What's new
Apple iPad Forum 🍎

Welcome to the Apple iPad Forum, your one stop source for all things iPad. Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

Wi-Fi or 3G - Guidelines on which model

Major Eazy

iPF Noob
Nov 28, 2010
Reaction score
United Kingdom
I hope this guidelines will help many people planning on buying an iPad be able to make a better choice of buying either the Wi-Fi only model or the Wi-Fi and 3G model. See where you fit in and see which iPad would be recommended. This is only a recommendation, only a suggestion, and you are free to chose the other model if you prefer.

Do you... / If you...

Always or mainly use your iPad at home only and planning on or already have a Wi-Fi for surfing the Internet.

May take your iPad out with you but mostly either to family or friends where they have Wi-Fi and are happy to let you log on, or may take your iPad to work that have Wi-Fi access.

May sometimes or most of the times go out and around town/city, but mostly to Internet Café or McDonalds or similar places where there is free Wi-Fi hotspot.

But when going out of town and out of range of Wi-Fi, and you do not feel the need to log on to the Internet or that if you do want to go on the Internet but do not mind if you would rather wait until you get home or until you find a Wi-Fi hotspot.

In those examples, a Wi-Fi only model would be recommended.

Do you... / If you...

Need to go out of town and in doing so, moved out of range of any public Wi-Fi hotspots, and do really need to get on the Internet. Maybe whatever you want to do on the Internet can’t wait until you get to a Wi-Fi and you really need access now.

Are very busy and always accessing the Internet most of the times, to use e-mail or to carry out your business, wherever you are, ever if you are still in town/city where there are many hotspots but it is most likely you would be in places where there are no hotspots. Maybe you do not have the time to find the nearest hotspot.

Prefer to use Google Maps anywhere, ever when out of range of hotspots.

In those examples, a Wi-Fi with a 3G model would be recommended. (A Wi-Fi only model with a Mi-Fi would also applies to the above recommendation.)


If you feel you fit in with the first example, that being you prefer to do your Internet surfing at home or at work or using free Wi-Fi hotspot and do not mind the fact that you can’t log on when out of range, but you would like to use any apps that make use of GPS system, to track down where you are or where you go, in case your iPad got stolen and you want to track it down, to use any compass apps, and so on.

Then a Wi-Fi with 3G model would be recommended ever if you don’t use the 3G service. I believe the 3G model is more effect when you use any apps that use GSP system.

What would be recommended if you feel you follow the guidelines for Wi-Fi only model but many months later do need to access Internet from anywhere, ever out of range of hotspots?

There are two options:

Either save money by buying Wi-Fi only model for the time being (if you feel it could be many months before you end up using your iPad out of range of Wi-Fi), and later on, you can buy a Mi-Fi set up.

Or if tempted to, go for Wi-Fi with 3G, ever if you don’t use 3G for a long time then do start using it. Point of note: You can always buy the 3G model iPad but do not need to sign up for 3G service right away and wait until you start needing one. No point in paying for 3G services if you are not using it for a while until later.

Guidelines on the option of Wi-Fi only iPad with Mi-Fi set up against that of Wi-Fi with 3G iPad only.

As explained earlier. If you find that you are more likely to use your iPad at home most of the times with your home Wi-Fi, with the option of using your iPad at work where there is Wi-Fi access or go to Internet Café, so feel a Wi-Fi only iPad would do better. But what if many months later, you started to take your iPad out of range of Wi-Fi hotspots and do really need to log on?

In that case, you have the option of buying a Wi-Fi with 3G iPad now, ready for when the time comes for when you start using 3G, or buy a Wi-Fi only iPad which is cheaper and later on, you can always buy Mi-Fi. (Useful for if you are not really sure if there will come a day when you do need to access Internet out of range of Wi-Fi.) Some members have suggested tethering your mobile phone to your iPad.

But bear in mind...

If you feel you do not mind carrying extra equipment such as the Mi-Fi unit in addition to the iPad, then the above recommendation still applies.

On the other hand, if you do not like the idea of carrying around extra equipment and want an iPad only. In that case, the Wi-Fi + 3G model will be enough for your needs.

I hope the above guidelines will help you to figure out which iPad model to go for.

Most reactions

Latest posts