Ninja WiFi Review – Reliable and Stable Portable Wifi from Japan

It is now common that one important service or comfort thing to have while travelling is data connection. While there are trips we take specifically to go off the grid, but most of the travels we take now just cannot do without the need for data connection. A good, reliable and stable connection is what we crave for to keep connected with home where ever we go.

I had the opportunity of trying out Japanese brand NINJA WiFi in my recent trip to Tokyo. The overall experience is very pleasant and my cousin and I had more smiles than frowns for their service.

 

Easy to order, pick up and return

The overall process does not require you to speak a word of Japanese.

NINJA WiFi website is in English

NINJA WiFi website is in English

The order of the portable WiFi router is done online via NINJA WiFi website (http://ninjawifi.com/en/) and once you get a confirmation, you get the details via email on how to pick up and return the portable WiFi.

Ninja WiFi reservation page

Ninja WiFi reservation page

Confirmation email is in English and all you need to do is to print out the email and bring it along with you for collection at their pick up counter.

The interesting thing to note is that the pickup counter is a counter of a parcel forwarding company. I was slightly confused at first upon reaching the airport arrival hall, but like what Hagrid told Harry; “Stick to your ticket, Harry. Stick to your ticket.” and I stuck to the instructions on my email and went ahead to show the counter personnel my email.

The Ninja WiFi logo on the email immediately alert them for a portable WiFi collection. All I needed was to sign out the machine which was tagged with my name and I am ready to go.

Returning the portable WiFi was also easy, just return to the counter at the departure hall (details were in the confirmation email as well) and you are done.

I was in fact surprised by how easy the whole pick up and drop off process was.

I pickup my WiFi at Narita

I pickup my WiFi at Narita

Return counter at he airport

Return counter at the airport

 

 

What’s inside the package

The WiFi router, charger adapter, charger cable, instructional manual and some other advertisements flyers.

Inside the package

Inside the package

Close up of the portable WiFi router

Close up of the portable WiFi router

 

Compatibility

I was using Samsung Note 4 and my cousin was using iPhone 6 Plus. Both works.
I also used my Windows laptop to log onto the portable WiFi once in the hotel room. No problem at all.

 

Using the portable WiFi

Both SSID network name and password were conveniently located on the back of the portable WiFi. The portable WiFi router came fully charged and ready. Just turn the portable WiFi on, latch your phone onto the WiFi network and you are ready to go.

We kept the WiFi in the black pouch it came with and into my cousin’s backpack and we had non-stop service all the way. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

 

What about the speed?

The advertised speed was 75mbps downlink and 25mbps uplink maximum. Here’s a screenshot of a simple data link checking app as well as the properties panel when I connected to the WiFi.
Keep in mind that there were two mobile devices connected, I supposed this is half the whole bandwidth since my cousin and I were sharing the WiFi on two separate devices.

Speed Test and Link speed

Speed Test and Link speed – IP address and Equipment number masked for security*

Throughout our trip, I was uploading Instagram pictures, Snapchat videos as well as calling my parents and friends over Watsapp and Facebook messenger. My cousin was constantly on her phone Watsapp messaging with her friends and sending pictures. We do not have problems sending high-resolution pictures over Watsapp or experience any drop in speed as far as photos are concern.

We also used our Google translate (which needs data connection), and Google Maps for train schedules and walking directions. We did not experience any lag in data speed.

I had also made 2 data calls using WiFi.

 

VoIP calls

During my trip, I made two VoIP calls – once on Watsapp and once on Facebook.

1st call I made was to my mum via Watsapp while she was at home (latching on our house’s fibre network connection) and I was in the hotel. The call quality is superb and there was almost no lag at all.

2nd call was made to a friend via Facebook messenger while I was in Disneyland and I don’t exactly know what connection he had. Assuming he was leveraging on his 3G local network; the call itself has a 2 second lag but the quality is good and his voice was clear without much distortion and minimal feedback.

 

Coverage?

I will give a 99% for coverage and also for reliability and stability.

Why?
Simply because there were two occasions or rather two bizarre areas where both of us did not get any data connection on both our phones.

 

Where did that happen?

Place 01: The most inside, nearest to the cold drinks fridge areas of the convenient stores.

Weird, I know. We still could not fathom why or how that happened because our phones just disconnected from the WiFi themselves when we were shopping inside those convenient stores. It was as if some anti-WiFi ninjas in there trying to block our connections. And only when we were in a slightly bigger convenient store.

We did not have any problems when we were shopping underground in Shinjuku or Shibuya.

 

Place 02: On board the Rapid service train of the Keiyo Line from Maihama to Tokyo Station (about 5 stops).

Only my Samsung was affected all the time when we travel on that rapid service. My cousin’s iPhone still had connection with only one downtime. I do not know if it was because that the train was travelling in fast speeds in the tunnel or if the dongle needs time to pick up, or it was simply phone problem?

Then again, we did not have problems when we were travelling on the Narita Express Service (NEX) which I think was travelling at a speed way faster than the rapid service trains.

However, I happen to experience similar issues too with my telco service in Singapore. I notice there too are dead zones for data connection (eg. from Lavender to Aljunied) where the trains either go fast speeds in or out of the tunnel that the connection is simply cut off and needed some time before the data connection gets connected again. Oh well. That is a mystery that may not be easily solved.

 

Price, how much does it cost per day?

The unlimited data portable WiFi rental service per day cost 900 yen + tax (972yen @ 8% tax), which is about SGD11.40 a day (accurate as at Oct 2015).

