For a while now I’ve had the chance to check out HooToo’s newest in a line of travel routers and external battery chargers. The Sith is a red and black tower, small enough to fit comfortably into a purse or small bag, but packed inside it is an entire arsenal of travel-friendly tools. Most importantly, and what sets it apart from much of the market, it’s a travel router.
No longer are tablet users unable to connect at a hotel because all they offer is wired internet. Using the Sith’s Access Point mode, any wired internet connection can be turned into a private wireless connection. With Bridge mode, wireless connections that make you pay per connection can be effortlessly turned into a secured wireless that allows as many devices as the network can sustain. Finally, using the Router mode, the Sith can be connected directly to any cable or DSL router and can be used as a portable wireless router.
Aside from the examples above, which have come in handy when staying at the more net-unfriendly hotels, HooToo’s line of travel routers allow one other perk. If you’re a user of a set-top box like a Roku or AppleTV, you can’t connect to most hotel wireless because of the box’s inability to reach the “terms and conditions” page for the wifi. With the HooToo, using the partner app (available for all phone operating systems and on the web), you can log into the hotel’s wireless and re-transmit it as a clean wireless signal that’s usable by those boxes. This may seem like a small thing, but when faced with the choice between hotel cable and Netflix, you’ll be thanking HooToo.
Packaged in the travel router, is a charging battery. This battery is dual purpose, also providing the power the router needs when in use, but packs enough punch to recharge a typical phone 3-5 times. So, while I don’t suggest double-dipping into the battery by charging a phone and using the router at the same time, it provides a convenient travel battery in the same package.
The one thing that sets the Sith apart from the rest of the Tripmate series–aside from its aesthetics, which are a matte black and red that holds up well and doesn’t collect fingerprints as compared to the shiny plastic of its predecessors–is the ability to do wireless sharing. By plugging in a USB storage device to the same port you can use for charging, or up to 4 devices through the use of a USB hub, the Sith can turn the contents of those storage devices into a private, secured cloud. While not a function I tested, it has the potential to be a great tool during business trips, when several people need access to a single set of files.
At the list price of $179.99, it’s quite a bit more expensive than most people are willing to pay for that functionality, but at the current price of $59.99 (which is has been at for more than a month already), it’s a great tool for both the frequent traveller and the person whose phone/tablet regularly runs dead. For those who want the router performance with either a smaller or nonexistent battery, the rest of the Tripmate series are also worth your consideration. The base model Tripmate comes in at $32.99 with a smaller battery, and the Nano is only $18.99 but has no battery at all.
Whatever your choice, I heartily recommend the Tripmate series of portable routers from HooToo. I love my Sith, but the whole family make great travel companions.
Disclosure: I received a review unit in exchange for my honest review.