We’ve had the Trustive iPhone App for a few months now as a backup for our normal 3G connection – which leaves a lot to be desired despite the networks assurance that it covers 90% of the country – and more importantly as an alternative to paying high data roaming costs.
The app comes with 30 minutes of free WiFi time included which can then be topped up with additional WiFi minutes.
The first time you launch the app you need to login in order to get your 30 minutes free access. This takes just a few minutes, but you’ll need to do this while you’re connected to the internet so do it as soon as you download the app.
The next time you click on the app, the app will try to log on to the internet via a wireless hotspot. Which is where things get a little unintuitive. The main drawback of the app is the way it connects to the internet. If you’re in an area where there’s a hotspot that is in the Trustive network, then things are relatively simple. First you need to connect to the hotspot using your iPhones WiFi Networks list in the iPhone System utility. Once you’ve done that the Trustive app will handle all the passwords etc. If you don’t know if the hotspot is allied to Trustive, then you just have to keep trying each one. The only way to guarantee that you’re connecting to a Trustive-friendly hotspot is to use the hotspot finder (www.trustive.com/trustive), but you’ll need to do this before you go to your destination, as the data is held on the Trustive site and not in the app. A nice feature – which is unfortunately undocumented – is that once you’ve connected to a Trustive hotspot once, the Easy WiFi app will remember it, and will connect to it automatically next time you’re there.
The finder is quite powerful as it allows you to check via a freestyle search eg Waterloo Station, London, or by putting in the country and then city, or by a hotspot chain name. Trustive boast that you can access over 140,000 hotspots, in 110 countries worldwide, and while that sounds a lot, in reality you can find yourself on a bit of a hotspot hunt. In the UK Trustive have links with BT OpenZone so most main cities are covered, but it would be nice to get The Cloud on there to bulk up the sites.
Once you’ve got the hang of the system it was really straightforward. We tried the app out in London – where we had the hotspot hunt,- Geneva airport, and Gatwick airport while we were on a business trip and it worked really well.
The Trustive site also allows you to check your account details and to see what you’ve used and when on a month by month basis, and are formatted in a handy expenses friendly format. The account details give you time and date accessed, the network accessed, and where and how long you spent online.
Additionally the app allows you to set up a quick one-click link on the app to one of six preset sites (Skype, Truphone, YouTube, Fring, LinkedIn, Facebook) or to a custom URL of your own. We’re not sure why you would need this, as it’s not that hard to find an app on the iPhone and when we setup a URL of our own it didn’t seem to work.
The beauty of the Trustive service is that you only need deal with one supplier. So when you go abroad you don’t have to take a truckload of SIMs, nor do you have to register with the equivalent of the Cloud, BT OpenZone, etc in ever country. Also if you’re in a country for an unknown amount of time, you don’t face that dilemma of whether to sign-up for three separate days or go for a week, or a month with the local WiFi hotspot provider. You’re covered for as many days as you want. You also don’t have any problems with arbitrary data limits. WiFi billing is based purely on the duration of your session regardless of the quantity of data uploaded/downloaded or where you connect from.
The app is very basic in what it does, some of the really useful features like the account details and the hotspot finder are on the Trustive website, which of course needs a web connection. It would be nice if the app allowed you to download the hotspots from a particular city to the app, you can download to TomTom/Garmin/Navman/Navigon/Excel or Print so why not to the app? Surely it makes more sense to do this than to download to a GPS system?
It could also do with a built in help/FAQ, currently the help directs you to the Trustive website which seems a little Catch 22. But if you’re prepared to do a little pre-preparation then it’s a great app for any business user who travels widely.
The biggest problem with the app is that not enough is built-in to it, there’s too much reliance on having a connection to the Trustive.com site. There needs to be more work done on the app to make it easier to use and there needs to be a facility to make it sync data with Trustive.com. However once you have the hang of the app at around 0.09 Euros a minute for uncapped access it’s a bargain.
Name: Easy WiFi for Trustive
Price: £1.79 $2.99 (Includes 30 minutes free WiFi)
Download: UK http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/easy-wi-fi-for-trustive/id300228917?mt=8 US http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/easy-wifi/id300228917?mt=8
Scores (All out of 10)
Ease of Use: 5
Value for money: 10
In one sentence: A great app for any business user who travels widely