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The Tablet Debate: 3G Or Wi-Fi?

samzenpus posted about 3 years ago | from the pick-a-side dept.

Wireless Networking 395

Barence writes "We regularly review tablets and mention the fact that X tablet has Wi-Fi, Y tablet has 3G, but how many people are interested in each? Do most people view 3G as a must-have extra, or is Wi-Fi plenty for a device most commonly used in the home? We asked our readers for their opinions and the responses were fairly evenly split between those on both sides, with a healthy proportion also saying they may not choose it but like to have 3G as an option. What do Slashdotters think? Is 3G a must-have for tablets or will a tethered smartphone do the job?"

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395 comments

Too pricey. (5, Informative)

MrQuacker (1938262) | about 3 years ago | (#35885880)

I would love 3G, so I can get web access all over the place, but when they want to charge me $50/month for 5Gb of data... GTFO

Re:Too pricey. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886046)

This. My phone has both 3G and wi-fi; if I could get rid of the monthly bill then I'd be glad to only be able to get internet access when I'm at home or when I'm near another network; at home, at school, at my local coffee shop, or pretty much anywhere else I spend any significant amount of time.

On the bus (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#35886222)

I'd be glad to only be able to get internet access when I'm at home or when I'm near another network; at home, at school, at my local coffee shop, or pretty much anywhere else I spend any significant amount of time.

Would you want Internet access on the bus while commuting to and from work/school/coffee shop? Or when in some other shop that has only locked, employees-only Wi-Fi, such as a local mall?

Re:Too pricey. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886058)

I pay $20 USD per month for an unlimited 3G data plan. Great speeds too. I live overseas though and know that American / Canadian cell phone companies are horrified at the idea of unlimited anything.

Re:Too pricey. (5, Insightful)

mirix (1649853) | about 3 years ago | (#35886094)

This. If I lived in Europe, I'd want 3G. - In North America, fuck it. The price is just not justifiable.

Re:Too pricey. (1)

thetartanavenger (1052920) | about 3 years ago | (#35886134)

This. If I lived in Europe, I'd want 3G. - In North America, fuck it. The price is just not justifiable.

Even in Europe the price is not justifiable. I'm already paying for 3g on my phone and it tethers without a hiccup, why would I let them double bill me?

Re:Too pricey. (1)

mirix (1649853) | about 3 years ago | (#35886200)

I meant for phone too. It's too expensive here, full stop. I don't think I will ever have a data plan here unless things change drastically.

Re:Too pricey. (1)

PhotoJim (813785) | about 3 years ago | (#35886142)

$35 for 5 GB here in Canada, but I find 250 MB is enough. That gives me connectivity without a lot of expense. The only time I ever upgrade to the bigger data package is if I know I'll be attending some sporting events. I sometimes stream the TV broadcast onto my iPad so I can see replays, hear the commentary, etc. (The people who sit around me love it.) But I've had my iPad since August, and in only one month have I needed the bigger package.

Re:Too pricey. (1)

inAbsurdum (1028514) | about 3 years ago | (#35886322)

Put some pressure on your provider. After some haggling, I got a brand new iPad microSIM card tied in with my existing 10 GB/mo iPhone data plan for 4 bucks a month. I rarely go over 3GB/mo from both devices combined, so my provider is happy i chip in a few extra bucks a month, and I'm happy I don't have to have a new separate plan for te tablet. Win-win!

wifi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35885882)

screw wifi tether, i'd rather tether with a smartphone over bluetooth

Re:wifi? (5, Insightful)

hinesbrad (1923872) | about 3 years ago | (#35885896)

I concur. I think it's ridiculous to pay for a data plan on a tablet when I already have a smart phone with a data plan.

Re:wifi? (2, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about 3 years ago | (#35886008)

It hardly matters which you use, other than wifi if a far more secure interface and much more robust.

You are going to run another radio anyway, why opt for bluetooth over wifi, especially when they are usually built into the same chipset. There is no power saving involved in one over the other.

When I turn on my wifi tethering in my Nexus One, AT&T doesn't know its tethering, and I have a fully encrypted WPA2 hotsopt.

business use needs both (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35885906)

I travel quite a bit for my job, often in areas far removed from wi-fi, or were wi-fi is coverage is spotty.
  Having both makes my life a whole lot easier. At home use only? Just wi-fi should suffice. But if you
can't predict your needs, or travel a lot, both is better.

