Return WiFi iPad for 3G or keep it and get portable wireless 4G from Sprint

Discussion in 'iPad' started by MnkyPwz, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. MnkyPwz macrumors member

    Mar 6, 2009
    So here is my dilema, and I want those with iPads to chime in.

    I purchased my iPad less than 7days ago, and LOVE it. I find myself reaching for it, SERIOUSLY 8x out of 10; instead of going for the MBP. I have a Mac Pro for doing all of my Heavy lifting, I.E. renders, and such, but the iPad has gone EVERYWHERE with me as my MBP used to.

    No with the update that the new 3G is soon to drop my question is, since i'm still within my return date, and BestBuy is going to be getting the 3G ones in should i return the WiFi and grab a 3G, and pay the extra what is it $30 a month for Unlimited data.


    Should I keep the WiFi, save that extra $150 I'd spend on the upgrade and grab that new Sprint 3G/4g overdrive wirless hotpot they have. Now it is an extra $30 more a month than the 3G iPad but I can connect up to 5 wireless devices to it, and I can take it to work wih me, and avoid their stupid site blocks. I mean really do you HAVE to block NetFlik's....? ;-(...

    Anyway, I'm curious what you guys think, what will be your outlook on the 3G vs the WiFi model, and are you intrigued by the Sprint Overdrive at all. i mean heack 3-5Mbps is pretty dang fast for mobile web.
  2. mikethebigo macrumors 68000

    May 25, 2009
    First I'd make sure you're in an area that has 4G coverage (I assume you already checked this and are).

    The overdrive will allow multiple devices to connect, and it will obviously have 4G speeds. However, it also only has something like a 4 hour battery life, compared to the iPad's apparent 9 hour life on 3G. Also, consider that the overdrive's fee is $60 a month instead of iPad's $30, and you have to have a 2 year subscription with the sprint device while with the iPad you can start and stop service as you please. Finally, if you're planning on using this for netflix, realize that anywhere you're using the Sprint 3G (where 4G is unavailable) you have a 5 gb HARD cap while AT&T says unlimited and really has a 5 gb SOFT cap.

    Definitely pros and cons to both! It's ultimately up to you, which sounds better? Do you need to have a service where your laptop and other devices can connect as well? Are you in an area that has better sprint coverage than AT&T?
  3. MnkyPwz thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 6, 2009
    Yeah it sounds like I might just need to get the iPad 3G, because having the luxury to start and stop service anytime is a beautiful option. might just go that route. I just really felt that 4G is hella faster than 3G, and yes i am in the coverage area. Actually my ENTIRE area is blanketed with it. I saw the map and was BLOWn away.

    But that 9+ hours of 3G iPad does indeed sound nice.
  4. shady825 macrumors 68000


    Oct 8, 2008
    Area 51
    Think of it like this... With a Overdrive/MiFi you Pay once and can connect your MacBook and the iPad.
    I need Internet on the go for my MacBook. I'm gonna have that regardless so I just don't see the need to pay again for 3G on the iPad.
    For people using more than just the iPad this by far is the smartest choice.
  5. Travisimo macrumors 6502a

    Dec 22, 2009
    I'd say go with the 3G option. Truly unlimited data, cheaper data plan, no contract, no extra devices needed, and you also get a GPS receiver with the 3G version.
  6. TraceyS/FL macrumors 601

    Jan 11, 2007
    North Central Florida
    Pay once a month for 24 months. Unless you buy it outright and don't have a contract.

    It really depends on the person. I'm going with the 3G ipad because of the lack of contract and 2 pricing options. I will not lock into a 2 year contract with a $60 charge again. My life is to unpredictable for it.

    Would it be nice to have the option for other devices? Yes. I'd go with the Verizon MIFI if the pricing was even close to the ipad for pre-paid data. But it's not, so i'm about to become an AT&T customer - i'm pretty sure that hot place will have frozen over when i do ;)

    But for me, when i studied it all, the iPad was the best choice when the finances were penciled out. It will meet about 98% of my mobile needs - i can deal with the remaining 2% with some creative solutions.
  7. traylorc macrumors member

    Apr 18, 2010
    Fantastic answer....I agree with you 100%. I think in the end the Sprint option is much more expensive.
  8. 2002cbr600f4i macrumors 6502

    Jun 21, 2008
    Well, I've been thinking about the same thing. Here in Atlanta, Clear + Sprint has amazingly good 4G coverage everywhere I go.

