To iPad or not to iPad

When I found out the iPad with 3G came out on Friday, I was trying to figure out a subtle way to let my parents know that that would be a perfect gift for a graduate (me). But first I needed to do some research so that I would have a well formed case to present. Mashable recently outlined some pros and cons for the iPad 3G and how it compares to the Wi-Fi only iPad, and here is what I came up with.

First of all, the new iPad with 3G is $130 more than the Wi-Fi only version, and that is just for the device. In order to use the 3G you need to sign-up for a data plan with AT&T. An unlimited plan (the default) is $29.99, but you can also opt to pay for the $14.99 250 MB plan. The upside is that there is no contract with AT&T needed, however the downside is that you have to use AT&T’s 3G (which most people know is less than great).

One thing the Wi-Fi only version can’t do is provide turn-by-turn directions while you are driving. Imagine installing an iPad in your car–that’s 9.7 inches of GPS navigation. On the other hand, you can’t watch LOST (from abc.com) by using 3G; you would have to be in Wi-Fi range. You can, however, watch videos from Netflix and YouTube.

After finding this all out I was trying to figure out if the extra $130 for 3G was worth it, and it really depends on what your needs are. I am always on the go and I would use my iPad for navigation in my car and for internet access on the light rail, as well as normal Wi-Fi access at my house. Because of this, the perks would be worth the extra cash. I will be sure to let the parents know.

What are your thoughts?

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