Smart WiFi – find, connect to & manage hotspots
Jul 14, 2012 9:37 AM –
Smart WiFi is an app to help you better find, connect to and management Wi-Fi hotspots in your area. Is it any smarter than the features that already come with your Android device? Let’s see in the full review…
Price: Free, $2.50
Tested on: Samsung Galaxy S3
Pros & Cons:
- Wi-Fi management app with few convenient features: automatically tries to connect to best hotspot with Internet confirmation!
- See Wi-Fi hotspots on a cool radar!
- Nice user interface!
- Not vastly superior to Wi-Fi management features you can adjust on default Android.
- App icon stays in top notification window, annoying, and no way to keep it hidden in the settings.
When you start up Smart WiFi you are greeted with what resembles a cool mini sonar radar console, yet this radar seeks out Wi-Fi hotspots in your vicinity. If your Wi-Fi is not already connected, then tapping the grey “Smart Connect” button in the center will activate the protocol. The app will find the best possible connection for you and test whether the Internet is able to be connected to. This can then be useful and convenient, as the alternative is to manually poke at various open hotspots to get a connection.
The navigation within the app is a bit unique as you slide up the bottom menu to reveal a few more features such as a helpful help section and saved access points. For those that would like to get granular, you can manage and filter access points. Though navigation is unique, I find the user interface not all that convenient, for example, there is only a very limited space for scroll through access point profiles– even when you extend the window.
Other nuggets within the app includes the ability to automatically shut off the Wi-Fi connection if dormant to conserve battery, or on the opposite end of that, keep a Wi-Fi connection persistent even when in standby or phone screen is off. There seems to be a Wi-Fi sharing feature called, WiFi Donkey, that allows you to share your connection once connected to a hotspot. I must be honest and wonder why would you possibly need this? In trying to test this feature it only baffled me more as the instructions to get it working are very convoluted, has a mention of serving up your own data plan’s mobile connection, uses GPS (why?) and ultimately seems useless.
Back to reality… Here’s the ultimate best case scenario with the app. You’re going to a local cafe and want to jump on Wi-Fi. You open this app and press the “Smart Connection” button, it cycles through all available open hotspots and connects you to the Internet, you enjoy your latte and surf. The typical scenario, if none of the hotspots are open you will not connect. If they require a terms of service acceptance via the web browser, you will connect but you’ll notice the “Internet” light not activated. Overall, besides a little convenience in a perfect scenario and snazzy radar, the app does not bring much to the tablet that you cannot already to in the settings menu of your Android. From default Android you can see which hotspots are in vicinity (granted not on a radar, but by signal strength), you see security type, you can filter access points, you just cannot automatically cycle through and connect to best available Wi-Fi.
Watch on Mobile
Smart WiFi Turn WiFi Off with One Click
Smart WiFi Saved WiFi Profiles
Smart WiFi Network Names on Radius Map
Smart WiFi Help Section
Smart WiFi Limited Space on Profiles even when Extended
I personally question how useful the app is. It does offer a few convenient features, yet they are not compelling enough to replace core features in Android.
Ease of Use:
The basic function, automatically find and connect to the best available Wi-Fi hotspot is dead simple, just click one button. Getting into other features is where this app starts to get not so easy to use.
This is a user dependent question, if you try to jump on a hotspot to save on mobile data plans then it could be something you use every time you connect. However, I see it being used as needed with users who install the app.
One of the stand out aspects of the app is the cool user interface, centered around a mini sonar radar of sorts. My only niggle is the slide up menu does not flow well with limited space for seeing what’s in that area to manage.