Re:business use needs both (1)

icebike (68054) | about 3 years ago | (#35886030)

Most places you go will have WIFI available, and if not, I'm betting you have a smartphone anyway. Tether with that for zero dollars.

It your job pays for the 3G bill, fine. But otherwise thats a lot of money for occasional use.

They should not be separate devices (5, Interesting)

Omnifarious (11933) | about 3 years ago | (#35885910)

My laptop, my phone, and my tablet should all just be viewports and ways of interacting with one homogenous device. They should all be integrated parts of a whole.

To that end, I do not care which thing has which feature. I just care that I can seamlessly access the Internet no matter where I am.

Re:They should not be separate devices (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 3 years ago | (#35885960)

> To that end, I do not care which thing has which feature.
> I just care that I can seamlessly access the Internet no matter where I am.

Good luck with that.

Truth is that you will have better luck at some 3rd world tourist trap than outer suburbia.

Re:They should not be separate devices (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 3 years ago | (#35886002)

My laptop, my phone, and my tablet should all just be viewports and ways of interacting with one homogenous device. They should all be integrated parts of a whole.

BlackBerry's PlayBook displays your mail & contacts from your BlackBerry phone. In fact it's the only way to get email or contacts on your PlayBook so far. Their approach is interesting but very limited at the moment.

I think you have your head in the clouds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886026)

I think you have your head in the clouds

Re:They should not be separate devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886104)

Indeed, wifi is not *everywhere* and some people want their tablet to work wherever they are and not search for a hotspot first!
I would never buy a tablet without 3G.

Re:They should not be separate devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886108)

Must be nice to have a bottomless wallet. Me, I want WiFi and not 3G or 4G...most places I'd be using the tablet (home, certain stores) have free WiFi, and Skype + WiFi = cheap phone service, screw the $50+ a month 3G plans.

Re:They should not be separate devices (4, Funny)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about 3 years ago | (#35886190)

Must be nice to have a bottomless wallet.

I tried one of those once. My money kept falling out.

Re:They should not be separate devices (1)

z_gringo (452163) | about 3 years ago | (#35886256)

I'm totally with you. Unfortunately, my magic trinity of devices that do all that has been on the fritz ever since I purchased it. What model are you using?

sneaker net on 3G (1)

inputdev (1252080) | about 3 years ago | (#35885918)

what are the barriers to making a non-cellular-company 3G network - what if I could just make a 3G base station from my DSL line - maybe I could pay for usage on other members 3G stations that would be offset by the bandwidth I provided to others through my own network... just thinking...

Re:sneaker net on 3G (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35885926)

they call it wifi

Re:sneaker net on 3G (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886060)

The radio frequencies used for the transport of 3G signals are restricted. That's to avoid contention which results in things like dropped calls, inability to access a cellular service, etc. While severely restricted range personal cellular base stations are (I think?) viable (and do exist?), providing something with a range that's greater than your house/apartment is going to be a no-no.

WiFi is different because of the dramatically lessened range, when compared to cellular.

Re:sneaker net on 3G (1)

mirix (1649853) | about 3 years ago | (#35886132)

You'd have to buy up the spectrum for 3G, it's licenced. And you would require an awful lot of money to do so.

tethered via adhoc wifi will do the job (2)

niftydude (1745144) | about 3 years ago | (#35885922)

If you have a gsm phone... If you are unfortunate to have a cdma phone - your internet connection will drop out every time someone calls you.

That could become annoying.

Re:tethered via adhoc wifi will do the job (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 3 years ago | (#35886128)

Given the rarity with which I am actually called on my phone when not using it at work, I'll trade the talk-and-data and the lower speed in some markets for the fact that Verizon actually has a signal where I live and work, and AT&T doesn't. The greatest tech features mean nothing if I can't use them.

Re:tethered via adhoc wifi will do the job (1)

bstag (933525) | about 3 years ago | (#35886146)

not exactly true any more. Before the verizon/htc thunderbolt sure now not so much of a issue.

Re:tethered via adhoc wifi will do the job (1, Insightful)

PhotoJim (813785) | about 3 years ago | (#35886162)

True as long as you have 3G GSM (WCDMA). 2G/2.5G GSM (i.e. GPRS or EDGE) pauses the data connection to let the call go through.

