charged in around four hours and provides around eight hours of constant use. In reality though, because you're not using it at full pelt all the time, we found we never ran out of battery during a day working at one a tech show.
if you're sat uploading videos to YouTube though, you'll probably find the battery won't last a full working day,
Our review device came with four SIM cards for the UK, US (both 1GB of data per day) and Spain and Germany (both with 500GB of data per day.
It can accommodate up to 10 SIMs in total, so very regular travellers will still need to roam sometimes - but you can always swap SIMs of course.
While the SIM cards are easy to slot in and out of the holders, one of our only issues with the device was that it can be quite hard to remove the cover from the device - a couple of times we really struggled and this is definitely something that could be improved in a design update.
We took the device to both the US and Spain to see how we got on and we were really impressed with the hotspot performance.
One of the best features is that you can see how much data you consume by toggling the side button and seeing the amount on the one-inch front screen.
Again you can toggle the side button to find the WPA2 password to connect your smartphone, tablet or laptop, so there's no need to remember a code or have it stored somewhere else.
WPA is also available should you be connecting devices that don't support WPA.
You can see how many devices are connected on the display and you can connect up to five devices. In our experience of using it with four devices this was no problem.
One drawback is that the device does take a while to connect when you visit a new country - several minutes in fact, though it reconnects much faster when you revisit or turn the device off and back on. It's a serious disadvantage if you're in a hurry to send important data, though. The power button is on the rear as shown below.
We found the speed of the connection itself varied a great deal and naturally it is network dependent. However, most places we were offered 3.5G - for this the device offers cited speeds of 21.1 Mbps down, 5.76 Mbps up.
Goodspeed connectivity is available in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.
The device also comes with an excellent two-year warranty.
We really liked the Goodspeed - the upfront cost means it's not a solution for those just looking for a way to browse through a few emails abroad, but it is a robust and flexible solution for those of us who need to do serious work when away.
It does have a couple of minor issues, notably that long connection time in a new country, but aside from these, it's a fantastic device.
Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site T3.com. Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.