WiFi-Only iPad + Verizon MiFi Beats 3G-Enabled iPad

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Thursday, 06 May 2010

On April 30th, Apple launched the 3G version of the super-popular iPad. The 3G version allows you to use AT&T's 3G network to access the internet on the go and use apps that require internet access (for $30/month). Of course, subscribing to AT&T's 3G service isn't the only way to get your iPad online - last week we published an article on how to use Verizon 3G MiFi with the iPad for greater speed, coverage, and flexibility. Why rely on AT&T's network or constantly search for available WiFi networks when you can use Verizon's superior mobile broadband network AND provide internet access to up to five devices (instead of just your iPad)?

Since the release of the 3G iPad, we've heard some reports that make using AT&T's mobile broadband service for iPad internet connectivity an even worse idea than we'd thought. For some time AT&T has dictated what iPhone apps can be used over their 3G network, banning bandwidth-intensive applications that stream media or VOiP applications from operating over 3G (meaning the user can only use them while connected to a WiFi network). It appears that AT&T is also dictating which iPad applications can be used on their 3G network, too. It has been confirmed that when using the iPad Netflix app on AT&T's 3G network, the bandwidth is throttled below what their 3G network is capable of, which significantly reduces the quality of the video that you're watching. There have also been reports that the ABC Player app, which streams TV shows to the iPad, was not working over AT&T 3G as of yesterday, and while it hasn't been confirmed many are suspecting that AT&T is prohibiting the app from running over their 3G network. AT&T claims that their iPad 3G service is unlimited, but if they're putting limitations on what you can do with their network, how is that "unlimited"? Who wants to pay for a service where the cellular carrier tells you what apps and services you're allowed to use? Not to mention the coverage... despite what the commercials tell us, AT&T's 3G coverage doesn't come close to Verizon's or Sprint's - check out a comparison here.

Even if you're OK with AT&T's network and don't mind the limitations, there's another factor that makes us disappointed with the 3G-version of the iPad: the battery life. While battery life on the WiFi-only iPad is insanely good, reports are showing that's not the case with the 3G version of the iPad. Since the 3G radio uses more battery power than the WiFi radio, users have been reporting that their battery life is significanly less when using 3G instead of WiFi, especially in areas where the 3G signal is weak (and as mentioned above, there are unfortunately a lot of areas with that problem!).

When you add in the fact that the 3G-capable version of the iPad costs $160 more than the WiFi-only version, it simply makes no sense in our opinion to buy the 3G iPad! Since the Verizon MiFi provides 3G connectivity for up to 5 devices via WiFi including the iPad, its a no-brainer to use the MiFi with the WiFi-enabled iPad instead of paying $160 more just to have limited 3G capability built-in. Better network, better coverage, connectivity for all your devices, no app limitations, and better battery life for your iPad - the WiFi-only iPad plus Verizon MiFi is the ideal solution!

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 20 July 2010 )
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