Also on Slashdot: (4, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 3 years ago | (#35885924)

Is a $200 graphics card a must-have?

Are hiking boots a must-have?

Is a baby stroller a must-have?

Is 4WD a must-have?

The answers to these questions and many more: It depends, you idiot!

Re:Also on Slashdot: (0)

hardware1949 (1777614) | about 3 years ago | (#35885978)

Only if you're an Apple fanboy. Don't go around calling people you don't agree with or even know idiots. It's so Applish.

Re:Also on Slashdot: (2)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 3 years ago | (#35886050)

Only if you're an Apple fanboy. Don't go around calling people you don't agree with or even know idiots. It's so Applish.

This again? You guys need to learn how to spot an Apple fanboy. If he had spelled it "iDiot" then he's a fanboy. Spelling it as regular old "idiot" means he's just another unhappy customer of the intertubes.

Re:Also on Slashdot: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886240)

4WD is not a must have ANYWHERE except off road. and I mean real off road not a dirt road like some sissies call off road. I can go places in a honda civic that your Hummer H2 cant go. hell it can go places that a H1 cant go.

and in case you are wondering... between two trees on a trail that are less than 8 feet apart. That overpriced crap H1 and H2 is stuck as a zombie lunch box.

Until we get Personal Area Networks... (2)

RollingThunder (88952) | about 3 years ago | (#35885930)

Until we get Personal Area Networks properly working (a la Shadowrun 4, where your phone is just a voice interface to the same uplink node that everything else you have is also using), I would go with tethering. It just makes more sense to me, instead of having to have two separate contracts for 3G connectivity... and isn't that one of the entire points behind Bluetooth anyways?

Re:Until we get Personal Area Networks... (2)

icebike (68054) | about 3 years ago | (#35886102)

and isn't that one of the entire points behind Bluetooth anyways?

Its also one of the points behind WIFI.

Almost any Android Smartphone phone can do WIFI tethering these days. And a Wifi Stack can handle WPA2 encryption, where as most bluetooth stacks provide you with no clear idea of how secure the connection is.

Can't use the tablet where there is only 3g (2)

Sunshinerat (1114191) | about 3 years ago | (#35885934)

Can't use the tablet while driving, have wifi in the coffee shop while on a driving break.
Can't use the tablet with G3 on the plane, when lucky the in-air wifi is working.
Have wifi in the airport terminal.
Have wifi at home.
Have wifi at work.

That is about where I would have the need for a tablet, so wifi will do, thank you I will keep the $50/month in pocket.

Re:Can't use the tablet where there is only 3g (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | about 3 years ago | (#35886004)

It amazes me that you consider your tablet useless when not connected to a network. Surely that must be an Apple product and not an Android?

Re:Can't use the tablet where there is only 3g (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886052)

It amazes me that idiot Andriod users try to use their tablets while driving.

Re:Can't use the tablet where there is only 3g (1)

Sunshinerat (1114191) | about 3 years ago | (#35886208)

You are right.
Apple iPad users are too busy polishing their nails while driving.

Re:Can't use the tablet where there is only 3g (0)

Belial6 (794905) | about 3 years ago | (#35886244)

It amazes me that Apple users would think that the only time they are not connected to a network is when driving.

Re:Can't use the tablet where there is only 3g (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886182)

Wow, what a dickhead.
Was exposing your ignorance to the world worth that one moderation point?

Re:Can't use the tablet where there is only 3g (1)

Wraithlyn (133796) | about 3 years ago | (#35886296)

It amazes me that you got "my tablet is useless when not connected to a network" out of that post.

He simply expressed that wherever he might potentially have an actual use for 3G, he already has Wifi available. You know, comparing the usefulness of 3G vs Wifi. It's only the subject of the fucking article.

But hey, don't let basic reading comprehension stand in the way of your tired Apple bashing.

Re:Can't use the tablet where there is only 3g (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886122)

Can't use the tablet while driving

The rest of your post is null and void as you have shown you don't actually use the brain that was given you.

Re:Can't use the tablet where there is only 3g (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886158)

I agree. The only times I would like to access the interwebs *while mobile* is when I am not in my home town (Portland) and do not know my way around. Phone meets that need. Perhaps even finding a place to eat while on the go ... again, phone meets that need, Otherwise, there are so many wifi spots where I can stop for 10-15 and use the tablet [or actually let my wife use it while I quaff coffee!]

