With the UK iPad 2 launch only seconds away the queues are forming in High Streets across the country. But the biggest dilemma discussed in the office this week was whether to go for a 3G version or WiFi only?
The 3G version will mean you can stay connected wherever you are just as long as you can get 3G coverage on your chosen network. The downside is you have to pay more for the iPad 3G or tie yourself to a 24 month contract in return for a subsidised iPad on contract deal.
There is an alternative which increases your flexibility and can be better value – Mobile Wifi
Several operators sell Mobile Wifi devices such as 3’s MiFi, T-Mobile‘s Wireless Pointer and other Mobile Wifi modems from Vodafone and Orange. Mobile Wifi is like a cross between a 3G mobile broadband dongle (those little USB gadgets that you plug into your laptop to get 3G internet access) and a wireless router (thing box that shares your broadband connection wirelessly around your home over WiFi). You effectively carry your own personal, 3G powered WiFi hotspot with you that you can connect to up to 5 WiFi devices such as Apple iPad’s, laptops, iPod Touch and so on.
Using a Mobile Wifi device means you can share your 3G connection with several devices at once whether you have your iPad with you or not. You can also test your usage on Pay as you go rather than sign up for a 2 year contract and find that your iPad rarely leaves the lounge.
I’ve got a 3 Mifi mobile wifi router and so far it has been excellent. The coverage from 3 has been surprisingly good, way better than my O2 iphone coverage. Download speeds have seemed as fast as they are at home and the modem battery lasts for hours. The device is the size of a small mobile phone and looks good.
For £70 I got a pay as you go Mifi from 3 which included 3GB of data download which should last me a couple of months. I then just top it up as I go or switch to a contract if I end up using it more regularly than I expect.
So you not only save £100 on the cost of an iPad 2, but you also have freedom to use your 3G connection with whichever Wifi devices you fancy and you can test it out on Pay as you go rather than sign up to a 24 month contract for something you may ultimately rarely use.
Check out Mobile Wifi with Three, Vodafone, Orange and T-Mobile.
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