Wi-Fi only or 4G?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by highlights, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. highlights macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2005
    I've read some of the general threads about this, but was wondering if anyone had thoughts on my specific situation.

    I currently have an iPhone 4 and am thinking about getting an iPad3. I use my iPhone to make calls about once a week... if that. I do use it frequently to check my email, social networking, browse specific web sites, play the occasional game, etc. Most of the places I use my phone have Wi-Fi, but not all, and I do a bit of traveling where "free" hotel internet sucks or fancy conference hotel internet costs $15/day (um, I'm a poor grad student, and we cram 4 of us into those fancy hotel rooms!).

    So, I can keep my iPhone, get a wi-fi only iPad, and I guess that would work. Seems like I could tether when I absolutely had to (i.e., those conferences or other travel).

    OR I could sell my iPhone, buy a cheap pay-as-you-go phone which I estimate will cost less than $10/month in calls, and get an iPad w/ 4G and pay the $30/month for data. Is this crazy? It seems like that would cost *less* than what I have to pay now for the iPhone (since there are no cheap calling plans). Are there any big limitations I'm not thinking about? I already carry my macbook around quite a bit, and the iPad would replace that (getting an iMac for home, which is what is preempting these changes!), so I don't think there are too many times when I would want to carry just a phone and not the iPad... but maybe there are? And then if I can tether from my iPhone, maybe that is the way to go? See my confusion? ;)
  2. sbddude macrumors 6502a

    Sep 27, 2010
    Nor Cal, USA
    With the Verizon model, you can also tether from your ipad to your iphone.
  3. iEvolution macrumors 65816

    Jul 11, 2008
    I would go wifi only, unless you do business or something that requires 24/7 internet access I don't see most using their ipad outside their house or wifi hotspots.

    For me when I go out I am too busy to be playing with the iPad outside of the house so the ridiculous data rates the cellular plans offer are definitely not worth it to me.

    In your case I would be even less inclined for the 4G since you have a phone for internet emergencies.
  4. TauntingBull macrumors newbie

    Jun 10, 2012
    I had the same delima and I ended up getting the 4G version because I travel twice a month and the hotel's wifi suck (the ones I stay at).
  5. highlights thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2005
    Thanks! Great to hear some other thoughts. I'm still somewhat up in the air, but leaning towards wi-fi only and tethering in those hotel situations. Unfortunately I use AT&T so no reverse tethering from iPad to iPhone.

    I guess one cost-saving measure is that if I get any iPad right now I can't/won't get the newest iPhone when it's released (I have an iPhone 4 and have been upgrading on the two-year cycle). At least in my head, I can put the money from an iPhone upgrade towards the iPad...
  6. christophermdia macrumors 6502a


    Sep 28, 2008
    4G for sure....I was traveling this weekend in an area with great cell phone coverage, but everywhere I went barely had wifi. If I did find a spot with wifi, it was turned down so slow that it was barely useable.

    Lately I find that in most places the wifi is inadequate, especially hotels. some hotels have a "high" speed option but those can be expensive too.....
  7. j3yq macrumors 6502


    Dec 16, 2007
    I was on the fence with this same issue, I went 4G. Always having my iPad connected is a huge plus in my book.
  8. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
    I went with the 4G because I'd rather have the cellular option and not need it, rather than need the cellular option and not have it.

    So far, I haven't used the 4G at all, but will be on a business trip soon and will likely try it for the first time while away.
  9. sbddude macrumors 6502a

    Sep 27, 2010
    Nor Cal, USA
    Why do you have to have AT&T for both iPad and iPhone?

