iPad iPad Air LTE or WiFi

Wicked1

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Apr 13, 2009
3,281
13
New Jersey
Seriously thinking of getting the 128GB iPad Air just wondering if getting the LTE version or WiFi makes much of a difference except resale which I am not worried about since I plan on keeping this for a few years.

I would have gone with the Mini but just not as nice and bright

I would think using WiFi hotspot on my iPhone 5 would not be an issue with the LTE however curious if any of you were in this dilemma and what you did. I am just going to use the thing for web browsing, email, FB and some other apps, but thinking that the LTE might come in handy while using it in the car on a long trip, but for the most part want to load it up with some apps and music and movies. I think I can get a lot of use out of it over the years, so just trying to verify why LTE is better over WiFi?
 

MrXiro

macrumors 68040
Nov 2, 2007
3,845
596
Los Angeles
Seriously thinking of getting the 128GB iPad Air just wondering if getting the LTE version or WiFi makes much of a difference except resale which I am not worried about since I plan on keeping this for a few years.

I would have gone with the Mini but just not as nice and bright

I would think using WiFi hotspot on my iPhone 5 would not be an issue with the LTE however curious if any of you were in this dilemma and what you did. I am just going to use the thing for web browsing, email, FB and some other apps, but thinking that the LTE might come in handy while using it in the car on a long trip, but for the most part want to load it up with some apps and music and movies. I think I can get a lot of use out of it over the years, so just trying to verify why LTE is better over WiFi?
Having LTE model also means having a built in GPS chip for maps... otherwise not really worth it IMO... Now that Tmobile and At&t give away tether you don't really need a LTE model unless you want to pay for the extra data. I had and LTE Air and swapped it for a Wifi rMini to save a few bucks and I found the Mini's size better for my usage.
 
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EDH667

macrumors 6502a
Nov 25, 2009
978
222
Northern California
The convenience factor of the cellular model is worth the added expense in my opinion. I have tried both with different generations of iPads. Having cellular always connected works better for me and tethering drains your iPhone battery quickly and the tether connection will drop after a few minutes of non use. Also having the GPS functionality for maps and location apps while traveling is beneficial.
 

Kangda

macrumors member
Feb 27, 2014
87
0
T-Mobile's free 200mb of data for the life of the tablet was what convinced me to go for the LTE model. To me, that alone justified the price difference. The flexibility of being able to add a paid data plan, if need be, is a nice option to have. When you need it, you need it. Tethering sucks the life out of cell phones.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
65,057
30,989
Boston
so just trying to verify why LTE is better over WiFi?
Its really personal preference. I think cellular is better because you don't have to rely on unsecure and slow public wifi. You may not always find a hotspot and using your iPhone (or other phone) to tether the iPad will only result in your phone's battery being drained.

I have the LTE rMini and the flexibility that it offers is superior to the wifi version and the cost difference is justified - at least for me. The monthly cost is very affordable at 10 dollars a month.

There are folks here who swear by the wifi model, and that's fine, they have some valid points, basically it all boils down to what you want :)
 

marzer

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2009
1,329
44
Colorado
Having Wifi also means having a built in GPS chip for maps...
I think you meant LTE. The WIFI models do not have any sort of GPS and rely on wifi network mapping to help determine location. Cellular models, i.e. LTE, have assisted GPS to help determine location.
 

marzer

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2009
1,329
44
Colorado
so just trying to verify why LTE is better over WiFi?
Sorry if I'm being obtuse on this, but I assume you know you need to pay for a cellular data subscription for LTE? Thus, one is not better than the other, it comes down to whether or not you need an [almost] always active data connection. And are you willing to pay for it. Other than that the devices (WIFI vs. LTE model) are identical in all other features.

