Tethering vs. buying a WiFi+3g version

Discussion in 'Android Tablet Discussions' started by rick7, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. rick7

    rick7 Member

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    As I've been thinking about what kind of tablet to buy, I know one of my decisions to make is whether to get WiFi-only version or WiFi+3g. I've mostly been thinking that I wouldn't use the tablet too often out of the house. But then a friend said, "What are you talking about? Don't you want to take it to different friends' houses (who don't have wireless modems), sit in a park with it, use it on the bus, go to cafes with it where they don't have WiFi capability, etc.?" And the more I think about it, that sounds pretty appealing. But right now I don't yet know how I would use it.

    But I've been thinking of getting the new ASUS Transformer Prime and I think what's being announced next week is just the WiFi version. It may be while before they get something that works with my Verizon Wireless. I think the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Motorola Xoom may be the only Android tablets that come with 3g for Verizon. I guess wanting 3g/4g capability pretty severely limits what tablet you can get, right?

    Then I thought: well, just get the WiFi version and do the smartphone tethering that I'm hearing about.

    So I'd like to get a sense of how other people use their tablet. Do you take it outside of the house a lot? Do you have a 3g version to do that, or do you do tethering? If you don't use it much out of the house, do you feel restricted by that? Etc.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2011
  2. marvin02

    marvin02 Senior Member

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    You need to compare cost and how it fits for you.

    Do you already use a smartphone with a data plan? If you do the additional cost per month will be for your carrier's tethering addon. So you would have to look at the cost of your carriers tethering addon. There are free tethering options, but they (almost all) violate the cell phone carriers terms of service (at least in the US).

    What would the monthly cost of a data plan only for the tablet be? Can your tablet provide a hotspot for other devices if it has cellular data like your smartphone can?

    What would the additional cost of a cellular enabled tablet be? It may cost less up front if carrier subsidized, but what wil the cost be over the two years of your contract?

    If you decide you don't need the tethering you can delete it from your cell phone account account, but the data plan for the tablet will probably come with a two year commitment. Your carrier may even allow you turn it on as needed, such as when you will be traveling, and then remove it.

    Will the tethered connection still work when you receive calls on your phone?

    Other things to consider:

    One smart phone can provide a wifi hub for multiple devices, so the same data/tethering plan can be used for your laptop or for multiple tablets.

    You're locked in to the speed of the tablet radio if you get a data plan for the tablet. With tethering from your smart phone the date speeds can be increased if you upgrade your phone.

    Your tablet see the tethered connection as wifi, so any limits in apps for downloading over a cell network won't be imposed.

    For others reading this, my point of view is US centric.

    I have used my phone (a Dell Streak) to provide a wifi hotspot for my daughter's iPad while it was also being used as a GPS when on a trip and it worked well.
     
  3. idontknow

    idontknow Alternate ATF App Tester

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    Rick, if yoy think of getting the Transformer next week , which is Wifi only , you can still take it with you everywhere with the Samsung 4g hotspot from Verizon. It's super fast and it works great, no neeed to wait for a tablet that works on3g.

    Sent from my NookColor using Android Tablet Forum
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2011
  4. rick7

    rick7 Member

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    Thanks for your note, Marvin -- a lot to think about and a lot to learn about. I'm the only person left in the US to not have a smartphone, so I don't currently have any data plan with Verizon. This is the first I've heard of a "tethering addon" so I know nothing about it right now.

    Idontknow, I'm not sure what "Samsung 4g hotspot from Verizon" means -- can you explain? What is a 4g hotspot?
     
  5. djfourmoney

    djfourmoney Member

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    I am going to piggyback this thread since its basically the same question I would be asking but on different devices.

    One device has Bluetooth tethering built-in (Archos 43) but the one I would like to have more has a better, larger screen and its readily available (Samsung Galaxy Player 5.0).

    The future is brighter for the Galaxy Player actually so I am leaning heavily in that direction. There is likely to be rom releases that fix some of its short-comings like Bluetooth tether.

    Myself thinking about how I would use the device is mostly on the bus and many of the places I frequent in Los Angeles don't have WiFi. WiFi is mostly available at the Public Library and Fast Food Restaurants, places I don't go very often. It takes from 50 mins to an hour to get from my bus stop to the N. Hollywood station. The internet experience on my Pantech Link is getting tiresome. I used to use a TMO G1 and was spoiled by that experience even if 1.6 didn't support Flash.

