Should You Buy the iPad 3G or Wifi?

by Michael on May 25, 2011 · 1 comment

Having owned an iPad since the day they released the new version back in March, I’ve now had some time to think about my decision and even to cook up a bit of buyer’s remorse. It’s not that I don’t like it, because I do. It’s just that I’m starting to wish I had bought a different version.

So what did I buy? A shiny new (black) 64GB wifi iPad – complete with that fancy little Smart Cover that I love to hate. And guess what? It’s great. I don’t use it as much as I thought I would, but I’m very glad to have it.

Honestly, part of the reason that I don’t use it more is that lack of 3G connectivity. Yes, I did the whole jailbreak thing with my iPhone specifically so I could create a free wifi hotspot, and I do, but mostly for tethering my laptop.

The problem is that the iPad is a device that’s just begging to be whipped out and used when you least expect it. Do you really want to grab out your phone, launch MyWi, stuff it back in your pocket, and then switch over to the iPad and wait (admittedly seconds, but still) for it pick up the network connection?

Of course, you could also argue that nobody really wants to pay an extra $25/month for that convenience, and I wouldn’t disagree. But still – it would be really nice to at least have the option of enabling the 3G connection. Remember, you can turn the data plan on and off on a month-to-month basis, so it doesn’t have to be an ongoing drain on your wallet.

Another difference, which could be a huge deal or much ado about nothing depending on your perspective, is that the 3G iPad has a built-in GPS, and the wifi version doesn’t. Had I known this (and I really should have) then I almost certainly would’ve gone for the 3G version.

So there you have it… If I had to do it all over again, I would’ve bought the 32GB AT&T 3G version. Dropping from 64GB to 32GB knocks $100 off the price, whereas adding 3G adds $130 to the price.

In essence, this means that your paying $30 more for half the storage, but the tradeoff is well worth it in my opinion. I simply don’t use that much storage on my iPad, but would love to have the option of having an always-on internet connection.

Oh, and for what it’s worth, I also think that you should buy the 3G Kindle instead of the wifi version. It’s almost like I’m a 3G fanboy, or something. 🙂

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rob June 10, 2011 at 11:36 am

For me, $300/yr (25/mo) is a lot. MyWi now has a companion product, MyWi On Demand that connects automatically, as needed, your Wifi Ipad to your iPhone using Bluetooth. The iPad connects when it can’t connect via Wifi. Since it is BTooth, it is low on battery consumption and you don’t need to be taking out the iPhone to turn off and on a wifi hot spot. You truly share your phone’s 3G data account!

Also, as long as I have GPS on my phone, I haven’t found any reason to have it on the iPad. Wifi iPad location via wifi location service has worked for me. Just my experience…


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