What is the one thing all techies can’t life without but can’t get abroad without taking out a loan? Fast, reliable access to the internet where ever you are. There is however a company that claims to offer this. Tep Wireless is a company from the UK that can offer mobile broadband and smartphones within Europe for just a slight premium above a local buying internet locally.
The service is offered in several European countries including the UK, France, Italy, Spain and Germany offering different packages for the different countries which you can go to. There are fixed prices for each country depending how long you plan to stay in that country with the cheapest for 30 days being Italy, which is just £2.50 per day.
How it Works?
The way it works is that Tep Wireless have deals in the countries they allow travel to with the network providers where they pay the local rates. They can then rent the devices to their customers for the length of time they require without the needs for them to take out lengthy contracts or having the hassle of trying to communicate what they want in a foreign mobile shop.
What you get?
With the pocket Wifi you get a Tep branded pack that contains:
- Your pocket wifi
- A USB Cable
- A UK universal USB Charger
- An adapter to use the charger in the country you are travelling to
- A 12V Car Charger (optional)
- An additional battery and charger (optional)
Data (Pocket WiFi and Smartphone)
In the countries where unlimited data is offered (just Italy, Spain, Germany and the UK at the moment) you are provided with PAYG sim that is topped up by
In all other countries you are provided with
Ordering from Tep
You may be wondering how to get your hands on this deal so let me explain the whole process with the advantage of personal experience. The first step is to order the device you want. For both Pocket WiFi and Smartphones you will first need to pick the country you are travelling to. From the next page you can then set your dates of travel, choose whether to have both a Pocket WiFi and a Smartphone, and then have the cost of your rental calculated. When I ordered mine it stopped calculating the price at 30 days so essentially you could have ordered these products for many years for the cost of one month but this glitch was soon resolved, which is unfortunate for everyone looking for a real bargain.
Once all this is calculated
Tep Wireless Website
Tep has a contemporary looking website with great images of people using their products and bright colours however, although the site looks great, it can be hard to navigate and find the information that you are looking for.
It is also glitchy in a few areas. One particular area is the savings calculator. I cannot for the life of me get this to work. It appears to have everything it should but doesn’t allow for a user to enter numbers and see how much would be saved!
What fair usage? One thing you should always expect from any company that offers an “unlimited” service of anything is a fair usage policy, however with Tep Wireless there is no fair usage policy to be seen meaning that on their unlimited services you can actually get unlimited internet!
The Future of Tep
I have been reliably informed of some upcoming changes to the Tep service to improve it further. With the non-unlimited plans they have promised to be upgrading this service to 150MB per day as apposed to the 50MB per day for the same price which is a much more reasonable amount of data for the standard user.Continue Reading »
I accidentally found this out but it is really handy. All you have to do is flip around the HTC scribe pen and it works as a fantastic capacitive stylus:Continue Reading »
This is the hardware review of the HTC Flyer where I will take a look at the hardware features and specs of the device. See full specs bellow the video.
HTC Flyer Specifications
- 600 x 1024 pixels, 7.0 inches LCD capacitive touchscreen (with digitizer input)
- 1.5 GHz Single Core
- 32 GB storage, 1 GB RAM
- Android OS, v2.3.3
- 5 MP rear facing camera with 720p video support
- 1.3MP front facing camera
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n with Wi-Fi hotspot
- Bluetooth v3.0 with A2DP
- Quad-band GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
- 3G HSDPA 900 / 1700 / 2100
- HSDPA 14.4 Mbps (Download), HSUPA 5.76 Mbps (Upload)
- Li-Ion 4000 mAh battery
Due to a lack of time at the moment, I have decided that in future I will separate my videos of devices from the reviews and then create a separate review when I have the time.
So here is the unboxing video for the HTC Flyer:
Included in the box for the HTC Flyer, you get:
- The HTC Flyer
- A white leather case
- The HTC Scribe Pen (included in the UK, but not in the US) – with AAAA battery
- A wall charger for your locale
- A USB cable for PC data sync
- A pair of HTC headphones (with ear buds and clips)
On Sunday I made my way to west London to go in search of the HTC Roadshow that was in town at Westfield Shopping Centre. It took me a little while to hunt down the road show but I did eventually find it! While there I took a look at all their latest products but the devices I was most interested in were the HTC Flyer and the HTC Sensation. After having a quick play arround with the Incredible S, Desire S and HD7 I got chatting to a friendly HTC worker. Started talking about all the old HTC phones (in particular the ones I had owned) and was just reminiscing with someone who could actually remember the HTC Universal!
