By Paul Miller June 24, 2014

Karma pro tips

Get the most out of Karma

Note: This article was written about our original Karma device, Karma Classic, which is now retired, so lots of facts in this article are out of date. For information about Karma Go, our newer LTE model, check out our How it Works page or our more recent blog posts.

No matter what the technology, I'm always looking for "pro tips" that make me better at it. Like, did you know the "Command-Control-Space" key combination opens an Emoji palette on Mac OS X? Or that you can use the "Xbox On" voice command to turn on not only your Xbox, but your TV too? I don't want to be a power user or anything, I just like going about my day with an appearance of above-average competence. So, naturally, from my first day at Karma I've been trying to find that little edge that makes people turn their heads and think to themselves "hey, look at that guy holding that little white hockey puck: he seems to know what he's doing."

The team has worked hard to make Karma as simple and painless as possible, but there's always an edge to be gained. Here are the tips and tricks I've gathered so far:

How to turn it on

The documentation that comes in the box suggests holding the power button for 3 seconds. What you're actually waiting for is any of the three front LEDs to flash on. As soon as they do, you're safe to let go of the power button, and the device will continue to boot up. In practice, I've found the lights typically appear after only two seconds of holding the button, saving me and my thumb a whole second every time I use Karma.

What happens next is the device searches for a 4G connection, and once it finds one to share (if successful, the light will turn a solid orange or green, depending on signal quality), it'll turn on WiFi and you can hop on with your device of choice. To be honest, we wish it would boot faster (something we’re working on improving for future versions), but at least now you know what all that LED-blinking amounts to.

How to turn if off

Hold the power button until the 4G light turns off, then let go. The On light will glow red for a couple more seconds, and then it'll turn off as well. You can't turn off Karma while it's booting up, so if you're holding the power button and it's not turning off, try waiting a few seconds and trying again.

Am I connected?

It's easy to check the status of your device by looking at the three LEDs on the front, but it can be hard to remember what means what. (Generally: blinking red or off = bad, yellow = okay, solid and green = great).

But my favorite way to check up on Karma is with the beautiful iOS and Android apps built by our very own Klaas Pieter. The app shows different colors and friendly messages based on the status of your connection, along with showing info on battery life, your available data, who’s connected to your Karma, and up-to-the-minute stats on how much data you're using.

How to get a better signal

If you're in our coverage area, but your Karma's not connecting, there are a few simple things you can try to improve your signal. First off, if you're indoors, try and get near a window. Wireless signals can have trouble going through walls, so the closer you are to the outdoors, generally, the better connection you'll get.

Another thing to remember is that even your body can interfere with connectivity, so if Karma is in your pocket and you're not getting a signal, try setting it out on the table. For bonus points, you can stand Karma on edge, which is what the Karma developers always do whenever I go out to a bar or restaurant with them. They say it's "just because it looks cool," but in the mystical realm of wireless connectivity, it's worth a shot.

Getting the most out of your battery

Karma’s already your phone battery’s best friend, because instead of using your phone’s battery-destroying tethering feature, you let Karma do all the work. But if Karma’s 8 hours isn’t enough for you, a simple USB battery pack can take your usage to astronomical heights. For $30 or so you should be able to keep your Karma and your phone charged for days.

Also, if you’re traveling with friends who each have their own Karma, you only need one turned on at a time — everyone uses their own account and their own data, and you’ll get that much more usage out of your devices.

Using Karma with Google Glass and other wearables

The standard way you connect to Karma is through a web browser, which lets you log-in to your Karma account and make sure you're the only person spending your data. However, if you have a device that doesn't have a web browser, like Google Glass or a smartwatch, for instance, we want to make sure you can get it online, too. Simply contact us and tell us what WiFi device you'd like to add to your account, and we'll hook you up.

Note: With Karma Go, we are no longer able to add devices without a browser to your Karma account.

Add your own tips!

We'd love to hear how you get the most out of Karma, so please share your own tips with us in the comments below, in emails to our CEO Steven, or just by shouting from the rooftops. Let's all achieve above-average competency with our technology together!


About Paul Miller

That guy who left the internet for a year