All iPads Wifi vs Cellular for MD student

Discussion in 'iPad' started by mt229431, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. mt229431 macrumors newbie

    Apr 13, 2010
    Good morning,

    I am trying to decide between the wifi or cellular iPad 4.

    First of all, I'm going to be using this mainly in hospitals and class. I know for certain that all of the lecture halls have wifi access. I do not know if the hospitals do; I imagine newer hospitals do, while older or rural hospitals don't. Can any hospital employees comment on wifi availability in hospitals? Or maybe they have VPNs?

    I also have an iPhone 4, so my understanding is that I can make a personal hotspot, and then connect my ipad to the internet using the iPad wifi-iPhone interaction. However, I obviously do not have any experience with this. Is data usage for web browsing similar between the iPad and iPhone?

    As I said above, my main usage will be in lecture halls and hospitals, as well as at home (wifi enabled, obviously). However, I can see how having cellular in say, a waiting room, or a parking lot (when waiting for someone) would be handy for web browsing to kill time. I wouldn't be watching Netflix or streaming other media. So is it worth the extra $100 ish to upgrade to cellular? Or would it make more sense to tether to the iPhone when I need data? Thanks for your input.
  2. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    You need to make the call based on your needs/wants. Worth is always highly subjective, regardless of topic. I found cellular to be worthwhile but there are countless people with the WiFi only iPads that did not. I don't care for the added hassle of tethering but there are others that do it all the time without a second thought. Again, you need to decide for yourself. Randomly polling people won't tell you what you prefer or what suits you best.

    Depends on the hospital. Don't rely on generalizations. They're not all identical. Check with the specific hospital that you will be at.

    Data usage depends on your usage. Accessing the same web site on either device will use the same amount of data assuming that both clients are accessing the same version of the same web site (i.e. one is not accessing the mobile version while the other is accessing the desktop version).
  3. aneftp macrumors 601

    Jul 28, 2007
    Save ur money. Get the wifi iPad if u are at school. Oat hospitals have free public wifi access also.

    I am an attending and probably been at 5 different hospitals the past 2 years. All have public wifi.

    Plus in hospital if u are med student u will have access to computers in MD lounge and student areas.

    Trust me. U don't need cellular iPad unless u like to have 24/7 access on the road. But u have iPhone 4 already to bridge the gap.
  4. emuyshondt macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Would you expect to use the iPad for any kind of navigation, in a car or in a plane? The cellular iPad also includes a GPS for these type of activity. When I got my iPad 1, I got it the cellular version, never intending to use the data portion. GPS is also useful for other types of location based services (LBS), such as checking in in certain social networks, using some shopping apps, weather apps, etc.

    After some time, I decided to try turning on the 3G portion, just to check it out. It is easy to turn it on month-by-month. There is no set contract time that you have to commit to. I never turned it off afterwards. It is that convenient. I don't have WiFi everywhere I have my iPad. With my iPad 4 (the current iPad model) I get faster speeds than my nome network when I am in an LTE area (on the order of 26 Mbps).
  5. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    AT&T gives you 100 off if you sign up for two years service. That makes it only 30 more expensive.
  6. ScholarsInk macrumors regular

    Apr 3, 2010
    ... - $100 + ($30)(24) = $620
  7. AppleRobert macrumors 603

    Nov 12, 2012
    Buy the wifi model and try it out. If you find it isn't working out for your needs, return it and get the cellular model.
  8. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    For me with a shared data plan these are the cost premium of the LTE model for two years.

    $30 + (24 x $10) = $270

    Plus activation fee which I was able to get them to drop.
  9. jdag macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2012
    I see these questions and answers often. It really boils down to this...

    Do you NEED cellular iPad? No, generally speaking not as there are workarounds (free wifi networks, tethering to an iPhone or other smartphone, or just use a smartphone for those rare times you just need something quick).

    But what is rarely mentioned is the CONVENIENCE of the cellular iPad option. Turn the iPad on and:
    1) If you are in range of a recognized wifi network you will instantly connect.
    2) If you want to set up a new wifi network in range, you can do that too.
    3) Or, you can simply start using the iPad on the cellular network.

    That last option is very very very convenient if you simply want to turn on and go....constant and always-available access. Yes, you pay for that convenience. Only you can judge the cost/benefit ratio that provides you.
  10. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    Remember there are places in hospitals where you need to turn off radio transmitters (iOS devices should be set to Airplane mode) so it may not matter what you have when you're in the hospital.