    My current setup:
    3G iPhone
    3G USB dongle for my macbook

    This works well 90% of the time EXCEPT here in my office. The tower location puts my office in a huge shadow where I get very inconsistent (and often ZERO) coverage with AT&T, but Sprint and Verizon are great. (I can see their tower clearly out the window of my office.)

    So, this is my current plan:

    1) Get 3G iPad (I want the full GPS) - use the 3G on it for the next 2 months

    2) When next iPhone comes out, get that. If the rumors of a tiered data pricing model come through, then I'll go with the lowest data plan for that.

    3) In July when my contract expires, drop the AT&T USB 3G dongle, get the Overdrive unit. I have Comcast for TV/Internet at home, and they partner with Clear + Sprint for 4G/3G access for $55/month.

    This way I use the Sprint overdrive for 99% of the time, shared between the iPhone, iPad and Macbook. I have the AT&T 3G on the Phone and the iPad in an emergency, but would mostly stay on the Overdrive unit.

    My friend picked up the Overdrive unit last week and is going to let me test it out here in the office some time over the next couple weeks to see if the signal is decent. If so, that'll be my solution.

    Assuming AT&T goes with the tiered data plan for the next iPhone I should be able to get the bill to be exactly the same that I pay now for the iPhone + USB 3G dongle...
  9. edlex macrumors 68000


    Apr 14, 2010
    I would only get the portable wireless if your city currently has 4G service. Second choice is tethering your cell phone. If none of these 2 are available to you then 3G iPad is the way to go.
  10. cdesigns macrumors 6502

    Aug 28, 2008
    I will be selling my WIFI ipad to get the 3G but only for the GPS receiver, I wont be using the 3G , I will be using my HTC hero or EVO as my wifi source
  11. xA4Hx macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2007
    I would like to know if overdrive was 30 a month or ATT iPad 3G was 30 a month which one would you get?
  12. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I have a Verizon MiFi, and I am also getting iPad 3G.

    At a minimum, I do want the option to turn on 3G if necessary. I figure the first time that I want to connect, but cannot... that I will be upset with myself for not spending the $130.

    I also want the option to get a local micro-Sim and use while traveling abroad. I do not have that option with the Verizon MiFi.

    The jury is still out if I can get by without the MiFi at all... but if I can, then my expenses will go down by $30/month. About 1/2 of my travel is biz related, and I can expense my internet connections for those trips. Also, for many of my personal trips, I have free WiFi access in my room. Basically... I am considering ditching the MiFi, but I am still not sure that the iPad is capable enough yet to be a primary machine... even if for fairly short durations. This may become more feasible after OS4 is released... but still not known definitively.

    I really think that a 2 unit solution is much less desirable than an integrated solution. Even though the MiFi is small... it is still a 2nd device, it has a limited battery life. It goes dead if you do not charge it often enough, it requires an extra electrical outlet most of the time. It is however better than using cell phone tethering... which IMHO is the worst possible solution except for price.

  13. xA4Hx macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2007
    Did you consider that they put limits on 3G connection lprobably just like iPhone?
  14. Alchematron macrumors 65816


    Jan 22, 2007
    Maui Hawaii
    Speed is the killer app for me

    I'm waiting to see how the HTC EVO and new iPhone size up this Summer in terms of hotspot capability

    Don't forget has 4G $20.00 cheaper and no contract

    Sprint is the reseller of their network
  15. IbisDoc macrumors 6502

    Apr 17, 2010
    Why carry around two devices when you can get the same functionality out of one very thin and ultra-portable device?
  16. vw195 macrumors 6502

    Dec 27, 2008
    This is what I will be doing as well.. Thanks Sprint I love you.

