iPad WiFi vs iPad 3G

The iPad provides yet more proof that Apple can do no wrong, as following on from the iPod and the iPhone it has managed to create a sleek, sexy gadget that has tugged on the heart and purse strings of millions around the world. The iPad is available in a number of slightly different versions, with the most basic offering Wi-Fi connectivity and 16GB of onboard storage space. You can buy versions with higher capacity storage, but the most significant difference between the base model and the high end editions is the inclusion of 3G connectivity.

With 3G onboard the iPad can get online using the mobile broadband networks supplied by various providers and this means that you will not be limited to online functionality only when there is a Wi-Fi network to which you have access nearby. You will need to pay £100 more for the 3G equivalent of a Wi-Fi model which shares the same onboard storage space, so in terms of cost there is a difference. However, if you are going to be taking your iPad with you wherever you go and not just sitting at home and using it with your own Wi-Fi network, then it makes sense to splash out for 3G connectivity in order to make the package complete.

Most major UK networks have revealed their own price plans which will allow the iPad 3G to surf the internet wherever there is adequate network coverage. 3 has one of the best value plans, with a 10GB monthly download limit on a £15 pay monthly contract. Orange and O2 have both launched plans which you can pay for on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, with the former giving you a 200MB 24 hour limit for £2 a day, while the latter ups this to 500MB for the same price. Vodafone is also offering iPad price plans and although its prices match up to those of its competitors, its download limits are not as generous as those offered by 3.

Many people may wonder whether picking up an iPad is worthwhile if they already own an iPhone, or another smartphone like the popular HTC Desire which is based on Google`s Android platform. The iPad shares the same operating system as the iPhone, but its screen is almost three times as large as that of the iPhone and so browsing websites is much more comfortable and natural. It also works much better as a device for reading eBooks and viewing magazine and newspaper articles, which the iPhone can also achieve, but with limitations based on its screen size. People who already have a smartphone might be less interested in the 3G version of the iPad, because the extra money will only give them portable internet access which is currently supported on major smartphones and the portability of the larger, heavier iPad could be more of a curse than a blessing.

One solution to the problem of whether to choose an i Phone rather than an iPad or a combination of the two is to opt for a low cost mobile that can make calls and send texts while having the iPad for your more complex and hardware-intensive tasks such as watching videos, surfing the internet and enjoying applications.

UPDATE – I am now the proud owner of an Apple iPad 3G + WiFi 64GB and have opted for 10GB a month package with Three mobile operator and must admit I am highly impressed with the device. Firstly, my iPhone still had more than 50% battery remaining when I went to bed last night, normally it’d be <10% or dead before the end of a day. Secondly, I’ve not opened my MacBook Air for 2 days since purchasing the iPad which surprised me, don’t get me wrong the iPad is NOT a laptop replacement (well not for most people) but it certainly does eliminate the need to use a laptop for simple web browsing, online shopping, email, etc

10 Replies to “iPad WiFi vs iPad 3G”

    1. @Steve – Good work, you can’t keep it boxed up until Christmas though! Even if it’s a Christmas gift just sneak it out the box and have a play, you could pre-load with some movies, photos and apps read for Christmas day?

      There should also be a software update for the iPad sometime next week which will add even more features and crucially add multi-tasking which it currently lacks.

      I should be on commission from Apple!


      Scoopz (Admin)

    1. @Steve – I’d give getting the 3G version of the iPad some serious thought. I know 7 people who bought the iPad when it launched in the USA and imported them to the UK to use several months before the UK release and every single one opted for the WiFi only version and now all 7 have eBayed their WiFi only version and forked out the extra cash for the 3G version.

      Whilst you might currently not think you’ll need the 3G version I’d try and find the extra cash to get the 3G version now even if you don’t put a SIM card in it.

      A friend took the same advice from me and bought the 3G version (I bullied him into it) and recently went away for a long weekend camping with his girlfriend to Devon (south uk) but was expecting an important work email (bear in mind neither of them have an iPhone or smart phone). Luckily he checked before hand if the campsite had wifi or internet access which it didn’t so he asked if he could borrow my iPad SIM for the weekend and returned it a few days later. Had he not opted for the 3G version it would have resulting in me having to lend him my iPad in exchange for his for the weekend.

      Now I know this may have been a rare situation but once you get an iPad you’ll realise just how much you use it and you’ll find you take it with you to more places than you expect…and that’s when you’ll start to miss the 3G. If you are UK based you can opt for PAYG 3G and simply pay Orange £1 a day for every day you need 3G access, if you don’t use it you don’t pay but at least the option is there.

      There is an alternative, you could get the WiFi only version and should you ever need to use it on the web whilst out and about get a MiFi devices that connects to the internet and creates a wifi network that you iPad can connect to.

      There are rumors that Apple may be launching a cloud based music service soon, so that you can store your entire music/movie collection on Apple servers and stream it to you iPhone or iPad over 3G and wifi which again would benefit from having a 3G connection.

      Summary – if I had the option I’d rather have a 32GB 3G version than a 64GB WiFi only version.

      I’ve never got close to filling my 64 GB version, when it syncs photos they are all optimized in size to fit the screen so my 200+GB of photos only take up 20GB or so off the top of my head.

      I’m also going to warn you that personally I think there will be a new ipad out in Q1 of 2011 with a retina display so be warned….but that’s just a personal rumor, I have no facts.

      PS – sorry this seems to be going on a bit here. Whichever iPad you opt for, the iPad case is a must. I didn’t get one on launch day in the UK but I felt a little nervous passing the iPad around to others ‘naked’ as it’s fairly slippy in the hand. The case gives it a nice grippy surface and mine hasn’t been out the case since…but it does hide the iPads true beauty.

      Scoopz (Admin)

  1. Hi Scoopz,

    Hope the iPad is working out for you. :o)
    Been onto the BBC news site recently? Taken in any video’s? iPlayer maybe? I think the iPad would be great for a media tablet so watching movies, listening to music, etc. Shame. :o)

    I have a question…

    do you believe;

    a) Steve Jobs thinks Flash is a dead technology as new technologies are going to/already replacing it (HTML5)?
    b) Steve Jobs dislikes Adobe enough to disregard their dominance on the current content serving web, at huge risk?
    c) Steve Jobs knows Flash takes its toll on processors and memory, and simply couldn’t be bothered to put decent hardware in his devices to enable its use?

    peace and love

    1. Max

      iPad working out very well, BBC news site is my most visited, rather read the news than watch it, granted BBC news videos don’t work. iPlayer though, shame on you for not doing your research, it works perfectly, not flash based on the iphone or iPad, streams smoothly and fast via three’s 3G network.

      In answer to your question, I’d say option A and C combo. Flash going to die and get replaced by HTML5 and other things but it is also a bit processor happy. There are some flash games on the web that take up to 85% of CPU on my quad core mac pro, that just isn’t right.

      You’ll convert to apple one day, trust me.

      Ps – this was all typed on my iPad.


Leave a ReplyCancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.