    But in general WiFi availability will depend on the hospital. And even those that have it, will have it only in limited areas.
  11. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
  12. MacAPOL macrumors member


    May 11, 2012
    I dont know.
    I have the wifi model and next ipad will be getting with cellular. Its handfull in a hurry when you dont have internet access.
  13. bniu macrumors 6502a

    Mar 21, 2010
    IME, public wifi just outright sucks. Not just that, but wifi can be less secure and the wifi models lack GPS. The LTE speeds on my iPad 4 are just amazing and I am so glad I sent for the LTE version. For an extra $10 a month, the cost is virtually nothing and I find I am on LTE quite a lot, blazing through things at insane speeds.

    As a student, having LTE as a spare Internet connection is vital. My school has real crappy wifi and I often have to tether my laptop to my iPad to get any work done. It's a great thing to have and I only wish these things were around during my undergrad days.
  14. eawmp1 macrumors 601


    Feb 19, 2008
    If you are ever going to need it where there is no wifi, it's nice to have the LTE. Of course as a med student/intern/resident you'll NEVER be out of the hospital. ;)

    In addition, on AT&T you can activate/deactivate the data plan as you need it, so you are not paying every month.
  15. Internaut macrumors 6502a

    I think WiFi + MiFi is a more flexible option. That's the route I've taken with my Google tablet and will continue with this when I get my next iPad.
  16. scorpio1973 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 5, 2009
    I don't like to have to worry whether or not wi-fi will be available somewhere. So, the LTE model was the only option for me. And, since there is no contract required, you can turn the cellular data off and on as you please. It was worth it to me to have the flexibility.
  17. djransom macrumors 68040


    May 14, 2008
    My thoughts exactly.
  18. Pinkstiletto66 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 12, 2010
    New York City.
    If tethering is not an option go with cellular capabilities model. I bought the mini for my son and honestly the next one I will buy is the cellular model.
  19. Davidkoh macrumors 65816

    Aug 2, 2008
    I always go for cellular, nice to have once you actually need it and the cost isn't that much higher.
  20. wingsabr macrumors 6502


    Dec 13, 2008
    I recommend cellular because wifi can be very slow in some buildings, especially public ones.
  21. Infinitewisdom macrumors 6502a

    Sep 23, 2012
    What's funny is that iPhones are frequently used in our household even at home. If you have an iPhone 4, it seems your connectivity issues are already addressed. Unless there's some huge need to get Internet access on your iPad (but as you mentioned already, you could just tether).
  22. jamaggic macrumors member

    Feb 12, 2009
    SC, thank God
    spring for it

    Get the cellular,,, I'm a doc and yes most hospitals have wifi, but it is always a closed system and will not allow you to access any site they deem inappropriate or some other value judgment they decide on. The wifi is also not secure, so you would not want to log into any site, like mail, bank, etc. Also its usually basic service and thus slow. If you want to look up signs, symptoms, differential dx, you need access which is fast and secure.... also you can turn on and off the cellular on a monthly basis. When I have mine on, 3gb/month, I have a very hard time using most of the data limit.
  23. donnaw macrumors 65816

    Apr 19, 2011
    Austin TX
    I always go for the cellular option. Yes, you can tether but then you are draining your phone battery and will be looking for a plug to recharge. Having the option of cell service is great. Even at home I've had my wifi go down in storms and the cell service has allowed me to keep up with storm warnings.

    If you go with ATT then adding it to a shared plan is only $10/ month and well worth it in my opinion.

    But everyone has their own needs. If you do plan to go wifi only then first check put the wifi service where you will be most. Like some other posters said, wifi is not always secure, may be hard for you to get or most likely, very slow. Knowing the types of access you might get should be your first chore before deciding.
  24. DesertEagle macrumors 6502a


    Jan 10, 2012
    /home @
    I will for sure go with cellular next time. When I got my first and current iPad, I went with wifi only because I got a very good deal on it, but I won't do it again. My iPhone battery drains fast when tethering (managing two connections and the traffic between them), so I will avoid tethering if I can - unless I happen to have a power-source available and a charger with me.
  25. Gutwrench Contributor


    Jan 2, 2011

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