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Uros Goodspeed review

Simon Handby
29 Sep 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
198
ex VAT. Additional fees per month and per day/territory, depending on configuration

The Uros Goodspeed is an excellent international data hotspot for business travellers, but it's unlikely to prove the cheapest option

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Specifications

Modem: EDGE, GPRS, GSM, Wi-Fi standard: 802.11b/g/n, Stated speed: 21.1Mb/s download, 5.7Mb/s upload, USB ports: None, Wall mountable: No

We've reviewed mobile Wi-Fi hotspots before, but the Goodspeed is something a little different. It's a data hotspot aimed specifically at business travellers fed up with hefty roaming charges for using mobile data abroad. The service provides coverage in an impressive range of territories, and flat-rate fees with generous data caps, but with European roaming charges falling can it make a case for itself?

Goodspeed's hotspot is around the size of a small smartphone; it's black, with a soft-grip plastic body and smoked black front panel. Inside are 10 full-size SIM slots, into which you insert up to nine SIM cards for the various territories you'll be visiting. One slot is reserved for the system SIM. There's a small blue OLED display panel, but no access to the battery, which must be replaced by Uros.

^ Nine slots are available for international data SIMs, which could save frequent travellers lots of mucking about

Turn on the hotspot and it displays a friendly welcome in several languages before searching for available mobile networks. Uros warns that it can take a while to find networks when you first arrive in a new territory, but we found that it always took at least a minute or so 

Access Point

The hotspot acts as an 802.11b/g/n access point, and it can support up to five devices, so a single traveller could connect a bag full of gadgets, or a team of five could each connect one device. A button at the side switches between status screens, including one which displays the SSID and password in clear text, which is, perhaps, not ideal if the hotspot is lost or stolen. As you'd expect, you can administer the hotspot via a web interface to check your SIM cards or configure the wireless network. It's worth noting that the default wireless power setting is medium, which may not always be enough.

^ There's not much to configure, but you can tweak the main wireless settings

We tested Goodspeed's service in England and in France. The hotspot is a 3.5G device, supporting downloads at up to 21.1Mbit/s and maximum uploads of 5.8Mbit/s. We found that data was widely available, even in rural Auvergne and southern France, and that it performed surprisingly well, even in a moving car. Naturally, mobile data depends heavily on network coverage, but we typically saw consistent speeds of at least a couple of megabits per second, while the Wi-Fi connection to our devices was rock solid. 

To test the Goodspeed’s 2,550mAh battery life we came up with a test that involved streaming an internet radio station to our laptop until the Goodspeed’s battery went dead. The Goodspeed lasted five hours and 55 minutes, which is less than an eight-hour working day, but is possibly enough charge to get you through a working day if you’re not constantly using it. 

Pricing and coverage

Goodspeed's hardware works, and with the exception of Africa its coverage is excellent. Territories include almost all of the Americas and Europe, and most of Asia including India, China, Singapore and Japan. However, choosing a package is complex to say the least.

Uros’ Goodspeed is available in three plans, all of which require you to first buy the Goodspeed unit and then pay per day or per month. The Lite package, for instance, has no monthly fees, with a day's data being charged at £13.70 wherever you are. Pro costs £8.20 per month, but data is charged at £4.90 or £8.20 per day depending on territory; North America, China, and Europe (with the exception of France) are all at the cheaper rate. There's a similar Business plan for bigger firms buying a minimum of five hotspots. A £17/month version of the Pro package includes the hotspot free, but you must sign up for 24 months. In most territories data is capped at 500MB per day before throttling, but in Egypt and several European countries you get 1GB.

For the casual traveller, and particularly those travelling in Europe, the sums are unlikely to work out in Goodspeed's favour. With roaming data rates capped by the EU at €0.20 (around 16p) per MB and with many UK providers now offering roaming data bundles, a single traveller might pay as little as £10 for 250MB per day via their mobile. Though tethering other devices is unlikely to be allowed, we'd expect to get away with it in practice. Moreover, the EU looks likely to prohibit roaming fees from December 2015, so we certainly wouldn't want to be locked into a two-year contract now.

Goodspeed makes far more sense outside of Europe, where its comparatively generous allowances make it hugely cheaper than roaming. Using 250MB per day on a week-long business trip to the USA could cost you more than £800 on a UK mobile, or just £43 on Goodspeed including a month's Pro subscription. You needn't pay Goodspeed's daily rate, either: on Pro or Business plans you're free to buy and use your own data SIMs, which could cost just a couple of pounds a day for similar usage levels.

You could, of course, spend £35 on any unlocked mobile Wi-Fi hotspot and do the same, provided you don't mind the hassle of buying your own data SIMs and shuffling them about for different countries. With all this in mind, Goodspeed makes the most sense for larger firms sending small teams to non-European destinations, particularly if they want to minimise the administration and hassle of providing them with mobile data. In this niche it's an excellent product, but elsewhere it's unlikely to prove cost effective.

Hardware
ModemEDGE, GPRS, GSM
Wi-Fi standard802.11b/g/n
Channels2.4GHz
Stated speed21.1Mb/s download, 5.7Mb/s upload
SecurityWPA, WPA2
YesNo
WAN portsNone
LAN portsNone
USB portsNone
Wall mountableNo
Size63x123x13mm
Software
Guest networksNone
Media serverNone
USB servicesNone
DDNS servicesNone
Buying information
Price including VAT£238
WarrantyTwo-year RTB
Supplierwww.goodspeed.io
Detailswww.goodspeed.io
Part codeU100