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The HooToo TripMate Elite is many things: it’s a router, a personal cloud, a portable battery, and a USB wall charger.

But its small size and wide range of capabilities make it perfect for travellers or anyone who likes to pack light. Chances are that you’ll find at least one scenario in which it is useful. Let’s take a look at all that this device can do.

Specs

  • Price: $45 on Amazon
  • Wireless: Supports 802.11b/g/n at 150Mbps
  • Battery: 6,000 mAh
  • Weight: 200g (7oz)
  • Size: 82mm x 82mm x 28mm (3.2in x 3.2in x 1in)
  • Ports/Plugs: Two USB output, one micro-USB input, Ethernet input, North American AC Wall Charger

Hardware

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Out of the box, you get the little TripMate Elite along with a gray cloth carrying case and a short micro-USB to USB cable. The case is slightly too small and almost doesn’t shut when the device is put inside, which is rather annoying but not a dealbreaker.

The device itself is made of a very shiny, very fingerprint-attracting black plastic. There’s constantly going to be fingerprints on this thing — there’s no way to avoid that. But aside from that, it’s a basic, unassuming black square.

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Router

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This would probably be considered the main function of this device, with the others being handy add-ons. And it works fabulously as a router.

To set it up, you first need to take the Ethernet cable that’s coming from your modem and plug it into the TripMate Elite. Then power on the device. Since there’s no secondary Ethernet port to connect to your computer, you’ll need to just look for it over Wi-Fi. It is named TripMateElite-XXXX. You can connect to it using the password “11111111”, which is just eight ones.

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Once you’re there, open your favorite Web browser Browser Wars: Firefox vs. Chrome vs. Opera, The Definitive Benchmark Browser Wars: Firefox vs. Chrome vs. Opera, The Definitive Benchmark If you could only choose one browser, which one would it be? Which is best: Firefox, Chrome or Opera? We'll show you. Read More and navigate to 10.10.10.254. From there, you can login using the username admin and leaving the password blank. Once inside the TripMate Elite’s interface, you’ll obviously want to change that username and password Does Your Default Router Configuration Make You Vulnerable to Hackers & Scammers? Does Your Default Router Configuration Make You Vulnerable to Hackers & Scammers? Routers rarely arrive in a secure state, but even if you have taken the time to configure your wireless (or wired) router correctly, it can still prove to be the weak link. Read More , as well as the default SSID and password.

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I can’t speak to its range inside of a large house, but it easily covered my one bedroom apartment the same as my regular router. It even functions as a dual-band router How Dual-Band Routers Can Solve Your Wireless Woes How Dual-Band Routers Can Solve Your Wireless Woes Using a router that supports the dual-band standard can significantly boost your Wi-Fi speeds in many circumstances. Read More , though it lacks 802.11AC-support like other routers (our review of the Netgear R7000 Netgear R7000 Nighthawk 802.11ac Wireless Router Review and Giveaway Netgear R7000 Nighthawk 802.11ac Wireless Router Review and Giveaway The $199.99 Netgear Nighthawk R7000 802.11ac wireless router is a serious piece of hardware. Read More ).

The major difference between the TripMate Elite and other routers is that it is much smaller. It easily fits in the palm of your hand — you could carry it with you in a purse or backpack anytime.

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And that’s exactly what the TripMate Elite is made for — someone on the go. It’s not meant to be a home router you plug in and never touch again. It’s portable size makes it perfect for taking from place to place.

To that end, you can also connect the TripMate Elite to another Wi-Fi network and then have it broadcast its own signal. For example, say you’re staying in a hostel with friends and you only get decent Wi-Fi in one corner of the room. Instead of having everyone huddle over there, just setup the TripMate Elite to connect to the hostel’s Wi-Fi, and then have it broadcast a signal for all of you to connect to using your own SSID and password. HooToo calls this Bridge Mode.

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To activate Bridge Mode, you do need a laptop handy to connect to the TripMate Elite so you can enter in the credentials of the WiFi network you want to connect to.

Additionally, since it has a built-in battery, this router doesn’t need to constantly be plugged in, so you can feel free to move it from outlet to outlet without losing your connection (as long as it remains connected to WiFi or Ethernet, obviously).

All in all, it does a solid job as a router. So, what else can it do?

Personal Cloud

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HooToo wants to call this capability the “Personal Cloud”, but since you need to be connected via WiFi to the TripMate Elite for it to work, it’s a bit more limited than that. Don’t expect to be able to load files onto the TripMate Elite, leave it at home, and access those files away from home.

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The device has no on-board storage, but you can connect up to two USB flash drives The Best, Fastest, Most Rugged USB Flash Drives You Can Buy Right Now The Best, Fastest, Most Rugged USB Flash Drives You Can Buy Right Now USB flash drives are some of of the coolest inventions for geeks. We've rounded up five of the fastest, most rugged, and overall best drives on the market. Here's what we've found. Read More  to it. Any device that connects to the TripMate Elite can then access the files on those flash drives using either the Android app, iOS app, web interface, or the Mac or Windows app. Unfortunately, the app is required for accessing any of the files on your mobile device, so if you’re hoping to share files with friends, they will have to download the app too.

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None of the apps are much to write home about. The Android app is ugly, but functional. The Windows app seems pretty unnecessary since you can access everything via the Web anyway. I was having some trouble connecting initially via the Android app, but eventually it worked.