After about half an hour just chatting we got down to business and he showed me around the HTC flyer (apologies in advance for the “Yep”ing):
As you can see the HTC Flyer is just an amazing device…
The other device I looked at was the HTC Sensation. After seeing the Flyer this was a rather disappointing experience. Of course it was very snappy and very fast and would make for an amazing phone to own, but there was no real innovation like in the Flyer. It was just another android phone and that’s exactly what it felt like.
I am not saying that as a phone it is a let down, or that the performance did not meet up to the specs that it had (because it most certainly did and if I was to buy a new phone, this would be the one I would get) but in terms of a new product on the market, the Sensation was just HTC’s version of a dual core phone whereas with the Flyer and its pen input, it was a real change.Continue Reading »
After seeing the HTC Flyer over the weekend I am now dying to get my hands on one. After a recent search to see what other tablets were available at this price range or for even less I stumbled upon this:
Yes… You have read it right. The 3G/WiFi version of the HTC Flyer for the price of the WiFi HTC Flyer. To me this looks like a mistake for the very reason just mentioned (they have got it mixed up with the price of the WiFi Flyer). However it is not just that. They clearly State that it has a 32GB capacity which is ONLY available for the 3G version and my other theory that this was the US version (without a pen) was proved wrong by the description.
Obviously I had no choice but to buy one of these at that bargain price and you can do the same, providing they don’t change anything! I will keep you updated with the status of my order and obviously when it arrives I will do a FULL unboxing and review!
UPDATE: The description on the best buy page has now been modified for the WiFi, 16GB version. However, the tablet I ordered has arrived and it is indeed the 32GB, 3G version. Hope you all took my advice and ordered when you could in order to save £120 on the HTC Flyer. I suppose I owe a big thank-you to Best Buy for sending what the desription said and honouring their part of the transaction.Continue Reading »
Over this weekend there were two problems at this New Year that stopped iPhone users from being able to successfully wake themselves up! The first of the two issues is with the actual clock on the iPhone. Any non-recurring alarms set to go off on the 1st or 2nd of January on an iPhone will not have done so! The exact cause of the bug is not known but Apple’s failure to be able to write an App as simple as a clock/alarm has been noted in the past when a similar problem was experienced due to the DST change! The worst part about the whole scenario is Apples response to the bug:
We’re aware of an issue related to non repeating alarms set for January 1 or 2. Customers can set recurring alarms for those dates and all alarms will work properly beginning January 3.
Apple’s way of responding to a bug that can in cases where the alarm is used for critical purposes, have a major impact on the life of the user is for users to just put up with the bug until it fixes itself on the 3rd of January (we’ll have to wait and see if that’s true) and use a ‘workaround’ in the meantime! Maybe one day Apple will be able to sort themselves out; but probably not!
The second problem that poor iPhone users who expect to be woken up in the morning come to the risk of their house burning down if they try to! This is because of a defective charger provided with the WakeMate. Admittedly this affects all phone platforms that can run WakeMate as this is a hardware issue with the charger that makes the actual WakeMate device set on fire, however this is another blow to using an iPhone in order to wake you up in the morning!
I suppose until Apple sort themselves out their users will just have to endure an extended sleep!
UPDATE: It may be a shock to some of you but on January 3rd, the iPhone clock still was not working! Read more on Mobile Crunch.Continue Reading »
Last weekend, I decided to tempirarily change phone to a BlackBerry (since my HTC Touch Pro’s space bar was broken) which I had mannaged to get for free as it was supposedly broken. Apparently it would not charge and it was also missing a trackball. Well the charging issue was easy enough to fix as it was not a problem for me and the trackball I was able to fix by spending £1.99 on eBay – admitedly, I bought a purple trackball over a white one, as it was cheaper and not only was the phone missing a trackball but a plastic ring that goes round it.
Once I had the BlackBerry all up and running, I wacked my SIM card in and started using it – to my releif the web browser worked and – thought I wouldn’t have to give in to giving RIM £5 per month to get BIS.
Obviously a person like me who is an avid tweeter would need to download twitter as their first app. After doing this, I then realised using BlackBerry App World to download all my other stuff would be easier so I downloaded that.
After downloading an array of other apps I then tried to set them up. I started with twitter and facebook. Neither of which worked – both stating connection errors. I then tried some other and most gave connection error with the odd exception!
I spent absolutly hours baffled by the anomily that resulted in some apps (including Blackberry App World).
