wifi only? or 3g too?

Discussion in 'iPad 2 Forum' started by danlaw777, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. danlaw777

    danlaw777 iPF Novice

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    so i am sure this question has been asked a gazillion times, but here i am asking again, with a twist.....

    my firm has authorized me to buy an ipad and will reimburse me up to $700.......the 32G ipad is the model imlooking at, BUT.....do i spend the addional money on my own and get the version with 3g, or not? HELP!!!!
     
  2. 88raymond

    88raymond iPad Fan

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    if the agreement is that the the unit will be yours, not the company's, i'll go for the 3g 64gb model (which is what i have).

    otherwise, i won't spend money for what isn't mine.
     
  3. Tim SPRACKLEN

    Tim SPRACKLEN iPad Legend

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    I agree with Raymond 100%. If the iPad will be yours go for 3G. If not, stick with WiFi.

    Tim
     
  4. jsh1120

    jsh1120 iPad Addict

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    Yup. At least a gazillion times.

    Advantages of 3G iPad

    () Internet (almost) always available.
    () GPS functionality included
    () Pay as you go monthly data plan $30-$35 with 2 Gig ceiling. Additional $10 per month for each 1Gig beyond ceiling.

    Advantages of wifi only iPad

    () Save $130 on initial iPad purchase.
    () Save $30-$35 for 2Gig download per month.

    Alternatives to 3G iPad if you want 3G or 4G internet access where wifi is not available.

    Mobile Hotspot (Verizon)


    () 4G/LTE data access speed (up to 10x faster than 3G) but not available in all areas. Otherwise 3G
    () Connect multiple devices (up to five)
    () Two year contract data plan $50 per month with 5Gig ceiling. Month to month plans are available but the cost of the device and the monthly data charges make them uneconomical.
    () $50-$100 up front purchase price. May be less if you're already a Verizon customer.

    Other Mobile Hotspot Options.

    () AT&T offers roughly the same deals as Verizon. The AT&T 4G network is not as extensive nor as fast as Verizon. Fewer hotspot device choices available.
    () Virgin Mobile offers a month to month contract with a higher priced hotspot ($150) and "unlimited" 3G only access ($50 per month) . However, it is "throttled" for access beyond 2.5 Gig per month. If you have a wifi only iPad and plan to go on a trip where you'll need 3G for a limited period, this might be a good choice. But with the cost of the device, it's a pretty expensive option.
    () Other carriers, e.g T-Mobile, Sprint offer mobile hotspots, as well. I'm just not familiar with their offerings.
    () If you want "4G" speed, be careful. There is no standard definition of "4G" networks. Thus, any carrier can claim to have a "4G" option and they differ greatly in terms of speed and coverage.


    Smartphone Tethering. Shared data plan. Worthwhile if you already have a data plan on a smartphone and don't want to pay for an additional data plan.

    () Available on some smartphones from Verizon and AT&T
    () 3G or 4G depending on phone and carrier.
    () Typically a $20 per month additional charge.
    () Typically adding tethering capability to an existing contract will invalidate a "grandfathered" "unlimited" data plan for a phone, but YMMV.
    () Depending on the phone "free tethering" (wired or wireless) may be available. However, tethering a smartphone without paying a monthly charge typically violates a user's contract with the carrier and may require "jailbreaking" or "rooting" the phone.

    GPS connected hardware. This option enables a wifi only iPad to provide the same GPS functionality as a 3G iPad.

    () Typically about $100 for several different models provides GPS functionality for wifi only iPad.
    () Connect with dongle to iPad's 30 pin connector.
    () No additional monthly charge though additional costs for specialized map apps may be required.

    Note: Less costly monthly plans (for hotspots) are usually available. However, most consumers are probably better off with a 2Gig ceiling since overage charges quickly exceed the 2 Gig monthly charge for less data. If you seldom listen to streaming audio or watch streaming video, you may be able to get along with cheaper plans. Likewise, if you very seldom need any 3G connectivity, a cheaper plan may work for you.

