Recently, I was invited to test out the Changi Recommends Overseas WiFi Router. I have heard about it so much from my friends but have not try it until this trip. Here is my review on the rental service and also on the usage of the WiFi Router while I was overseas.
The rental part is easy. Just book the device online and collect it at the Airport Terminal that you selected during the booking process. The rental pricing and conditions vary from countries. For example, the one I had for Japan is a Huawei device with cute characters on it and has a limit of 1GB data per day.
Here is the reservation form that you need to fill up. Do reserve it at least 2 days in advance. If it is urgent, you can contact Changi Recommends directly via phone, email or even WhatsApp. Check out the FAQ for more details.
My only issue about the form is the “Drop Off Point”. The arrival Airport Terminal can only be determined on that day and subject to changes. So, it is pointless to put in this information. Anyway, in the FAQ, it states that we can return the device at any of their booths. So, I am not sure what is the significant of filling up that field.
• Where can I return the Overseas Wi-Fi Router?
A: Return the device to any Changi Recommends counters in Singapore Changi Airport
Terminal 1 Arrival Hall (Public Area) – Level 1, besides Starbucks. Opens 24 hours.
Terminal 1 Departure Hall (Transit Area) – Level 2, besides Omega Boutique. Open 24 hours.
Terminal 2 Departure Hall (Public Area) – Level 2, opposite check-in Row 10. Opens 24 hours.
Terminal 2 Arrival Hall (Public Area) – Level 1, Opposite Belt 34. Opens 24 hours.
Terminal 3 Arrival Hall (Public Area) – Level 1, Opposite Belt 42. Opens 24 hours.
The Changi Recommends booths are located in all three Airport Terminals which operate 24 hours.
Here is the device I collected for my Japan trip. It consists of a bag, a charger and the device. Of course, there is instruction on how to use it. If you are worried about losing the devices or accessories, I suggest that you buy their insurance for the rental.
My first impression of the Overseas WiFi Router is that it is quite big.
Operation-wise, it is very simple (a simple brief will be provided when you collect the unit). Just turn it on when you reach the destination and connect it to the SSID (WiFi Name) with the Password provided (pasted at the back of the device).
The initial connection is a breeze for me. My word of advice is that you must ensure that your smartphone’s data roaming is off, together with your data, just as a precaution.
During my trip in Japan, I did not turn the device off at all. In the hotel, I just need to remember to charge it. Since Changi Recommends prepared the set based on your destination, there is no worry about the power plug connection. If you need to save data (since Japan’s plan comes with only 1 GB per day), do turn it off and connect your smartphone or laptop to the hotel’s WiFi (if there is one).
As some may know, I am always paranoid over the lack of battery juice. This device did not fail me. Everyday, when I was there, I unplugged it from the power source at 7am and plugged it back again at 10pm, and surprisingly, I still have 2 bar of power left. Amazing.
In terms of usage, I am primarily using it for my smartphone. Only occasionally it will be connected to the laptop. So, I guess the 1GB of data per day is enough for smartphone. If I were to use it for laptop, I might get a problem with the 1GB data per day limit. Hopefully, they can change it to unlimited in the future.
The LTE network is very good in most of the areas that I visited. Actually, I did not even remembered that I am connected to this device as the data connection worked seamlessly.
Here is a parting shot of the device at Japan Airport before I powered it down and put it back into the bag.
The Changi Recommends’ WiFi Rental Service is a convenient way to equip someone with data in a foreign country (either tourists who come to visit Singapore or people visiting other countries) at a competitive pricing.
The location of the booths are easy to locate. However, if there is a long queue, be prepared to wait. For example, when I collected the device at wee hours (due to my flight timing) before my flight, I had no issue as I am first in the queue. Everything went on smoothly.
However, when I returned to Singapore and tried to return the device, it took me almost half and hour even though I was third in the queue. There were 2 Customer Service Officers.
From my observation, the reason is because some of the tourists that approached the staffs had many questions and the staffs patiently responded to them. The rest of the people in the queue will need to wait.
BTW, returning it is very straight forward and it takes just a few minutes. So, my suggestion to Changi Recommends is that it needs to relook at this model of rental if this service becomes very popular.
Overall, I am very satisfied and I will definitely use their service again.
Disclaimer: I was invited to test out the rental service. Therefore, I did not pay for the rental fee but I went through the procedure of getting and returning the device. All the information above are based on my experience without any direction from Changi Recommends (in terms of content or information).