First Impressions of My Karma Go

On Friday, I received my Karma Go, a WiFi hotspot device that I ordered back in September, and that just began shipping last week.

Karma Go
(Roughly, the actual size.)

A Karma Go is a device that provides Internet access wherever you happen to be. This is useful if you happen to be working in a park, or a hotel for which you don’t want to pay outrageous Internet access fees. It’s “pay as you go,” meaning you only pay for the data you use. And the system is built with sharing in mind. Another Karma Go user can use my Karma WiFi to access the Internet. They don’t use my data; they use their own data. What’s more, each time a new Karma user access my device, I am credited with data. Win-win.

I hadn’t a chance to use it much until yesterday morning. I was working from home, when my Internet access suddenly went out. We have Cox for our Internet provider, and they are about the best Cable company/Internet provider I’ve ever had. Our access is very fast, and rarely goes out. Yesterday, however, it was out for 90 minutes. Cox was great about getting the service restored, but in the meantime, I had work to do.

That’s when I remembered the Karma Go.

I fired it up. It can support up to 8 devices connected to it at once. I only connected two: my desktop iMac, and my work laptop. For the next 90 minutes, I was able to work as seamlessly as if my Internet connection had never gone out.

How’s the speed?

The Karma Go uses Sprint’s network for its Internet access. They say that you can get download speeds of 6-8 Mb/s, including highs of 25 Mb/s. Upload speeds are around 3 Mb/s. The speed seemed fine to me yesterday.

Under normal conditions, when I am using Cox at home, my upload and download speeds are about the following:

Speed Test - Cox

When I tested my Karma Go this evening at around 5 pm EDT, I got the following results:

Karma Go Speed

That seemed plenty fast for the kind of work I was doing. I wasn’t streaming video (although at that speed I could have). I was writing code, sending email, uploading images. Oh, and since I forgot to disable CrashPlan, I was also backing up my iMac in the background. This was using two devices. I was plenty satisfied with the speeds.

Data usage

Since you pay as you go, it’s important to be able to monitor your data usage. Karma makes it easy. You can see your day-to-day usage from any web browser:

Dashboard___Karma

Better still are the mobile apps that allow you to look at your usage. Using the iPhone app, I can see my usage hourly, daily, or monthly. Here is the daily view:

Karma Usage

Karma prices data at $14/1GB; $59 for 5 GB; and $99 for 10 GB. If you don’t use it, you don’t lose it, so the data is entirely under your control. Moreover, you can get data credits when other Karma users connect to your device

Overall

So far, I’m very happy with my Karma Go. It saved my bacon yesterday, and allowed me to continue to work when I would have otherwise been dead-in-the-water. As someone who depends on Internet access to get my work done, I think that the Karma Go will prove to be an invaluable tool in getting things done, where I happen to be.

Karma gives its users a code that allows others to get a $10 off a Karma Go device. If you are thinking about getting a Karma Go, and want $10 off, you can use this link. You can find the specs for the Karma Go here.

8 thoughts on “First Impressions of My Karma Go

  1. Looks very handy, but I’m not sure what advantage it has over tethering (aka personal hotspot) on an iPhone.

  2. I have been looking at these too, but haven’t figured out why I just can’t do the same with tethering to my phone. Is there a compelling argument for a hotspot for occasion use like this over tethering?

  3. I can see the advantage of using this as it’s pay as you go. I’ve considered getting different devices that do basically this only they charge monthly and much like the author I would probably only use it in emergencies.

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