Hi Lifehacker, interested in your thoughts. I’m planning on travelling with an iPad as my main computing device. Is it more cost effective and user friendly to get a Wi-Fi model and take a pocket hotspot, or get a model with a 3G/4G SIM slot and grab a SIM when I’m overseas? Thanks, Pad Thai
I’d strongly lean towards getting a basic Wi-Fi model and an unlocked hotspot, for a couple of simple reasons. You mention travelling, but not how many countries you’re travelling to, or whether you’re taking other gadgets such as a smartphone with you. The beauty of a hotspot is that you can easily feed multiple gadgets data with it; while it’s feasible to tether an iPad for the same purpose, the quality of the wireless signal can be a little unreliable, and you’re constantly draining the iPad battery while you do so.
From a straight cost perspective, Apple charges a cost premium of $140 for inbuilt 3G/4G connectivity, and it’s not too hard to buy a third party battery-backed hotspot for that kind of money, albeit one without 4G connectivity, which you’re unlikely to be able to easily roam onto overseas in any case. There are numerous roaming data SIMs you can pick up right here in Australia, which also saves the problem of sorting out a SIM when you land in your destination. Add in the possibility of free Wi-Fi and spending for the 4G version seems like overkill.
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