Tuesday, April 16, 2024

REVIEWED: TVman Mobility pocket mobile TV hotspot

Fancy some footloose Freeview on your phone? 

What weighs 60g, and lets you watch – and even record – live TV on your phone? TVman Mobility has slipped under the radar, but by offering free TV on the go it’s just got to go into TravGear.com collection.

Four fours of Freeview

Watching live TV while travelling is great, but there’s a lot more to the TVman Mobility. Charge-up its internal battery via microUSB and it’s possible to pass on some of that charge to a smartphone. Sadly, the TVman’s relatively small 1850mAh battery only lasts for four hours, so the fact that it can lend a charge to a phone is moot. However, it could be used in an emergency; in our test it sent a flat iPhone 5S to 41%.

Creates its own Wi-Fi network

TVman Mobility tunes-in to Freeview broadcasts using a tiny aerial that screws into its side. It then creates its own 20m-wide Wi-Fi network and re-broadcasts that Freeview signal – and anyone with the TVman app on their phone can tune into it. It’s much like an FM transmitter for a car, but cleverer. It will appear in your phone’s networks, a bit like a Wi-Fi hotspot.

The TVman app

The free app lets has an Electronic Program Guide for all UK terrestrial TV channels that lets you schedule, record and share TV shows. If you place a microSD card into the slot beside the battery, you can record live TV, too. It’s all really easy to use, though it does all depend on getting a decent Freeview signal; in our extensive tests it rarely worked on trains and buses, for example, but most hotel rooms seemed OK.

Fab for frequent travellers

The ability to make TV recordings via the app is perhaps the best feature of the TVman Mobility, because unlike catch-up TV apps nothing expires – it just sits there on the microSD card ready to watch. We’d recommend fitting it with a maximum 64GB card if you travel a lot … though TVman doesn’t work outside the UK. If only TVman had been available before the World Cup …

Price as reviewed: £69

Buy the TVman Mobility pocket mobile TV hotspot