Mobile data on-the-go: Pocket WiFi or Smartphone?
Recently, on YugaTech’s Facebook page, someone asked us, “Is it still necessary to buy a pocket wi-fi when I could just hotspot using my dual-sim phone?” What’s the difference between a pocket WiFi and a mobile hotspot anyway?
A pocket WiFi is, just as its name says, a portable WiFi device. It’s usually small and light and can fit easily into pockets or bags. Unlike our usual WiFi routers at home, pocket WiFi devices don’t need cables, software, and need no electrical source to be powered. It has its own rechargeable battery and its own data SIM card. Just like our WiFi routers at home, pocket WiFi devices act as an access point, allowing different devices to connect to it.
On the other hand, a mobile hotspot is a smartphone feature where your mobile acts as a WiFi access point for different devices. It differs from a pocket WiFi in a way that you don’t need a separate portable device to make it work. Instead, it’s an ad hoc wireless access point, meaning you can run it straight from your phone.
Since a mobile hotspot can function almost the same as a pocket WiFi, is it still necessary to get a portable WiFi device? We wrote down a couple of advantages and disadvantages of each one, read on!
Using a portable WiFi has a couple of advantages. For one, since it’s a separate device and has its own battery, you won’t be using up your smartphone’s battery. If you need something reliable without sacrificing the usage of your daily driver, then getting a portable WiFi is ideal.
Another advantage of using a pocket WiFi is that it won’t be a hassle if you want to switch SIMs in a snap. If you’re using a mobile hotspot, you’d have to do a couple more steps such as disconnecting, switching your SIM, and then having to reconnect again afterward.
A pocket WiFi can connect up to more than 5 devices, making it ideal for use during travels. If you have a lot of gadgets on hands, especially if you’re on a business trip, it’s better to use a pocket WiFi. A portable WiFi is also ideal if you want to use it together with a group.
Similar to our home WiFi router, a pocket WiFi has its own username and password, and you won’t be able to connect to it unless you input the necessary details.
For one thing, a mobile hotspot is cheaper in the sense that you won’t need to purchase a whole other device just to get connected. The mobile data of your existing postpaid plan or your prepaid subscription will be the primary source of your mobile hotspot data. One caveat though is that you need to monitor your data usage or you’ll incur additional charges (in postpaid) or run out of your prepaid load. Still, paying for additional data will be much cheaper than getting a separate device.
Mobile hotspots can only connect up to 5 devices at maximum. It’s not an ideal setup, especially if you have a lot of gadgets that you want to be connected to the internet. Then again, if it’s only for casual usage or personal use, a mobile hotspot would be better for you.
By default, the mobile hotspot setting in smartphones can run without a password. Unless you set one, anyone will be able to connect to your device.
Overall, if it’s for personal use and you don’t mind how it can impact your smartphone’s battery and data, use a mobile hotspot. Otherwise, if you need a dedicated connection and will be using it with more than 5 devices or using the connection as a group, get a portable hotspot.
We hope that this article was able to help you out. Share your thoughts with us in the comments!