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10 Best Mobile Hotspots You Need To Know

10 Best Mobile Hotspots You Need To Know

There’s always a way to stay connected and online these days. The technology is always changing and improving, and mobile hotspots are as commonplace as Wi-Fi was a few years ago (not so long ago, come to think of it). There’s a trade off to technology that’s constantly being upgraded, though: consumer electronics are practically obsolete in a matter of months, so you have to choose well.

To be sure, smartphones may be used as hotspots for other devices, but the portability and efficiency of a separate device is often more appealing. Besides, you need your smartphone for essential functions like making calls and receiving text messages and emails. Afterall, a smartphone’s battery can only last so long.

Carriers offer mobile hotspot devices optimized for their service, which is why your carrier will factor into your choices. You have to find the best value in your choices, especially if they involve subscriptions with regular dues. That being said, mobile hotspot routers and services are conveniences with costs and upkeep to consider. It pays to find the device that best suits your needs and comforts. Here are my top 10 recommendations for mobile hotspots:

1. MiFi Liberate

MiFi Liberate

    If you’re with AT&T, you should consider the MiFi Liberate your first choice. The battery delivers you up to 10 hours of service for starters, enough for a road trip or a day at the beach (as long as your carrier covers the area, that is). You can take advantage of 4G LTE technology without skipping a beat, and the touchscreen interface offers convenient navigation.

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    2. Netgear Zing Mobile Hotspot

    Netgear Zing Mobile Hotspot

      With its limited Wi-Fi range considered, Sprint’s Netgear Zing Mobile Hotspot compensates with plenty of features. The display allows for easy navigation, with a 2500mAh battery to back up the display. It’s a race to come up with the best LTE service nowadays, and although the carrier’s yet to take the lead, Netgear’s antenna ports and tri-band support makes up for the shortcoming.

      3. Sonic 4G Mobile Hotspot

      Sonic 4G Mobile Hotspot

        T-Mobile’s Sonic 4G Mobile Hotspot is a bit lopsided when it comes to features versus performance, but it still merits a spot as the carrier’s best offering. Apart from HSPA 42+ capability, it also allows users to share data stored in Micro SD over the Wi-Fi network. A serviceable OLED screen displays basic information on usage. The downside to these features is in the battery life, which is a deal-breaker in many ways. The signal also deteriorates beyond a limited range, so it’s best used in close quarters.

        4. Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot MHS291L

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        Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot MHS291L

          Battery life is a priority for many users, given that the device performs well in speed tests and reliability. This is where Verizon’s Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot MHS291L shines, though a bit lackluster other than that. The battery lasts for almost 15 hours of use, and the data displayed on the OLED screen gives you a good grip of the status of your usage. LTE works well within a 50-foot range, but you’ll have to moderate your consumption with the carrier’s data rates. The Jetpack falls short of expectations in terms of portability, but is still the carrier’s best bet in mobile routers.

          5. Freedom Spot Photon

          Freedom Spot Photon

            The Freedom Spot Photon from FreedomPop is serviceable at the very least, and it’s offered almost free with your carrier’s subscription (an $89, refundable deposit). The free plan is also a sweet deal, with up to 500MB of monthly free data. You’ll have to pay $0.02 for every megabyte consumed afterwards, which is a fair deal if you only use mobile Wi-Fi on occasion. You’ll have upgrade to an LTE-compatible device once the service is available for the carrier, though.

            6. Global International MiFi Hotspot

            Global International MiFi Hotspot

              XCom’s Global International MiFi Hotspot is the best choice for international travel, offering an affordable alternative to the roaming charges that come with a mobile phone. You can use it in 44 countries, so there’s no need to switch carriers if you plan to stay indefinitely wherever you’re traveling. The connection isn’t as reliable, though, and it feels like you’re on dial up at times. Your usage is also limited with an eight-hour battery life, tops.

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              7. Tep Wireless Pocket Wifi

              Tep Wireless Pocket Wifi

                Tep’s Wireless Pocket Wifi is useful in selected countries (covered by the carrier), and it offers affordable access at $5 a day in the US. The rates will vary widely in different countries, and it gets confusing when you have to cover for charges you weren’t prepared for. It’s still an option if you’re traveling to countries with pricey mobile carrier rates, and you can use Skype or other VOIP service (with the hotspot) as alternative to calls and text messaging.

                8. Samsung LTE Mobile HotSpot Pro

                Samsung LTE Mobile HotSpot Pro

                  You can’t beat a hotspot that packs a nice battery pack, with enough juice to serve as a power bank for other devices. Samsung’s LTE Mobile HotSpot Pro offers exceptional 4G LTE connection with reliable battery life to boot. The device comes with a $169 price tag, but it is well worth the investment if you don’t want to compromise on performance.

                  9. Clear Spot 4G – Apollo

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                  clear Spot 4G – Apollo

                    With several trade offs considered, Clear’s Spot 4G – Apollo compensates with unlimited data plans that are affordable and reliable. The device can service up to eight clients simultaneously, and you can’t complain about the battery life. The Apollo isn’t 3G or Wireless-N capable, and it’s without text messaging features. Still worth the investment if you’re subscribed to the carrier’s service.

                    10. Clear Spot Voyager

                    clear Spot Voyager

                      Clear’s Spot Voyager offers similar features to the Apollo, but it’s relatively compact and affordable. It has the same limitations, and there’s no sleep mode feature to conserve battery life. It’s still a serviceable hotspot for areas covered by the carrier.

                      This short list isn’t exhaustive and may not cover your carrier, but the variety should give you a good idea on the features that are both available and affordable. Consumer electronics are upgraded every few months, so it’s worth your trouble to consider the best devices you’re willing to pay for.

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                      Last Updated on February 15, 2019

                      7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                      7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                      Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

                      Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

                      Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

                      So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

                      Joe’s Goals

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                        Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

                        Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

                        Daytum

                          Daytum

                          is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                          Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                          Excel or Numbers

                            If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                            What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                            Evernote

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                              I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                              Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                              Access or Bento

                                If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                                Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                                You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                                Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                                All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                                Conclusion

                                I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                                What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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