As my iPad Air is used only for recreation, I have no desire to incur the cost of a cellular data plan for my iPad. It would require a professional need for me to consider that additional cost as acceptable. And then it'd be a no brainer, LTE baby! :D
 

zhenya

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2005
6,424
2,899
It really comes down to how much you are likely to use the device on cellular. For me, it's occasional and not worth even the $10/month it'd cost me to add to my plan when tethering works fine for the one or two times a month I want to use it. Plus the extra cost of the device up front, and it's suddenly a lot of extra money for not much extra functionality. The battery drain isn't really so bad - I used it yesterday unexpectedly and my phone was only at 10% and I had no charger with me. I still got well over an hour of use without depleting the phone.
 

takeshi74

macrumors 601
Feb 9, 2011
4,972
68
so just trying to verify why LTE is better over WiFi?
As always, better is subjective. You need to decide which is better based on your needs/wants. There are plenty of existing threads with discussion over WiFi versus cellular data if you just want opinions. I find cellular data very useful. YMMV.
 

bigchief

macrumors 6502a
Feb 26, 2009
876
168
How will you use LTE with your iPad? I use my iPad Air 99% of the time on wifi. So that's what I bought. When not around wifi my iPhone's hotspot works great and there is no extra charge for the hotspot or the extra device.��

That's with AT&T.
 

Wicked1

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Apr 13, 2009
3,281
13
New Jersey
Sorry if I'm being obtuse on this, but I assume you know you need to pay for a cellular data subscription for LTE? Thus, one is not better than the other, it comes down to whether or not you need an [almost] always active data connection. And are you willing to pay for it. Other than that the devices (WIFI vs. LTE model) are identical in all other features.

As my iPad Air is used only for recreation, I have no desire to incur the cost of a cellular data plan for my iPad. It would require a professional need for me to consider that additional cost as acceptable. And then it'd be a no brainer, LTE baby! :D
Yes, I know I have to Pay $10.00 per month however I am not worried just that I was trying to get an idea if using my phone to connect to the WiFi hotspot was going to give me any disadvantage over getting LTE, but it seems that LTE is the way to go. I am looking at the 128GB LTE because I keep my devices for a long time, and I would prefer to use it for apps, email, movies etc so makes sense to get it loaded.
 

eneisch

macrumors 6502a
Jul 11, 2008
646
109
T-Mobile's free 200mb of data for the life of the tablet was what convinced me to go for the LTE model. To me, that alone justified the price difference. The flexibility of being able to add a paid data plan, if need be, is a nice option to have. When you need it, you need it. Tethering sucks the life out of cell phones.
+1 for this. I recently got a 32 GB rMini and opted for the cellular option once again (my iPad 1 and 3 were also had cellular). I was going to just get a wifi, but the T-mobile free 200 MB per month put me back into the cellular version. Most places I go have wifi, but there are times when the LTE will come in handy. 200 MB per month won't let you watch video or stream music, but you will be able to check email and surf the web occasionally when no wifi is available. Also if I go on vacation I also have the option of purchasing additional LTE data without a monthly commitment. Depending on where you stay, if there is no free wifi, I find that the monthly LTE data rates are better than the wifi rates hotels change on a daily basis.

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How will you use LTE with your iPad? I use my iPad Air 99% of the time on wifi. So that's what I bought. When not around wifi my iPhone's hotspot works great and there is no extra charge for the hotspot or the extra device.��

That's with AT&T.
I have a grandfathered AT&T unlimited data plan for my iPhone 5. Tethering on an unlimited data plan is not supported unless you jailbreak the phone.
 

shadetree

macrumors newbie
Mar 11, 2014
6
0
Agree with others that the T-mobile free 200MB was enough to justify the LTE version for occasional cellular usage and maybe buying data when on vacation/trip, otherwise I probably would have stuck with the wifi model.
 

s2mikey

macrumors 68020
Sep 23, 2013
2,467
2,521
Upstate, NY
The convenience factor of the cellular model is worth the added expense in my opinion. I have tried both with different generations of iPads. Having cellular always connected works better for me and tethering drains your iPhone battery quickly and the tether connection will drop after a few minutes of non use. Also having the GPS functionality for maps and location apps while traveling is beneficial.
I agree. I don't use my data much at all but the few times I needed it, I needed it and was so glad to have it. Like insurance. It sucks to pay for it but all is well if you have to use it.

And, this tether thing is NOT for everyone since amazingly not every iPad owner has a smart phone too. ;). Usually when people ask this question about wifi vs cellular I assume they don't have a phone at all.
 

Ladybug

macrumors 68000
Apr 13, 2006
1,706
775
My Air is my first cellular iPad, all others were wifi only and now I wouldn't go back. Having built in LTE is well worth the price even though I don't use it a whole lot. The convenience is well worth it and now I'm not draining my cell phone battery.
 

