Ipad 3 WiFi vs. WiFi/Cellular

Discussion in 'iPad 3 Forum' started by RJHNY1, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. RJHNY1
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    RJHNY1 iPF Noob

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    Hey all, I'm a ipad newbie. I'm going to get one as a gift and I am a little confused about the two choices with the ipad 3.

    The WiFi version is obviously self-explanatory. My confusion is with the cellular version. I see it's more money. Does that mean when the ipad 3 is bought, I will be connected to 3G/4G for as long as I have it? Or do you have to pay a monthly fee on top of that to stay connected to 3G/4G similar to how a smart phone is connected 3G/4G?

    In other words, is the extra $130 a one time purchase to be connected to 3G/4G, or does it just buy me the right to have access to 3G/4G when I am willing to pay it every month?

    Thanks for any clarifications you guys can provide.
     
  2. Mickey330
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    Mickey330 Administrator Staff Member

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    The answer is the second one: you pay the extra $130 to get the hardware (installed in the iPad) that allows you to connect to a carrier and use 3/4G. That access is just how a smart phone does it - you have to pay for access on 30-day increments (e.g. monthly). The good thing is that you aren't locked in to a contract as you are with a smart phone.

    But, yeah, you can buy the iPad with the 3/4G innards. But - then you'll have to pay a carrier to use it.

    Marilyn
     
  3. scifan57
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    scifan57 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Another advantage of a 3/4G iPad 3, even if cellular data is not activated, is the built in GPS capability.
     
  4. Nakedbabytoes
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    Nakedbabytoes iPad Fan

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    3G/4G is nice to have. You don't ever have to activate it if you so choose, so that extra cost is never increased(as in, monthly charges to use the cell service). Many apps utilize the chipset that makes the unit a cellular unit if you have it, so even not activated, it still works.
    I had a 2 that I activated the cell service on just before the 1yr warranty expired, just to be sure it worked. I plan on doing the same with my 3. Knowing I have another way of accessing online content as a backup is worth it for me. I had a touch 2nd gen that the wifi stopped working on about 1.5 yrs after I bought it(expired warranty) and once that happened, it was basically a glorified MP3 player and gaming device. I gave it to my 4yo, and it bums him out even sometimes not to have wifi!
    So it can be worth it, just to have it, even if you never fully use it.
    And cell units resell very well. My 2 sold with 4 hours of listing.
     
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  5. ajcgn
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    ajcgn iPF Novice

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    One more advantage to 3g, Assuming you travel, you can by a sim overseas and avoid data roaming charges.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
  6. RJHNY1
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    RJHNY1 iPF Noob

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    Thanks everyone. Can you explain how the 3G pricing works? There's no contract, so it's a month by month basis? Like I can choose to pay for a certain 30 day period and then let it expire? Then when I'm ready again, pay for another 30 day period?
     
  7. scifan57
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    scifan57 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    For exact information, you should contact your cellular provider and ask about their cellular data plans for the iPad.
     
  8. Kaykaykay
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    Kaykaykay iPad Wizard

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    Generally, once you sign up for month-by-month, it auto-renews till you cancel it. But as Scifan says, check for specifics if you have a carrier in mind.
     
  9. Diane B
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    Diane B iPad Junkie

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    I'd recommend buying a 3G\4G Ipad 3 from the Apple store but choose your carrier. I chose Verizon because in my area and most place in US I travel it has the most coverage. When the Ipad came I went into settings, cell usage and there the contract was. The nice thing is you can choose 1GB which is what I use (and rarely use more than 1/2 of it each month) and then increase a month where you need more, not use it if you choose--AFAIK 2GB is the least amount buying directly from a Verizon store. This way I have no contract with Verizon other than month to month which I let renew--not sure how that works if I buy directly from them-they did have an activation fee of $35 but not sure how that works now with their tiered data packages. If/when I buy another new Ipad I expect I will still buy from the Apple store and not lock myself into a contract if that's still possible.

    I would also recommend getting a data usage app and check your usage every day or so until you get an idea of what and when you are using data. I use more when we travel but I do find, even with lots of free wifi available in our area, that I use it often since I carry my Ipad all the time. YMMV however so its good to consider if you think you'll use your Ipad away from your home or office where free wifi is available. For me the extra cost is worth it, for others it isn't. I do expect I use my Ipad more now than when I only had wifi Ipad 1 though LOL--whether that's good or bad---not sure.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2012
  10. RJHNY1
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    RJHNY1 iPF Noob

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    Thanks, another question. I understand the ipad can be a hotspot and you can get wifi for your other devices. So say I have a laptop, ipad, and iphone. Does it make sense to get the ipad cellular and pay to connect to 3G, which makes the ipad a hotspot for me to connect my laptop and iphone using its wifi?

    Do I have that right? I hope my question made sense. Thanks!
     
  11. AQ_OC
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    AQ_OC Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes it makes sense. But be careful what you do. Most cellular plans have data caps and you can quickly burn through that if you stream video or watch YouTube.

    If your cell phone is a smartphone, you will be required to have a cellular plan, so the main use is for the laptop.

    In the us, you can get LTE which can be a lot faster than 3G, but it also means you can burn through your data limits quicker.
     
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  12. Kaykaykay
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    Kaykaykay iPad Wizard

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    The ability and pricing to do that varies with each carrier. You don't mention which country you're in, which would help people help you, for starters.
     
  13. RJHNY1
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    RJHNY1 iPF Noob

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    I'm in the USA.
     
  14. Mickey330
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    Mickey330 Administrator Staff Member

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    In the USA, there are two data plans you can use: AT&T and Verizon. Both have plans for data, whether individually, a family plan or their new mobile share plans. You'll have to research to find which plan works best for you, economically speaking.

    I have the AT&T mobile share plan. I have three iPhones on it, and only the three phones (despite having access to three iPads). My reasoning is that with the mobile share program, I can activate my iPhone's "Personal Hotspot" (available in Settings) and then have the iPad hook up to that. I rarely use the iPad out of the house, so my reasoning is "why pay the extra $10 to put the tablet on the plan?"

    So, my option is to not put the tablets on the plan and use the iPhone on those infrequent occasions. Of course, everyone's decision is their own (cause making the phone a hot spot IS a battery drain; and you may use the iPad more, out of the house, than I do).

    Good luck with your decision.

    Marilyn
     
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  15. mrcupu
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    mrcupu iPad Enthusiast

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    well in earlier thread mentioned that ipad 3 with cellular has gps chip and can use even if only wifi activated as long theres service are unlike the wifi only version does not have gps chip so if that matter to you better get the cellular 3g/4g version :thumbs:
     

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