Guaranteed Delivery
69 Members and 19232 Guests Online

Electronics Talk

Best tablet that does NOT require a data plan?

Started 1321810740.613 in Electronics Talk | Last reply 1322424876.38 by BootLvr

I admit I am not a computer whiz by ANY means, but I have been thinking for some time now that I would like a tablet of some kind. I read all that I can here on the boards about the different brands, but I must say, I am still confused.

I would like a tablet more for internet use than as a reader. I want something that I can take in the car with me to use the internet for searching while away from home. Can anyone give me suggestions for a tablet that does not require some sort of data plan like the smart phones do? Thanks!

Page 1 of 2
pdlinda1321810892.02138 PostsRegistered 10/22/2011

WOW! That's the 64K question!! I'll be checking this board frequently to find out the answer to your question!!

Sooner1321811305.04315618 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

You have to pay for the data plan to connect to a phone or tablet in the car. It is the data plan that delivers the data. Not the device. The device just receives data.

Last edited on 11/20/2011

Last edited on 11/20/2011

Kzeks1321811346.6374871 PostsRegistered 5/25/2006Michigan/Europe

Is there such a thing??????

pdlinda1321812328.973138 PostsRegistered 10/22/2011

Does anyone know of a vendor who offers an UNLIMITED data plan and what that would cost per month?

glb6131321812980.64711238 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004
On 11/20/2011 Kzeks said:

Is there such a thing??????

No, there isn't

baginista1321813413.743642 PostsRegistered 3/8/2009

You do not have buy a data plan for any tablet or sign a wireless contract. They all have wifi, so you can use at home with a wireless router or in a wifi hotspot.

If you get one with 3G, you don't have to sign a contract for data , all of them offer month to month service you can buy ala carte. The big difference is the price of the tablet (its a premium with the ipad) and the value of the package offered by the provider. If I was getting a tablet with 3G, I would review the plans offered by the carrier before a chose the tablet.

I think ATT has better packages for light users--but I ended up with a verizon and find the data is reasonable especially if you compare to a smartphone that will run you $80/month for text, net and calls--fixed for 2 years regardless of whether you use it or not.

sue981321813766.753685 PostsRegistered 7/12/2007
On 11/20/2011 Baginista said:

You do not have buy a data plan for any tablet or sign a wireless contract. They all have wifi, so you can use at home with a wireless router or in a wifi hotspot.

If you get one with 3G, you don't have to sign a contract for data , all of them offer month to month service you can buy ala carte. The big difference is the price of the tablet (its a premium with the ipad) and the value of the package offered by the provider. If I was getting a tablet with 3G, I would review the plans offered by the carrier before a chose the tablet.

I think ATT has better packages for light users--but I ended up with a verizon and find the data is reasonable especially if you compare to a smartphone that will run you $80/month for text, net and calls--fixed for 2 years regardless of whether you use it or not.

So, do I understand correctly that any tablet can be used FREE wherever there is wireless service, but if you want internet service where a wireless connection is unavailable, you have to pay for 3G? That makes sense to me. I'm still confused about all the tablet choices and the apps that are available. I've got a lot of learning to do!

glb6131321813854.6711238 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

So, do I understand correctly that any tablet can be used FREE wherever there is wireless service, but if you want internet service where a wireless connection is unavailable, you have to pay for 3G? That makes sense to me. I'm still confused about all the tablet choices and the apps that are available. I've got a lot of learning to do!

YES.

Sooner1321813964.5215618 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004
On 11/20/2011 sue98 said:
On 11/20/2011 Baginista said:

You do not have buy a data plan for any tablet or sign a wireless contract. They all have wifi, so you can use at home with a wireless router or in a wifi hotspot.

If you get one with 3G, you don't have to sign a contract for data , all of them offer month to month service you can buy ala carte. The big difference is the price of the tablet (its a premium with the ipad) and the value of the package offered by the provider. If I was getting a tablet with 3G, I would review the plans offered by the carrier before a chose the tablet.

I think ATT has better packages for light users--but I ended up with a verizon and find the data is reasonable especially if you compare to a smartphone that will run you $80/month for text, net and calls--fixed for 2 years regardless of whether you use it or not.

So, do I understand correctly that any tablet can be used FREE wherever there is wireless service, but if you want internet service where a wireless connection is unavailable, you have to pay for 3G? That makes sense to me. I'm still confused about all the tablet choices and the apps that are available. I've got a lot of learning to do!

