Review: Skyroam Solis – International WiFi Hotspot Device

Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary Skyroam Solis device and 14 day passes. I try my best to review products without bias. 

Skyroam is a US-based company that offers hotspot products. Their new product, Skyroam Solis, is an easy-to-use global WiFi hotspot + USB powerbank. Essentially, it’s an oversized hockey puck that with a click of a button creates a WiFi hotspot with unlimited data globally. I’ve only had the chance to use it in Argentina, and while there are a few hiccups, I’ve tried a number of similar services before and this is by far the most intuitive and reliable product of the type I’ve used.

The Device

As mentioned, the Skyroam Solis is about the size of an oversized hockey puck. It’s bright orange, which I imagine is useful if lost. While it can fit in a pant pocket, it isn’t a comfortable fit, and can get warm. While travelling, I put it inside either a jacket pocket or a napsack, which worked perfectly. It would fit beautifully in a purse.

The Skyroam Solis has two buttons, a power button and a “WiFi button.” The WiFi button also has an illuminated ring, which shows the device’s remaining charge and whether the hotspot is activated. There is a USB-C port used for charging the device. It can also be used to charge an external device, such as a cellphone, and Skyroam includes a USB converter and charging cable. It uses two 3350mAh rechargeable batteries, which after a day’s use, stay at around 70% charge.

All-in-all, the Skyroam Solis has an intelligently designed form that feels built to last. It has fantastic battery life, and the user interface is intuitive. I wish it was slightly smaller so it could fit more easily in a pant pocket, but I imagine size is a sacrifice for improved battery life, and it’s no problem sticking the device inside a napsack or jacket pocket.

WiFi Hotspot

After initializing the device, you can use a daypass which costs $US 9 for 24-hours of unlimited data. There’s no switching SIM cards as you travel between countries, and I believe the same daypass can be used if you go to a different country within the same 24-hour period. The device uses local cellular services, and network speeds are exactly as expected for good cellular data service. You can connect up to five devices to the Skyroam Solis WiFi hotspot. I did not see an option to customize the WiFi name or password – the device has that information on a sticker both on the outside and inside of the device.

Walking through Buenos Aires, the WiFi hotspot gave me good speed and reliability. It had trouble inside some buildings, but I expect that’s due to limited cell service and would be the same on any similar device. My only issue with the WiFi service was when the 24-hour pass expired – the device gave no clear indication that the pass was expired, with the data service just stopping. I imagine a future firmware update could easily fix this situation by giving better visual indicators on the WiFi illumination ring. However, that’s a minor quibble, and it’s important to note that I was evaluating a pre-release device.

In Summary

I think the Skyroam Solis is a solid device for any traveller. It sells for $US 149, which is a reasonable price, and a flat $US 9 24-hour pass is a great deal, especially when visiting countries for a short period of time making it not worthwhile to buy a local SIM. This device is especially good for couples or families travelling, since up to five devices can be connected to the hotspot at the same time. If a family of five can each have their cellphone connected, that’s $US 2 per person per day for unlimited WiFi that matches the speed of a local SIM. In summary, this is a good buy and I would recommend it to anybody who travels frequently.

Comments

  1. I used to use their older model. It was okay but it was slow at 3g. I also found that it did not work in South Korea so that was a bit annoying. With the addition of the Verizon $10 a day option and T-Mobile Free Data these devices don’t seem as worthwhile anymore. It is nice you received a complimentary one to try. Would you use it again when your passes run out?

    • I’ve tried T Mobile and I found it unbearably slow, even in the US. I will continue to use the Solis – it’s pretty fast, and since I usually travel with people, is a better deal for all of us to have data from one purchase than to individually purchase data plans.

  2. I used tepwireless in uk and europe. It arrived at my hotel prior to my arrival, unlimited (normal use – no torrent or movie download), reasonable price. Comes complete with charger and return envelope with address. Just put it at mailbox at the airport. Easy and convinience.

  3. My biggest issue with Skyroam–and the reason I regret buying the older Skyroam device–is the 500 mb cap for 3G or LTE. After you hit this, the speed goes down considerably that it’s practically unusable even for something like Google Maps or checking email.

    I don’t mind putting in a restriction on high-speed data, but if I’m paying $9 a day, the cap should be higher.

    I’m better off buying a SIM that I can use everywhere in Europe that’s consistently LTE. Blau gives you 2 Gigs of LTE for 20 Euros.

  4. How can you tell on SOLIS how much is left (data/hours) when I don’t see any LCD screen (unless there is one that the picture does not show)?

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