You forgot public transit (2)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#35886252)

Can't use the tablet while driving

Can use the tablet while on a bus.

Have wifi in the airport terminal.

At how much extra per month?

MiFi makes 3G (almost) moot (1)

Yoik (955095) | about 3 years ago | (#35885936)

I have had an iPad for more than a year, and needed a MiFi 3G hotspot anyway for travel. The need to carry a credit card sized extra, and the lack of gps for the few apps that can use it are trivial weaknesses for me.

Re:MiFi makes 3G (almost) moot (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#35885998)

Why use a MiFi when you can just turn your phone into a wifi access point?

Re:MiFi makes 3G (almost) moot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886028)

Because he doesn't have a phone that will do that and already has a mifi for work?

Re:MiFi makes 3G (almost) moot (1)

NitroWolf (72977) | about 3 years ago | (#35886054)

Why use a MiFi when you can just turn your phone into a wifi access point?

This is what I do currently... but it really kills the battery life of my phone, which already has pretty crappy battery life to begin with. It's ok if I'm able to plug my phone in and/or charge it, but if I'm out and about, I try to use the wifi AP option very sparingly.

Re:MiFi makes 3G (almost) moot (1)

the_humeister (922869) | about 3 years ago | (#35886056)

Using your phone drains the battery pretty fast. Some phones can't even keep the battery charged even while plugged in.

Re:MiFi makes 3G (almost) moot (1)

Yoik (955095) | about 3 years ago | (#35886118)

That wasn't available a year ago. I just got that feature on my phone, and am evaluating. Ping time is noticeably higher but it is hard to measure the net effect. It might be serious for some gaming and protocols, tho not for most iPad usage. The MiFi is also cheaper for heavy use, but the minimum monthly is higher. Different strokes...

Screw 3G. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35885944)

3G isn't worth the money. If I can't connect for free than I ain't going to waste my time or money looking at your f'ing product.

Re:Screw 3G. (1)

MBraynard (653724) | about 3 years ago | (#35886096)

The problem is that when you travel, the WIFI often isn't free. Airports and hotels charge a lot of money. And there are places with no Wifi.

That's why I have a Android phone that can tether (unbenknownt ATT who is providing me with unlimited data for $12 a month).

The problem (1)

WillyWanker (1502057) | about 3 years ago | (#35885946)

The problem with going 3G is the price of the associated data plan. It's ridiculous to spend $500 on a tablet and then have to spend another $40 a month to use it. I already have a smartphone with a data plan. Why should I have to pay twice?

If carriers offered a $5 "extra" you could tack onto your phone plan for a tablet, ok, then *maybe*. But anything more than that and it's too much. And while I imagine there are going to be people who regularly use their tablets in places where there is no wifi, I don't think that's the majority of tablet users.

So honestly, wifi tablet + smartphone tether is the way to go until carriers smarten up and stop trying to bleed us dry.

Cost (1)

Chemisor (97276) | about 3 years ago | (#35885954)

Unless you're a millionaire, internet over 3G is way too expensive. You can get by without WiFi only if you do nothing more intensive than checking your mail.

Re:Cost (2)

jmorris42 (1458) | about 3 years ago | (#35886090)

> Unless you're a millionaire, internet over 3G is way too expensive.

Not quite. You forgot probably the most important group: Those spending OPM. And those in NY or CA where normal economics don't apply.

But yea, any person spending $50/mo of their own money for 3G on a tablet needs their head examined. Good grief people, just how attached to the damned Internet do you have to be, DSL or cable modem at home, $50-$100/mo/person in the household for smartphone(s) and now tablets?

If the cell companies won't allow tethering, won't offer an extra device plan, etc. then 3G is kinda pointless. Of course it already is pointless, which is why they try so hard to make sure nobody actually uses much of it, because unless/until they get microcells on every street there ain't enough bandwidth via radio to be practical. Too bad they keep showing endless commercials showing people watching movies and video chatting on their phones, people keep expecting they can do those things and get pissed when they can't.

Re:Cost (1)

vijayiyer (728590) | about 3 years ago | (#35886168)

My dad has a 3G iPad and pays his $25/mo for 2GB. He has no other internet access. It's a pretty good deal for him given his usage patterns.

