IPAD2 WIFI or 3G

Discussion in 'iPad' started by MHardee, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. MHardee macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    #1
    Contemplating an IPAD2. Probably will not want a 3G, but, what if I changed my mind? So, the question becomes, IF I buy a WIFI/3G, can I not activate it and use it WIFI only? More importantly, if I decide at a later date do get a data plan, could it be added?

    Thanks a load for any information....
     
  2. Steve686 macrumors 68030

    Steve686

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2007
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    US>FL>Miami/Dade>Sunny Isles Beach>Condo
    #2
    You can just activate the iPad and not buy a 3G plan if u wish.

    But.

    3g for sure

    I was tethering to iPhone and using wifi when out and about. Good to have it this way, but really cumbersome when you need to do quick tasks. Also kills iPhone battery to tether.
     
  3. gdeputy macrumors 6502a

    gdeputy

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    New York
  4. Fissure macrumors 6502

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    Jul 28, 2010
    #4
    This
     
  5. AVonGauss macrumors regular

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    Oct 6, 2006
    Location:
    Boynton Beach, FL
    #5
    There is no activating or not activating an iPad w/ 3G, it is unlocked and a pay as you go plan that you will need to subscribe to, if and when, you want to use the 3G data. For the original iPad I went WiFi only and regretted it mostly due to the GPS, with the iPad 2 went with the 3G but don't use a data plan on a regular basis.
     
  6. number84 macrumors 6502

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    Mar 30, 2011
  7. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

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    Jul 28, 2011
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    UK
    #7
    Depends where you live. My iPad was subsidised under a 24 month contract with Three UK.
     
  8. boomhower macrumors 68000

    boomhower

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2011
    #8
    Personally I'd rather have a mifi than a 3G ipad. The virgin prepaid mifi is looking very tempting. If you go Verizon it also gives you 4G availability. You also have the ability to use your notebook if need be.
     
  9. Risasi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2011
    #9
    I bought the 3G. I've used it a grand total of three times in 1 1/2 years. Since my wife and I have smart phones it's kind of redundant.
     
  10. Aspasia macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
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    Halfway between the Equator and North Pole
    #10
    3G, definitely. I purchased my iPad 2 in March and chose 3G because I knew I would want to use it while on road trips. The 3G has been invaluable, especially when trying to get from point A to point B in an unfamiliar city. Also terrific in hotels, which usually have lousy WiFi.

    I have the AT&T iPad, so when I need 3G, I just get the plan through my iPad. Same thing applies when I don't want it to automatically renew. I just tell it to cancel. AT&T will maintain the account info for 60 days (maybe 90 - can't recall) so if I want to start another data plan, I don't have to enter my credit card info again. Imagine Verizon does something similar.

    It sure is nice to have it available when you need it.
     
  11. Rhullman macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2010
    #11
    my biggest regret wtih this ipad is not getting 3g
     
  12. Sandman1969 macrumors 6502a

    Sandman1969

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    #12
    I guess I will be the minority. I went with wifi only for mine and my wife's iPad2 and don't think I will regret that decision.

    I don't think the tethering option is cumbersome at all. You enable hotspot on the phone. What is cumbsome about that? If your in the car the phone would be plugged into the charger. Don't know how much faster it would eat up the battery anyway. Have to test that out.

    Also, something I see as a plus with the tethering option is the $25 data plan for the iPad is 2gb. For $20 I can add 2gb to my data plan for a total of 4gb. At least that is AT&T. I am not sure about how verizons work. I rarely use more than 300 mb of data on the phone, so for less I get more 3G data for the iPad. And I can enable as needed.

    I guess the gps is a plus, but we have phones for that, we have cars that have NAV and I have a mobile garmin. Then if I really want that I can get a gps device, or use the phone's.

    Either way enjoy the iPad!! They are a ton of fun!
     
  13. cplush macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    Location:
    FLORIDA
    #13
    i was all set to buy a wifi iPad2. I have a first gen galaxy tab hooked up to VZW but never seemed to use it enough to justify the $35 a month. However, you never know the future and its easier to pay the extra $140 now then have to either buy a new one or put up with tethering on your iPhone in the future.

    And yes you can buy a 3g but not activate the 3g. that's what i ended up doing. my tablet 3g line is on suspension so i can just swap serial numbers and use the iPad if i want.
     
  14. porcupine8 macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 2, 2011
    #14
    3G was not in my budget, but now I wish it had been. I wouldn't use it every day, but often enough that I miss it.
     
  15. nburwell macrumors 68040

    nburwell

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    May 6, 2008
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    PHL
    #15
    I went with the wifi only because I don't really take my iPad with me when I go out. Plus, I'm already paying $65/month for my iPhone, I didn't want to add another bill to that list.
     
  16. bufffilm macrumors 68040

    bufffilm

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #16
    it depends on how you use it and what you put on it.

    i bought the wifi-only version, 32gb and have zero regrets.

    even though 80& of the time it's used outside the house, i don't miss not having internet access on it. i have the ipad loaded with ebooks, pdfs, and movies which keeps me occupied plenty. probably will stick with the wifi-only on any future ipad purchase except will go with a 64gb (or more) unit.
     
  17. B.A.T macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    Location:
    Idaho
    #17
    I use the 3g everyday and the iPad would be a total waste to me without it. Everybody is different in how they use their toys. I take mine to work and look at whatever I want to without IT watching me. However, I don't have a smartphone so if you have a phone wifi might be the way to go unless you can afford paying for both.
     
