One of the ongoing issues I've had with visiting Japan is that WiFi is crazy hard to find. There are places you can get free WiFi like Starbucks and nowadays at most of the train stations but it's still not readily available in a lot of towns (Tokyo included).
This visit, I had a week in an apartment in Tokyo that only had that internet you have to plug in - the not wireless kind. Since I was only taking my tablet and I had a book release planned for that period, I needed to have WiFi.
I've never even thought about getting a mobile WiFi device before - mainly, I think, because I'm too cheap and I've stayed in places that provide it. But I found, even when I was out and about in Europe I needed. I wanted to check maps or look up information. Sure you can do that the old fashioned way but it's so much more convenient and less back-breaking to carry a modern device than a thick tablet with you. But using WiFi on the go meant calling into cafes and buying a coffee. Because I was mid-sightseeing, often those cafes were tourist traps. Getting ripped off $5 or more for a pretty shit coffee and slow WiFi sucks balls.
The two main options I looked at were renting a SIM or getting a mobile WiFi device. I could use my phone as a WiFi hotspot but, because it's a cheap, craptastic phone even though I'm pretty sure it's just a stripped back version of one of the Samsung S models, I couldn't get absolute reassurance that it'd be compatible with the SIM card and went for a mobile WiFi device.
I ordered the device online and paid for it before I left and it was waiting for me at the first hotel when I arrived. The instructions seemed weird and in no way related to the setting on either my Samsung tablet or my sister's ipad so we got a bit freaked but all we needed to do was get it charged and turned on then do the usual WiFi set up. At the end of the trip, I put it in the envelope provided and sent it back to the company. I actually kept it for an extra day and it was no problem. They just charged me 300 yen ($3) extra rental.
I used it the entire trip with no issues apart from it needing to be reset occasionally when I hadn't been using it for a longish period. I can't remember the data limit but I never got anywhere near it even when uploading heaps of photos to social media and frequent use. Even though I get incredibly frustrated with slow service, I had no issues with this little guy whatsoever. It was a bit bulky but not too bad. I carry a small handbag and I'd take the device in the carry case with the charger etc without it bugging me.
At various points I had my phone, my sister's ipad and my camera all hooked up no problem.
Even the last two nights, when I stayed at hotel, I was so glad I had it because the hotel "WiFi" signal was so weak (I'm sure there will be a rant coming soon about hotels including WiFi in their facilities when it's actually non-functional.
One of my friends told me her friend had rented a mobile WiFi that had been lousy, with a slow connection that kept cutting out but I had nothing like that. I had done a bit of research - okay I created a whole spreadsheet beforehand - and the company I used worked out the cheapest and had the best reviews. Okay, there were a few cheaper places but you had to organise your own return of the device. I'm happy to pay a few extra bucks to have that simplified for me.
Overall, I was crazy happy with my little device and will definitely get one any time I go to Japan in future. The company I rented through is Global Communication. This review is totally unsponsored and my own opinion. I'm happy to give them a glowing review because they took so much of the frustration out of my holiday. The mobile WiFi device cost me $70 for 2 weeks so worked out considerably cheaper than buying shit coffee in order to get "free" shit WiFi.