Best Mobile Hotspots iMore 2021
Having a mobile hotspot is terrific if you're a world traveler, a college student on a budget, or enjoy being online wherever you are. Hotspots come at various price points and styles. Our favorite hotspot is the Skyroam Solis LIte, although there are others worth considering. Think of each as one of the best Wi-Fi routers for when you're not at home.
- Best Overall: Skyroam Solis Lite
- Best Alternative: Skyroam Solis X Smartspot
- Best for Versatility: GlocalMe G4 Pro 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot
- Best Advanced: Netgear Nighthawk MR1100 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot
- Best Budget: ZTE MAX Connect Unlocked Mobile WiFi Hotspot
- Best for 5G: Nighthawk 5G WiFi 6 Mobile Hotspot Pro for AT&T
Best Overall: Skyroam Solis Lite
There's much to love about Skyroam hotspots, and it's why our top two of the year happen to come from this company. Our best mobile hotspot, the Skyroam Solis Lite, is the one for most people. Considered a global hotspot, this item uses virtualSIM technology to connect to local mobile data and create your private 4G LTE Wi-Fi network. Better still, it requires no SIMs or monthly fees, and configuration is a breeze.
When you need to use the hotspot, open the Skyroam app or portal and choose the option right for you. You can activate 24-hour unlimited global day passes or subscribe to an unlimited data plan. You can also subscribe to pay-per GB Wi-Fi plans. Sign-up for VPN for extra security.
Skyroam services are available in more than 135 countries.
The one negative is the price as it relates to usage. If you don't plan on using the Skyroam all that often, you might want to consider a less expensive option. Better yet, Skyroam also offers rental packages where you can get the device and use it, then return.
- No monthly fees
- Easy set-up
- Different plans available
- It's expensive if you won't use it much
Best Alternative: Skyroam Solis X Smartspot
If you like what you see about the Skyroam Solis Lite and want even more options, it's time to consider the Skyroam Solis X. This hotspot model includes all of the features found on our favorite option plus a speaker, microphone, and Bluetooth, and an 8MP remote camera. The camera adds the ability to capture, record, and live-stream from anywhere. The Skyroam Solis X also has a built-in 4700mAh power bank that provides a USB-C outlet for all-day use and on-the-go charging.
Beyond this, both Skyroam hotspots provide coverage for up to 10 devices and local and international data plans. With SignalScan, you can reset your signal at any time on the fly.
Don't need a camera or power bank? Go with the Skyroam Solis LIte instead and save some money.
- Same features as Lite version
- Includes a camera and power bank
- Unique design and color
- Even more expensive
- Do you need a camera?
Best for Versatility: GlocalMe G4 Pro 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot
This beautifully designed and recommended mobile hotspot offers no contract, SIM-free, global coverage in more than 140 countries. It's a reliable cellular Wi-Fi hotspot that provides simple access to the internet no matter where you are in our world. Whether you're at home or abroad, the Glocal Pro G4 will give you access to the data you need wherever you need it.
Featuring a large screen, the pocket-size device lets you check data flow, signal status and perform other operations with ease via the display. With the GlocalMe app, you can buy data packages that suit your needs.
Negatives include the inability to change the device settings, including the default Wi-Fi name and password that ships with the device. Additionally, note this device is designed less for streaming videos and more for getting work done. The internet may struggle to work at a quick pace.
- Single hotspot provides worldwide access to cellular data networks
- Supports up to five devices simultaneously
- Limited configuration options
- Quality of your cellular access not for video streaming
Best Advanced: Netgear Nighthawk MR1100 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot
This Gigabit-class LTE mobile router features ultra-fast speeds up to 1GB with support for Category 16 LTE Advanced Pro with 4-band carrier aggregation. Maximum upload speeds are 150 Mbps. Connect up to 20 devices at the same time.
An unlocked device will accept all SIM cards. Works best on AT&T and T-Mobile networks. It's up to you to find a provider that's right for your situation. Stream media from a microSD card (for media service/NAS capabilities), USB, or external hard drive to all your connected devices. It includes an Ethernet port, USB-C port, and dual TS-9 external 3G/4G antennas.
The two negatives that come to mind about this hotspot are price and how you must search out a carrier and get a SIM before getting started.
- LCD panel
- Must find a carrier and get a SIM card
Best Budget: ZTE MAX Connect Unlocked Mobile WiFi Hotspot
Another unlocked solution, the pocket-size ZTE Max Connect hotspot, lets you connect globally and features high-speed LTE connectivity bands. It can support T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile, Sprint, Gen Mobile, Boost Mobile, Simple Mobile, Ultra Mobile, Red Pocket, Republic Wireless, and other GSM Networks.
You can reach download speeds of 150 MBps and upload speeds of up to 50 MBps at this price point. The former is more than enough for most people; the latter, not nearly as much.
With a 2000mAh Lithium-Ion, the ZTE Max offers 10 hours of use between charges. If this isn't enough for you, consider another option.
- Promises great download speeds
- Limited carrier support
- Weak upload speeds vs. others
Best for 5G: Nighthawk 5G WiFi 6 Mobile Hotspot Pro for AT&T
AT&T customers looking for 5G coverage on the road will want to consider this hotspot. Though very pricey, you can purchase this using a 30-month installment agreement. This also means you need to purchase data for those same 30 months, however.
With the Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot Pro, you can enjoy AT&T 5G or the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology and share the connection with up to 32 devices. It features a 5,400mAH battery for all-day coverage.
This is a new device that supports the relatively new 5G. Coverage is only as good as your location. Make sure 5G coverage is available where you want to use the device before buying. And beware of the fine print. Still, if you're looking for the best mobile hotspot that supports 5G, check out this device.
- Connect up to 32 devices
- It's 5G
- Very expensive
- First-gen device
- Limited 5G availability
Best Mobile Hotspot
There's a lot of mobile hotspots out there, some more powerful and affordable than others. If you're looking for the most power and available concurrent connection, we recommend the Skyroam Solis Lite. This hotspot will travel with you anywhere and provide you with the speed you and your family needs. Best of all, you only pay when you need the coverage.
Skyroam hotspots provide coverage for up to 10 devices and local and international data plans. With SignalScan, you can reset your signal at any time on the fly. The Skyroam Solis Lite Ideally suited for hotel rooms, outdoor spaces, and elsewhere. You can use it to stream movies, listen to music, or browse the web with ease.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Bryan M. Wolfe is a dad who loves technology, especially anything new from Apple. Penn State (go Nittany Lions) graduate here, also a huge fan of the New England Patriots. Thanks for reading. @bryanmwolfe
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