Monday, 21 March 2016

HooToo Tripmate

HooToo Tripmate

HooToo isn’t exactly the first name that springs to mind when you think about networking technology – or anything else for that matter. However, the company does produce some interesting looking travel routers, of which is the TripMate.

The HooToo TripMate wireless travel router is a solid black device measuring 96 x 44 xx 28mm, with a 10/100Mbps Ethernet port on one side of its rounded body and a full-sized USB 2.0 port on the other. To one side, there’s a micro-USB port for power and on top you’ll find a power button surrounded by a set of LEDs indicating power and connection status.

In terms of wireless technology, the TripMate supports 802.11n single 2.4GHz channel up to 150Mbps, and as with the other products in this group, you have several modes to choose from. The AP mode utilises the Ethernet port to extend a wired network to wireless devices, bridge mode extends an existing wireless network, and router mode uses the Ethernet port as the WAN port to turn the device into a traditional wireless router.

The USB port allows charging for other devices, such as a phone or tablet, and it also acts as a NAS device if you connect any form of USB storage. Similarly, the Ethernet port can double up as a standard LAN port as well as the WAN port in its router mode.

The internal battery in the HooToo is surprisingly good. At 6000mAh, it can last more than four hours when simply sharing an internet connection. When used as a charging station, there’s enough juice to give something like an iPad a 50% charge from nothing.

On paper, the HooToo TripMate looks good, but in reality it’s a bit of pain to get working properly. The setup is easy, but the connection and range of the wireless signal is drastically poor.

The connection never once managed to remain stable in the time we were testing it. It kept dropping, reconnecting, dropping, reconnecting and so on. Sometimes that would happen continuously for about five minutes, before it eventually refused to connect at all.

The times when it was connected and stable, we couldn’t walk more than six feet away from it before the connection weakened to the point where it wasn’t detectable at all. We tried this on a laptop, phone and various tablets of different ages and still the range was too poor for anything beyond a couple of metres.

The HooToo TripMate wireless travel router isn’t really a device we’d recommend to those who work on the road. Its reliability will frustrate you, and it’s just not good enough to be a stable work accessory.