Last week I was with a group of 15 students and 1 colleague in Prague for an exchange program. If you know me, you probably guessed I took my iPhone, an iPad and a MacBook Pro along. In major cities like Prague, It isn’t that hard to hop from one Wi-Fi hotspot to another, but what if you go to more rural areas? And what about battery life?
I’d like to share me findings
What did I bring?
- 1x MacBook Pro
- 1x iPad mini (16GB, Wi-Fi)
- 1x iPhone 5 (16GB)
What issues did I foresee?
- The iPhone will be out of disk space quickly because I take lots of pictures
- Data roaming costs will bankrupt me
- My iPhone battery will run empty very fast.
Which solutions did I think of?
In big cities, there are lots of free Wi-Fi hotspots: airports, Starbucks toffe shops and fastfoodrestaurants like McD and KFC (hint: just buy a sparkling water). In Prague, most restaurants and bars also provide free Wi-Fi.
Mobile Internet is something else. Data usage can be very expensive and iPhones don’t allow dual SIM. But there is a solution: I bought myself a mobile hotspot and got me a prepaid Data only SIM at the airport.
I use a Huawei E5331. It cost me about €79 and it works flawless. On the inside of the device you can find the SSID en a generic password.Hij kostte me €79 en hij doet zijn job perfect.
Op de binnenzijde van het toestel staat het SSID (netwerknaam) en het wachtwoord. In the App store there’s an app to adjust the settings (choose your own SSID and password) and monitor your usage.
When I landed in Prague, I bought a Vodafone SIM for 4GB at the airport. Once your provide the APN settings, you’re good to go.
Beware for this:
– Your iPhone sees this network as a Wi-Fi network. All iCloud services (backups, photos, documents) automatic updates, podcasts, quickly consumes lots of data.
– The hotspot battery only lasts for 10-12 hours. Make sure to use the ‘Power Save Mode’.
– Your iPhone indicates the Wi-Fi strength. This will most of the time look perfect because the hotspot is very close by to you (i.e. in your pocket or backpack). However, the strength of the data connection is only correctly shown in het hotspot app.
Get yourself a battery pack. Mine has got 1 USB-in connection (too charge the battery pack itself) and 2 USB-out connections. The battery pack fits in my jacket. It also charges my mobile hotspot on the go.
Storage for photos and video
Use PhotoStream on iCloud, but only synchronise it on ‘real’ Wi-Fi. When I have access to my MacBook, I use the built-in Image Capture app of OS X to empty my phone.
If you can use mobile data, Google Maps is very helpful, especially if you need to use public transportation. If you don’t have mobile data, you can still use Google Maps offline. This is a well hidden feature: make sure the map you want is on your screen and type ‘Ok maps’ in the search area and hit ‘search’. Your map is now stored locally.
Another maps-app that I love is CityMaps 2Go Pro. It stores maps locally on your device. These maps are searchable, very detailled and contain lots of information like street names, POI’s, public transport, … all accessible without network connection.
Take your iDevices abroad