GlocalMe G3 review – Why rent when you can own one?

As an avid traveller (at least for this year), I’ve been travelling almost every month (with the exception of February and November) and well, the one thing I cannot live without is.. data.

Over the years, I’ve explored almost every single option available (See full list):

  • Using my local Telco (m1 data passport/Singtel Dataroam),
  • Purchasing a Prepaid SimCard from StarHub (HappyRoam)
  • Purchasing a data SimCard from the country
  • Renting a wifi device (either in Singapore or at the country itself)

Well, it takes a lot of hassle each time because I’m like the type who calculates every single cent to make sure that I’m getting the best deal in every decision I make. It does get a little tiring at times and this is such a first world problem but I guess I can’t help it in this information overloaded world.

So, I discovered GlocalMe – a single device which has the ability to give you data roaming in more than 100 countries – with a few simple clicks on their app.

Few months ago (back in July), I tried and reviewed their U2 device in a separate post, for my trip to Taiwan.

This time round, they sent me their new model – G3 – which proved to have a crazy awesome battery life (claimed to be more than 15 hours), albeit at a heavier weight.

For my trips to Bangkok (in September) and Shanghai (in October), my group of 3 survived solely on this single GlocalMe device.

If you have been following my travel on IG Story, you’ll notice that I spend more than 12 hours out each day and my InstaStory is like a massive spam – lasting up to 6 mins per day. All that was made possible with my GlocalMe G3 device. Even if my phone battery runs out, my GlocalMe device will still be working well (with sufficient battery).

To make things easier, let me sum up the pros and cons of this device.

ADVANTAGES

  1. The battery life is simply remarkable and it doesn’t take that long to charge. I don’t have the exact figures but it charges faster than my 10,000 Xiaomi power bank.
    Disclaimer: This device is new and I’ve only used it for 3 months. I guess the real test comes after the device is more than 12 months old. On a side note, my Huawei device which is more than 2 years old cannot last more than 4 hours with constant data usage X_X 
  2. No more hassle of changing SIM Cards
    This is pretty much your worse nightmare if you realise that you forgot your sharp thing which allows you to switch the Sim Card. I once landed in Singapore without data connection – because I lost my sharp pin during the trip (and my earring did not work). I had to struggle using Changi Airport wifi to communicate with the people picking me up from airport. Oh, there was once I even had to beg/cry/ask politely for a staff at the souvenir shop if she had a sharp thing for me to replace my SIM card. 
  3. Stay connected the moment you land
    The wait in the plane can be ultra long (especially if you sit all the way behind) and if you’re travelling budget or without any form of entertainment, the wait can be unbearable. Having your own wifi device (not renting or buying a sim card in the country) gives you wifi the moment you land. Without it, I might be a little cranky. 
  4. Share your data at ease
    GlocalMe can connect up to 5 devices at any one point. Have you ever travelled in a group whereby you’re the only one who has data and everyone else in your group asks you to open up your hotspot for tethering? Tethering heats up your phone really badly and your battery drains like crazy; why risk it? 
  5. Reduce time spent waiting & queuing 
    Reached a country and ready to start your adventure or arriving at an unearthly hour (where the wifi counter has yet to open)? Reduce your worries by owning your personal GlocalMe device so you don’t have to wait in line or worry over ‘forgetting to return’ and risk paying a penalty. 
  6. Worldwide Data Package is available
    If you are a super frequent flyer, they do have a worldwide unlimited data package (capped at 2Gb/month high speed) which costs 335 euros. This will be super convenient for people who fly on a daily basis (aka airline staff that fly) and also those working on shipping boats.

