☍ Which iPad 2?

by Christopher Paul on March 11, 2011

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been talking with my techie friends about what iPad 2 to get. I was sure I needed more than 16GB but wasn’t set on which of the two other amounts to go with. I also wasn’t sure if I wanted to go 3G or not. Even though Apple’s tablet has some of the best prices on the market, its still a sizable investment when you think about all the cheap computers out there for what is, arguably, an oversized iPod Tough or iPhone.

At 10pm last night, I set my alarm for 3:50am and discussed the purchase with my wife. Ultimately, I settled on the 32GB 3G version but even though I’m excited at finally owning an iPad, I’m still a little unsure of my purchase. At least one thing is pretty clear for me. Getting the 3G version was the right thing. It comes down to costs, though.

I’m on the legacy $30 unlimited data plan from AT&T. In spite of the crappy service in NYC, I felt it was a good deal. I consider myself a heavy user and I was concerned that I’d go over the reduced plan’s 2GB cap. I use Reeder to cache all the images for my RSS feeds so I can read the news on the way to and from work; I swear I was going over 2GB by at least .5GB every month.

It turns out, that I’m not using 2GB at all. In fact, the closest I’ve come is 1.7GB and my average is somewhere between 1.2 and 1.4GB a month. And I think I’ll save myself the $5 a month by switching over. This also makes it possible to turn on the hot spot feature of iOS 4.3; AT&T charges only $20 a month for that and gives you an extra 2GB on top of the 2GB you get for your base data plan. That’s pretty good, if you ask me. Still, I’m glad I paid the extra money for the 3G iPad.

See, the iPad’s 3G models go for an extra $130. It’s a one time fee and there’s the data plan on top of that. It’s $25 a month for 2GB just like the iPhone plans. But unlike the iPhone, there is no contract which means you can start and stop service at any time and only pay $25 for that month. Data tethering via the iPhone is a constant extra $20 a month; its more of a hassle to turn that on or off at will.

So it comes down to cost. Either I pay an extra $130 plus $25 a month when I need it or I pay $20 a month nearly all year long.

Storage is another matter but I’ve only run out of space on my 16GB iPhone 4 once and that’s because I had a bunch of movies and large games on it. I don’t intend to store photos on the iPad and not many heavy games (if at all). I’m counting on that just in case I start renting movies or buying books a lot.

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