Wi-Fi works for me, for now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35885956)

I'm on contract w/ Verizon with a 5GB mifi for a few more months, and I separately have a Virgin MiFi (cheaper, not capped at 5GB, only ... throttled). So I'd rather not pay for yet another contract.

Sure, the MiFi is one more piece, but I'd also rather not have hardware tied to a service provider in general. Decoupling helps.

timothy

Costs too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35885968)

3G and tethering cost too much so its strictly WIFI for me. I pay 80$ a month for a smart phone with a data plan and 60$ a month for my Internet cable at home.

140$ a month for Internet? That's a far cry from when I paid 9.99$ a month for dialup. What happened?

Anyhow, I'm not willing to pay 30$ extra to tether my phone, nor 30$ more a month to add a 3G device to my plan when ultimately, I won't be consuming more bandwidth.

WiFi only... use a 4G Hotspot (2)

krelvin (771644) | about 3 years ago | (#35885980)

WiFi only, have no need for a bunch of 3G data plans.. Use a 4G Hotspot for all my toys... Verizon CDMA no voice call dropouts because the Hotspot is not a phone. Want to connect 1 device, 3 up to 5 (never needed to do that yet). Up to 16Mbps down using LTE... but do have to watch the quota. Use my phone way too much for voice when I need data for tethering it. Have even teathred my phone to it to get 4G instead of just the EVDO 3G the phone has. Rare occurrence.

3G does not matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35885984)

I have an android phone and I have the ability to wirelessly tether my xoom tablet. It works great without having to pay extra for the 3G card or service. Considering that most people have android phones, everyone I know just tethers to their phones. Problem solved.

3G connectivity equals provider lock-in (4, Insightful)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | about 3 years ago | (#35885988)

Any time you have the telephone company involved with your computer, expect grief. If you don't absolutely require built-in connectivity to a cell network, Try to avoid this pain. Just two issues: 1) the provider will try to install software onto your machine that you don't want, can't delete and can't shut off; 2) the provider is not interested in upgrading your ROM for any other reason than locking you even more into their own services.

Re:3G connectivity equals provider lock-in (1)

stating_the_obvious (1340413) | about 3 years ago | (#35886334)

Right on! Better to keep the 3G connectivity limited to the phone, and then tether as needed. People who don't want to pay for tethering can find plenty of options to engage in their own brand of contract disobedience.

WiFi works best for me but because I am disabled.. (1)

ssj152 (803281) | about 3 years ago | (#35886010)

but it would be really nice to have open Access points at my various Dr.'s offices and/or inexpensive 3G for the rest of the places I go a few days a month. Having more than a minimum data plan doesn't make sense for me, and I can't afford it.

How about... (1)

havokca (1864454) | about 3 years ago | (#35886018)

a wifi-enabled tablet that, while having 3G, can actually use it to... y'know... make fucking phone calls and such. If you're sitting on a bus using your 3G iPad while wearing headphones equipped with a microphone, it seems rather stupid to have to switch your headphones over (or remove them) so that you can answer your phone.

3G vs WiFi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886020)

honestly two soup cans and a string work great!

The MiFi option works best for me... (3, Interesting)

ActionDesignStudios (877390) | about 3 years ago | (#35886024)

I use a Novatel MiFi device to provide Internet access to my iPad on the go. For $20/mo. I get unlimited data (within my state) and I have the ability to attach up to four more devices. I had rather go this route than tether my smartphone (tethering drains my battery pretty fast). The MiFi is tiny and fits in my iPad case, which is a huge plus. I would love 3G embedded into my device, but major carrier plans are ridiculously priced and limited at the moment (I'm looking at you, AT&T). If their pricing/cap structure ever changed, then I would consider a 3G-model tablet.

They are almost there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886032)

When you can get a dell 5 with the features of the dell 7 let me know.

3G plan why? (1)

TheRealQuestor (1750940) | about 3 years ago | (#35886038)

Don't most providers also provide 3G and now 4G usb modems? And don't all if not most tablets have a usb port? If so why get stuck with a 2 year plan when you can have the best of both worlds with 0 lock in?