    Note: All plan and hotspot information limited to US. European and those in other countries have different (and frequently better) options for mobile hotspots.

    Note: Mobile hotspots typically have a shorter battery life than the 3G iPad. Mine typically runs for about 5 hours without a charge.

    The bottom line is that the simplest (and usually the least expensive) alternative is a 3G iPad with a standard pay as you go (month to month) $30 data plan. However, if you need to connect multiple devices, such as a laptop, or have a smartphone capable of tethering (and sharing) an existing data plan, you may be better off with an alternative. And if you're getting a 3G iPad solely for the GPS functionality (and don't plan to activate the 3G option), a connected GPS unit may provide better functionality for less money.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
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  5. Tim SPRACKLEN

    Tim SPRACKLEN iPad Legend

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    Wow! Thanks for that great post! A perfect and very comprehensive summary. Much appreciated.

    Tim
     
  6. jsh1120

    jsh1120 iPad Addict

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    Thanks, Tim. You provide so much assistance on this board, I figured I'd pay it forward a little. And this is such a confusing topic for many people it seemed worthwhile to put the various options in perspective.
     
  7. danlaw777

    danlaw777 iPF Novice

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    thanks for all the info, i have decided to, and already completed, rooting my dx and going the "easy" way. we'll see how it goes!

    Im new to the apple enviroment and very much enjoy all the features, i even have the beta of iOS5 on my iphone and will have it on my ipad whenever i go out and get it. if you have any questions, feel free to ask as well!!
     
  8. leelai

    leelai Administrator Staff Member

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    Just gotta say, that is a brilliant writeup jsh1120
    Thank you
     
  9. wikid

    wikid iPF Noob

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    I have a specific question not answered by the above excellent tutorial
    Since the ipad doesn't actually have a free standing gps, (by the Apple site it is data assist ) If I decide to get the ipad 4 with 4g, or 3g, could I still get a gps dongle to have unassisted GPS function? Or if I have the network, it won't allow the gps dongle to work?
    My specific question involves using my ipad for off-road navigation, where a network is not available. I am not sure how all of this works
    thanks for your time
    Don
     
  10. scifan57

    scifan57 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The WiFi + cellular iPad has self contained GPS built in and doesn't need to be connected to anything to operate. If you want to operate it offline, you will have to download your maps in advance.
     
  11. wikid

    wikid iPF Noob

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    Thanks for your reply
    This is copied and pasted directly from the apple site specs of the ipad with retina display


    • Wi‑Fi
    • Digital compass
    • Assisted GPS and GLONASS
    • Cellular
    The text in bold is why I have this question I have been told by many that the gps is stand alone, but in the specs it appears not to be the case . If you have a different explanation I am all ears
    thanks
    Don
     
  12. scifan57

    scifan57 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Although it shares circuitry with the cellular system, it operates independently. You don't need a cellular service contract or even a SIM card in order for the GPS to work properly.
     
  13. wikid

    wikid iPF Noob

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    Just to be clear. If I am using the ipad 400 miles from civilization, the gps function will still work if there is no network anywhere in site ?

    I guess what confuses me is that the wifi version has no gps capabilities and that also has a direct relationship to not having cellular service. I do understand about the circuitry, so my only assumption is that apple again is penalizing you for not buying the biggest best they have. Or that it really is assisted . Sorry if I re-question this, but this has a huge impact on whether I can count on my navigation device when I am miles from nowhere
    thanks
     
  14. scifan57

    scifan57 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Let me put this as clearly as I can. You do not need cellular service to use the GPS function of a WiFi + Cellular iPad. Ty can be in the remotest spot on earth and GPS will work as long as there are sufficient GPS satellites above the horizon at your location.
     
  15. wikid

    wikid iPF Noob

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    Thank you
    Again sorry for questioning that again . It's my birthday tomorrow and the wife offered this gem up. I just wanted to be sure it would work. Now I feel better

    Your responses were precise and exactly what I was looking for
    Thank you again
    Don
     

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