FAQs on "Do I need Wi-Fi or 3G model?"

Discussion in 'iPad FAQ' started by Major Eazy, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. Major Eazy

    Major Eazy iPF Novice

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    I noticed a few members had asked other members for advice on if they should consider going for Wi-Fi only or for Wi-Fi and 3G models or similar questions like that.


    So I figure to write this post to help with their answers. I wish to point out that I am not stopping them and I respect their needs to ask other members, but just that thought they should be aware of the fact:


    The only best person to answer questions like those is the person who just asked those questions in the first place.


    Think about it.


    You know what you usually do with your life, what you eat for breakfast, where do you want to go, what are you doing when you pop outdoors, what do you want to use your iPad for, will you be using Internet indoors or outdoors, what do you want to look for on the Internet, and all that.


    Asking other members if you should have the Wi-Fi only or 3G model would be like asking other members if you should drink tea or coffee. Because other members don’t really know about your personal habits and are going to give their answers based on their needs not on your own needs.


    The first rule is always ask yourself the following questions:


    Do I want the iPad only for at home where I have Wi-Fi access?
    Do I really need to access the Internet when I am out and about, mostly out of reach of any Wi-Fi hotspots?
    If I need to access the Internet when I am out of reach of Wi-Fi hotspots, is whatever I want to access the Internet on my iPad really important or can it wait until either I find the nearest Internet café or McDonalds with free Wi-Fi access, or can it ever wait until I get home and use my Wi-Fi broadband?


    And so on with many questions like that.


    Let me explain about my needs. I know that sometimes I will be driving out in the countryside, out of range of Wi-Fi hotspots and will need to use my iPad to access Google Maps, so I do have a reason to need 3G. I knew I need to have 3G so I chose to buy iPad with 3G rather than to ask other members if I should go for Wi-Fi only or with 3G. This is just me, it is the way I want to do. I opt for 3G ever if members may try to suggest I aim for Wi-Fi only.


    Supposing that you were to ask me if you should consider buying 3G or not and I told you to go for 3G, only that you never used 3G at all. It would be not my fault but yours. How were I to know that you only use your iPad at home where you have Wi-Fi, and you only ever once or twice used an Internet café with free Wi-Fi access but otherwise, never ever used your iPad when you went somewhere out of range of Wi-Fi hotspots.


    Equally some members only used their iPads at home with their Wi-Fi access, and some will only ever used Internet cafes/McDonalds or similar, but have never needed to use 3G so suggested to you to save money and aim for Wi-Fi only model. Expect that you do go out for a walk in the countryside and find yourself not being able to connect to the Internet because you are out of range of Wi-Fi and have no 3G. They didn’t know that so gave you the wrong advice, you knew you would be out in the countryside where there are no Wi-Fi hotspots and you are likely to need to use 3G.


    If you know you are likely to need to access the Internet when you are out of range of Wi-Fi hotspots, then go for 3G.


    If you know you are mostly likely to use your iPad at home with your Wi-Fi access or sometimes use at café with free Wi-Fi access, but never bothered to use your iPad when out of range of Wi-Fi, then you know you don’t need 3G.


    Hope this helps any members wanting to know if they should go for Wi-Fi only model or Wi-Fi and 3G model, be able to know what they really want.
     
  2. MattIM

    MattIM Super Moderator Staff Member

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    This is a good summary for figuring out what to get:

    wifi or 3G. I would add, after you have decided which one to get, wait the next day and see if the decision made the day before still applies.
     
  3. Tomo1971

    Tomo1971 iPF Novice

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    Or if you can get a 'mi fi' unit (portable wifi access point) like what 'three' or 'vodafone' offer in the uk, just get the wifi only model and use the mifi to connect.... Simples.

    Steve.
     
  4. Staff

    Staff iPF Noob

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    I would get my wi.
     
  5. Major Eazy

    Major Eazy iPF Novice

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    You missed the point.

    The point is that members who do not yet have an iPad and are thinking of buying a new iPad, tend to find that they don’t know if they should go for the Wi-Fi only or the Wi-Fi and 3G model, (It do not matter about Mi-Fi options or suggestions about hooking up iPhone (or different phones) to the iPad.) so they often ask other members questions like:


    "What do you think I should go for? Go for the Wi-Fi only or go for the 3G?"


    We can’t tell them which model to go for because we would be making them pick the wrong model. I don’t mind them asking us for Wi-Fi or 3G option and I am happy to offer advice, but I won’t tell them which one to go for. Why?