  18. ChristianJapan macrumors 601

    ChristianJapan

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Location:
    日本
    #18
    Finally I got a mobile WiFi router with LTE which allows me simple to connect all my mobile devices. Therefore a WiFi only iPad3 will it be next time. Now I have a iPad 2 with 3G, but prepaid data plan not extended. GPS I don't really need as I have it in the iP4 anyway.
     
  19. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    #19
    Have an iPad wifi only iPad and a Verizon Mobile Hotspot 4G/LTE. Just returned from a week long business trip where the "free wifi" in the hotel wasn't worth activating. i.e. video streaming impossible and audio download choppy with much buffering.

    As it happened, although the location was somewhat off the beaten track (small city in the midwest), I was able to access the Verizon 4G/LTE network for both my laptop and my iPad via the hotspot at the hotel. Not so at the client site. There, the iPad was running exclusively on Verizon's 3G network via the hotspot.

    I was on the network at the hotel for a minimum of eight hours per day using mostly audio streaming with some video streaming thrown in (about 1 hour per day.) Online at the client site for about 6-8 hours per day.

    I used a total of about 2.5 gigs of data over the week. Had I been using a 3G iPad, the cost would have been $40 ($30 2gigs + $10 for an additional gig). A two week trip would have run between $60. As it is, I pay $50 for 5Gigs per month so I have about 2.5 gigs left for the remainder of the month before encumbering additional charges.

    In other words, for light use (i.e. less than 2 gigs), the savings amount to $20 per month for a 3G iPad. For anything over 4 Gigs per month the mifi hotspot is actually less expensive ($10 less) than the 3G iPad data plan.

    (This assumes at least some use over the month, of course. If the cell network is not used at all, the iPad data plan saves $50 per month, i.e $0 vs $50 on the always available mifi data plan.)

    Verizon's 4G/LTE performance was excellent. I averaged about 6-8 mps on the 4G network versus about .75-1.2 mps on the 3G network at the client site. Both video and audio were perfect on the 4G network; largely acceptable but some buffering of video on the 3G network.

    In short, if all one is doing is surfing the web, handling email, YouTube videos, etc., 3G service is perfectly acceptable. Streaming content, on the other hand, especially video content such as movies and tv shows, is MUCH better with the 4G network.

    In my case the mifi solution is much better than a 3G iPad. I have to have a mobile hotspot for my laptop when I travel. (I could also tether the iPad and laptop to a smartphone but only a few phones support 4G at this time.)
    Thus, it makes no sense to pay extra for a separate iPad data plan limited to a 3G network.

    Others who expect to use internet connectivity less, who don't have the need to connect any other devices to the internet, don't have access to or need 4G connectivity, and/or don't have the ability to tether a device with a data plan of its own with the iPad may well reach a different conclusion.

    Disclaimers and notes:

    () Note that all of this applies only to the Verizon 4G/LTE network. Other "4G" networks have neither the current coverage nor the performance of the Verizon network (including AT&T's.)

    () As others have noted, the 3G iPad also provides GPS functionality missing on the wifi iPad. To get that functionality on the wifi iPad, one has to add a separate bluetooth GPS receiver to the iPad. Still, the price of the GPS (less than $100) is less than the difference between the iPad wifi only and 3G models ($130.)

    () The notion that the mifi hotspot is a less portable or more complicated solution than an iPad with 3G connectivity built in is, at least in my experience, not true. The hotspot I have is the size of a playing card and weighs about 3 oz. Using it consists of pushing a button on the device. The iPad connects automatically.
     
  20. poloponies macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    #20
    I have a 3G iPad but also have a hotspot from work. I did try the hotspot/iPad combination for a few days but it is a bit more cumbersome. Aside from the need to have a 2nd device fully charged at all times, the battery life disparity means you're charging one more frequently than the other and occasionally when I travel I'm not always near outlets. 2 devices is always more work than 1.

    And as far as overseas travel goes, the hotspot is DOA.
     
  21. Pete the Geek macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Location:
    Sioux Lookout
    #21
    I live in a remote area where I can't seem to get 3G data service from the local carrier, but I still bought a 3G iPad 2. It added $150 to the cost. I have a month-to-month data plan with a major carrier (Bell), so when I travel to urban areas such as Thunder Bay, Winnipeg or Toronto I activate my account and have 3G data. When I return home I just notify the company to turn off the automatic renewal.

    The only time this backfired was when I went to Indianapolis, Indiana for a week. I needed a local 3G account, so I walked into an AT&T mobility store to set up a data plan. They told me I would have to go to an Apple Store to get the micro SIM, an impossibly long and expensive trip by taxi.

    I'm happy I went for the 3G version, even though I don't use it regularly. I am also holding out hope that my local carrier will figure out that, like AT&T, they are sending away potential customers with money in their pockets!
     
  22. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    #22
    Correct on the battery issue. Not necessarily true on overseas travel.

    It's true that the mobile hotspot has shorter battery life than the iPad. Mine lasts about 5 hours on 4G and about an hour longer on 3G. It hasn't been a problem for me since I seldom find myself away from a power outlet for longer than 5 hours. And when I do, e.g. long flights, I couldn't use either the mobile hotspot or the 3G connectivity of the iPad.

    As far as overseas travel is concerned, I think you're confusing 4G/LTE coverage with hotspot coverage. My particular hotspot is limited to CDMA networks. However, Verizon also sells a "world version" that includes a SIM card for GSM networks. In addition, of course, AT&T (and other carriers) sell mobile hotspots that are GSM ready. AT&T, in fact, has a 4G mobile hotspot that delivers 4G connectivity (on their network) in the US and 3G support overseas.
     

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