Keepgo – Portable Travel WiFi
KeepGo – is a mobile WiFi hotspot with an international SIM card.. We received one to test during our camper travel around Europe in exchange for writing a review. Please see the disclaimer at the foot of this article.
Currently it’s hard to imagine travel without your smartphone and internet access. When we packed for our round-the-world trip twelve years ago, we took a file of papers with all the reservations, and a heap of guidebooks – things which we now would consider as a ballast. (in contrast it’s amazing how many chargers and cables we take!) Now all the same information is accessible with your phone from somewhere in the cloud. All is good so long as you have your smartphone and either a local SIM card or roaming data. Without this access you can easily get stranded or embarrassed. Roaming charges for some networks are scary high, especially if you are coming from America to Europe or vice versa..
In which countries Keepgo works
One solution could be a mobile international WiFi hotspot with renewable prepaid access to internet in 120 countries – Keepgo is exactly this, and the countries it serves are listed here:
Albania, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom
NORTH & SOUTH AMERICA
Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela
Australia, New Zealand
China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Macao, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Reunion, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam
AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST
Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tunisia
Alternative ways of Accessing the Internet while travelling.
The alternative to having a mobile hotspot is to buy a SIM card in every country you visit, and sometimes countries have comparatively cheap roaming charges for neighbouring states. For example my Polish SIM card (Orange) gives such cheap data while roaming in the EU, that it is cheaper for me to use my Polish SIM card for data in the UK (so long as the UK is in the EU!) than it is for me to use my UK SIM card even while in England. However, it is difficult for a non Polish visitor to Poland to buy and register a local SIM card, and accessing roaming data with a British or American SIM card in Poland is expensive.
On this trip, our drive through Hungary only took us one day from border to border. Even though Hungary is in the EU, my Polish SIM card wouldn’t work there. Since we are thoroughly addicted to Google maps for our route and we didn’t have the local map downloaded, we would have been stuck if not for the KeepGo device.
Another example: We have been in Italy now for two weeks and we haven’t yet managed to buy an Italian SIM card. They seem only to be sold in very few Phone shops here and every time we find one it seems to be siesta time. When on the road, we can make do with a combination of my Polish SIM and hopping between McDonalds’ branches with free WiFi – but the KeepGo unit has been there on the occasions when we suddenly needed it. If we didn’t have my Polish SIM card, this would have been very much more often.
Our experience with Keepgo
Unboxing and Registration
This was a breeze. The device itself is a Huawei E5573CS-509 It claims on the Keepgo site that it is not SIM locked, though we haven’t tried putting another SIM card in it. It is small and so far 100% reliable. The registration process is very straightforward and took ten minutes. Of course it needs internet for the registration so you’ll be doing this before you leave home (doh!)
From that moment it works as a WiFi access point or hotspot for up to 16 devices at a time, you enter the network name and supplied password on your device, tell it to automatically reconnect and you are set to go, just as with home WiFi. I don’t think it would work as a network switch for direct communication between devices (we don’t have a file-server with us so we haven’t tested that, but it doesn’t have any network cable ports on it so it would be fiddly to connect it up anyway. For file sharing on the go without using dropbox or clouds we use another device – a wireless USB pendrive)
Keepgo – Reception
We tried and used Keep go in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Italy and everywhere worked perfectly for us without any problem. In Hungary when my phone didn’t want to connect to internet – the Keepgo didn’t have any problems.
Keepgo has a deal in each country with one of the Internet providers and once you enter the country you are using the chosen provider network. Providers are listed on the Keepgo Site
Keepgo portable device – Ease of Use
Very easy you just switch it on, by pressing the middle button. And away you go. Now this is actually a big risk, because your phone/ipad/laptop now thinks it is connected to an unmetered home WiFi/broadband account and so it might decide to back itself up /update its operating system or re-index a cloudful of photos and hey presto your GB of data is gone and you are due for another twenty six dollars (depending on data plan – you might have just lost up to ten Gigabytes and $165!)
Keepgo device Battery
We have used ours on and off for a few weeks and it’s still working. You can easily charge it with an android cable from any USB charger. Keepgo website states that device can work for 6 hours of battery time and over 300 hours of standby time.
Do you have to buy the device to get internet?
Nope – you can either buy the device and SIM for $99 or just buy the SIM card for $49 and put it in your smartphone if you prefer. This is less convenient because you will be forever enabling and disabling the hotspot and sim card data on your phone to avoid the risks mentioned above.
Cost of Keepgo
The problem with Keepgo is the price of data
- 500mb cost – 14$
- 1gb cost – 26$
- 3gb cost – 61$
- 5gb cost 88$
- 10gb cost 165$
Data is valid for 1 year
How to get your Keepgo
Ordering is easy- just go on the website put your address, pay and you will get the device within a few days. Keepgo ship for free to 39 countries – we got it by courier in 3 days. Better still go through this link and we will get a small commission on your purchase at no cost to you.
Keepgo – Protable WiFi – Conclusion
Pros of Keepgo
- It’s a handy device.
- It holds battery power much longer than any phone which you might use as a hot spot.
- It doesn’t waste data on system and software updates etc,
- It seems rock solid in use.
- It is very convenient to use it anywhere at anytime.
- It could pay for itself very quickly if you find yourself stranded with the wrong SIM card while travelling.
Cons of Keepgo
- The price of data – I need either unmetered wifi or very cheap data for my work and the keepgo rates are not viable for me compared with buying local SIMs or using Polish SIM card roaming data.
- The risk that connected devices will use all your prepaid data overnight thinking that they are on an unmetered connection.
But we live in a world of social media – full of pictures, movies and maps which takes loads of data. However clever I try to be, 1 GB of data vanishes in less than a week and Keepgo’s rates are high.
The Bottom Line – Would I buy one?
I got mine free and I will gladly keep it in my luggage for emergencies.
Would I have bought it? Probably not, but only because I am a savvy shopper and very good at finding cheap deals on local networks. If I were more interested in convenience than cost, I would certainly buy.
Buy your Keepgo Portable WiFi
Who would I recommend Keepgo to?
Keepgo would be useful for anyone who travels internationally and is not a social media freak but wants peace of mind in knowing that essential cloud data is available when needed.
We were given our Keepgo international mobile hotspot free with one gigabyte of data for the purpose of an unbiased review — our general policy is only to review products we genuinely like and find useful. We have rejected review offers from companies who do not meet these criteria. In the present case this seems to be a good product but one which on balance we would probably not buy personally if we had not been given it free.
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