It was only later when I tried to set-up my gmail that I realised. To add an email account on a blackberry you must integrate it and it was when I tried to do this that I realised how RIM have made it almost imposible to use your BlackBerry to the most of its capability without paying £5 per month.
To use email on a BlackBerry, you must first purchase £5 to get BIS enabled. This is fair enough in the corperate scenario where they are trying to access email through a BES as it is like purchasing a user CAL for your server, but when you just want to add your free webmail account you should be able to do this through standardised and open protocols like on most other phones. For someone who has been using Microsoft Push Email for years, this was an outrage!
I personally need access to my emails on the go and if I was going to use this blackberry as my temporary phone, I would need to get BIS! After 3 phone calls and eventually getting through to the T-Mobile retentions deppartment and mannaged to haggle 350 minutes in return for BIS – which was much better than the origional offer of downgrading from 600 to 350 minutes, Unlimited to 300 texts and the loss of my standard ‘always-connected’ internet.
It didn’t take long for the BIS to become active and after it was, what do you know? Oh…. All the apps that I downloaded that could not access the internet and were all ‘coincidentially’ made by Research in Motion started to work! Convinient how you pay them £5 per month and suddenly all standard services that you’d be able to use on any other phone using normal ‘always-connected’ internet start to work!
In my opinion, this is totally outrageous. You are basically paying £5 per month for the privilage of owning a BlackBerry and do you know what the worst bit is? The majority of BlackBerry owners don’t even realise they are paying this premium.
The amount of people who own a BlackBerry because of the BBM feature, really are very naïve. They all say how with a BlackBerry they get BBM which allows unlimted chat to their friends but it only works if your friends have BlackBerries. For the £5 they are paying for that privilige they could be getting more minutes and unlimites text which they could use to anyone on any network; not just BlackBerry owners!
For those who then have the argument that BBM gives more funtionaily than text messaging, then unlimited internet would allow you to use social networking, instant messaging and push email. All of which would provide an experience that surpasses the features of BlackBerry Messenger.
In my opinion BIS only makes sense for companies that have BES!
This is one of the first problems I discovered with my T-Mobile (UK) MDA Vario IV (the UK version of the HTC Touch Pro for sale on T-Mobile) and I cannot see that this is the only device that is affected by this. The issue was a problem where the caller ID would not be found for either SMS messages or Phone calls. This was because when I was receiving a phone call on T-Mobile the number would be displayed without the country code (e.g. 07123456789) and when I received a text from the same person their number would be displayed with the country code (e.g. +447123456789). The problem was that if the contact was saved without the country code their name would only be displayed only for their phone calls and if their number was saved with the country code then their name would only be displayed with their texts. If you also have this problem then this is how you can fix it:
- Download and install the latest version of mdSoft CeRegEditor which can be found on the mdSoft CeRegEditor Download page
- After installing you will need to connect your device via ActiveSync then start mdSoft CeRegEditor. (Please not that if you are using Windows 7 or Windows Vista then you may need to “Run as Administrator” for the connection to be successfully established by right clicking and clicking “Run as Administrator”)
- To connect click F1 or click connect in the top left of mdSoft CeRegEditor.
- Either search for CallIDMatch or navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ControlPanel\Phone and find CallIDMatch
- Double click CallIDMatch and then change the value to 10 (as far as I know this is the number of digits which must match for the caller ID to be assosiated – both +447123456789 and 07123456789 from our earlier example share 10 digits in common so this is value that should be set)
- Click OK then close mdSoft CeRegEditor.
- Safely remove your phone from the computer then reset your device.
After following those steps, it should be fixed! Simplest way to test is to get someone to phone you and then text you.Continue Reading »
A couple of months back I needed to get quick data transfer for video streaming between my Server (in the loft) and my PS3 (in my front room). Wifi was set up and had enough speed but with up to 6 other devices all connected and transferring data there simply was not the bandwidth for HQ video. I had tried to use wifi and it did work wonderfully – when there were no computers on the network. The next logical option was to go hard wired! But running new network cables around the house ended up being costly, timely an ineffective!
I can imagine many people are faced with this problem, or a similar problem and the next best choice is to use PowerLine Ethernet. In theory this sounded fantastic, but I didn’t know anyone with them and was uncertain of how effective they could really be. The only way to know for sure was to buy and test it!
I went onto eBay and went for the cheapest PowerLine Ethernet kit I could find that would serve my need. I ended up buying 4 Advent Powerline 200Mbps Ethernet Adaptors for a reasonable £85 (approximately). To me this seemed like a good price, especially as Advent was not one of these unknown companies making the products; with that in mind, I had high expectations of these devices!