I remembered my last trip I used another WiFi router company and their service (4G LTE) cost me about close to SGD100 for 5 days of usage, but this company only cost me about SGD92 for 8 days of usage, so it is definitely value for money.

 

Pros of NINJA WiFi Portable WiFi router
  1. Despite the price tag of SGD11.40 a day, the portable WiFi allows multiple device connection to it. Both my cousin and I were using it all the time in Tokyo. Take that cost and divide by two, each of us are only paying about SGD5.70 a day for high-speed data WiFi.
  2. The NINJA WiFi portable router I took had an amazing battery life. With two mobile device latching on it almost 24/7, the router battery last for about 30 hours straight per full charge. The adapter that comes with it also charges the router very quickly, you can get almost a full battery within 2 hours of charging.
  3. The NINJA WiFi router does not really heat up that much, unless it is charging. I remember the last time I had used a portable WiFi service and that router heat up pretty easily and drains it battery too fast. NINJA WiFi router does a better job in this area.

 

Cons of NINJA WiFi Portable WiFi router
  1. Again, multiple devices connected means the group you have must be constantly near to the router in order to be connected to the WiFi network. There is a definite range of around 5 to 7 metres maximum, depending on the environment you are in.
  2. Okay, this is not a negative point but I am just annoyed by the fact that the router refuse to work when I have it in my coat pocket. I do not understand why but it work perfectly well when my cousin carried it in her backpack. Humph.

 

Overall Experience

The NINJA WiFi is definitely one of the most stable and reliable WiFi service I ever experienced. Fuss free and value for money, and the router is small and easily fit into small bags. The coverage is good, despite minor hiccups in the most unconventional places, which I can’t really fault that.

If you are travelling to Japan, I definitely will recommend NINJA WiFi for your data / internet connection needs.

 

TL; DR

Good, reliable and stable network.
Data speed as promise and minimal or no lag in VoIP calls.
Router has long battery life: Approximate 30 hours per full charge.
Cost: 900 yen + tax per day (about SGD11.40 as at October 2015)

 

 

More stories soon!
pingerrain

 

 

 

13 thoughts on “Ninja WiFi Review – Reliable and Stable Portable Wifi from Japan

  1. Devan

    I enjoyed reading this! Question for you- I want to pickup at Narita, but that isn’t my final destination. Is the pickup counter located to where I would have to re-enter through security at the airport? Or can I get to it without having to go out, and come back in through airport security? I hope my question makes sense!

    -Devan

    1. Pingerrain Post author

      hi Devan, the pickup counter is outside the transit area. However, they do have branches in other Japan airports. You can look for it at their website. Hope this helps!
      Where are you heading to??

      1. Devan

        Thanks for your reply! I’m traveling to Okinawa. Unfortunately for me, my flight arrives to the Naha Airport past the time the pickup location will be open.

        1. Pingerrain Post author

          Hi Devan,
          There are options for delivery. Check with the individual brands.
          Otherwise, there usually be counters for mobile wifi at the airport itself. It may be slightly more expensive, but nevertheless convenient.
          Enjoy your trip to Japan!

  2. Lynn

    Great review! I’ll definitely have to pick up one of these when I go to Japan. Do you know if I pick it up in Haneda airport, would I be able to return it at Kansai airport? We’re flying in and out of Japan via different airports. Thanks for your help!

    1. Pingerrain Post author

      Hi Lynn,
      Sorry for the late reply. I’m unsure if you can pick up and return at different airports.
      Best is that you drop Ninja WIFI an email to ask??

  3. Randy

    Hi, thanks for the info.
    I am also looking into ninja for my upcoming japan trip. I have heard that instead of reserving ahead online, ppls can just walk up and rent one for cheaper than online price? Do you know if that is the case?(i personally feel more comfortable and secured reserving one online ahead of time first).
    Thanks!
    -randy

    1. Pingerrain Post author

      Hi Randy,
      There are other brands that are indeed offering wifi rentals at around SGD70-90 depends on the different mobile network and mobile type (Apple vs Samsung), but you risk going there and they do not have enough rental kits to go around (but I have never experienced it).

      As for speed wise, I don’t really feel the difference compared to Ninja wifi, but certainly if you go too far into the shops (shops in Tokyo are like dungeons, I tell ya’) you will still lose some coverage.

      Also, there are other options other than wifi routers. If you only need only like 1gb a week or so, you can get SIM cards at a very inexpensive rate. They can be purchase easily at the rental counters themselves or at a convenience store.

      I prefer to get unlimited data cause I want to surf net and watch Netflix on my laptop, thus a 1gb card will not satisfy my needs.

      You pay more for the peace of mind, I guess. Then again, you can also take the risk and take your time to compare the different rentals at the airport to stretch your dollar further. No matter what, you definitely will be able to leave the airport with one form of internet access or another.
      Unless you want to try the wifi access maps that you can download online on wifi around Tokyo, but most of it are usually password lock or the speed is really laggy.

      Hope this helps!

  4. Promise Joe

    Hello, thanks for the great information. As my wife and I will be in Tokyo next week, we will also be taking a day trip on the bullet train to Osaka. Do you happen to know if the connection/coverage is only limited to Tokyo, or if it is for most of Japan, specifically Osaka/Kyoto).

    -Promise Joe

    1. Pingerrain Post author

      Hi, Promise Joe,
      I cannot confirm if the coverage for Ninja Wifi has a restriction in areas, but since the WiFi does leverage on telco giants such as NTT and DoCoMo, I am sure the coverage would extend to the entire country. I would suggest you to email them to find out.

      The furthest away from Central Tokyo I went during the trip I had this WiFi with me was Yokohoma and the WiFi still works great.
      Hope this helps!

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