Gear and Gizmos
One of the best things about reviewing travel gear is that on occasion you come across a new item that is incredibly useful that you didn’t even know you needed. Such is the case with the Smart Travel Router from Satechi, a multifunction device that provides a lot of convenience and functionality in a tiny package.
As the name implies, this diminutive device’s main purpose it to serve as a portable wireless router for travelers. While many hotels in the U.S. now offer wireless Internet in their rooms, more often then not that cover is spotty at best and slow in performance. On the other hand, wired Internet provides more consistent speeds but it only allows one user to connect at any given time. It also forces users to sit close to the Ethernet port so they can plug their laptops into the cable, which isn’t always the most comfortable and convenient place to be. But Satechi’s little gadget turns those wired connections into wireless ones, giving you the ability to share the Internet with others and connect from anywhere in your hotel room.
While this travel router doesn’t look much like the wireless router you have it home, it functions much the same. It can be configured with a password to restrict access and you can adjust a few simple settings to tune performance to your own needs. But in its basic form, all you need to do is plug in an Ethernet cable and the device immediately starts sharing that connection wirelessly. It really is that simple and frequent travelers will enjoy how easy it is to get the router up and working. Within seconds you’ll be connected to the Internet, surfing the web, answering emails or updating that all-important Facebook status.
Carrying the Smart Travel Router with you on the road gives you more options for obtaining an Internet connection in a hotel room, but, this versatile device is also useful around the home too. Not only can it serve as a router but it can also function as a repeater, amplifying your exiting wireless signal to cover dead spots in you house. As an access point, it can also provide simple Internet access without any routing capabilities and while in “client” mode it can convert any device with an Ethernet port into a wireless device. This is useful for smart TV’s for instance, which don’t always ship with built-in wireless capabilities and are often installed some distance away from an Ethernet port.
If you couldn’t tell already, this is a useful little device to have with you when traveling, particularly if you want to tap into your hotel’s wired Internet in your room. But it also does far more than that, as the Smart Router is also a very capable charger for your devices. It not only contains an AC power port it has a USB port as well. That means that while the router is occupying a single power outlet it is also providing two ways to keep your gadgets charged.
As if that wasn’t enough, Satechi also saw fit to make the router an international outlet converter as well. By sliding various switches in different directions, prongs spring fourth from within the device that allow it to plug into power outlets that allow it to function in more than 150 countries. The converter will work in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa, allowing you to leave your other converters at home. It should be noted however that this is a simple outlet converter and doesn’t alter voltage or current in anyway. With so many devices designed for use internationally, this is less of a concern than it once was, but it is important to note none the less.
As a frequent traveler I always appreciate devices that are highly versatile. Why carry two or three items when one item can provide the same functionality? That is exactly what you get in the Smart Travel Router. Not only does it allow you to share a wired Internet connection with travel companions it also serves as an outlet converter and USB charger too. That is a lot of functionality to cram into such a small, lightweight package.
Satechi has given it the device a small price tag as well. The Smart Travel Router retails for just $49.99 which not only makes it very affordable but also a great gift for your favorite traveler this holiday season.