    Nothing wrong with having AT&T iPhone and Verizon iPad. Better that way IMHO, because you will have more diversity of coverage in low-coverage areas.
  10. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    A cheap prepay phone for occasional and emergency use, along with an "4G" iPad with what is essentially pre-pay internet use, isn't a bad combo. In fact, it is the only rational choice for those who do not want to pay for far more than they use.
  11. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    I have the wifi version, I have a 4 s and my carrier supports tethering if I need it so no cellular option required.
  12. slippery-pete macrumors 65816


    Jun 23, 2007
    Same here
  13. highlights thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2005
    Hah, it hadn't even occurred to me that I could do that. Now I'm back leaning towards wi-fi + 4g. Also still considering dumping my iPhone at some point for a prepaid cheap one if I find myself using the phone even less than I am now.
  14. jwjsr macrumors 6502


    Mar 15, 2012
    Fairhope, Alabama
    is there any advantage to have iphone and ipad with att vs iphone att ipad verizon?
  15. mad cow disease macrumors member

    Oct 12, 2005
    This is exactly what I do. I barely text/call, so I have a cheap prepaid (Page Plus - FYI they have a 1200 minute, 3000 txt, 100 MB data on VZ for <$30 a month) and an iPad 2 with a data plan. If you wanted to cut your monthly costs even more you could just use a texting app on the iPad.

    Figure out what your current data use is on the iPhone, and purchase the corresponding iPad plan (with a bit of extra data, since apps are more graphic-intensive and Safari won't load mobile websites). No contract, you can always jump ship and switch to WiFi.
  16. NewAnger macrumors 6502a

    Apr 24, 2012
    Denver Colorado
    I was thinking of getting the WiFi version since I can tether using my iPhone 3GS. Anyone doing this and how is it working for you?
  17. nostresshere macrumors 68030

    Dec 30, 2010
    Big question - if go dumb phone. Would you always be carrying your ipad around to do the above things? Thinking social gatherings, bars, restaurants, etc.
  18. BFizzzle macrumors 68020


    May 31, 2010
    Austin TX
    unless you jailbreak it ;)


    depends on your area, but in general att is much fast on their speeds.


    my problem there. to bulky to take out. i like being able to fit my phone in my pocket :)
  19. skywalkerr69 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 21, 2011
    New York
    Mine is Wifi only. The data plans are very expensive and if i'm in a bind I turn on my mobile hot spot and use it.
  20. Manta-X macrumors member

    Apr 1, 2012
    This ^^
  21. Bob Coxner macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2011
    I like the GPS functions that are only available on cellular models. I live in tornado alley, where the power/cable sometimes goes out during bad storms. I like the security of knowing I can still use my iPad to check radar, get news updates, etc, even when the broadband is down. Like others have mentioned, I use a dumb phone (prepaid) for my calling needs.
  22. Maudiefech macrumors newbie

    May 30, 2012
    well if you have a smartphone you can wifi tether your connection and then connect your ipad... BUT don't forget that only 4g models have in-built GPS
  23. NewAnger macrumors 6502a

    Apr 24, 2012
    Denver Colorado
    But then if you are going to tether, the iPhone has the built in GPS so it wouldn't be needed on the iPad.
  24. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    This is the central point, I think. I have an iPhone 4 and a WiFi-only iPad. I went the WiFi-only route because I knew there would rarely be a time when I absolutely needed to have connectivity for my iPad, since I have a phone for that. Besides, I use the two devices differently, although there is some overlap.

    If you really want to save money and can forego always-on connectivity, then just get a cheap phone and a WiFi iPad. You'll be fine (we somehow all survived the days before cell phones and tablets, and even back when cars ran on leaded gas and we never wore seat belts). I feel that having an iPhone and a WiFi iPad gives you the best flexibility for the price, but it is certainly more expensive than cheap phone/4G iPad or cheap phone/WiFi iPad.
  25. highlights thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2005
    Update: this message is coming from my brand new wifi only iPad 3 :)

    Thank you all so much for your advice. I realized that, while I will probably toss my iPad in my purse 90% of the time, there are situations (walking the dogs, hiking, biking, etc.) where I probably do want my iPhone and not the iPad (and those are situations where, especially if I'm alone, I do want some way of being connected and having gps). So keeping my iPhone and going a little cheaper with the wifi only iPad seemed like the most sensible solution.

    The tougher decision was white or black ;)

    P.S. I went with the white 32gig model.

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