Does your tablet just use the same 3/4G plan you have for your phone? On a Kindle you can download books free over the 3G system, but not get data like e-mail and web--at least as I understand it. But if you are at a wireless hot spot that does not charge for connectivity you can access the web for free.

Last edited on 11/20/2011

Last edited on 11/20/2011

Last edited on 11/20/2011

pdlinda1321815349.72138 PostsRegistered 10/22/2011

Well, that's my problem. I already pay $93.00/month for my T-Mobile LG smartphone. The Dell Streak 7 is also provided by T-Mobile. I have 3G access for my Smartphone that I wouldn't use if I could get similar access to the web on the Streak. However, the Streak 7 that I got with TSV doesn't have 3G capability. In any event, I saw that even with the limited use I had with the Streak, my data plan was being quickly depleted as between the phone and the Streak it wasn't even half of the month when my data was nearly exhausted.

baginista1321816266642 PostsRegistered 3/8/2009

For clarity so we all understand what we are talking about here: I will use the term wifi for broadband internet offered wirelessly via a router located in a building. I will use 3G for wireless access to the internet using cell phone towers (note that 4G is the latest and greatest version of this type of internet access).

All tablets include wifi--without it you would have to use a cable to connect the tablet to the internet connection and obviously no tablet does this. There is no charge specifically for this service---you are already paying for it if you have broadband internet in your home. If you add a wireless router to your broadband connection you now have wifi in your home which the tablet can access just like your computer, phone, ipod, kindle, nook, ps3, wii, etc.

Wifi is also available in public spaces and are often called wifi hot spots. Coffee shops, hotels, etc. offer access to the internet for free (usually) via a wifi router located on the premises. You can access the internet using your tablet in these locations---or phone or ipod or whatever wifi device you happen to have on you. Usually its free, but some place you have to pay--say an airport.

3G allows you to access the internet wherever you can get cell phone service using a device like your phone or tablet or laptop. This feature is only offered in SOME tablets. You have to buy a special card to do this with your laptop. Such a card is purchased from the carrier.

For 3G you have to pay extra for the tablet to have this feature--usually about $150 more. With this feature you can now buy access to the internet via cell phone towers. The carrier will sell you a certain amount of data ala carte OR you can get the tablet for less upfront cost and sign a 2 year contract. The latter scenario is exactly like buying a cell phone with a data plan. Meaning--If you are able to pay full price, you don't have to sign away your life for 2 years.

The 3G carrier your tablet can access is FIXED--once you have the tablet you can only use a certain carrier for 3G access. For example, the motorola xoom can only use verizon. The samsung galaxy tab can only use att and tmobile. Ipad can be used with att OR verizon depending on which version of the ipad you buy. Note, there are not many 3G tablets on the market--just a handful.

The price of the data plans vary alot in my opinion--So, you need to look at the data plans available to see which is best for you. For infrequent use--meaning you have good access to free wifi most of the time--1GB will be about enough, but 1.5GB would be better in my experience.

The data plan you have for your smartphone cannot be shared with a tablet--meaning you can't add the tablet to an existing data plan. That is the case for multiple smartphones too--the data plan is for one phone and not shared across phones the way that talking minutes are shared.

What you MIGHT be able to do is use pair your phone with the tablet using bluetooth to access the internet. HOWEVER this is only possible if your phone is capable of generating a hotspot. ALSO, this is not possible with the ipad as far as I know. You really have to look at the brand/model of phone you have and the brand/model of tablet you have to see if this is an option you can take advantage of.

baginista1321816266.363642 PostsRegistered 3/8/2009

For clarity so we all understand what we are talking about here: I will use the term wifi for broadband internet offered wirelessly via a router located in a building. I will use 3G for wireless access to the internet using cell phone towers (note that 4G is the latest and greatest version of this type of internet access).

All tablets include wifi--without it you would have to use a cable to connect the tablet to the internet connection and obviously no tablet does this. There is no charge specifically for this service---you are already paying for it if you have broadband internet in your home. If you add a wireless router to your broadband connection you now have wifi in your home which the tablet can access just like your computer, phone, ipod, kindle, nook, ps3, wii, etc.

Wifi is also available in public spaces and are often called wifi hot spots. Coffee shops, hotels, etc. offer access to the internet for free (usually) via a wifi router located on the premises. You can access the internet using your tablet in these locations---or phone or ipod or whatever wifi device you happen to have on you. Usually its free, but some place you have to pay--say an airport.

