As a family of three who now travels with two packs and a roller, we are always keeping a lookout for new tech gear that can optimize our existing pack lists or remove redundancies. This is the first product review we’re posting on The LuxPats, so we wanted to start with the a piece of gear that no digital nomad family should be without – the HooToo Tripmate Titan (HT-TM05).
This little gadget has been a godsend for long hauls or when we run into the occasional Airbnb that only has corded internet. The HooToo Titan is a red and black brick, small enough to fit in any bag or purse, but packed inside it is an entire arsenal of travel-friendly tools for the whole family.
The first and most often used feature is the HooToo’s ability to wirelessly transmit music and videos to multiple devices. The unit has an input/output USB port, which supports up to 4TB drives. This means that even though your smaller devices like iPad Mini have only something like 16GB of storage, you can access your entire video library wherever you are, as long as you have the HooToo with you.
To keep the unit portable during travel we picked up a cheap low-profile USB drive and loaded it up with Spencer’s favorite movies. With the free HooToo app we can access the USD drive on the HooToo and stream it wirelessly to Spencer’s iPad. HooToo enables simultaneous sharing, so I can access documents on the drive from my laptop, while Sarah accesses books from her iPad and Spencer streams Aladdin onto his iPad. PRICELESS.
The second priceless feature is a dual purpose battery – providing power to the router when in use and a charging station for our devices during longer journeys where USB ports aren’t available. The unit can charge our phone 3-5 times on each charge, but if you’re using the HooToo’s wireless router in between like us, you might only have enough juice for 1-2 charges. The battery feature allowed us to give away our single function battery block and reduce our pack weight. What’s nice is the five LED indicators on the top of the unit that let us know when to charge it.
The core feature of the Tripmate Titan is its wireless router. No longer do we have to worry about booking a hotel with wifi internet access or checking the “wifi” box on Airbnb filters dropdown. The unit has an ethernet port build in, so when we arrive at the hotel or apartment we just plug the ethernet cable in and voila, the lifeblood of digital nomading.
The Titan is also a wifi repeater, which is great for when we’re using public wifi and don’t have a VPN handy. The unit connects to public wifi and with Bridge mode, we can create a secure connection that only our devices can connect to. This doesn’t provide nearly enough protection to be used as our main security defense, but every layer helps.
Aside from these features, which alone are worth the $59.99 price tag, the Tripmate Titan has two additional functions that we haven’t made use of in the months we’ve owned it. The first is wireless backups – just as you can wirelessly stream files from the device to your laptop, you can also transfer files wirelessly. We can transfer files more quickly with direct USB, so this wasn’t a very practical feature for us. The last feature is that the HooToo can get TV sticks like Chromecast or AppleTV online at hotels. Hotels often use authentication networks that inadvertently block TV sticks (they get stuck at the T&Cs page for wifi), but you can bypass this by logging into the hotel’s wireless on the Tripmate Titan and then retransmitting it as a T&C free wireless signal to the stick.
Our only beef with the device is its rubber input/output wrap. When you have a USB stick (even the low profile ones) plugged in, the wrap sticks out and make packing with onboard USB a little annoying. Writing this, I came up with a solution – I’m taking a razor blade and cutting our a small block for it to fit around. Done. Problem solved. Nothing else to complain about here.
Aesthetically, the matte black finish with red detail is pretty slick. It looks very different to other routers on the market, often a glossy finish that collects finger prints, and its weight balance gives the unit a since of durability. The Tripmate Titan is a must-have tool for any digital nomad, lone wolf or family unit.
Have any of you used a Tripmate Titan? Do you have any must-haves for digital nomad families to share?