SIMO Solis Lite Hotspot Review: Pocket
Jul 06, 2023
Whether you’re a frequent traveler or planning a one-time trip abroad, the Solis Lite is a cost-effective alternative to expensive international data plans. With its long battery life, broad coverage, and unlimited LTE data, this hotspot is an effective solution for staying connected on the go.
The Solis Lite Wi-Fi Hotspot is compact and easy to carry around and doesn't need any SIM cards to work. Whether you are traveling for work or leisure, this device is an excellent solution for staying connected to the internet without having to rely on public Wi-Fi networks or expensive data plans. Although, its reliance on cellular networks poses some challenges, and the seemingly "unlimited" data plans can be severely limiting for heavy users. I got to use the Solis Lite on my three-week India vacation, and here's everything you need to know before making the splurge.
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Do You Need A Mobile Hotspot Device?Build Quality and Box Contents: Gets the Basics RightSetup and App Experience: All-Around ConveniencePerformance and Battery Life: Delivers on Its PromisesShould You Buy the Solis Lite Wi-Fi Hotspot?
The best mobile hotspot devices offer a range of advantages for anyone who requires reliable internet access for foreign travel without indulging in mad scientist calculations about data plans and SIM cards every time. Straight off the bat, you can avoid expensive roaming charges on your phone and eliminate the need for multiple SIM cards. Plus, you can share a single connection with your family and friends, so everyone can stay connected and use their devices simultaneously for things like finding directions, ordering a ride, or browsing the web.
Moreover, having a mobile hotspot means you’ll never be disappointed by unreliable borrowed Wi-Fi from hotels, cafes, or stores again.
But the benefits of a dedicated Wi-Fi device don't stop there. By eliminating the need to use your phone as a mobile hotspot, you can also save its battery and reduce the need to carry around a bulky power bank. And if you ever find yourself in a pinch with a dead phone battery, devices like the Solis Lite can even act as a portable charger and juice up your phone.
Despite bearing the ‘Lite’ moniker, the Solis Lite is anything but light on box contents. In addition to the hotspot device, the package includes essential documentation, a USB type-A to type-C charging cable, and a USB type-A to type-C converter for convenient connection to type-C ports. Though a power adapter is not included, the modest length of the charging cable suggests that many people will likely opt to charge and operate the hotspot through their laptop's USB ports.
The device itself is shaped like a hockey puck with a 1-inch thickness and about as wide as a water bottle. It measures 3.5 inches across and weighs just under 6 ounces. It's pretty easy to carry in bag pockets, and I suspect most can even carry it in their jacket/jeans pockets, although a slightly longer, less thick shape might have made it less prone to making your pockets bulge.
The single, vibrant orange colorway of the Solis Wi-Fi hotspot is accentuated by a long white LED stripe at the top that also serves as a battery indicator. A recessed power button is located at one end of this strip, while three small LEDs positioned at the top display Wi-Fi status, network strength, and internet connectivity. The device feels reasonably well-built, with a matte plastic texture that stops it from slipping or sliding off surfaces.
The only real gripe I have with the Solis Lite's design is that its USB-C port has a raised lip around it, which prevents most type-C cables from entering properly, so you need to hold onto the bundled charging cable.
Setting up the Solis Lite was surprisingly easy. First, you must download the Solis Wi-Fi app, available for iPhone/iPad and Android. When you turn on the hotspot device for the first time, it takes about three to five minutes to connect to a network, indicated when the white LEDs stop blinking.
The default Wi-Fi network name and password are printed at the bottom of the hotspot, and every device comes with 1GB of free data to help you get online immediately. You can then purchase additional pay-per-GB data or sign up for recurring plans with prices starting from $9/day.
The app experience is pretty straightforward. You get different tabs to check out your Wi-Fi network status, plan details, remaining data, options to purchase new plans, account information details, etc. There's also an option to activate SignalScan, Solis’ patented technology that can scan for the strongest available network in your area. More on that in a bit.
For my month-long stay abroad, I went for the Global Unlimited Data Subscription pack, which appeared to be the most practical option for my needs. It's worth noting, however, that this option comes with a 20GB high-speed data cap. After surpassing this limit, the data speeds are reduced to an unremarkable 512Kbps, which might not suffice for anything more than basic web surfing.
