The Uros Goodspeed is a portable Mi-Fi router that gives you mobile broadband access abroad in 61 countries without incurring any bank account-destroying roaming charges. It's ddeally suited for regular travellers as you’ll need to buy the Mi-Fi and pay fixed monthly and daily fees with Uros sorting out the necessary international SIM cards for you. It takes the hassle out of getting online when you are out of the country, but it's not cheap and you will need to carry around another piece of kit with you.
The Goodspeed router is about the size of a 4.5-inch smartphone, weighing in at 127g and at 13mm thick it’s not particularly slim. There’s a glossy black front a single LED light to indicate when the portable router is switched on and a 1-inch 128x 64 pixel LCD display that’s bright enough to view all the important information about the status of the router.
You won’t want to carry it in the same pocket as your smartphone but it slips nicely into another pocket without hogging up a great deal of space. Throwing into a rucksack as we did in our testing is probably the best option and shouldn’t affect the signal strength.
Around the back is a matte black soft touch rubber finish with a single button to turn the Goodspeed on and off. On the left edge you’ll find two toggle buttons to skip through the different screens and a microUSB port, which means you can use a standard microUSB charging cable although a mains adaptor is included with the right plug pin setup depending on where you are travelling to.
Lastly, the front can be pulled away to reveal the room for up to nine SIM cards, making it easy to hook onto different networks in different countries without continuously swapping cards around. The shell can be a bit tricky to prise away from the body but once inside, it’s nice and easy to remove and replace SIM cards. Disappointingly, there's currently no nano and micro SIM card support, although a simple SIM card adaptor can solve that problem.
Buying and running a Goodspeed can quickly start to add up and that’s why it’s best suited to users who will really make the best use of it. First you'll need to buy the Goodspeed router, which costs £219, and then pay a £9 monthly charge to keep it running and there's more to come. You also need to purchase a SIM for the country you are going to and this can be done through the website costing £4-5 on top of purchasing the Goodspeed portable router.
Uros has three plans to pick from. The Lite package is the cheapest option and doesn’t require a monthly charge. You will have to pay a daily charge of roughly £13 (16.50 Euros), which gets you up to 1GB data a day and a 30-day limit using it in one destination.
The Pro package, which we tried out, costs £8 (9.90 Euros) a month with up to 1GB data a day and no limit on how many of your own SIM cards you can use or how long you use it for in a different country.
At the top end is the Business package. which requires a minimum of five devices to be in use and requires a £12 (14.95 Euros) monthly charge per device. This gives you the same daily data allowance and unlimited use as the Pro package, a well as a centralized place to manage the devices and the ability to view data usage.
There’s also a daily rate to pay depending on which of the 61 countries supported by Uros you are travelling to. We used it in Brazil so had to pay £5 a day for 500MB of data with rates well communicated on the website. You can also use your own data SIM card to use it in the UK as a mobile hotspot which can be shared with up to five devices.
Whichever package you opt for, it's all sounds very expensive but the various charges are clearly communicated and if you're regular traveller then the service is arguably good value for money and more reliable than hit-and-miss hotel Wi-Fi.
Once you have negotiated your way through getting the device, the right package and fitted the SIM cards, the Goodspeed is extremely easy to use. Simply turn it on and after the various multilingual welcome messages scroll across the screen, the Goodspeed will search for a connection. In new countries this can take some time and it took several minutes at times to find a connection. But after using it a couple of times the connection speed quickly improves.
The LCD screen displays information regarding the network it’s connected to, battery status, internet speed and the number of devices connected. Using the toggle buttons on the side of the router will show you device status and the amount of data used. Click it again and you can view the network password to type in on your smartphone, laptop or tablet to get online.
We had a SIM card from VIVO, one of the biggest phone networks in Brazil and even in some more remote areas managed to get connected. Connection speeds and signal strength varied in different parts of the country, but even on the underground we had no problems making a connection with up to three smartphones.
The Goodspeed works with 802.11b/g/n devices and can hit a maximum of 3.5G mobile internet speeds, so there’s no 4G support yet. Uros says you can expect 21.1 Mbps download speeds and 5.76 Mbps upload speeds on really good connections.
We managed a maximum 3.5G coverage and using it for just half an hour browsing the web and going on Twitter or Facebook only ate into 50MB of data. Download and upload speeds were nice and quick and even running it for the entire day didn’t entirely eat into the 500MB allowance.
As for battery life, there’s a 2,550 mAh rechargeable battery that promises 8 hours to get it through the day. Running it continuously connected to two devices from 9-10am in the morning to 11pm at night, it makes it through a day’s use, though you will have to charge it up again to use it daily. It takes around 3 to 4 hours to get back to a full charge, but an hour will give you enough for a few hours usage.
The Uros Goodspeed setup definitely comes at a price. If you can stomach the initial cost of the hardware plus the monthly and daily payments, it's still going to appeal to small business or someone who regularly works abroad.
It's not the only service of its kind out there and companies like GlobalGig do offer a similar method to hassle-free data roaming. Where the Goodspeed really excels is how easy it is to use, the growing international coverage and the all day battery life the router offers.
At a time when Three is still the only UK mobile network provider to offer free international roaming albeit to 11 countries, Goodspeed is a really useful way to get online abroad knowing how much you are going to pay before you step foot into another country and turn on your smartphone.
If you can afford it, the Uros Goodspeed is easy to use and is perfect for seasoned travellers who want data roaming on the move.
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