What network for holiday phone data use

Ok, not DIY, but I thought it would make a change from discussing Brexit.
I've managed to avoid getting a contract smartphone, mostly by not travelling/talking enough to need one.
This year we're thinking of taking a holiday with limited luggage space, so no bringing laptops with us like we normally do. We'd still like to use the interwebs in the evening while camping, possibly some mapping during the day too, so I'm thinking it might be time to get a cheapish android phone.
I then thought it would be good to get one I can configure as a wifi hotspot, so when I go somewhere eg on business I can use that rather than my old Three dongle + a dumbphone.
I want PAYG, not contract - this is only really for holidays or other trips. I also think it's going to be mostly data rather than calls.
It would be nice if prices were sane abroad - though I know this is set to improve generally.
Any recommendations on :
PAYG vendor who allows tethering for a sensible price, for use a couple of weeks a year Suitably cheap phone - some battery life would be useful
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On 10/05/16 00:29, Clive George wrote:

My so0lution to this a couple of years back was an EEEPC netbook and a fresh install of Linux on a flash card.
Then use whatever wifi was available. It was hell slow to boot, but worked OK for mail and browsing...when there wasnt any Mobile signal AT ALL not even 1G!
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I could be wrong but I think you'll struggle to get data with tethering on PAYG at a reasonable price. You also don't say where you're going on holiday which will affect choice too.
For most of Europe and America the 3 network is possibly the best option on a monthly renewable contract. This allows you to tether and any calls/data used just comes out of your monthly allowance.
Tim
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On 10/05/2016 07:15, Tim+ wrote:

I think there are limits on usage over tethering.
Their calls-over-wifi software works reasonably OK.
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I'm not going to comment on the minefield that is roaming, but for a (relatively) inexpensive decent android phone look at the Motorola Moto G range. For their price they are hard to beat, with big sharp screens, and much better battery life than most - certainly up to three times the life of our previous Samsung phones. They also have decent processors, and Motorola haven't mucked around too much with the core android software.
Charles F
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On Tue, 10 May 2016 00:29:44 +0100, Clive George wrote:

The small screen size of a cheap phone can be a bit of PITA. It's useable provided you have good eyesight and pointy fingers (screen based keyboard is corespondingly tiny...)
A 7" tablet with WiFi connected to the hostspot of a basic smart phone might be better. Mapping, is that google maps (requires 'net connection) or one of the offline systems that can use Ordnance Survey maps from the devices storage? I use "Viewranger GPS" with 1:25000 OS mapping, there are other similar apps available. Remember that even an offline based mapping device requires power to be useful, get a powerbank or carry the paper version as well.

e

If you want a service that officially allows tethering that might be hard to find for a "sensible price". However it may "take a while" for the network/operator to notice that you have something tethered. I have a cheap contract with TPO (The Peoples Operator)(*), they have yet to ever notice when I tether my tablet and just browse the web collect and send email for a couple of hours. They did notice, within 30 mins, when I tethered the whole home LAN to see if I could use it as a back up. All that happened is data stopped working and for 3 or 4 hours after I took down the LAN connection.
Generally speaking when abroad it's cheaper to get a local PAYG SIM and use it in your unlocked phone. Making sure that your UK SIM doesn't have any diverts set and will fallback to voicemail. Depending on the charges on the foriegn SIM check your voicemail via it or get a VOIP account and SIP software on the phone and a data enabled foreign SIM.
SMS's sent to your UK number obviusly won't be delivered until you pop your UK SIM back in and roam on to a foreign network, check the delivery costs (if any...).
(*) £4.99/month rolling contract 100 mins 100 texts 500 MB included, the price is now £5.99/month. Currently TPO have a 30 day £5.00 PAYG
bundle (100 mins, 300 texts, 500 MB) with out of bundle charges of 4p/min, 3p/text, 2p/MB (discounted, 12p/min, 5p/text, 15p/MB official). I can hit 100 texts, 300 should be enough, looks like I ought to swap...
Still call charges seem to be randomly generated. On our UK numbered VOIP account it's 1/3 the price to call a Costa Rican mobile in Costa Rica than it is to call a UK mobile in the UK... But of course one just sets up another suitable VOIP account and softphone on the mobile and calls for "free" over a data connection.
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Dave Liquorice wrote:

I was going to suggest a tablet too.

Google maps can now cache substantial areas, e.g on my tablet I have a rough square that extends from Southport to Spurn Point, to Maidstone to Weston Super Mare, it takes 1.3GB and refreshes itself over WiFi every 30 days. You can get directions while offline but obviously no live traffic updates.
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On Tuesday, 10 May 2016 10:19:18 UTC+1, Andy Burns wrote:
I have a 3 "Broadband PAYG +12" 4G data only SIM for roaming in Europe with a tablet computer. Tethering worked when I tried it in Spain. 12 Gbyte, valid for up to 1 year cost £30 a couple of months ago. The deal is still available.
No extra charge when roaming in much of Europe and USA plus a few other places.
As mentioned above, you can now download a selected area in google maps, then you only need to use data for live traffic udates.
John
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On 10/05/2016 11:42, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Ooh, looks like they've dropped their prices quite a lot - my wife uses one of those per year.

Yes, if we were travelling with a laptop we'd take the Three MiFi device and use their included foreign roaming.

Is it reasonably obvious how to do that?
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Clive George wrote:

When in maps, click on the hamburger icon, and then from the left menu use "offline areas", click the plus symbol to add a new area, use scroll and pinch-zoom to choose the area, then click download. You can use the cog symbol to make the areas auto update when they expire (30 days) and control whether it does this over WiFi or over mobile data.
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On Tue, 10 May 2016 16:13:47 +0100, Andy Burns wrote:

Does it still download the "map" at the displayed resolution? It's a while since I played with it but it did then, so getting decent scale mapping over a wide area was some what tedious as you had to bring it down in tiny bits?
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Dave Liquorice wrote:

It's all vectors not bitmaps now (except the so-called satellite view) therefore you can zoom in and out as required.
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On 10/05/2016 16:36, Andy Burns wrote:

*And* you can select much bigger areas to download in one go than you used to be able to do.
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On Tue, 10 May 2016 21:51:13 +0100, Roger Mills wrote:

view)

Thanks guys, seems the offline side may almost be useable these days, it wasn't the last time I tried. When I say useable, only for roads, other information on google maps is still very sparse to non-existant.
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On 11/05/2016 08:40, Dave Liquorice wrote:

Do have a look at "Here" maps ... road mapping for most of the world is available to download FOC and, once downloaded, it works off-line. I first used it when it was Nokia Maps on an N95 and on a variety of Android phones since then, currently a Note4 and a tablet ... highly recommended.
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On 11/05/2016 09:16, snipped-for-privacy@thanks.com wrote:

Thanks, I shall take a look.
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Use Nokia (as was) Here! for navigation, excellent maps and works off-line.
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snipped-for-privacy@isbd.net wrote:

Last time I tried it it wrecked my battery life, even when supposedly not running.
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On 10/05/2016 13:18, Andy Burns wrote:

You need to power the phone from the cigarette lighter socket. Then I have found this a very useful technology.
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Michael Chare wrote:

I mean merely installing Here Maps caused high battery drain, not when actually using it for satnav, I think it "phoned home" all the time.
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