iPad Cellular vs WiFi only?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by groupersandwich, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2011
    Location:
    Tallahassee, FL
    #1
    I'm about to buy an iPad 4 to replace my aging iPad 1 and am debating internally over WiFi only vs. Verizon LTE. For those who have the LTE models (or any cellular iPad), what are the advantages that you see from your personal experiences with the device? I am on the Verizon share plane and have an iPhone 5 so even without an LTE enabled iPad, I should still have connectivity through the hotspot feature. Is there a performance difference in hotspot vs direct LTE connection? Is the data consumption the same? Is the LTE version worth the additional $130 + $10/month premium? Thank you to any and all who respond.
     
  2. macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #2
    Data consumption will be higher with the hotspot. The ipad will consider itself on wifi and will choose the highest quality video playback.
     
  3. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2008
    #3
    Ask yourself how often you wished you had 3G with your iPad 1. When I bought my iPad 1, I got the 3G model, thinking 3G would come in handy from time to time. I never once turned it on. I fact, I was amazed at how prevalent Wi-Fi is in places where I was sure I'd need 3G: in the parking lot where I waited for the car ferry to the San Juan Islands, on an outdoor path where I waited in line for concerts at the Oregon Zoo, at a rustic inn out in the country, in hotels, and so on. On the few occasions when I needed to access the Internet and there wasn't any 3G, I used my iPhone. A couple years ago, free Wi-Fi often was extremely slow, but within the past year, it's been good just about everywhere I've been. So when I bought my iPad 4 recently, I got the Wi-Fi-only model. Of course, your needs and the types of places where you use your iPad may differ.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2011
    Location:
    Tallahassee, FL
    #4
    You know, I think you've got the right idea. 99% of my iPad use will be in my house where my Comcast wifi is faster than LTE. And like you it's nealy impossible for me to find places where wifi is not available. And for those places where it's not I can just fire up my hotspot on my ip5. To test it out I'm at my daughter's soccer practice now posting this on my iPad 1 connected to LTE via my iPhone 5 which is my pocket. I think it's an arrangement that will workout just fine and save me $130 upfront and $10/month on my bill. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience, it was most helpful.
     
  5. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto
    #5
    Don't get the wifi!

    The LTE has better wifi reception due to the plastic window for the signal to go through. It's such a huge difference I have n idea why it's not more commonly seen as a major issue. I went through two wifi models with really terrible wifi reception before getting an LTE and it is blazing fast. Also for a limited time there were two free months so I can determine how much data ill be using.
     
  6. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Location:
    US of A
    #6
    If you need a GPS only the LTE model has one.
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

    SnowLeopard OSX

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2012
    Location:
    Huntington Beach, California
    #7
    I'd go with the wi-fi only model and tether it to your iPhone since that should pretty much go anywhere and everywhere you'd ever bring your iPad. Not worth the extra money + two data plans if you're already paying for one on your cell phone. GPS shouldn't be a major concern since you'd probably use your iPhone for GPS capabilities -- I've never seen anyone use their iPad as a GPS, lol.

    I also can't confirm whether or not more data is consumed when you're tethered to your mobile device, but I'm almost certain the data consumption is consistent. If you're streaming on your iPad while tethered, the same data will be consumed as if you were streaming on your iPhone, as far as I know.
     
  8. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    #8
    Can you get a pay as you go plan for the iPad? There's some days I wish I had a data plan for my iPad that way I don't have to go through the trouble of tethering my iPhone to it.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2011
    Location:
    Tallahassee, FL
    #9
    I've never used the GPS function on any of my cellular devices. I'd imagine my ip5 has one, but I've never looked for it. My wife has a gamin in her car that she uses from time to time, but I'm just fine navigating the old fashion way with a map and street signs. I think I've decided to get the wifi only version. Thanks everyone for your suggestions.
     
  10. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2012
    Location:
    SE NH
    #10
    It is pay as you go but it's by the month.

     
  11. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    #11


    I want to be able to put $20 for data and use it to until I gotta recharge.
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Ecoh

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #12
    I have a cellular iPad 2, when I first got it I didn't have a smart phone. I was using the cellular on trips, so I was buying the monthly data then using only 1-2 days. The rest of the data was wasted because I usually only use the iPad in my house with wifi.

    I got an iPhone 10 months ago an have not bought data for my iPad since. If I need cellular on the iPad, I just tether to my iPhone. I am not a heavy data user and tethering my iPad does not even get me close to my limit of 1gb. I watch a few YouTube videos and web surf for 10-15 minutes when I tether.

    The next iPad I buy will be WiFi only.
     
  13. macrumors G5

    ucfgrad93

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #13
    I think the mini would be a great in car GPS.
     
  14. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2012
    #14
    This is the reason why I went for the LTE version. You can get a gps add on but it's about $180 while the LTE version is only $130 more. Plus if i decide to get a data plan later i cant. My Iphone 4 is only 3G so the ipad would be faster.
     
  15. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2008
    #15
    Glad I could be of help! I've been trying to break my long-time habit of buying more than I need, "just in case." It was fine when I was a bachelor with minimal expenses, but once I got married and took on stepkids, life became filled with competing financial priorities.

