Mobile Wi-Fi from Vodafone – review of the R205
The new Mobile Wi-Fi R205 turns a mobile broadband signal into your own personal Wi-Fi hotspot. AND it lets you connect up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices like laptops, iPads, tablets and games consoles to the internet wirelessly (and there’s no software to install). A tiny screen shows you at a glance the signal strength, battery life and how much data has been downloaded in the current session.
We tried it out on a recent weekend away to visit family up North, and it was fab for the boys being able to connect their DS’s on the long car journey. The husband was able to easily connect up his laptop from the broadband-less cottage, and if I owned a tablet, I’m sure that would have been just-as-fab too… sadly Father Christmas didn’t see the large capital-letters-in-red-marker-pen note I left for him on the fridge last year… *cough*.
One thing I loved is that a designer has thought about actually using the thing – double-pressing the power button flashes up the SSID and network key so you don’t have to remove the back to find the details – (or carry them on a scrunched post it note) each time you want to connect to the device. Small thing, BIG difference. Set up is a cinch, and it runs for over 4 hours – plenty enough screen time when you’re supposed to be away.
The game consosles didn’t use much download space for us, but if you’re using it with a laptop or tablet (not so much the mobile sites seen on a smartphone), data usage can add up much faster than you might expect. And the monthly allowance isn’t huge – 500MB of UK data to use over 60 days (£5 for an extra 250MB which lasts 30 days).
Next week we go to France, and I’m seriously considering not letting Vodafone have this baby back until we return – data roaming charges are high through mobile networks, of course, but if you’re connected via wi-fi then your normal access applies. If you need to work while abroad, then taking your own wi-fi with you is a must unless you want to be stuck to the hotels which offer free wi-fi.