    I have been using my Pantech Link as a 3G modem for my laptop during A+ classes and when the U-Verse goes down. I get about 1.0Mb down and 670kbps up via Bluetooth, that's fast enough for basic internet usage. This is what I wanted to use for internet access with a tablet or media player. I tried pairing my phone to a Acer A100 tablet and it connected, but of course didn't make a data connection. I assume this would happen on the Samsung Galaxy Player as well. The manual mentioned nothing about pairing the device to a 3G phone or anything else for internet access.

    There's no chance of getting another smartphone and even if I wanted one, I don't qualify for an upgrade until May 2012. I know most Android phones can be tethered to WiFi only tablets either by turning the phone into a hot-spot or using PDANet or another app to tether via Bluetooth or USB.

    So I guess my question would be -

    Should I spend less money and get the Archos 43, something I know I can tether my phone too or buy the Samsung and wait on development? I should also mention an app I would use quite often is Sirius Radio and its reportedly not functioning on the Samsung Galaxy Player. I assume it will be updated soon if enough people complain but who knows when that would happen.

    The Archos being older and more mature if outdated Froyo 2.2 firmware works with most apps I would use. GPS is not that big of an issue as I don't have a car currently and wouldn't really use it for directions on foot very often. That said, I plan on purchasing another car by late 2012 if not early to mid 2013 depending what happens in the next 6-12 months. Even so I wouldn't get an expensive Navigation system when either device would work well as multimedia playback unit and Navigation system that would rival OnStar or Sync, plus its portable!

    I would say the screen is the main concern with the Archos. I went down to Best Buy to play with the Galaxy Player and like I said I really like it alot. Either way I am not purchasing anything until Black Friday or the end of the month.

    On second thought, it seem the Archos holds its value on the used market. I may get that until some of the things I want most on the Galaxy Player are fully sorted out, mainly Bluetooth tethering.

    Comments, Questions, Suggestions, Concerns?
     
  6. idontknow

    idontknow Alternate ATF App Tester

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    Samsung 4g Lte Mobile Hotspots is a device the size of a credit card, just a little ticker that provides Wifi access to up to 5 Wifi enabled devices . You can see pics online and more info. You buy the device and then you pay Verizon $50 monthly for 5gb of data or $80 for 10.
    When I got it from Best Buy, there was some special I guess because I paid only a dollar for the device and connection fee. Check, it might be still going on. So this is how it works: if I'm sitting on a bus and I want to use my tablet, I turn my hotspots on, my tablet see it and connects and 4g is so fast and Verizon has the best 4 g coverage in the USA, so wherever you are you shouldn't have any problem to connect, I never had in two months, and anyway when there is no 4 g in the area, the device provides you a connection through 3g, so it is always there. At home. I have a paper where one can see how many pages of internet one can view with 5 GB of data and I think is 22 hours of video streaming.....that's what uses the data the most but I think last month I watched something like 10 movies on Netflix with 5 TB of data. Hope my italianizied English was clear enough and if you need something else please don't hesitate to ask.
    Gg
    Sent fom my NookColor using Android Tablet Forum
     
  7. Amiari

    Amiari Member

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    i would personally go with the wifi because i believe it's insane to pay for multiple internet services.
     
  8. rick7

    rick7 Member

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    I just looked up the Samsung 4g LTE Mobile Hotspot on the Verizon Wireless page here and they're now selling it for $100. It's an interesting solution and I am glad you told me about it. I have gotten such an amazing education here about all things tablets just in the last two weeks or so. I was a complete novice on these things a month ago. It's been quite a journey and you guys have helped me so much.

    So it sounds like this Samsung Mobile Hotspot does the same thing as a smartphone hotspot, just without the need for an smartphone. Therefore, I conclude there are two separate devices that someone like me who never jumped on to the smartphone revolution could purchase to act as a tethering device to my tablet whenever I end up buying one: (1) this Samsung mobile hotspot device, or (2) a smartphone. I guess if after thinking about it for a while I really decide I just don't see ever needing a smartphone, then when I go out on this hike to a lake next weekend with a bunch of friends I'll be taking three devices with me: (1) my brand-new blazingly-fast WiFi-only ASUS EeePad Transformer Prime with the quad-core processor which I will have purchased this Wednesday Nov. 9 and which will be taking the market by storm; (2) my old and beloved 7-year-old LG VX6100 simple cell phone which has served me for seven years of my life. (The only time i longed for a better phone is when I'm waiting for a bus that's running behind schedule and I'm cursing and then I see a whole slew of my smartphone-carrying neighbors who arrive 15 minutes after I already had been there as if they know something I don't because they've looked our bus on their GPS-based bus-finding app that the bus will be now arriving only "2" minutes away. I look at him puzzlingly and one very smilingly shows me his smartphone and shows me the app that shows the real-time motion of our very bus. Duh -- after waiting there for 15 minutes for reasons unknown he just shows up out of nowhere, 15 minutes later and shows me his phone that connects to the bus's GPS device and it now says it's "2 minutes away"!!!)