    I love my iPad 4, by the way. I considered the Mini, and while I love its form factor and light weight, the Retina display on the 4 was the deciding factor for me. I look at lots of photographs and read e-magazines, so I prefer both the larger size and the sharper display of the 4. I've never found it (or the iPad 1) too heavy or unwieldy to hold for long periods of time. Like you, 99% of my use is at home – on the couch, in a chair, or in bed. I always found the display on my iPad 1 to be acceptable, but going back to it after I've gotten used to the Retina display is painful (in a "First-World problem" way). When it's time to upgrade my iPad 4 in two or three years, I might opt for a Retina Mini, though, assuming they exist.
     
  16. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2012
    Location:
    SE NH
    #16
    If you create an account on your iPad with AT&T it's $15/250mb, $30/3gb or $50/5gb per month. You can use it on a month by month basis (that's what I do; during the Summer months for biking).

    In order to tether you are required to have the 5gb plan through AT&T. Currently I'm on the 300mb plan on my i5 but would HAVE to increase it to the 5gb plan to tether. Can you say rip-off?
    :eek:
     
  17. takeshi74, Dec 19, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012

    macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    #17
    1. I have the option to use cellular data.
    2. GPS

    Keep in mind that whether or not these are advantages are subjective matters. Just because I find them to be advantageous doesn't mean that you will.

    There's some overhead if you're connecting through another device. No idea exactly how much though.

    Yup. A byte is a byte.

    Subjective matter. I find cellular data worthwhile. As with any subjective matter, YMMV. It's your call to make.

    Also subjective matters. Worth is always subjective on any topic. You're confusing "you" and "I". Don't just assume that your situation and preferences are universal.

    "I've never seen" != "Does not exist"
     
  18. macrumors 68020

    Blorzoga

    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    #18
    There may be free wifi around in plenty of places, but the problem is that not only is it not secure, it is usually slow as molasses. I have an LTE Verizon iPad and on many occasions when free wifi is available, I've opted for LTE because it's so much faster.

    ----------

    You don't have to attach it to your verizon plan and pay $10/month. Just buy it a month at a time when you need it (traveling, etc)
     
  19. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    #19
    It depends on your usage pattern, of course. However, I think the cellular feature is a pretty hefty price premium for most people's utilization.

    I got the 3g version with my ipad1, but I didn't have a smartphone at the time. When I upgraded after two years, I got the ipad3 wifi only, since I now have an iPhone. There just weren't many instances when I needed an iPad cellular connection. The phone was taking care of most of my truely mobile data needs. I now have tethering, so there is even less reason to buy a cellular enabled wifi. On our shared data plan, the cellular ipad would cost $10 per month plus the $130 premium for the radio. So, over a two year use period; $370. That's a pretty steep premium for the covienance of not tethering, which I only do a dozen or so times per year.

    Bottom line for me: $370/24 uses = over $15 per use, just for the convenience of not tethering, which really is not a big deal in the first place. Tethering is very easy to set up on the iphone.

    Of course, your mileage may vary. In particular, as the # of cellular uses increases, the cellular ipad becomes more attractive.
     
  20. macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #20
    I don't doubt your numbers but for me they are slightly different.

    I have the 1GB VZW data plan on my iPad 2, and I use almost all of it each month. So I would either be paying that data plan to VZW or I would be paying a smilar amount to AT&T in additional data for tethering. So for me it really is just the cost of the radio.
     
  21. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    #21
    Still not what I'm looking for. I don't want a monthly plan, just a pay as I use plan.
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    #22
    I opted for a wifi + 4G/LTE model when I purchased my iPad 3. I am currently on VZW's 2GB pre-paid monthly plan and I honestly use most of it each month. Not everywhere I go has wifi (and my work wifi is painfully slow to stream), so I wanted to be able to connect anywhere. It was worth the extra $130.
     
  23. macrumors 65816

    Scarpad

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Location:
    Ma
    #23
    I had the verizon Ipad 3 I sold it to get a Mini which I got with Wifi Only. I want the cellular mini, but I wanted to wait until the mini gets a retina screen to do that. I may buy a larger Ipad again down the road, maybe Ipad 5, but when I do it will be Wifi Only. I never took the Ipad out much due to the size, the mini I take with me all the time, its the ipad I'll want cellular on when I do finally get it.
     
  24. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2011
    Location:
    Tallahassee, FL
    #24
    Thanks everyone for their comments and suggestions. I took all of them under consideration and used them help in my purchasing decision. I went with a 16gb wifi only iPad 4. I think for my usage and the fact that I have wifi hotspot as part of my data plan already that it was the best fit for me.

    I do have a question though. I just opened the box and turned it on (haven't set it up yet) and noticed that the battery is charged to 88%. Should I charge it all the way to 100% before use it or is it good to go now? Also, should I discharge it completely the first time out before recharging it? I want to get the most life out of my battery as possible so any advice here would be greatly appreciated.
     
  25. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 4, 2012
    #25
    Charge it to 91%, but no more than 91%. Use it until the charge drops to 67%. Charge it back up to 92%, use it until the charge drops to 68%. Follow this cycle, I.e., 93/69, 94/70, 95/71, 96/72, 97/73, 98/74, 99/75 and finally, 100/76. This will ensure maximum battery life.





    Just kidding....use the device however you want to. People who follow battery conditioning advice are simply in the stage before they start looking micro scratches and returning their iPad multiple times in a desparate search for the perfect device.
     

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