When they arrived I quickly got them out the box (sorry know un-boxing videos or photos because at the time I didn’t have this blog ). There were two identical kits (both with 2 adapters). Each had 2 adaptors, 2 Ethernet cables, the instruction manual (which never left the box ), the CD with the set-up software and 6 universal adaptors.
The 6 universal adaptors were 2 for the US, 2 for Europe and 2 for the UK; this was quite handy and meant you could use them anywhere in Europe and the USA. The 6 adaptors could slide in and out of the main adaptor and clip in plushly (wow this would be easier to explain with a picture). I hope that made sense.
Setting up was a bit fiddley to begin with but after you get used to it, it seemed to work okay. You needed to install the software on one computer (so a computer is required to set-up – do not buy if you have no computers and just want to share internet to a games console unless you can get hold of a computer to set up) and connected one of the adaptors to the computer and mains. Within the software you then had to give the MAC address and password of another adaptor that you wished to be connected. I would recommend writing this down for each then having all of them plugged in and setting it up like that for 2 reasons:
- It is quicker – You will not have to keep going back and forth to the socket reading the information off and will allow you to set up all the adaptors consecutively.
- It will be more reliable – If you read the info straight from the adaptor then plug it back in the wall and end up clicking “OK” before the adaptor has booted up, the adaptor connected to the computer will not be able to find it and will display an error and make you re-enter the information.
After all of them had been set up, I dotted them around the house in the best locations. One of the adaptors needs to be connected to a router so I popped one with my wireless router, one with my server and one with my PS3 (leaving me with one spare). These adaptors had actually solved another problem in my household; the wireless router is in my parent’s bed room (as it is one of the 3 places in the house with coaxial for my DSL modem and out of the 3 is the most central) and the only way of getting hard wired network in my loft was to run a wire from the cupboard with the router up to the loft. This wire was starting to annoy my parent’s as they could not close their door properly and it was quite an eyesore. By using the adaptor I could use PowerLine to get network up to my loft! Brilliant!
When testing it out the first thing I did was test the connection between my router and loft server. As far as I remember there were a few intermittent problems but after it was working, it remained pretty stable!
I then tested the PS3′s connection to the router; I was able to browse the internet just as I was before on Wifi! Oh wait…. I forgot to turn off the Wifi…. I was using Wifi to browse the web!
After eventually setting the PS3 to wired LAN only and configuring all the settings, I tested again and it seemed to work fine! I was able to get onto most websites that I could think of and everything seemed to work well!
Then it was now time for the real test – Video Playback! I was confident when I saw that my Server was showing up on the PS3 as a Media Server just like it would normally and I then navigated to a film which I had ripped off a DVD. It worked amazingly!!! I could fast forward, rewind, jump around the video and actually watch it with no difficulty at all! No stuttering! No freezing! And no audio lag!
Everything was going so well that I thought I would try something I had no idea whether would work, and would have no right to complain if it didn’t! I took the remaining adaptor and my laptop out across the garden and into my garage! I was confident that this would work but i plugged in and what do you know? It worked!!!
Over the following week, I intensely tested this network! Watching film after film, TV programme after TV programme and was shocked when one day… it just stopped working! I had no idea what happened but after inspecting all the adaptors I realised the adaptor at the router (the core of the network) was making a ticking noise! I suspected something was wrong with it and replaced it with the adaptor that was in the garage (that was just connected to my A3 printer). It worked. After testing the other adaptor a few time with a few methods, it was clear it had burnt out!
I carried on using the network it for another week or so and then the same thing happened again! This was the last straw… I contacted the eBayer, sent the item back and got a refund! I was not at all impressed. :@
- Quite simple to set up
- Gets good speeds
- Work great for High Definition video
- Compatible with pretty much any Ethernet device
- They work over quite long distances
- Can get very hot
- Can burn out in extreme temperatures (especially if excessive use)
- Requires a computer for initial set-up
- Can sometimes give intermittent communication problems
- Surge protectors cause allot of interference (I did discover this when testing with my PS3 but I forgot to write about it in the blog
My overall summary is that the concept is fantastic and definitely works and that these devices are very good for moderate use, but if you need allot of data to e transferred allot of the time, you may want to find a more reliable alternative! I will eventually be buying another brand of these and will test them out and do a full blog like this but with photos and maybe even videos!Continue Reading »