    That app is one of the most important reasons I would get a smartphone. But if I decide to NOT get one I could just take my old Verizon LG non-smartphohne just for phone calls; and finally my Samsung 4g LTE Mobile Hotspot. With that baby I could sit down on one of the logs that ring the beautiful river at this point, take out my new quad-core Transformer Prime, turn on the Samsung 4g LTE Mobile Hotspot and place it somewhere nearby, and sit down and finally get around to writing the Great American Novel. When we're ready to listen to soft music and take a snooze, I'd listen to my favorite jazz radio station and off we go.

    Sounds like a perfect day to me.
     
  9. djfourmoney

    djfourmoney Member

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    Have you considered Virgin Mobile's MiFi? Its $50 a month for 2.5GB of data and its pre-paid, no monthly fees.

    Not sure about carrying (1) Cell Phone, (2) MID (Mobile Internet Device) and Mobile Hotspot in a pair of jeans....
     
  10. idontknow

    idontknow Alternate ATF App Tester

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    Virgin mobile is very slow compared to Verizon 4g and why pay $50 x 2.5 GB of data if you can have 5gb at the same price from Verizon and yes the Samsung 4g hotspots device can be carried in one's jeans,since it's the size of a credit card. Not so the Asus 10" tablet but I guess since Rick is a writer, it was just a narrative license from his part.

    Sent from my NookColor using Android Tablet Forum
     
  11. rick7

    rick7 Member

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    I see that Verizon sells its own mobile hotspot, for $50 rather than the $100 for the Samsung model.

    I see that the Verizon model also comes in a 'certified pre-owned' verizon for $20. What do you all think of pre-owned models for this kind of technology?
     
  12. djfourmoney

    djfourmoney Member

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    But don't you have to sign a 2 year contract with Verizon? - Best MiFi Plans, No Contract MiFi

    Let's talk has the Verizon deal, free hardware, $50 a month for 5GB. My concern is carrying three things in my jeans. I don't wear skinny jeans but I'm concerned about the bulk. Plus it just cost more, I think I'm going to go with the Archos for now and let development for the Galaxy Player happen. I'm pretty sure a aftermarket rom will appear after the 1st of the year.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  13. rick7

    rick7 Member

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    Yep, you're right, and until reading the article you reference above I didn't know that there were prepaid, no-contract plans available. Considering that most of the time I'll probably be using my tablet where I'll have WiFi access, having a no-contract mobile hotspot for the few times that I won't have WiFi will probably be great for me. Thanks for turning me on to that.

    I didn't understand how to read what that chart was saying about Verizon's no-contract offerings. I'll check with Verizon.

    btw, at the bottom of that article I see the phrase "USB Prepaid Wireless Broadband Plans". I don't get what this means --- what does a USB port have to do with this MiFi technology?

    Thanks for your help.
     
  14. rick7

    rick7 Member

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    djfourmoney, I don't understand how Virgin Mobile's MiFi plan works. When I see "$50 a month" that sounds like a fixed contract. I thought no contract means that you pay per minute only for what you use, rather than having a fixed fee for a month no matter how little you use. I'm sure I'm misunderstanding something somewhere.
     
  15. djfourmoney

    djfourmoney Member

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    Some tablets will work with a 3G/4G LTE USB Dongle as some tablets have fully functional standard USB Port.

    MiFi is just a mobile hot spot/access point. A USB Dongle its 3G Modem. Basically the USB Dongle will only work on whatever its plugged into. That said on a W7 machine you can create bridged connections or turn your laptop into an WiFi access point.

    You're asking me? LOL, I believe you just pay $50 a month and don't sign a contract. Data doesn't work the same way as mobile minutes. If you buy 5GB of data, you'll have 5GB of data to work with for 30 days. If you exceed that, you will have to pay for every MB you're over that limit and that gets expensive. There several apps and web sites you can use to track your data usage.

    People like to think they use more internet bandwidth than they actually do.
     

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