HenryDJP

macrumors 603
Nov 25, 2012
5,084
829
United States
As my iPad Air is used only for recreation, I have no desire to incur the cost of a cellular data plan for my iPad. It would require a professional need for me to consider that additional cost as acceptable. And then it'd be a no brainer, LTE baby! :D
That's why I got the LTE Air. I need it for business purposes and it's very convenient when I need to access the web. I will say this, even if I bought the A
Air strictly for personal reasons I would still get the LTE version. At least it gives me options as opposed to the wifi that would leave me constrained and having to find a nearby available hotspot.
 

neutrino23

macrumors 68000
Feb 14, 2003
1,709
206
SF Bay area
I guess it comes down to affordability. If the cost is not a hardship then get the LTE version. I have the Air 128GB LTE version. I don't use the LTE that much close to home but on the road it is great. In an airport or even sitting on the plane you can still use LTE. In the car as a passenger it is fantastic to use Maps to navigate, look for a hotel, restaurant, etc. many restaurants and hotels offer free WiFi but the performance is terrible.
 

bigchief

macrumors 6502a
Feb 26, 2009
876
168
+1 for this. I recently got a 32 GB rMini and opted for the cellular option once again (my iPad 1 and 3 were also had cellular). I was going to just get a wifi, but the T-mobile free 200 MB per month put me back into the cellular version. Most places I go have wifi, but there are times when the LTE will come in handy. 200 MB per month won't let you watch video or stream music, but you will be able to check email and surf the web occasionally when no wifi is available. Also if I go on vacation I also have the option of purchasing additional LTE data without a monthly commitment. Depending on where you stay, if there is no free wifi, I find that the monthly LTE data rates are better than the wifi rates hotels change on a daily basis.

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I have a grandfathered AT&T unlimited data plan for my iPhone 5. Tethering on an unlimited data plan is not supported unless you jailbreak the phone.
My iPhone 5 was unlimited until I switched to the 10 gb shared plan. With 4 iPhones $160 a month. With the unlimited plan it was $260 a month. Do the math.
 

bluespark

macrumors 68000
Jul 11, 2009
1,869
2,008
Chicago
Agree with others that the T-mobile free 200MB was enough to justify the LTE version for occasional cellular usage and maybe buying data when on vacation/trip, otherwise I probably would have stuck with the wifi model.
I also agree. This was a great move by T-Mobile. I wouldn't otherwise have sprung for the LTE model, but did to take advantage if this deal. Now, I very happily give my money to T-Mobile whenever I exceed the 200 MB. And because I've been so impressed by the network (I'm in NYC), I am likely to choose them for other devices.
 

eneisch

macrumors 6502a
Jul 11, 2008
646
109
My iPhone 5 was unlimited until I switched to the 10 gb shared plan. With 4 iPhones $160 a month. With the unlimited plan it was $260 a month. Do the math.
The math may work for you, but it doesn't make sense for me to switch to a shared plan as I only have one phone on my account. With the corporate discount I am getting I am paying $71 per month for the 450 minutes, 250 texts and unlimited data. Is there a better deal out there for my situation that I am unaware of?
 

NovemberWhiskey

macrumors 68040
May 18, 2009
3,017
1,262
T-mobiles 200mb convinced me to get the LTE model, but to be honest, I only used it once on a road trip.

It came in EXTREMELY useful on the trip. I popped in my Verizon SIM with unlimited data, and I used it the whole way to surf the net. Used it in the hotel, used it for navigation along the way (so much better than a tiny phone screen), etc.

However, after then, I have almost never used LTE. I'm almost always on wifi. So it really becomes useless then.

Testing out the 200MB, I can say that it wouldn't last you a day. It probably wouldn't even last an hour of heavy browsing. I go through 20MB per 10 minutes on reddit/email/facebook.

I have no idea what is consuming so much, but I found all other reports that it would last more very inaccurate.

200MB is going to only come in handy for emergencies (i.e. turn data on to check email, then turn it off to conserve).

If you go out a lot without wifi, then I would say go for it if the price difference is not a big deal to you. Otherwise, just save and get the Wifi model.
 

MrXiro

macrumors 68040
Nov 2, 2007
3,845
596
Los Angeles
I think you meant LTE. The WIFI models do not have any sort of GPS and rely on wifi network mapping to help determine location. Cellular models, i.e. LTE, have assisted GPS to help determine location.
Yeah I meant to write "having the LTE model".