    Because we don’t know what they will really do with their iPad and only they know what they are going to do with their iPad.


    Supposing that you do enjoy going for a walk out in the countryside with your iPad and that mean you are always out of range or Wi-Fi hotspots, so what did you do? You pick the 3G model yourself. (Ever if you opt for the Wi-Fi only and go for a Mi-Fi option, it is just about the same thing.) So what do you say to a member who asked the question?


    You could say: "Oh yes, you should go for 3G." (Or ever suggest the Mi-Fi option.) But that only applies to you not to the new member. Supposing the new member thanked you for your suggestion and bought 3G (or Mi-Fi) only that they never used it at all because it turns out that they only used it at home with their home Wi-Fi.


    Some members started like: "I want to have an iPad, I will mostly be using it at home with my Wi-Fi. Do I go for Wi-Fi or 3G?"


    Oh my god! They actually answered their own question. So why do they want to ask us for? And to make matters worst, some members suggest they go for something they won’t be using.


    We can point out the different between Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi with 3G, we can point out the pros and cons of each model. We can ever point out other options such as Mi-Fi or using iPhone. But we can’t tell them which way to go for. As some members started asking similar questions, it becomes a FAQ, so I figure to point out that they are free to ask for advice on what is the different between Wi-Fi, 3G, Mi-Fi, using iPhone, but really, once they have some background info on the different, they are the best person themselves to answer the question.


    My point is to hope they became aware that they should decide which model to buy based on their needs, (they are still welcome to ask us for advice but must decide for themselves not buy just because we say so) because they know if they will only use their iPad at home all the time with their home Wi-Fi, then they need Wi-Fi only or if they always go out, too far from hotspots so would need 3G, but not on our needs.

    For example: I need 3G but I can’t tell a person if they need Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi and 3G, I can’t ever suggest they could opt for Mi-Fi. Because I don’t know what they want to use their iPad for, they know themselves.

    Do this help?

    PS: What someone ask you "Do I go for Wi-Fi only or with 3G?" and you suggest "You could go for Wi-Fi only and buy Mi-Fi." then they said "Thanks." and go buy as you suggested, only that, they never used the Mi-Fi at all becuaes they stay at home, using their home Wi-Fi. What a waste of money buying the Mi-Fi. It is a matter of How were you to know they could do with just Wi-Fi only iPad and nothing else. It is often possible that they knew they would only ever use their iPad at home with their home Wi-Fi, so why did they follow your advice? I'm just pointing out that they should think about where and how do they want to use their iPad so they will know if they really need 3G (or ever Mi-Fi) or not at all.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010
  6. NightHawk

    NightHawk iPF Novice

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    I had a friend tell me once, it was about cars and motorcycles but still applies here,
    "buy the best and you'll never be disappointed"
    For that reason I would buy the wifi 3G model, plus I like having it all...and it's better to have and not need than the need and not have....
    And if you ever wanted to sell or sell / upgrade the better equipped model will sell faster...

    So if you ask me I going to say get it all....may joy need it or use it a lot, but you have it if you do...
    Well, that's me though...
     
  7. SweetPoison

    SweetPoison iPad Legend

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    Yep. Me too. I have told everyone that asks me. One simple sentence.

    Get both. I did and never looked back.:)
     
  8. zorah

    zorah iPad Junkie

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    I can see the get both point too, but the OP makes an excellent point too. I can only speak to my usage purposes. Same goes with what size storage to get as well. Huge price difference between the 16 GB wifi only I have and the most expensive 64 GB with wifi&3G. Even for wifi only, $200 more to have 64 GB of storage I don't use would have been a waste.
    I know my needs and use, and can only speak to that. The extra $129 for 3G I don't use on iPad would have been a waste.
     
  9. Sasha5113

    Sasha5113 iPF Novice

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    Y'all are skittering around the reasons newbies want help to understand the sources of internet connectivity; what is needed is an exposition of the differences among wifi, 3G, mifi: suppliers, hardware, speed of connection, subscription costs, upfront costs. Today Verizon online is advertising an iPad+mifi bundle with subscriptions "starting at $20/month for 1GB." 1GB of what, I wonder.
     
  10. Major Eazy

    Major Eazy iPF Novice

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    I'm not sure I understand you clearly but I think I know what you're trying to say. But you missed the point.

    It is okay for newbies to ask us about the different between all that hardware, suppliers, subscription costs, and so on. It is okay for us to try to help them out by telling them about it.

