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Having never owned an Android Tablet I am thinking of purchasing one at some point during 2013. From what I gather in terms of connectivity, they either come as:

  • Wi-Fi Only
  • 3G & Wi-Fi

Is it true that most tablets are Wi-Fi only enabled ? - Those people who purchase them can therefore connect where ever there is Wi-Fi or a Wi-Fi Hotspot ?

3G/Wi-Fi tablets might be less common (or perhaps more appropriate to say popular) because they require a SIM card to be purchased and inserted (which leads to greater monthly expense....I assume), however they can therefore use the tablet anywhere they like because they are connected to a mobile, cellular network.(In the same manner that a SmartPhone is 3G/Wifi Enabled I guess)

Anyone who can comment on the above, would be much appreciated...

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Shopping/Recommendation type of questions are off-topic. See the FAQ for kind of questions that can be asked. :) –  t0mm13b Dec 21 '12 at 14:01
    
@t0mm13b: I wasnt looking for a recommendation..I wanted clarification between 3G/WiFi & Wifi only tablets...as answered by Liam W –  Simon Dec 21 '12 at 14:05

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Most newer Android tablets provide both WiFi and WiFi+3G variants.

If a tablet is WiFi only - then yes, the tablet can only access the internet via a WiFi hotspot/network.

If a tablet has 3G capability as well, then yes - a SIM and data plan would be needed to use the 3G functionality, but not required to use the tablet. The benefits of using a 3G model would be that you always have an internet connection, even if there isn't a WiFi network available (as long as your mobile network has coverage where you are).

The 3G system in tablets is the same as in phones - except that most 3G enabled tablets don't have the ability to make voice calls, or send SMS's - they are limited to using only the internet through the 3G network.

3G tablets are more expensive than the WiFi only models - mostly costing in the region of ~£100 more, however the benefits can be rather useful - especially if you would be using the tablet out and about alot.

However, if you possess an Android device as well, then you could just purchase a WiFi only model, and use the Portable Hotspot feature of your Android phone to create a WiFi network that the tablet can connect to, to use the 3G internet of your phone.

So, in conclusion:

  • 3G tablets can be connected to the internet practically everywhere
  • 3G tablets can cost around £100 more than WiFi only varients
  • WiFi only varients can only access the internet when a connectible WiFi network is present
  • A SIM and data plan are needed to use 3G data on a 3G capable tablet - this will cost extra
  • 3G tablets are ideal for those that will be taking them out and about with them, and would need an internet connection while they are out and about with their tablet
  • WiFi only tablets are ideal for those that would only be using the tablet indoors that has a WiFi network available, or for those that wish to to the WiFi Hotspot feature of their Android phone.
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Thx for that comprehensive answer –  Simon Dec 21 '12 at 11:57
    
Even if I bought a 3G/WIFI Tablet - if i decided to just use it in wifi areas only, then that would still be possible & I wouldnt need to purchase a sim card...is that correct ? –  Simon Dec 21 '12 at 13:27
    
@Simon Correct :) –  Liam W Dec 21 '12 at 14:11
    
Thx in the above regard :) –  Simon Dec 21 '12 at 14:12

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