[Review] From Purchase to Use : is Saily eSIM, NordVPN’s Provider, Really That Great?

Discover why Saily eSIM is a great choice for travelers looking for easy setup, reliable global coverage, and affordable plans without the hassle of roaming fees.

Published: Jul 8, 2024

Saily eSIM review

Published by Lita Lūse on July 9th, 2024

Nothing beats the excitement of traveling to a new place you've never visited before. As you step off the plane, a whole new set of adventures is waiting for you! But all that excitement can quickly fade when you're faced with terrifying roaming fees.

So, what's the solution? Getting an eSIM instead!

In simple terms, an eSIM, or an embedded SIM, is a digital version of the physical SIM card. It has all the same functions as your traditional SIM card, except it uses a built-in eSIM chip.

Over the last few years, eSIMs have gained quite a bit of traction. This, consequently, has led to more providers offering their own eSIM plans. While there are benefits to having a wider choice, it also makes it more difficult to choose the right plan for your needs.

But fret not –  we've started a series of eSIM reviews that will help you understand the differences between top eSIM providers. This time, we focus on Saily – a global eSIM service created by Nord Security, which you may know as the company behind NordVPN.

Are their eSIM plans as good as their digital privacy tool? Let's find out!

Saily eSIM, in a nutshell

If you're in a hurry, here's what you need to know about our test of Saily:

  • Ease of Use: Saily’s website and mobile app are user-friendly, offering simple navigation and a consistent design. The purchasing process is seamless, with multiple payment options, including Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, and credit/debit cards

  • Plan Variety: Saily provides a variety of eSIM plans across numerous countries. For my review, a 1 GB plan for Latvia, priced at $3.99 for seven days, was tested. Activation of the eSIM is mandatory through the app, which is straightforward and user-friendly.

  • Activation Process: The activation of Saily's eSIM is manual but simple, with clear instructions provided within the app. The setup process is quick, taking only a few minutes to complete.

  • Performance: Once activated, Saily’s eSIM performed reliably. The connection was stable throughout Riga, Latvia, allowing for smooth browsing on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. Speed tests showed an upload speed of 19 Mbps and latency of 138 ms, which is adequate for everyday use but may not be sufficient for data-heavy tasks.

  • Network Quality: Saily’s eSIM uses the LMT network in Latvia, known for its robust connectivity. The internet breakout is provided by Truphone, ensuring low latency as servers are located within the country.

  • Customer Service: Saily’s customer support is only available via email, with response times taking up to a day. This could be improved with live chat options for more immediate assistance.

A good eSIM experience begins with a website or mobile app that's easily crawlable and excels both in form and function. With Saily, that's precisely what you get. The company's website is simple, with straightforward navigation. The same goes for the mobile app. Its design is user-centered, simple, and consistent.

Saily Welcome Screen_screenshot

Saily's app homescreen

Purchasing Saily's eSIM

To test how well Saily's eSIMs work, I'll try one of their plans for Latvia. There are five options to choose from. Since I won't need a lot of data, I've decided to opt for their 1 GB plan, which is valid for seven days. For $3.99, that's a pretty good deal !

Quite obviously, Saily offers many more plans in many more countries.

Although the eSIM plan can be purchased on their website, its activation requires downloading the app, so it's probably more convenient to purchase it directly from there.

What's interesting is that if you don't manage to activate your plan, you'll be eligible for a refund. This is something I haven't seen with other eSIM providers!

When purchasing Saily's eSIM, you can choose between four payment methods – Apple Pay, credit or debit card, Google Pay, and PayPal. I decided to buy the eSIM using Apple Pay, and the process couldn't have gone any smoother. Just a few clicks, and my order was already completed!

Saily payment methods_screenshot

Saily's offered several payment methods, such as Paypal, Apple Pay and Google Pay

Setting up the eSIM

Now comes the tricky part—the setup process. If you've ever bought an eSIM before, you already know there are several ways to activate it. The easiest option is to scan a QR code that takes you to the setup process. However, some eSIM providers only offer manual installation, which is a bit more difficult (but nothing that can't be done).

In the case of Saily's eSIM, you'll have to activate it manually. However, within the app, you'll find instructions that are so simple and straightforward that even a complete newbie would understand. The entire process of setting up Saily's eSIM took only a few minutes. Not bad at all!

My experience and speeds using Saily's eSIM

So, how was my experience with the eSIM? At first, I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working, even though I was connected. Then I realized I had to activate it in the app first. Once I did this, everything worked perfectly.

Saily eSIM app active_screenshot

After I made sure my eSIM was activated inside the app, I was online.

I could browse through Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube without any hiccups. The connection was great throughout all of Riga, and I didn't experience any issues!

Make sure to active the eSIM in the Saily app, first, so that you can get connected

That's probably because Saily's eSIM roams on the LMT network, which is known to have one of the best connections in Latvia. In fact, I use a SIM card from this exact network provider for my everyday adventures.

According to the speed test, the upload speed was 19 Mbps, and the latency was 138 ms. If you're a super user, this might seem a bit too slow (especially if you're planning to use a hotspot and need a connection for data-heavy tasks). This might be due to just the local network's quality, and not Saily directly, and that speed may vary because of that.

However, for everyday use, Saily's eSIM worked just fine! I could switch between 3G and 4G networks. Unfortunately, 5G wasn't available (that's not surprising – in most parts of Latvia, it's still unavailable).

Saily speed test from Riga_screenshot

My speedtests results for Saily in Riga

When I test an eSIM, I alway check where the eSIM provider's service are located. This is important, because even though you might be roaming on the best local network in Latvia, if the serves that are in charge of providing your internet connexion (this is called "internet breakout") are located far from where you are, you might have a bad latency as well as poor speeds.

With Saily, the internet connectivity seems to be provided by Truphone, a global connectivity provider, and their servers seem to be based off Latvia, which is exactly where we are ! This is all very positive.

Saily esim truephone latvia servers_screenshot

Checking my IP location on saily to check where internet routing happens

When using Saily's eSIM, it's important to note that it's not possible to top up your eSIM once you surpass your data allowance. So, when choosing your plan, make sure to go for an option that gives you as much data as you need!

Customer service

With tech, you never know what to expect. Glitches happen – that's why it's so important to have someone to ask for help.

If you're having trouble with your eSIM, the only way to contact Saily's team is by submitting a request. This is not ideal, especially as you'll often face issues with your eSIM when you actually needed it. Nowadays, most eSIM providers have live chats, which are a much more convenient and direct way to communicate.

To test how long it would take to get a response, I sent an e-mail to the company's help center. Saily's team got back to me only the next day.

This could be improved through live means of contact such as a livechat.

Final thoughts

There's no denying that eSIMs are changing the way we connect. If you value flexibility, security, and convenience, then eSIM should definitely be on your radar. With so many different plans and providers available, you'll easily find a solution that's the best fit for your needs!

After reviewing Saily's eSIM, our verdict is clear – the company's eSIM is a reliable option that, in many ways, outperforms other products on the market. Their app is super intuitive and easy to use, so even if you've never purchased a digital SIM before, you'll know what to do.

However, keep in mind Saily's team can only be reached through e-mail. This means it will take a long time to get assistance if you're encoutering any issues.

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