3G allows you to access the internet wherever you can get cell phone service using a device like your phone or tablet or laptop. This feature is only offered in SOME tablets. You have to buy a special card to do this with your laptop. Such a card is purchased from the carrier.

For 3G you have to pay extra for the tablet to have this feature--usually about $150 more. With this feature you can now buy access to the internet via cell phone towers. The carrier will sell you a certain amount of data ala carte OR you can get the tablet for less upfront cost and sign a 2 year contract. The latter scenario is exactly like buying a cell phone with a data plan. Meaning--If you are able to pay full price, you don't have to sign away your life for 2 years.

The 3G carrier your tablet can access is FIXED--once you have the tablet you can only use a certain carrier for 3G access. For example, the motorola xoom can only use verizon. The samsung galaxy tab can only use att and tmobile. Ipad can be used with att OR verizon depending on which version of the ipad you buy. Note, there are not many 3G tablets on the market--just a handful.

The price of the data plans vary alot in my opinion--So, you need to look at the data plans available to see which is best for you. For infrequent use--meaning you have good access to free wifi most of the time--1GB will be about enough, but 1.5GB would be better in my experience.

The data plan you have for your smartphone cannot be shared with a tablet--meaning you can't add the tablet to an existing data plan. That is the case for multiple smartphones too--the data plan is for one phone and not shared across phones the way that talking minutes are shared.

What you MIGHT be able to do is use pair your phone with the tablet using bluetooth to access the internet. HOWEVER this is only possible if your phone is capable of generating a hotspot. ALSO, this is not possible with the ipad as far as I know. You really have to look at the brand/model of phone you have and the brand/model of tablet you have to see if this is an option you can take advantage of.

dionline1321816975.7432330 PostsRegistered 1/6/2008Central Florida

According to the Verizon rep at work, he said the iPad I just bought will work with the wireless service we use for our home. He also confirmed that when we go on vacation, we'll be able to buy a one month subscription (?) to have a data plan while we're out of town.

He also was using his cellphone to create that hotspot you wrote about with an iPad - so that is, indeed, possible.

But I'm happy to read the responses to this thread. I love tech stuff like this (as I, too, am just learning) and also want to confirm that this latest purchase was the right one!!

Thanks to all for your answers & thanks to the OP for starting this thread!!

mcall10201321817779.7871369 PostsRegistered 3/25/2007NJ
Dion. If you are going somewhere where they have wifi, you will not need to purchase anything. Most hotels,large and small have wifi acsess, if you are in a persons home, you just need to cases there wifi with their password, no need to purchase data plan

baginista1321824990.24642 PostsRegistered 3/8/2009

Yes you can connect the ipad to a smartphone (but not the iphone unless you jailbreak it) by buying an app. You can't tether it as the ipad will not connect to smartphone via bluetooth. Some phones may have this feature already built in. But, the connection seems very slow--definitely not 3G when using my nokia E71 which has 3g connection.

edited to add: view this video for a really good evaluation of connection speed using the built in 3g and connection when using your smartphone as a wifi hotspot. Clearly the built in 3g is optimized for performance of the ipad.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mk9zjhmK5r4

Last edited on 11/20/2011

Last edited on 11/20/2011

mdmc1321841341.461663 PostsRegistered 10/27/2007West Coast

You can connect your IPad to your IPhone by tethering. You do however have to pay extra on your cell bill. We pay $20 a month (on AT&T) to be able to do this.

Carole221321857646.367514 PostsRegistered 10/19/2004
I've had my iPad for about a year. I bought the combo WiFi/3G one. I do not use the 3g all that much, but I am glad to have it when needed if going on a car trip or something. Unlike a cell phone contract, you can turn your bill for 3G off for a momth (or more) and not pay the $14.99 monthly fee. Then when you need it, just turn it back on and you have 30 days from that point to use your 2 GBs. Unless you're using it for streaming videos, I think the basic plan is pretty generous. By the way, a refurbished one bought from the Apple online store carries the same warranty as a new one at a bargain price. I got mine there as did my daughter.

harv1321984239.297383 PostsRegistered 11/20/2010

Yeah data plans are around $20 a month, just pretend its an never ending flex pay on HSN or QVC. And get a tablet with 3-G so you can enjoy it in your car, at Beach, every where you cant get wi-fi.

