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wifi ipad with mobile hotspot vs 3g

Discussion in 'iPad General Discussions' started by rcphermd, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. rcphermd
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    rcphermd iPF Noob

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    I am trying to decide whether to buy a wifi only ipad and use my mobile hotspot from the droid incredible, or get a 3g unit. Which is faster? Which costs more regarding the data use? I hate to pay a monthly fee for something I may not need very often. Does the hotspot use much battery life? Your advice is appreciated!
  2. dogenia
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    dogenia iPF Novice

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    Well I have a 3g unit down in the Caribbean where I only use it on WIFI.

    When I'm in the US I turn on the 3G and presto. I think it depends on the WIFI connection you have. Cant complain on the 3G service since I always had it on ATT and dont have anything else to compare to.
  3. autumnbaby
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    autumnbaby iPF Novice

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    I don't know about AT&T but with Verizon the 3G mobile hotspot seems to make more sense financially.

    When I looked up the data plans the plan for the 3G iPad starts at $20 for 1GB/month but the 3G mobile hotpot starts at $20 for 2GB/month.

    I don't know how reliable or fast the 3G mobile hotspot is since I have had no need to actually test it yet.
  4. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    If you can afford it, buy the 3G. You don't have to activate it, but it will make a nice back up if you do. Since you start and stop your 3G plan anytime you like it won't cost you a thing until you want it. (other than the initial cost of the iPad).

    I have both the hotspot on my phone and the 3G iPad. It makes for a very versatile set up. I'm pretty much guaranteed to have 3G anywhere it is available. And if I' were forced to use more data than my phone can server without extra charges, it would be way cheaper and more convenient to add data to the iPad.
  5. Seadog
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    Seadog Super Moderator Staff Member

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    A hotspot will have a lot shorter battery life than the iPad 3G. There are pros and cons, but if you have AT&T service that is decent, I would recommend the 3G. I use mine all the time and I do not have to worry about how to carry a hotspot around or anything else. Of course, if you are traveling a lot and mount a hotspot in your car, you might see better signal benefits.
  6. epb
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    epb iPad Junkie

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    There are pros and cons to Hotspots.

    Pros:
    • Faster speeds are available; my 'spot is 4x faster than 3G
    • It's upgradeable - you don't have to buy a new iPad to get the latest fastest connection options, just get a new 'spot
    • You can share the connection with others OOTB, no jailbreaks or network fiddling
    • You circumvent the limits Apple places on 3G, like downloading files larger than 20MB
    • Plans are still full-unlimited, unlike AT&T 3G
    • You're not dependent on AT&T's coverage area
    Cons:
    • It's one more thing to carry, not an issue if you're phone tethering
    • It's one more thing that needs charging, not an issue if you're phone tethering
    • You get less time from the device than your iPad battery - the most I've seen from my 'spot is 8 hours - so you can't be online the entire 10 hours your iPad is running.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Darkrider
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    Darkrider iPF Novice

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    The ATT plans are 15.00 for 250mb a month and 25.00 for 2G. Just checked.

    They will alert you if you need more data.

    I am not sure how I should go on this one.

    I am up for a new phone (I have the ipone 3 G now with ATT) and would rather have one data plan.

    The costs of 2 iPhones are a lot though (my wife had to have one although she doesn't use it much). I use mine a lot for work.

    Can you use iPhone as a phone with just texting and not have a data plan?

    I think using the 2G data plan on the iPad would be cheaper. It is a lot easier to type and read messages on the iPad.



    If I use a non-phone I can tether the iPad to it but I like my iPhone.
    The 3GS is now 49.99, which is a good price for that phone but the iPhone 4 is supposed to be amazing with the retina display.

