So the game has just changed when it comes to roaming charges in Europe following a European Commission ruling. It now means that if your mobile phone contract was taken out in one EU country, you can now use your phone – calls, texts and data, in any other EU country without it costing you anymore than your usual tariff. That’s ace isn’t it? But what if after Brexit takes place the ruling no longer applies to us Brits? What if we visit a European Country that isn’t currently a member of the EU such as Switzerland, Andorra, the Channel Islands and even the Isle of Man and get caught out? What about if we travel further afield and need access to emails, social media, google maps etc? Also, what if you travel with a tablet or laptop and need access to it on the move when there isn’t a wi-fi connection available? Even in 2017 the struggle is real. Well we were recently sent a YRoam portable wi-fi device to road test on our recent road trip through California. What is it? How does it work? Did it work for us? Did it save us money? Would we use it again? Would we recommend it? Read on to find out.
Well, it really is what it says on the box – a portable wi-fi device. It allows you to connect to the strongest network the device can pick up at any time. It is of course not a miracle machine, if there isn’t a network to pick up then that’s life. This happened to us in Yosemite National Park but as soon as we drove back towards civilisation it picked up a network no problem and well before my phone signal kicked back in.
Before you think about buying a YRoam you may want to consider where you will be using it. If your trips usually see you getting back to nature in the great outdoors then this may not be the product for you but then again I can’t think of a product that would be. We didn’t experience any other issues with picking up a network at all on our trip and it proved in valuable.
How does it work?
YRoam is a simple, contract-free way to access the internet when abroad (or in your home country if you want to insert a local sim card), that can be used over and over again, provided you top it up with data of course. At £199* which included 1GB of 4G data, for many it is not an investment that everyone can make lightly. However, once you have you can use it over and over again and just need to top up when you need data (30 day expiry). The device can be used in over 100 countries and you can connect up to 5 devices simultaneously.
It super easy to set up all you need to do is download the YRoam App for free on your smartphone or tablet. Create a YRoam user account via the App. Link your YRoam device to your user account which can be done either by scanning the device’s QR code or by manually entering the device’s IMEI number. Then you are good to go.
Once charged, the YRoam is good for 15 hours of use. We charged it once overnight, switched it off when we weren’t using it and didn’t have to charge once during our trip. The YRoam can also act as a 6000mAh power bank providing up to 24 hours of additional talk time if you connect your smartphone to it. However, we didn’t try this function.
I have a O2 phone contract and Mr ESLT has a Vodafone one and we both have the World Traveller bolt on added to our package which means we can make calls, send texts and use data (1GB as per their fair usage policies) per day for £5. Now the odd fiver here and there is negligible but as we hired a car we had planned to use google maps on our mobiles in lieu of a sat nav. If we had then the cost would have been around £35 a week each on top of our normal bill and we were on the road for four weeks so that would have been £280 between us – ouch!
As our YRoam came preloaded with 1GB of data (£34.99*), we did use the data sparingly as we wanted to ensure that we had enough to use in the car throughout our journey. Therefore, we only used it for google maps for the majority of the time. However, when I urgently needed to check e-mails I switched the YRoam on and turned Pismo Beach and a Las Vegas pool into my office for a short while. Obviously, if we had used it to check emails, update social media, surf the web or stream Netflix etc regularly we would have used the data in the blink of an eye and therefore would have needed to top up. Because we did use it for only the essentials, the 1GB did last the whole of our trip, just, and we returned with a mere 8MB left.
Also, as an added bonus the devise looks amazing, as soon as I opened the box I loved it and wanted to use it straight away. It looks like a chunky iPhone but with beautiful rose gold edging. It feels sturdy and the touch screen function which allows you to see how much data you have left at the swipe of a finger makes it worth every penny of the attached price tag.
Would we recommend it?
It really helped us on our journey as there was no way we could have used a traditional map for the whole trip so having access to Google Maps was invaluable. Also, being able to quickly check emails and such made running a blog on the go a whole lot easier. I think initially and before we used it, the £199 price tag may have put me off, but looking at the figures now it looks like we just about broke even if you take into account how much we would have spent using our mobile phones.
However, it is important to remember that once the initial outlay has been made the device can then be used over and over. Therefore, the more you use it the more value for money it becomes. Because of that I would recommend a YRoam to people who travel for business and need reliable access to the internet, Brits who travel outside the EU zone and people who travel extensively.
*Prices as at June 2017
- We were sent a Roam for honest review purposes