Not woth the extra cost (1)

RatBastard (949) | about 3 years ago | (#35886042)

For me it's not worth the extra cost. And extra $127.00 (US) for a service I'm going to need a few times a year? With a crippled data plan? Sorry, but my smartphone comes with a data plan more generous than either AT&T or Verizon can offer. Especially considering their ridiculous limits on WiFi hot-spotting. Make the device within the actual cost difference of the chips and give me a reasonable data plan and I'll think about it.

I need both (1)

pmoreau (186977) | about 3 years ago | (#35886048)

I need both. For when I need speed, I will use it at home or find a Wi-Fi hotspot. I will use it mostly on the road or out and about and then must have 3G.
My android phone has both and I use it about 90% on 3G and turn on the Wi-Fi for the big updates or streaming some HD video.

It depends on your environment (4, Interesting)

macemoneta (154740) | about 3 years ago | (#35886062)

In my area, Cablevision, Time Warner, and Comcast have lined the major highways with Wifi access points. Even better, I can register my mobile device MAC addresses on the Cablevision web site, so I don't even have to go through a sign-in (it looks like an open access point to a registered MAC), and there's no extra charge for WiFi connectivity (it's included in the home internet cost).

My wife has been driving while I Googled - in a moving vehicle - with no problem. The hand-offs seem to work fine. The more ubiquitous WiFi is, the less important 3G is. Why pay a monthly fee for something you don't need?

I've received a survey from my cable company asking a series of questions about cellular use, and inquiring whether I'd be interested in a completely unlimited, uncapped voice/text/data Android smartphone for $29/month. I suspect that the cable companies will be offering WiFi based service in the not-too-distant future over their internet/WiFi infrastructure.

This discussion is only relevant to America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886070)

...with its ridiculous data charges.

Anyone living in a place like Europe will go for 3G anyways, given that you can get a decent amount of data for as little as â9.95 a month... and often, that will give you just a few hours or at best a day of airport/hotel wi-fi.

One plan for all devices (1)

rosciol (925673) | about 3 years ago | (#35886078)

Your laptop, tablet, phone, and more all already have Wifi. So do your SO's (if applicable) and children's (if applicable) devices. Get one portable 3G device, either a portable modem or your phone, and use tethering. Stop paying the phone company by device and only pay them by plan.

If I had to pay by device for Internet access at my house I'd be screwed . . .

My 3G phone is a hotspot (1)

dslmodem (733085) | about 3 years ago | (#35886084)

When I am traveling with my family, we have an ipad and a laptop with us. In the car, my kids and my wife can check whatever over internet. So, 3G is not a must!!

Another monthly bill???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886098)

I am rather disturbed by the trend to offer 3g/4g tablets first and only through the wireless carriers, with the wi-fi only version taking MONTHS to come out, if ever! Why do the manufacturers think that their product is best served tied to a wireless provider??? I do just fine with my rooted (Cyanogen Mod7) NookColor tethered to my smartphone (Epic 4g running MidnightROM 5.2). I ALREADY pay for a data plan...why the hell do I need to spend ANOTHER $30/month just for connectivity to my tablet? I really think that the nascent tablet market will remain stifled until and unless the manufacturers get behind reasonably priced (under $400) wi-fi only models. Here's hoping someone is listening...

Hotspot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886110)

The majority of my (iPad 2) use is done over Wifi. As for bus trips, long car trips and areas with simply no Wifi, I just Hotspot from my iPhone. Works great. Saved me $130 upon purchase and an extra monthly bill.

PS I live in Canada.

Bring it (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 3 years ago | (#35886112)

If you don't have Edge, 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi, I'm not buying your tablet.

None of them has full coverage everywhere, and I want the fastest one that is covering where I am.

There's no excuse for something that's essentially the same computational system as my phone but is 5X as heavy to have less hardware in it.

WiFi works better than i first though.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886124)

I have a Nook Color running cyanogenmod 7 and it is WiFi only. i was concerned at first but I've found that most of the places i hang out have WiFi already. For the few places that don't have WiFi, i can use my phone as a hot-spot (EVO 4G running CM7 also). It's worked out quite nicely and no ridiculous 3G fees to pay every month. If you're considering going WiFi only but are concerned.. i encourage you to give it a try.

It's a matter of price. (1)

GreyLurk (35139) | about 3 years ago | (#35886126)

For me it's merely a price discussion: I can get a WiFi only version for $499, and never pay anything more again. Or I can buy a WiFi/3G version, for $529, and spend $30-50/month every month for two years until the contract expires. Total price differential of $750-1230 to have internet access in the few places that don't offer free wifi these days? I think I'll take the WiFi only version, thanks.

