Since 2015, INSIDR, a Paris start-up, has been helping travellers in over 30 countries plan their trips and one of their products is a smartphone. But it’s not just any mobile device. It’s your travel guide and concierge all in one packed with enough content and apps to make one’s journey just a little bit easier. I got to try out this great little (but powerful) device in Paris recently and I will be very honest and say I was duly impressed. The INSIDR smartphone in Paris is all about making travelling easier. How they get you your device and how you return it is pretty creative too.
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Users really love the INSIDR smartphone. On one of the Facebook groups I’m in, folks were raving about it. On TripAdvisor, travellers were asking for input and ALL the responses were positive. Commenters particularly liked the feature that it could be a hotspot. This was especially popular with families. There were comments like:
- “It even comes with your own concierge…. we texted him that we needed a recommendation for dinner by the Moulin Rouge…He gave us the name of a FABULOUS restaurant and made reservations for us….This phone was a trip saver”.
- “It is as good as it seems”
- “The team is super helpful and fluent in English”
Receiving The INSIDR Smartphone
INSIDR has really thought it through when it comes to making it easy for you to get your phone. There are a number of options. Mine was to pick it up at the airport.
When I was ordering the smartphone, I had to indicate my flight number and what terminal at Charles de Gaulle airport I was arriving in. They sent an email telling me how to get the phone and it was a piece of cake. Just after exiting the plane, before I got my luggage, I collected my INSIDR smartphone at the tourist information desk. It was located steps away from the luggage carrousel.
The other options to get the phone include:
- picking it up at the INSIDR office located in central Paris
- having the smartphone delivered to your hotel or apartment in Paris (for an extra charge)
- having it sent anywhere in and outside of France for you to pick up (for an extra charge)
The process was seamless and the device came in a small pouch along with a booklet, charging cable, and plug. It was already charged and fully connected to the internet. What a great pleasure not to be bothered with switching SIM cards or configuring the cellular settings. Everything was set up for me in advance.
Apps, Advice, And Your Own Concierge
As soon as I arrived at my apartment, I set up my Gmail. If you want to set up your email when you use yours, just remember your password.
Using the smartphone is very intuitive. I just explored the phone and opened up different apps to see what they would do and that’s what I would advise any new user. The paper guide has a few instructions and within the phone, there is a more comprehensive user’s guide and live tech support if you need it. There isn’t a big learning curve and my only frustration was that I kept searching for a “home” button that is like the one on my iPhone. It doesn’t exist on the LG. There’s just a circle.
What certainly impressed me was the large collection of apps already on the phone. The most popular ones like Google Chrome and Google Maps were there, but there was also Skype, Google Translate, WhatsApp, Uber, Dropbox, and The Fork (for restaurant reservations).
Local Advice and Content
The extra special feature that this device has that no other one has is the content that is loaded into the phone—-local advice from community experts, exclusive experiences, and up-to-the-minute happenings so you’re always in the know.
Think you know Paris? You don’t. I don’t.
I couldn’t believe how much information was available about things to see and do in Paris. And these weren’t the typical sites and shops everyone knows about. There’s advice on such things as the best activities to do on a nice day in Paris, the local shops in Le Marais, and vintage clothing stores in Paris. The list goes on and on. It’s the perfect digital guide to help you navigate Paris.
Wifi Hotspot And Battery Life
You can tether (connect) up to 8 devices (Ie. smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc), so friends and family can also be connected to the internet. I connected my iPhone and laptop and when I was outside of my apartment I just had the INSIDR smartphone and my iPhone. Both devices were constantly used and by the end of the day, I was shocked at how much battery life was left on the INSIDR smartphone compared to my iPhone.
Data, Calls, And Texts
Each day you are provided with 3GB of 4G data per day. PER DAY! I usually go through that per month! That’s 3000 emails or 60 hours of web browsing. But you’re in Paris, so you will not be spending time browsing the internet that much each day!
There’s enough data to help you navigate the streets, search for restaurants, or make a Skype call. I found the connectivity was excellent…even on the Paris Metro which truly amazed me. You are also provided with unlimited local calls and texts and can receive international calls free of charge.
While I only used it in Paris, the smartphone can be used anywhere in France and if you decide to use it outside of France (in Europe or the UK), or want to make calls/texts to North America you can pay an additional daily fee.
Returning The INSIDR Smartphone
In the pouch that I received with the phone and cables, there was also a self-addressed return envelope. All I had to do was put the items into the pouch and put the pouch into the mailer. I could either put the package into a postbox in Paris or the airport or return it to the INSIDR office if I preferred. I popped it into the postbox near my apartment and that was it! No running around to find an office. No expensive return postage. Everything was included.
You can rent the phone for a day, a week or however long you want. The longer you rent it, the cheaper per day it becomes. Prices range from 5 Euros to 8 Euros per day, depending on the duration of the rental. It is a product I will continue to use and encourage any traveller to France and Europe to consider using it. It will simply make your travels easier. More details can be found here: INSIDR Smartphone .
Thank you to INSIDR for providing the smartphone during my travels in Paris. As always, all opinions are my own and reflect my experience with the product.