As for the Global Daypass plans, these packages do not impose high-speed data limits, but they operate under the Fair Use Policy. In other words, if you exceed a certain amount of data usage, the internet speeds may decrease to 3G or even 2G levels, depending on the location, carrier bandwidth, and overall data consumption. Nonetheless, it's reassuring to know that there are flexible data plans available to cater to a range of travel needs.
Let's talk about network performance now. The Solis Lite uses virtual SIM technology to connect to over 200 cellular networks across 135 supported countries. During my travels in India, the Solis Lite almost always connected to the Airtel network, India's leading telecom operator. For the USA, its network of choice is AT&T.
As with regular cellular connectivity, how good your Internet connection is depends significantly on your area's network strength. That means you can't rely on Solis Lite in areas with no cellular connectivity, like airplanes, cruise ships, and remote regions far from urban infrastructure.
During my travels, I was mostly in and around Indian metro cities like Delhi and Mumbai. While my Solis Lite always found a network, there were times when I could hardly get speeds of more than 1Mbps with the Solis Lite kept in indoor settings. To improve the speeds, I occasionally had to relocate the hotspot closer to a window or balcony, which did bolster the network speeds to some degree.
On other occasions, I got respectable speeds of around 15-20Mbps, perfectly suitable for web browsing, video calls, video streaming, and other essential online activities. It's worth noting that my Galaxy Z Fold 4, which was running on an Airtel SIM, yielded similar data transfer speeds, more or less. However, unlike my phone, the Solis Lite can't connect to 5G networks and is restricted to 2G/3G/4G/LTE.
The Solis Lite can connect up to 10 devices simultaneously, although my usage was limited to around 3-4 items connected at a time. It projects a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network, and I had no difficulties connecting smartphones, smart TVs, and laptops to its network. The Wi-Fi network strength was impressive, allowing me to stay connected to the hotspot even when moving between different rooms.
In terms of battery life, the 4,700mAh cell in the Solis Lite performed admirably well. During my usage, on average, I found that the hotspot device only lost about 10% of its battery per hour. I am yet to experience the device's battery life being drained in a single session, but I have comfortably used it for eight to nine hours across two to three days on multiple occasions before needing to recharge.
You can also use the USB port on the Solis Lite to charge your phone's battery, although the charging speeds are pretty slow at just 5W.
The Solis Lite Wi-Fi hotspot is an excellent choice for those seeking a portable and convenient internet connectivity solution that eliminates the hassle of buying foreign SIM cards or international data plans. With its wide range of supported countries and ability to connect up to 10 devices simultaneously, the Solis Lite is ideal for frequent travelers.
There are some limitations to be aware of, such as the fair usage policy restricting high-speed data allowances and potentially pricey data plans compared to local SIMs in your destination country. Additionally, while the cellular network strength is usually strong enough in urban areas, you may face connectivity issues in certain locations. If you need a long-term solution, it may be worth considering a local SIM card or renting a portable hotspot in the country you are visiting.
If you’re in the market for a portable hotspot, the GlocalMe G4 PRO is an alternative option that's worth a look. Boasting a large screen, it allows you to easily keep track of your data usage and network status without the need for an app. Regarding global coverage options, both the GlocalMe G4 PRO and the Solis Lite offer impressive coverage in numerous countries (140 vs. 135, respectively). However, the GlocalMe G4 PRO provides more local network options in certain locations.
And if you’re looking for even faster data speeds, the Numen Air by GlocalMe offers a similar feature set to the G4 PRO with the added advantage of being able to access 5G networks in select countries.
In conclusion, I can confidently say that the Solis Lite is an excellent option for budget-conscious travelers who need to stay connected on the go. While I would have loved to get faster data speeds or stronger network connectivity from it, its no-nonsense, hassle-free experience is well worth the asking price. Despite its limitations, it's a reliable and user-friendly device that won't disappoint.8/10 ? 1 - Does not work2 - Barely functional3 - Severely lacking in most areas4 - Functions, but has numerous issues5 - Fine yet leaves a lot to be desired6 - Good enough to buy on sale7 - Great and worth purchasing8 - Fantastic, approaching best-in-class9 - Best-in-class10 - Borderline perfection $140 Table of Contents RELATED Box Contents: Dimensions: Weight: Ports: RELATED 8/10 ? 1 - Does not work2 - Barely functional3 - Severely lacking in most areas4 - Functions, but has numerous issues5 - Fine yet leaves a lot to be desired6 - Good enough to buy on sale7 - Great and worth purchasing8 - Fantastic, approaching best-in-class9 - Best-in-class10 - Borderline perfection $140