Should I get an iPad 2 with 3G or use iPhone tethering

Discussion in 'iPad' started by AbeFroman77, Oct 15, 2011.

  1. AbeFroman77 macrumors 6502

    May 29, 2010
  2. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

    Jul 28, 2011
    I bought the 3G version and have no regrets. It's great to have it completely independent of another device for Internet connection, and I get loads of data (15GB) at great speeds. The main factor, however, for me was that because it was bought as part of a 2 year contract, the device was only £250 upfront instead of the £580 it would cost to buy outright (It's just a much more manageable finance option for me because I'm essentially not paying for it for over a year at £25/mo). Obviously it depends on whether you can get it subsidised or not.
  3. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Jun 1, 2011
    Unfortunately, the sort of subsidized purchase noted above is not available in the US. (Several reasons for this but that's outside the scope of this thread.) On the broader question of whether to tether (at least in the US) there are several considerations.

    () I haven't seen a direct comparison between the 3G speed of an iPad versus that of the iPhone. But a test published today on Gizmodo confirms that the download speeds of the iPhone 4S is little better than the iPhone 4. And each is very slow compared to the 4G speeds available on several Android phones. In other words, Apple's claim of much faster 3G performance in the iPhone 4S seems to be marketing fluff.

    This seems to cut both ways. On one hand, you're nearly as well off tethering to an iPhone 4 as a 4S. On the other, both are relatively slow. But, as noted, I haven't seen how either compares to the performance of 3G built into the iPad. I suspect, however, that it may be a bit faster. (Most native 3G devices are faster than devices tethered to 3G devices, especially if the tethering is wireless.

    () If you want blazing download speeds on the iPad, the best way to achieve it is with a wifi iPad working with a mobile hotspot that is 4G enabled (and in a 4G service area.) That approach saves (in the US) $130 on the price of the iPad but it also may commit you to a two year data plan that cannot be turned on and off.

    () From a cost standpoint, if you already have a smartphone (iPhone or another brand) for which you have a data plan that you don't max out, tethering is a good alternative. You can save $130 on the purchase of the iPad and pay only the tethering monthly charge $20 on Verizon.

    There are, of course, ways to tether a smartphone without paying the monthly tethering charge but doing so violates your TOS (contract) with your carrier, may require jailbreaking (or in the Android world rooting) your phone, and should be undertaken only if you understand the risks, including cancellation of your service or an imposition of a monthly charge you didn't sign up for. (Check your contract. Your carrier can do this unilaterally.)

    () If you have an "unlimited" (or high ceiling) data plan on your phone, you may not have to worry about exceeding your monthly data allowance if you tether. But some carriers (AT&T and Verizon, for example) will "throttle" (slow down) your internet download speed if you consume too much data. That's likely only if you're watching a lot of streaming video content on your iPad, but it's something to keep in mind.

    () If you don't want to worry about any of this, paying the additional $130 for your iPad and getting a 3G data plan for it is probably your best alternative. The advantage is that it's (currently) cheaper than a data plan tied, for example, to a mobile hotspot and you can turn it off and back on when you need it. But if you use 3G even once in a thirty day period, you'll pay the monthly charge so keep that in mind.
  4. boy-better-know macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2010
    Exact same situation for me too. I love the 3g ipad because i simply do not have to worry about the availability of internet. It is always there.
    Obviously you could tether,but you undoubtedly have limits on your data with your iphone, and it is an extra process, which could become annoying.
  5. TB07-NJ macrumors 68020

    Jul 7, 2008
    I have read that the Wi-Fi iPad (1 & 2) does not have a GPS chip in it but uses wi-fi for less accurate location information while the 3G models have a true GPS chip in them. Yes, the GPS chip works with 3G data turned off.
  6. doboy macrumors 68020

    Jul 6, 2007
    I would prefer to have 3G separate from my phone mainly because creating wifi hotspot really drains the phone battery. Also it's not instant on with wifi tethering.
  7. KevinC867 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 8, 2007
    Saratoga, CA
    For me, "both" is the right answer. I purchased the 3G ipad, but I normally tether it to my iPhone for internet service. The 3G model gives me GPS plus the ability to turn on 3G data service when I need it. The 3G service is great to have when I'm traveling outside the US. I just buy a local data SIM for whichever country I'm in. Then, I tether in the other direction, connecting my iPhone (and laptop) to the iPad.

    I use MyWi OnDemand for tethering on my jailbroken devices. It's great because it uses BlueTooth which drains the battery much less than WiFi and it automatically connects when needed.
  8. Jasmynp macrumors 6502


    May 15, 2011
    East Coast, USA
    I went back and forth about this forever. I finally got rid of my wifi only and bought the 3g. I didn't want to have to tether it. It's been working great and I'm glad I did it. It's great to not have it be independent of any other device. Here's hoping the next MBA has 4g. All laptops should come with it these days.
  9. mooseknuckles macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2010
    I purchased the iPad 2 3G model on launch day. I went nearly 6 months tethering off my jb iPhone. I used the iPad very infrequently as the tethering would drain my battery and was not convenient at all. Three weeks ago I decided I would see what data on the iPad would be like, so I picked up an "unlimited" ATT sim card off ebay and tossed it in. The iPad has become far more functional and has allowed me to be even more productive. I am sold, I have had a VZW mifi hotspot and personally the 3g service directly on the iPad works best for me. I no longer find the need for the mifi as I do not haul my computer everywhere.

