Google Productivity Pad: Hardware Review: Karma hotspot

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hardware Review: Karma hotspot

Name: Karma Hotspot
Stars: 4
Hardware Type: Cellular Hotspot
Price: $99 (when I bought it it was $89)

It's hard to be productive these days if you don't have internet. A hotspot lets you get internet wherever you are.

The Data Dilemma
My internet tends to be a little on the temperamental side, meaning it does not always like to work. Sometimes it likes to work only for specific devices and only in certain spots in my home. Unfortunately I don't have control of the router, my landlord does. That does have the plus side that I don't pay for my internet, so its not all bad. What is bad is that it tends to go out at the most inconvenient times, like right when an assignment or paper is due and the library is closed.

Because of this schizophrenic internet service I decided a cellular hotspot might be in order for emergencies. The problem is I hate data plans, I think they are the biggest ripoffs in the world. Can I tell you what I hate most about them? Ok, I will, you pay for data you may NEVER use! That thought just makes me sick in the heart. So I searched and searched and searched through every possible hotspot option available from the major carriers and the major prepaid brands. Everybody had activation fees and expiration dates.

Enter the Karma.
Karma is a new idea, and a breath of fresh air in the world of cellular data. The folks at Karma believe that you should only pay for data that you actually use, and they also believe that you should be rewarded for sharing with others.

You pay for your hotspot, they give you one gig of data free, you pay $14 for each additional gig, your data NEVER expires, every time someone new gets on your hotspot they get 100 free MB and you get 100 free MB for sharing. You never pay for other people's data usage, you only share your connection.

Ok, so that probably sounded like a sales pitch, which it was not, I am not affiliated with Karma in any way. Let's examine some of the features to see how good they are.

  • Coverage: the best pricing does you no good if you don't have coverage, and this is where Karma loses a star. 
    • They cover 80 major U.S. cities. 
      • Fortunately for me Provo is at the tail-end of the Salt Lake coverage.
    • The coverage we get is pretty stable, just a few spots around that have a problem.
    • If you live or travel in cities where there is coverage then its good deal, if not than its probably not for you.
  • Social data: this is Karma's big push, share with others and get free data.
    • Anyone around you can get onto it.
      • Up to 8 devices
    • They have to sign up or sign in with their own Karma account
      • which automatically gets them 100 free MB
      • And automatically gets the Karma owner 100 free MB
    • It works if you are somewhere where a lot of people are looking for a free wifi connection
  • Battery Life: Karma claims between 6-8 hours
    • Seems to work fine for me
    • I rarely charge the device, but I don't use it for extended periods of time very often.
  • Size: the Karma is half the size of your smartphone
    • It easily fits in your pocket allowing you to take wifi with you anywhere.
If you live where there is Karma coverage you can't get a better deal, unless you actually use several gigs of data every month in which case some of the major carries might be slightly cheeper on data prices. But Karma has sales almost every holiday dropping the price of a gig into the $10 range.

If you have any questions about Karma or choosing a hotspot please feel free to ask them in the comments below. Or answer this question: what would you find most helpful about having a cellular hotspot?

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Thanks for reading, and remember, live better.

You can purchase the Karma from Amazon here (Affiliate link)

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