Disclaimer: I received this product for free in return for my honest opinion.
So guess what! I have another awesome NETGEAR review for you guys. This time it’s another really cool product called the Around Town. An interesting name, yes. What does it do? Not much, except for provide you with Mobile Internet. But let’s talk a bit more about that.
A lot of my readers come to TrustedNerd for advice on roaming, yes.. I cannot stand when providers charge ridiculous rates on roaming. Thankfully, several players have come up to fight for the consumers benefit offering really affordable products and services to serve this purpose. I never would have thought NETGEAR would go into this, but I am thankful they have. This only provokes other players to do the same.
Anyways, I do find the price of the Around Town within reason. You have to realize, you’re not signing up to a contract here, so you are paying close to $200 for the device. It also has really good battery life at 10 hours. As a perk, if you’re heading down to the USA, it comes with a pre-installed Sprint SIM card that has 1 GB of data that you can use, anytime.
The downside, it doesn’t offer any International Roaming, but it’s an unlocked device, so that’s a plus!
Other hotspots I have seen haven’t been this rugged ever. When I got the Around Town, I was shocked at how rugged it is. I can practically drop it and it won’t break. A huge change from the other devices that I’ve seen that have a really thin plastic shell.
Setting up the Around Town is super easy! Turn it on, go to a website and plug in the code. Bam, activated. To change the SIM, take off the cover, take out the Sprint SIM (and put it somewhere secure) and plug in the new SIM. Bam! Done.
I’m not much of a fan of the devices that have one button that does everything. In order to access the various menus in the device, you tap or double tap the power button. I also found that loading the various screens in the device to be slow. Also, the display is quite bright and there isn’t a way to dim that at all.
The data pricing isn’t cheap, $24.99 for just 1 GB is a lot of money. A competitor to Around Town, Karma, offers 1 GB of rollover data for just $14.00, or 5 GB for $59.00. I honestly don’t find myself paying $24.99 for a GB of data when I know there are other competitors out there that offer it for way cheaper.
I do suggest that NETGEAR decrease their cost with their partner, Sprint for data. By doing so they can remain really competitive. Get the 1 GB of data below $10.00 and you’ll have users flock to you. I also suggest NETGEAR to provide across the globe coverage with other providers, perhaps become a virtual carrier?
Overall, I love the hardware but it needs improvement, especially regarding usability. From the service standpoint, it’s way too pricey.
At this point in time, I recommend the Around Town hardware, but not the service. The hardware is really good if you are going to be in an environment that requires a very rugged device. The price of data through Sprint needs to be significantly decreased in order for users to subscribe to it.
Jonathan is the founder and editor-in-chief of TrustedNerd.com. Covering major tech shows such as CES, Jonathan is always there for the latest tech news. Want your gadget to be reviewed or have a release you'd like to be considered for publishing? Send Jonathan an email, jonathan [at] trustednerd.com