    But if you dont want to run down your cell phone, you have that option as well.
  17. barefeats macrumors 65816


    Jul 6, 2000
    Because we have Sprint 4G in our town, I chose the Overdrive and iPad Wifi. For me the advantages are:
    1. The ability to use the Overdrive to support our two iPads and two MBPs (or $15 unlimited per device. Add my iPhone 3GS and the cost drops to $12 each.
    2. No battery penalty on the iPad for support of 3G and GPS. (Note that iPhone OS 4.0 lets to prevent apps from using GPS to save the battery.)
    3. Better actual broadband coverage than AT&T in our town (4500Kbps on iPad, 6500Kbps on MBP on Sprint 4G versus no signal to 1100Kbps with iPhone 3GS on AT&T 3G).
    4. When AT&T's 3G is working slow or not at all (which is often), the iPhone 3GS can use the Overdrive.
    5. Though the Overdrive battery is rated for 4 hours service, I turn it off when there is a WiFi signal available -- which is two-thirds of the time -- which makes its effective battery life = 12 hours per day.
  18. bossxii macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    Kansas City
    As I use my iPad vs my iPhone for everything but making phone choice in June will be to dump the iPhone and pickup the EVO 4G and use it as my phone and MiFi device. Thankfully I will have unlimited 4G data, phone and text, for $70 bucks. AT&T will lose my iPhone data plan due to the lack of tethering.

    The Sprint Overdrive is nice but would add yet another device to carry and charge. The EVO will combine several needs needs in one. Wifi hotspot, phone and very portable device at a cheaper price.
  19. mstout macrumors member

    Jan 5, 2009
    3G plan is better but 3G blows. If you're a heavy user go sprint.
  20. bowlerman625 macrumors 68020


    Jun 17, 2009
    Chicago, IL area
    I'd vote for the 3G because I don't want to carry another device and the battery life of these things is pretty short. I think the everything-integrated ipad 3G is a great compromise. Plus 3G speeds here are good so this makes it a good deal.
  21. bossxii macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    Kansas City
    As far as battery concerns, the EVO, if I recall the specs has a 1500mAh battery plus they already have a battery case to extend it. Hopefully it will last 4 or so hours on a charge while using it as a hotspot. I normally have access to my car charger or a wall outlet in time for a recharge now so not too worried. But something to consider if people are using the phone and wifi feature constantly.
  22. Alucardx03 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 10, 2008
    For me, it's really a matter of convenience. I'm going with a 3G iPad for the following reasons.

    1- The Overdrive only has a 4-hour battery life (actually, it's less if you read the reviews...). That means, I have to charge it every night, and conserve use during the day. I don't want to have to be conscious of my Internet use throughout the day. And that 5GB cap on 3G usage is a killer if you're using the Netflix, ABC, or Slingplayer app.

    2.- I'd rather not carry two devices when I can get away with one.

    3.- If there are a few weeks when I'm on vacation, I'm still paying for the Overdrive. With the iPad, I can simply cancel the plan for that month and pick it up again when I get back.

    4.- If I'm away from a WiFi hotspot and I need to access the Internet with my MBP, I just use MyWi on my iPhone. It works great for those "in-a-pinch" situations, it's very reliable, and best of all, there's no additional monthly charge. And combined with my HyperMac Mini, I can power my iPhone for multiple days on end.

    5.- With all Apple products, the high-end models retain value much longer than the baseline products. That's because, when a new product comes out, the gap between the highest-end and new product is often much smaller than the gap between the baseline configuration and new product.

    Just my opinion.
  23. ScubaCinci macrumors 65816


    Jul 11, 2008
    Cincinnati OH
    WTF is a soft cap? I thought AT&T said it was truly unlimited?
  24. Alucardx03 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 10, 2008
    They don't "enforce" the 5GB cap very much (which means it's a "soft" cap), but they'll call and let you know that you've been exceeding the cap.

    A "hard" cap is when they have a set pricing scheme in place, and for every bit you go over the "hard" cap, you pay a predetermined amount.

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