If you're on the go a lot and need a reliable, fast internet connection then you're in luck: We've spent many hours testing various models to find the best portable Wi-Fi hotspots and today we're comparing the Skyroam Solis and Netgear Nighthawk M1 to help you make the right choice.
Why do I need a portable hotspot, you might be thinking. The answer is simple: Instead of quickly using up all of your phone's battery tethering to other devices, a portable Wi-Fi hotspot covers the task with ease, offering hours and hours of connectivity without missing a beat.
Skyroam's Solis and Netgear's Nighthawk M1 are two of the best on the market, too, with the promise of ultra-fast speeds anywhere in the world with no hassle. Beyond the basics, both offer different experiences and ways of delivering the fastest possible 4G speeds to your laptop, tablet, and any other devices.
Let's jump into the comparison between the Skyroam Solis and Netgear Nighthawk M1 to find the best portable Wi-Fi hotspot once and for all.
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Skyroam Solis and Netgear Nighthawk M1: features
Off the bat, both the Skyroam Solis and Netgear Nighthawk M1 are design for high-end portable Wi-Fi hotspot users who want a powerful, capable device with a big battery that can connect multiple devices at once. As such, neither of these are cheap options.
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In terms of specs, the Skyroam can host up to five connections, weighs 185g, lasts for up to 20 hours, includes a USB-C port, and can work as a power bank for your other devices, thanks to its 6,000mAh battery.
Netgear's M1 can last for up to 24 hours, supports up to 20 (yes, 20) connections, weighs in at 240g, includes a microSD card slot for easily sharing data, and contains a huge 5,040mAh battery, although it can't be used for charging other devices.
As we said, these are two devices aimed at the high-end market and the specs reflect that. Conveniently, both of them offer slightly different things, too: Netgear has the edge when it comes to connections and battery life; Skyroam has the edge when it comes to charging other devices, connectivity, and overall weight.
Which one you prefer really depends on how you want to use the portable Wi-Fi hotspot and the other tech you own, like a portable charger.
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Skyroam Solis and Netgear Nighthawk M1: data
All the specs in the world are no good if you can't get data on your portable hotspot and so let's break down how each device works.
To start, Skyroam's Solis offers the most polarising option. Instead of relying on a SIM card slot, Skyroam will sell you data that works with the device on a monthly contract. For €8/month, you get 1GB data – which isn't much – and the option to buy more as needed. For €80/month, you get no data limit (although speeds "may" decline after 20GBs).
Netgear's offers a much more traditional model, with a SIM card that can use pretty much any modern SIM Only plan.
On balance, we vastly prefer Netgear's over Skyroam's. Managing your own data plans, based on local carriers, is a much better system for getting good deals than being beholden to a company with no real track record in data plans.
A quick look at UK SIM Only deals shows you can get unlimited data for about £16/month, a huge amount lower than Skyroam's expensive plan that still includes throttling for a pretty small amount of data.
Skyroam Solis and Netgear Nighthawk M1: verdict
If it was only about raw specs (or being a portable charger as well), then Skyroam's Solis would be in with a shot but the fact the company ties you into its own expensive data plans means Netgear Nighthawk M1 is our clear winner.
The flexibility to pick your own SIM Only plan, change it at any time, and adjust data amounts far outweighs anything that Skyroam offers, both in terms of price and flexibility.
For this reason, it's hard to recommend Skyroam over Netgear, unless you absolutely need a portable charger inside your Wi-Fi hotspot.