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You’re supposed to be able to stream video using the app, but it didn’t seem to move quick enough to stream decently. The video would buffer often, stuttering the stream. Downloading videos from the USB storage attached to the TripMate Elite was no problem, but streaming wasn’t as seamless as their advertising would make you think it is.

If you like keeping files on USB flash drives and accessing them wirelessly, then the TripMate Elite is right up your alley.

Portable Battery

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With a built-in 6,000mAh battery, the TripMate Elite could actually keep your smartphone or tablet juiced up for a while. A tablet may drain it a bit quicker, but the average smartphone should be able to be refilled roughly twice before the it’s dried up.

This is another boon for travellers who may have to spend a while between outlets. Dedicated portable chargers of this size are pretty cheap — this one from Amazon is $12.99 — but it’s a nice function to have built-in to this device so you can cut down on the number of items you’re travelling with.

You can charge the TripMate Elite via the built-in North American AC plug, though you will want to find an adapter if you’re travelling outside North America. It also can charge via micro-USB if you want to plug it into your computer or if you have a separate micro-USB to wall charger.

USB Wall Charger

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This is kind of a small tack-on that some might consider to fall under the “Portable Battery” section, but the TripMate Elite is also technically a dual-USB to wall charger. You can grab adapters like these for $9.99 on Amazon, but again, it’s nice to have this functionality built in.

Once you find an outlet, you can plug in the TripMate Elite and have it charge itself while charging your smartphone (or your smartphone and your tablet).

Should You Buy It?

The HooToo TripMate Elite is a strange little device, but a useful one for anyone who likes to do a bit of travelling. Combining a travel router, personal cloud, portable battery, and USB wall charger might seem like a bizarre combo, but you’d probably find it useful if you got one.

Our verdict of the HooToo TripMate Elite:
Buy it. For only $45 you get a lot of bang for your buck. Few other devices manage to pack so many capabilities into one tiny package.
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HooToo Wireless Hard Drive Companion, Wireless Router, 6000mAh External Battery Pack Dual USB Charger - TripMate Elite Black HooToo Wireless Hard Drive Companion, Wireless Router, 6000mAh External Battery Pack Dual USB Charger - TripMate Elite Black Buy Now At Amazon $59.99

HooToo Tripmate Elite giveaway

Send your products to be reviewed. Contact James Bruce for further details.

  1. Prathyusha Ramesh
    August 27, 2015 at 8:37 am

    Yesterday my tripmate elite fall down and from then onwards it was not working.When I switch on it the light will blink for some timeand then it stops.What should i do ?Is there any solution to bring back that to working condition?

  2. AbdelRahman Y. Ghanim
    June 3, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Ooooh cool! I wish that was available here in my country. Anyways, counting on the giveaway!

  3. Jason Meier
    June 2, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Can you use the USB port for bridge mode? If so I need to buy this product now.

  4. Edmond Leung
    May 29, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    Wow, prize device is fab. & splendid. 2 fingers snap. It is tight, fly & off the chain. Thank you for the awesomeness, the contest, and generosity. :) Pick me, pick me!

  5. Roger Bufton
    May 29, 2015 at 10:56 am

    It would be nice if you post the comp on Google so that I could +1 it. I could not find it anywhere.

  6. alfred chan
    May 29, 2015 at 7:46 am

    Seem like very good device which packed with many function in one. Like it. :)

  7. Igor Strelnikov
    May 29, 2015 at 5:49 am

    It's very usable device. I want know will it work in Russia (220 V, 50Hz) if to use plug adapter?

    • Andy Barrow
      May 29, 2015 at 8:55 pm

      Yes

  8. Andy Barrow
    May 28, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    I just finished a 3 week trip with this router. Most of the time I was in hotels, but I also ended up staying with friends and in a rented house. One great by-product of the bridge function is that you can make one connection to the internet (via the hotel WifI, your friend's, or whatever) and then connect all your other devices to this router. Magic - no pounding in WiFi passwords or hotel access codes into every device, you just do it once and then connect all your other devices to the router. Since a lot of hotel rooms have wired Ethernet as well as wireless, you can also connect to that for a much better signal in your room. Want to stream content to your Chromecast in a hotel room? There are a number of tutorials out there on how to do it, usually involving fiddling with MAC addresses and such. It's a breeze with the HooToo - just connect the router to the hotel network and then your Chromecast, tablet or whatever else to the HooToo, and you can stream to your heart's content. One little niggle in your review - while there are two USB ports, you can only use one of them for sharing, not both. Both do a fine job of charging devices, however. If you are a Linux enthusiast, telnet is open on the router, so you can log in and have a look around. I haven't tried to do much more than that, but there has been some discussion on the DD-WRT boards about re-flashing the HooToo with DD-WRT. Frankly, the existing firmware seems to work fine for me, but I agree that the "cloud" sharing feature is a little hokey. SMB connections to the HooToo for file sharing seemed a bit fiddly, and I don't think I was ever able to actually write to a USB drive using it. All in all, a very nice, inexpensive addition to the travelling arsenal. As a person who was already carrying USB chargers, backup batteries and sometimes a travel router, this thing has replaced a lot of hardware for me. I definitely won't leave home without it.

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