DISADVANTAGES

  1. It is heavy – at 240g.
    The G3 device is so powerful and capable (functions as a power bank too but I did not test this option out as I prefer it to serve its sole function) and it comes with a price to pay – it weights freaking 240g – heavier than iPhone 8+ and iPhone X. If ‘weight’ is a big issue, consider getting the screenless U2 which is only 151g. (For comparison sake, my Huawei is 95g but I guess that explains its crappy battery life) 
  2. Affordable pricing and data plans, but not necessarily the cheapest.
    The fees are calculated in euros (which is pretty frustrating as I have to do a conversion each time) and it is subject to the everflowing exchange rate. As I type, it is 1.59 SGD = 1 euro.For the package I bought in Thailand, I paid 12 euros ($19.08) for 3Gb data which lasts 30 days.
    A 7-day unlimited sim by AIS costs you $13. If you stay for more than 7 days, it will cost you $26 (more expensive) so it really depends.For China, I bought the 5Gb data package which costs ONLY 6.50 euros ($10.34). The only ‘catch’ is that this package expires on a month to month basis (not 30 days) so if your travel dates cross between 2 months, you might have to buy 2 packages. Then again, 1 gb only costs you 2 euros so I guess it is really cheap.
    The ‘other alternative’ for China would be wifi rental from ChangiRecommends which costs $8/day ($40 for my 5-day trip) or $7/gb using StarHub happy roam ($35 for 5 Gb) or $20/gb via Singtel DataRoam.

    Quoting something that my boss says that makes sense.. now you know how much our telcos are overcharging you..  hmm..

  3. Losing a device is more devastating than a SimCard
    If you’re the ‘careless’ type and prone to losing your things easily, you might want to consider the risk of loss due to the negligence of the owner. A device costs a couple of hundreds and I’m pretty sure it will be a painful pinch; should you lose the device. Alternatively, SimCards are pretty affordable and the damage on your wallet ain’t that bad.

Well, despite all the disadvantages, the device is kind of growing on me! I guess there’s some sense of ownership (given that it has been with me for 2 trips) but the best part right now is..

THE DEVICE IS ON SALE NOW!!

Amazon (International) – U2@$139.99 | G3@$169.99 (prices in USD)

Qoo10 (Singapore) – U2@$189 | G3@$225 (prices in SGD)

Note: G2 looks exactly the same as G3 but it is, in fact, an older model which the first launched on Kickstarter.
G3 (the one I used and reviewed) is the slightly more expensive upgraded version.

* Prices are accurate as at 14-Nov-2017

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How much data is truly enough?

Well, if you’re not streaming YouTube or doing Facebook/Instagram Live often, you don’t actually use a lot of data. I survived Shanghai with 3 millennials and only 5 Gb of data. As I update ‘on-the-go’ or whenever I get over the great firewall of china, I believe my usage is slightly insane.. YET, I still have remaining data even at the airport, while awaiting my departure flight. If you’re using data for functional purposes (wayfinding, google maps, reviews), you will hardly exceed 1Gb of data even with a bit of social media update. So, not to worry, your 1Gb of data may last you longer than you expect (unless you’re an insane user like me, uploading 6 mins worth of insta-story on a daily basis).

Share your thoughts with me! Will you consider getting a device like this?

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  • I want to use a hotspot while I’m traveling in the U.S. while using my Fire Tablet and Chromebook. I don’t have a cell phone. Will this work well for those devices and how good would the coverage be across the U.S.?

    • Hi Dave! Thanks for leaving a comment. I am not sure how it works with Fire Table and Chromebook because I don’t own any of these devices.
      However, I’ve tried it on both iPhone and android devices and it worked fine.
      I’ve not been to USA before but generally the reviews are quite alright on Amazon so I don’t believe there should be must issue in US!
      Sorry that I can’t help much!

  • Greetings from Vancouver, Canada.

    Thanks for taking the time to post this review!

    Can you please comment on how well this device works with third-party sims? Does that look easy to setup and is this device truly unlocked? GlobalMe does not seem to provide any details on this.

    Example: Would using your home countries (or another country) cellular phone sim be as simple as plug and play?

    • Hi Mike, apologies for the delayed reply. I’ve actually never tried the device using a third-party sim before. I believe the device is unlocked (not really an issue in most of Asia). To find out more and get more accurate answers, I suggest you write in directly to them.

  • I am going to be teleconferencing/telemedicine when on vacation in Africa and could be using it up to 6-8 hours a day. The G-2 now comes with 20 gb. The updated G3 doesn’t have nearly that much. Which would you recommend?

    Thanks.

    Byron

    • Hi there, I’m not sure about the difference between G2 and G3 as I’ve only used the U2 and G3 before. Both my experiences were using data packages that I buy on the go. I’m not aware of any plan that gives 20gb data so I’m really unsure of what promotion you’re looking at. I definitely recommend G3 for battery life.