People are accessing the internet in many different ways and from many different devices. Smartphones, tablets, music players, portable gaming devices, eReaders and other gadgets are being used to check email, update facebook, tweet, play games and (oh yeah) surf the web. Not only are people using these gadgets more and more every day, they are doing it while on-the-go. Mobile internet is no longer a luxury, it is becoming a necessity.
With every company offering you the newest device AND a 3G plan (ALERT – monthly cost) things could get out of hand quickly. You can shell out several hundred dollars a month to stay connected or you can get one device to cover it all – a personal hotspot.
Almost 2 years ago I signed up for the new 4G internet service from CLEAR here in Houston and I could not be happier. For one low, monthly price (around $75) I get home internet, home phone AND a mobile USB stick. I immediately paired the USB stick with a CLEAR Spot (an additional one-time cost), giving me a mobile WiFi hotspot that I can take anywhere. This hotspot allows me to connect multiple devices, while on-the-go, eliminating the need for individual 3G plans for each device.
The CLEAR Spot is great and I’ve used it daily since that original purchase, but recently I noticed other similar devices from AT&T and Verizon that really peaked my interest. These other devices are smaller, more lightweight and the battery life seems to be far better than my original CLEAR Spot, so I thought it might be time to look for a new device. I decided on the CLEAR Spot Voyager.
CLEAR Spot Voyager Review
At $125, the Voyager may seem like a pricey purchase, but I decided to take the plunge. The few things I read about it online seemed promising, but no one had given a full user review, so lucky you - I took the plunge. Here is everything you need to know about the CLEAR Spot Voyager
- SIZE – First and foremost, this thing is amazingly small. No picture I had seen on the internet did this thing a bit of justice. At 2.6” x 2.6” x .5” and only 2.1 oz the Voyager is about half the size of an iPhone. To put it in perspective, check out the images to the right.
- SPEED – Looking at this little thing, I would have thought that speed and keeping a connection would have been a problem, but a few quick tests proved otherwise. I am DEFINITELY getting better download speeds on the new Voyager (when compared to my old CLEAR Spot) and it has not dropped the connection one time. I even tested the Voyager out by burying it in my backpack on the way to work and was still getting a strong connection. Here are a few tests I ran via the speedtest app for iOS.
- BATTERY LIFE – To be fair, I have only had the Voyager for a few days now, but I can already tell you that the battery life is going to be a blessing. My old CLEAR Spot barely gave me an hour of use before the battery light would begin flashing. I used the new Voyager for roughly 3 hours and the battery level (available in the admin panel) showed it at 2 bars (out of 3).
CON: I’d rather see a percentage of battery life left (versus a bar system), but I rarely go for more than a couple of hours on the battery alone, so this is not a deal breaker for me.
- CHARGING – This might seem like a minor detail to some, but the charging cable for the CLEAR Spot Voyager is a simple Micro USB Cable. Compare that to the giant, clunky power supply that I was lugging around for my old Spot (shown in the picture above) and this is a major win.
- EXTERNAL DISPLAY – The Voyager does NOT have an external display like the Apollo (also offered by CLEAR), but I don’t think that will be an issue. With two button clicks I can access the admin panel for the Voyager via my iPad or iPhone and check the status of my device, including signal strength, battery life, number of connected users, etc. There are however 3 small lights on the front of the device that show power, Wi-Fi and 4G.
- PRICING – If you are new to CLEAR, the Voyager does come with a monthly fee (starting at around $35) but for those who are already CLEAR users, the device can simply replace an old one (like the original CLEAR Spot) with no additional monthly fees.
So far, the biggest criticism I have about my Voyager is that it might be easier to lose than my old CLEAR Spot. It is honestly small enough to fall right out of a pocket or bag if you aren’t careful. Mine will be safely secured in a zipped pocket while in use.