This Review of the GlocalMe G3 4G Mobile Hotspot is based on my usage of the device this year in Denmark, Ireland, India and Tanzania. One of my savvy TravelSort clients recommended the device to me, which is useful if you don't have an attractive international data roaming plan, will be in moving around in places that may not have reliable WiFi (e.g. not just in hotels), and don't want to deal with getting a local SIM card in each place. In places such as Japan, I've rented a mobile WiFi device inexpensively (see my Vision Global WiFi Review) but that isn't always an available or convenient option–enter the GlocalMe G3 mobile hotspot.
Which Countries the GlocalMe G3 Covers
I wanted to be able to use the GlocalMe in Denmark, Ireland and India, and as I arranged a safari trip I was happy to see that it also was supported in Tanzania. Here are all the countries currently supported:
Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Monaco, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia, San Marino, Turkey, UK, Ukraine, Vatican City
Bangladesh, Cambodia, China (including Hong Kong and Macao), Indonesia, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam
Bahrain, Israel, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen
North America and Central America
Canada, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, United States
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela
Australia, Fiji, Guam, New Zealand, Northern Mariana Islands
Angola, Algeria, Egypt, Western Sahara, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Mauritius, Nigeria, Tanzania, Tunisia, South Africa, Zambia
Charging the GlocalMe G3
Weirdly, the GlocalMe G3 I received from Amazon didn't include any directions, so at first I was unclear on how to charge it with a power outlet. As it turns out, you use the included USB cord to either connect it to your computer to charge it from there, or use the end of an iPhone charger, plugging it into the Glocal's provided USB cord.
Another key factor for me, for any device–laptop, phone, camera–is how long the battery lasts. I've been careful to turn off the device when not using it, and it's typically lasted a good 12-15 hours.
While the company says you can connect up to 5 devices, we only ever needed to connect 1-3 devices, which worked fine. You need to stay within 15-30 feet of the device for the connection to work.
The GlocalMe comes with an initial 1GB global data package which on the Glocal site costs $36. Country-specific data packages are also available, once you exhaust the initial 1GB global data package, and can be significantly less expensive. For example, a 1GB data package is $9 for Denmark and Ireland, $10.50 for India, and $16.50 for Tanzania.
Unfortunately, however, it's not possible to save the global data package for later; you have to consume data packages in the order in which they were purchased, so an earlier global data package that hasn't been used up yet will be consumed before a cheaper local one.
After I charged the device, it was straightforward to turn it on, using the power button on the left side of the device. The GlocalMe G3 boots up and automatically connects to the local signal, and you use the password provided on the device. After the first time inputting the password on my laptop and cell phone, it was stored and I've never needed to re-enter it.
The device worked perfectly everywhere I went in Denmark, as well as in Zanzibar and Tanzania, and worked well most of the time in Ireland and in India. That said, there were a couple times in Ireland and India when it took an inordinately long time to try to connect, and on one occasion in Ireland it failed altogether and never connected. That probably had something to do with the fact that I was on a train, and there may have been a weak or absent signal where the train was going through. And in India, I was trying to use it in a car in a remote area of Rajasthan, so again, there may have been a weak or intermittent signal that foiled the connection.
For the <$150 price tag, I've been very happy with my investment so far, as I've used it in transit in 4 different countries, for several minutes to an hour over the course of several days in each country, and still haven't exhausted the original global data plan it came with. Country coverage is excellent, apart from Africa, the Caribbean, and places such as Bhutan, Iran, Paraguay, Central Asian republics and the like. It's been very handy when walking around a city, or on trains, in cars or outside airports that don't provide WiFi, or where the WiFi is too slow to be useful.
I do wish that GlocalMe would make it possible to manually select data packages, as it's frustrating to have to use up a pre-existing global package in its entirety instead of being able to purchase and use a cheaper country-specific plan ahead of the global package.
If you've used a GlocalMe G3 4G Mobile Hotspot, what's been your experience to date?
Become a TravelSort Client and Book 5-Star Hotels with Virtuoso or Four Seasons Preferred Partner Benefits