Sooner1321986404.99315618 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004
On 11/22/2011 harv said:

Yeah data plans are around $20 a month, just pretend its an never ending flex pay on HSN or QVC. And get a tablet with 3-G so you can enjoy it in your car, at Beach, every where you cant get wi-fi.

That's $240 a year. That is outrageous.

glb6131321991681.50711238 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004
On 11/22/2011 Sooner said:
On 11/22/2011 harv said:

Yeah data plans are around $20 a month, just pretend its an never ending flex pay on HSN or QVC. And get a tablet with 3-G so you can enjoy it in your car, at Beach, every where you cant get wi-fi.

That's $240 a year. That is outrageous.

Wait until you are home or find a free WiFi hotspot. That's what I do.

quincybird1322019436.083374 PostsRegistered 7/4/2007

Ipad is the best tablet and if you get the wifi version, you don't need a data plan, if you have wireless at home you will always be connected. If out and about there are so many places with hot spots you can be connected most of the time, drive into any fast food, starbucks, etc and you can be connected and you don't even have to get out of the car.

guatmum1322176339.1032889 PostsRegistered 10/24/2008

iPads are lovely but they have one HUGE downfall for me - they don't support flash. That prevents you from being able to access and watch a LOT of video content (much of it free, like on HULU) on the internet. Until that not-so-little restriction is resolved, I'll never spend the amount Apple asks for an iPad.

"Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" - Auntie Mame

glb6131322216763.8211238 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004
On 11/24/2011 guatmum said:

iPads are lovely but they have one HUGE downfall for me - they don't support flash. That prevents you from being able to access and watch a LOT of video content (much of it free, like on HULU) on the internet. Until that not-so-little restriction is resolved, I'll never spend the amount Apple asks for an iPad.

iPads will never have flash. The good news, Adobe has stopped supporting flash for portable devices. That means sites will transition to HTML 5 for video. In the mean time, you can view video on an iPad using apps.

guatmum1322222585.452889 PostsRegistered 10/24/2008
On 11/25/2011 glb613 said:
On 11/24/2011 guatmum said:

iPads are lovely but they have one HUGE downfall for me - they don't support flash. That prevents you from being able to access and watch a LOT of video content (much of it free, like on HULU) on the internet. Until that not-so-little restriction is resolved, I'll never spend the amount Apple asks for an iPad.

iPads will never have flash. The good news, Adobe has stopped supporting flash for portable devices. That means sites will transition to HTML 5 for video. In the mean time, you can view video on an iPad using apps.

I guess then that one should wait until sites have, for the most part, transitioned. Then get the device that is best and most updated at the time. Right now there are tablets that will support flash and I'd rather go with one of them than an iPad. I've used an iPad for work and don't see why it has become cultish. For me, there are just much better options for my money that don't require me to wait for some nebulous day in the future to do what I want. Technology is outdated 6 months after it comes out.

"Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" - Auntie Mame

quincybird1322233360.527374 PostsRegistered 7/4/2007
On 11/25/2011 guatmum said:
On 11/25/2011 glb613 said:
On 11/24/2011 guatmum said:

iPads are lovely but they have one HUGE downfall for me - they don't support flash. That prevents you from being able to access and watch a LOT of video content (much of it free, like on HULU) on the internet. Until that not-so-little restriction is resolved, I'll never spend the amount Apple asks for an iPad.

iPads will never have flash. The good news, Adobe has stopped supporting flash for portable devices. That means sites will transition to HTML 5 for video. In the mean time, you can view video on an iPad using apps.

I guess then that one should wait until sites have, for the most part, transitioned. Then get the device that is best and most updated at the time. Right now there are tablets that will support flash and I'd rather go with one of them than an iPad. I've used an iPad for work and don't see why it has become cultish. For me, there are just much better options for my money that don't require me to wait for some nebulous day in the future to do what I want. Technology is outdated 6 months after it comes out.

The iPad does run flash video with the correct apps, iSwift, splashtop remote desktop and skyfire to name a few and they do it better than any tablet that claims to run flash. I recently bought a kindle fire (supposedly runs flash) and it still does not run lots of flash video including Hulu. I have tried lots of tablets and none compare to the ipad. Hulu does not run on any tablet that I have tried, unless of course you load the Hulu app and pay the montlhy fee, but I do run the free Hulu on line with the app Splashtop and it will run any flash video to my ipad. The good news, as already mentioned by glb613, flash will no longer be supported on any tablet, why, because it does not work well.

Page 1 of 2