    Decisions, decisions......
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2011
  8. Mike_73
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    Mike_73 iPad Fan

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    One thing to really consider is, wether you want the GPS or not. GPS is only available on the 3G model. I don't really need GPS on my iPad, but would have liked to tinker with it.
    Otherwise I'm pretty satisfied with my huawei e5 hotspot and a prepaid internet card. Getting real broadband in my condo woul have meant some real constructuion work (I didn't want the broadband coming out of my bathroom and then have the wiring going through different walls witin the condo). I also didn't like the terms and conditions that would have come with it.
    My hotspot allows for unlimited internet access, although I have a speedreduction from 5Gigs. Speed while below 5Gigs is better than at the company I work for, and the reduced speed ain't no fun, but it's sufficient for getting my email and some basic browsing.
    Also, my hotspot allows up to 5 devices being connected (this may likely change with iOs 4.3).
    What I really like is, that I can take the hotspot with me and my iPad or iPod or Laptop or Psp or, or, or. I wouldn't like needing the iPad as hotspot when I want to bring my Laptop, too.
    So it boils down to your personal preferences.
    BUT, don't forget, wifi only iPad doesn't come with GPS (well, some basic location based stuff via determination of your wifi signal, but that's it).
  9. zarahlin
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    zarahlin iPF Novice

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    I have the WiFi iPad, and would love to be connected when traveling. Where are you finding these prices for a mobile hotspot? The
    last time I checked, the plan was around $35 per month. Tethering through Verizon was the same as far as price. I like the idea of
    the pocket mobile device. Any suggestions as to where to find one for $20/month or less? I would only use it for travel and possibly at work.
  10. Montereybob
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    Montereybob iPad Fan

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    I use Verizon hotspot when I travel. You sign up for a month but if your trip lasts less than a month, call to discontinue it when your trip is over. They will prorate your charge to cover from the day you signed up to the day you discontinued.
  11. jsh1120
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    jsh1120 iPad Addict

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    Much the same story with Verizon. But there are some differences.
    • If you have one of the 4G/LTE Android phones or a 4G/LTE mobile hotspot the speeds are about 7-10 times faster than 3G.
    • I use a 4G/LTE mobile hotspot and have never gotten 8 hours from it. Lasts about 5-6 hours at 3G speeds and about 20% less with 4G. However, I usually use the hotspot where I have AC power so it doesn't really impact me. And there are very few places where one would have 4G access and no power.
    • My data plan for the hotspot is $50 per month for 5 gigs a month on a two year contract. I seldom come close to that limit but I can also connect both my laptop and Kindle Fire to the hotspot simultaneously.
    • If I seldom traveled it would be a different story. But having a single device that provides me with very fast internet connections for a phone, the iPad, my laptop, and the Kindle taken together makes the hotspot a viable option.
    All in all, the biggest advantage I experience is the 4G/LTE speeds of Verizon's network. You can have that only with a hotspot or a 4G/LTE phone. The iPad cannot be upgraded.
  12. ipadbraincell
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    ipadbraincell iPad Fan

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    When buying my ipad2 i wrestled if or not to buy the 3g version, extra cost (UK) is about £100.00.

    Given tethering and expensive additional plans (i get unlimited internet on my phone plan), to me it seemed more logical to buy a hotspot for occasional use so my wife can also have access, as and when i move on from my ipad2 to f
    The ipad2/4gs (will Apple dare?) the additional 3g model cost is not lost.

    To reinforce my view, access to the internet via WiFi is ever faster growing in public places, just seems to confirm the stance.
  13. Mickey330
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    Mickey330 Administrator Staff Member

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    Just wanted to add that the answer to this question is no. AFAIK, no carrier in the USA will allow you to have a smart phone and NOT have a data plan.

    Just so's you know...

    Marilyn
  14. ewern
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    ewern iPF Noob

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    I know of two mifi services that have no contract plans. The Novatel 2200 mifi will cost around $100-apparently locked to either the Datajack ($10-200min each 30days) or TruConnect ($5/mo +3cents MB).

    I decided to go with the Datajack since they ran a half price sale on the mifi unit (which unfortunately is not a GSM so unable to use in Europe-if I could unlock it).

    I haven't activated it. I wonder if anyone knows if I could use the mifi with iPad2 along with TomTom or other GPS software- I'd like to use it to get turn by turn directions in my car.

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