Re:It's a matter of price. (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#35886304)

internet access in the few places that don't offer free wifi these days

If you commute on a bus, and your city doesn't have Wi-Fi on its buses, then yes, you're spending a lot of time away from free Wi-Fi.

MiFi FTW (1)

lucky130 (267588) | about 3 years ago | (#35886156)

MiFi FTW. Hook your tablet up to it, or any other wifi device you've got. In the long run it's way more useful and cheaper

Yes 3G is a requirement but... (1)

sitkill (893183) | about 3 years ago | (#35886196)

I've owned the Ipad 1 since it originally came out, and paid for a 3G plan since I got it. First off, having constant data access is (personally) one of the major selling features of a tablet. You can say all you want about using your phone as a internet access point, but screen real estate is a huge factor in how functional it is. And having constant access (not just around the house wifi style) is a part of that feature! But it also is RIDICULOUS how companies charge for the feature. Yes, you pay for your toys, and I've paid 30 bucks a month since I got it. That comes out to over $300 bucks just to use a feature! I think Blackberry has the right idea: make teathering with your phones trivial. One plan, total connectivity. I just wish/hope they make it available to all phones, not just blackberry's.

Connect to phone carrier using wifi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886210)

If I don't have access to wifi then I just use the wifi tethering feature on my phone which uses 4g. Why would anybody use a tablet with 3g?

wifi is fine (1)

shimage (954282) | about 3 years ago | (#35886212)

I'd never pay for a 3G connection for a tablet, so I'm never going to pay a premium for a 3G enabled tablet. I also don't ever see myself tethering a tablet to my phone; I'd be more likely to just use the phone itself. I can't see myself ever using a tablet where I didn't have a wifi connection. Of course, when it comes to tablets, I am definitely not in the "early adopter" demographic.

not if i already have a smart phone data plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886216)

My tablet is only WiFi, but my smart phone is 3g and can be configured to be a wireless base station. So when I am away from the home with the tablet, is turn on the phones base station and access that way. One 3g access point shared across devices makes sense to me.

On the fence (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | about 3 years ago | (#35886224)

I'm on the fence on the 3G vs. WiFi debate. Where I live, you don't have to go very far to no longer have cellular coverage of any kind, so that kind of limits its usefulness for me. There also aren't a lot of options for 3G providers where I live -- there's one national carrier (AT&T) and two statewide carriers. One of the statewide carriers is CDMA and the other is GSM, so if the device uses a SIM card, that narrows my options even further. OTOH, the whole idea behind tablets is that they are mobile, and I'm paranoid enough not to want to use just any open WiFi network around. In fact, when I visit the local coffee shops at lunch, I usually tether my laptop to my Android phone rather than trust the free WiFi, so unless I'm at home or at work, I'd *rather* use 3G than WiFi. Consequently, I'd probably have to go with WiFi built-in and 3G as an option.

Bluetooth+WiFi (1)

Rix (54095) | about 3 years ago | (#35886236)

At least until the telcos pull their heads out of their asses on data pricing.

Why not both? (1)

leamanc (961376) | about 3 years ago | (#35886274)

Happy iPad (WiFi + 3G) owner here. Is Apple seriously the only one offering a tablet with both?

Netbook w/ 3G (1)

kenh (9056) | about 3 years ago | (#35886280)

I recently bought a Dell Vostro V13 with built-in 3G WWAN connectivity [dell.com], but have not activated it. It didn't cost me any extra to have it in the netbook (in fact, I think it was cheaper because it included it ;^), but first thing I did when I got the netbook was disable the 3G card in the BIOS, then I upgraded RAM, put in an SSD, and installed a new OS. I like having it as an option, but I don't suspect I'll ever activate it (unless someone else is willing to foot the bill...)

WiFi (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 3 years ago | (#35886288)

I'm not going to get a 3G tablet, because I'd have to replace it when a 4G version becomes available. ATT and verizon now support tethering. The thing that makes sense right now is getting the WiFi version so that later on when I upgrade my phone I will automatically upgrade my tablet.

GPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886320)

I wouldn't care less about the 3g, but without the 3g chip you don't get gps :(

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