    Best of luck!
  10. Mr. Incredible macrumors 6502a

    Sep 16, 2010
    Southern California
    Can you make a separate thread talking about this? I'm curious to know why, and who knows, maybe they'll allow this next year?
  11. Matthew9559 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 7, 2007
    Cleveland, OH
    I have a 3G iPad, figured I would use the 3G but really have not. It's great to have the piece of mind but I think when I purchase the iPad 3 I will save a bit opt out of 3G.

    I only use my iPad at home nowadays. If I was on the go more I would have more if a reason for the 3G.
  12. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

    Feb 14, 2003
    SF Bay area
    I got the 3G iPad 2 but have not yet turned on the 3G. Most of the time I'm settled enough to use the iPad I am at a place with WiFi (home, coffee shop, Red Carpet lounge, hotel).

    You have to think through how you will use the iPad and whether you can afford it. If money is not a big deal then get the 3G. You can use it month by month. You don't need a contract. My friend got the 3G and uses it a lot. He is on the road more than I am and needs the connectivity to send in quotes and such ASAP or PDQ.
  13. redcupr macrumors member


    Jul 15, 2008
    I got a 3G iPad 2, and have yet to activate the 3G part. For mobile internet I just tether to the iPhone. It's $5 cheaper to add the tethering to the iPhone data plan which gives me 4 GB of data versus the top iPad plan of 2GB.

    Also, I can flip the tethering on and off for a portion of the month and am charged a prorated amount. The data is also prorated, but I have 2GB on the phone to begin with, so only the additional 2GB is prorated.

    Tethering does drain the battery on the phone faster, but I'm usually in a car tootling down the road (not driving) so I have power.

    All that said, when I go international I'll just get a local SIM and pop it in the iPad for access.
  14. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Jun 1, 2011
    Not sure that it merits a separate thread (dealing with subsidized phones/data plans/etc). But what it amounts to is that the EU some years ago mandated GSM networks for all member countries. This "interference" in the "free market" (along with other regulations) led to a separation between cell network carriers and vendors of cell phones and provided consumers with the ability to move from one carrier to another more or less freely via the sale of unlocked phones and the sale of SIM cards.

    In the US, on the other hand, the prevalence of CDMA networks prompted network carriers to subsidize the purchase of cell phones in return for extremely expensive two year contracts. By virtually giving away cell phones and locking consumers into long term contracts the carriers assured that there would be limited competition among carriers AND consumers would pay for the phones via their cell contracts.

    In effect, there is an oligopoly among cell carriers where there is very little pressure to compete on a pricing basis. This, in fact, is a common situation when the government fails to do its job to assure a true "free market." As Adam Smith recognized a couple of hundred years ago, if you leave the protection of a "free market" to capitalists, they'll destroy it.
  15. Dhelsdon macrumors 65816


    Feb 5, 2010
    Canadian Eh!
    I just bought an iPad 2 wifi, reason being I get 6GB data on my iPhone so I've got plenty of tethering room on my data plan!
  16. DiamondMac macrumors 68040


    Aug 11, 2006
    Washington, D.C.
    Like the other 10,000 threads about this, there is no answer for people as everyone is different in different situations.

    I need an iPad that can connect without Wifi. I move often and do not have Wifi at most locations. I choose 3g and have unlimited.

    Others are almost always within Wifi so there is little to no reason for them to get 3g
  17. henry72 macrumors 65816


    Jun 18, 2009
    New Zealand
    Simple. If you travel a lot or go on Internet on the go A LOT. 3G is a must because you wouldn't want to use up all your battery on your iPhone :)

    3G is very handle when you go to travel, because you can get a cheap prepay plan for iPad. Good luck
  18. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Depends on who you ask, as is the case with any "Which is better?" question. Tethering's not as convenient but obviously many deal with it. It's impossible to tell you where your preference lies.
  19. Amazing Iceman macrumors 68040

    Amazing Iceman

    Nov 8, 2008
    Florida, U.S.A.
    I would suggest avoiding tethering when possible, as it drains batteries on both devices. True, you'll save some money, so it would depend on how much will you use the iPad on 3G.
    In my case, I have an iPad 3G with unlimited Data, and a T-mobile phone with unlimited data. I hardly use the 3G on my phone, but I have an old plan so I don't pay too much for it.
    You'll have to weight your own requirements and consider this carefully.
  20. Orionsbelt, Oct 29, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2011

    Orionsbelt macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2011
    Not even a question...3G + wifi

    Trust in the fact that the minute you don't have access to a free hotspot you will be in dire need of using the iPad. This is how it happens. There is NO downside. You're not locked into a contract. You enable 3G if and when you need to. It's a great back up option in case you find yourself all alone with no free wireless or neighbors unsecured connection to piggyback on. Get the 3G. You'll bump up against the limitations of wifi only in no time and then you'll trade it in for the 3G model anyway. Not all of us have a hotspot plan in our contract, and not all use jailbroken or rooted phones.
  21. phpmaven macrumors 68040


    Jun 12, 2009
    San Clemente, CA USA
    This is really the most important point, IMO. if you are only occasionally going to using it outside of wifi, then get the wifi only and tether. If you will regularly be using 3G, then get the 3G version. This is of course assuming that cost up front is not a big issue to you.
  22. shoppy macrumors 6502a

    Mar 4, 2007
    I have an iPad 1 3G and that I brought outright. Here in the UK you need to have a sim card so the times I needed 3g, I did not have access to the shop but I could tether via my iPhone. So annoying but workable. My next device I decided to get a iPad 2 3g with contract. The only advantage is for the times I use it is the internet is on a bigger screen. As my iPhone 4s now still picks up my mail etc. I picked up another iPad and choose to get just wifi now. HAve had no problems with my choice, it was cheap to buy and does what I need to do it.

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