    But the point is when they want to buy a new iPad, they ask us should they go for the Wi-Fi only iPad or go for the Wi-Fi and 3G model, and are in danger of making their decision on which to buy based on our needs.

    I want to take my iPad out with me and I tend to go out of range of Wi-Fi hotspots which is why I bought the 3G model.

    If a newbie ask me which model to buy, I can only explain the different between Wi-Fi only model and Wi-Fi with 3G model, I can help explain what a Mi-Fi is and many other details on hardware, suppliers, subscription costs, etc. But I can't advise them which one to pick, they must think about what do they want to use their iPad for and pick on based on their needs.

    Let me try to put it in an easy way to explain...

    Image that I bought a two seater sports car. Now you are a newbie who asked me "should I go for a 4x4 or a sports car?"

    It is okay for me to tell you the different between the two and let you pick which you feel is suitable for you.

    But it would be wrong of me to suggest you go for the sports car. What if you turned out to be a married person with two children, so you needed a family car, a 4x4 would suit you, but how was I to know that you don't need a sports car and you would be better off with a 4x4?

    I need a sport car but I don't know you well, therefore I don't know which car is suitable for you. You know which one would be better for you.

    Hence, if a newbie asked "What is the different between Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi with 3G?" that's okay and we can help them explain the different.

    But if a newbie asked "Which one do you think I should go for?" I think it would be best to tell them that they are the best person to answer that question becuase they know what they will want to do with the iPad.

    I've noticed a handful of newbies explaining that they want an iPad which they will use at home all the time with their Wi-Fi, then asked other members which should they go for, the Wi-Fi or 3G. Then other members suggest they buy the 3G model. They end up risking wasting an extra hundreds of pounds/dollars for a 3G they won't ever use at all. They could risk base their pick of iPad on what we want to do with our iPad, not on what they plan to do with their iPad.

    Most of them didn't ask "what is the different between..." becuase most of them actually ask "which iPad do you think I should buy?"

    I just want to help explain to them that they're free to ask for knowledge on what is the different between so and so, but they really should decide which iPad is right for them based on their needs not based on which is right for us.
     
  11. SweetPoison

    SweetPoison iPad Legend

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    Quite a few are missing your point.
     
  12. SweetPoison

    SweetPoison iPad Legend

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    I think they will. I have yet to see a new owner say: "I am going to do this or buy this, because you told me too"

    All forums are at your own risk. I have not seen anyone actually make up someone's mind for them, or tell them what to buy.

    Aren't you taking this a little far and drawn out?

    Wait....am I missing the point?
     
  13. epb

    epb iPad Junkie

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    I think you're going to have to accept that a lot of people get your point, but disagree with you. I know I do.

    The best answer has already been given: when in doubt, get both. If you never need 3G, you're just out the $130 extra you paid. You don't have to sign up for the service, after all. But if you do need it, it's there, and when you upgrade down the line having the 3G model might help you sell later. It's the safest bet. Th extra cost is not a valid counter-argument - if you can't afford the extra cost up-front, you can't afford the service fees either, rendering the question moot.

    There are three reasons valid for not going with a 3G model: you know with every fiber of your being you'll never use it (so you wouldn't be asking). You're outside AT&T's coverage area and so it's useless to you anyway (and you wouldn't be asking). You want 4G service, which likely won't show up until the iPad3 comes out, if then.

    For the latter, it's simply a discussion of alternative connection options like portable hotspots or phone tethering, depending on what's available.
     
  14. w1ngman

    w1ngman iPF Novice

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    I purchased my 64GB wi-fi (no 3G) because, as a Sprint customer who was approaching full-$150-credit-towards-phone-upgrade w/in 1 month of iPad purchase, I knew I planned to make that phone upgrade be an Android-based 3G model w/ wi-fi hotspot capabilities (LG Optimus S). Sprint charges only $29.99/mo more on my monthly statement to add the hotspot functionality...over and above my smartphone's Unlimited Data plan coverage. Phone is always with me... iPad is always with me... I'll make my own wi-fi *and* take a call as I see fit. and do so without bumping into data ceilings.

    If I didn't breeze through this thread too rapidly, I think my scenario is worth throwing into the mix. But I accept, I may have missed the point :)

    - Dave
     
  15. Sasha5113

    Sasha5113 iPF Novice

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    Now we're getting somewhere. So, instead of asking, "should I wait for 4G?", I shall ask for a speed comparison 3G/4G.

    Even a cracked record is right twice a day ... or something like that.
     
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