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...

  • 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

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.
  • 1
    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

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.