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iPad Cellular LTE & 5G vs iPad WiFi Comparison: Advantages and Disadvantages

Is it worth spending $200 more for the iPad Cellular or WiFi variant is also enough?

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Apple iPad Pro M2 vs. M1

The iPads are among the most popular tablets on the market. What iPad Pro, iPad Air and the regular iPad have in common is that Apple offers you the choice between the standard WiFi-only version and the Cellular LTE / 5G version. So, you are literally spoiled for choice.

Both options have advantages and disadvantages that have to be considered. We want to make the purchase decision a bit easier for you with this article. In doing so, we will look at important factors such as costs, location-independent working, surfing speed, data security, and energy consumption to find out which variant is the right one for you.

Is it worth digging deeper into your pocket for the Cellular variant and spending about $200 more, or will an iPad with WiFi suffice?

Spoiler: It depends on your own usage habits. As is often the case in life, it is not possible to make a general statement that applies to everyone. If you are often on the go, the Cellular version might prove to be the right option for you.

Apple iPad Pro M2 Stage Manager

iPad Cellular: What are the advantages?

Work from any location

Let’s start with the most important and obvious advantage. An iPad with Cellular LTE / 5G offers the advantage that it has an integrated cellular connection. This means that you can take the device with you wherever you go and access the Internet on the go without having to rely on a WLAN network. If you travel a lot or work in areas without Wi-Fi coverage, this advantage can come in handy. You don’t have to rely on a public hotspot or pair your iPad with your smartphone to surf the web.

Faster surfing than public WiFi

The connection in cafés and other public places is often neither very stable nor fast. If you have an iPad with cellular, you can surf the Internet at LTE or 5G speeds, depending on the model, and you’ll usually be much faster. Especially if you want to stream high-definition videos or regularly download large files, this can come in handy.

Higher security

Public WLAN networks carry the risk that hackers can penetrate your system and access your data. This is because when you use public WLAN, the connection is usually not encrypted. Anyone on the same network could access your data. The safest way to surf is with a VPN tunnel.

If you surf on your own mobile network, however, it is much more difficult for criminals to access your data and hack into your system. The cellular version of the iPad is more secure than the public WLAN.

Uncomplicated activation without a physical sim card

The cellular version also has the advantage that – unlike many smartphones – you don’t need an additional physical SIM card. Instead, you can simply activate a data connection directly on the device via E-SIM and use a mobile data connection.

This saves you time and effort since you don’t have to buy and install a separate SIM card. Often, the option of a free E-SIM is already included in your mobile contract for the smartphone.

Also Read: Apple iPad 10 review

Hotspot for other devices

Another advantage of the iPad Cellular is the possibility to use the device as a hotspot. If you have a data connection on the iPad Cellular, you can use the device as a mobile hotspot, allowing other devices – like your MacBook – to access the Internet. This can be especially useful when you’re traveling or in a place without Wi-Fi.

Many wireless carriers offer special rates for iPad Cellular users that can save you money. You have a large selection of mobile networks at your disposal. This increases the likelihood that you will get good network coverage, regardless of location.

Apple iPad Air 5 and iPad Pro

iPad Cellular: What are the disadvantages?

Higher pricing

The biggest and most obvious disadvantage of iPads with Cellular is the price. Since the device has a modem and thus an integrated cellular connection, it is usually more expensive than the iPad with Wifi-only.

For example, the current iPad Pro 11-inch (M2) with WiFi costs $769 in the US for the cheapest variant with 128GB internal storage, while it costs $999 with Cellular.

If you do not travel regularly or do not need a mobile data connection, you can save the extra cost and rather invest in an Apple Pencil or a Magic Keyboard, for example.

Higher energy consumption

Another disadvantage of the iPad Cellular is the higher energy consumption. The device has to constantly maintain a connection to the cellular network, which drains the battery faster than with a Wifi iPad. If you use the iPad frequently on the go with mobile data, you will probably need to charge the battery more often. When gaming and downloading apps on the go, the Cellular version of the iPad can run out of battery faster.

Apple iPad Pro M2 gaming

iPad WiFi: What are the advantages?

Comparatively lower prices

The WiFi version of the iPad is typically less expensive than the Cellular version, making it a better option if you don’t need to access mobile data or mostly work in areas with WiFi coverage. For instance, you can save up to 200 Euros by purchasing the WiFi-only iPad Pro from the Apple Store.

Lower energy consumption

Another advantage of the iPad WiFi is the lower energy consumption. Since the device does not have to maintain a connection to the mobile network, the battery usually lasts a bit longer than with an iPad Cellular. If you use the device frequently at home or in the office, you may be able to use the tablet for days without having to charge it, depending on your usage.

Honestly, though, all iPads offer good battery life, so you shouldn’t factor this point too heavily into your purchase decision.

Also Read: Best iPads in 2023

iPad LTE & 5G vs iPad WiFi Comparison: Conclusion

In summary, the choice between an iPad Cellular and an iPad WiFi depends on your individual needs and requirements. If you travel a lot or work in places where there is no WiFi coverage, then the iPad Cellular is the right choice for you.

iPad Cellular allows you to access the Internet anytime and anywhere, and you can also use the device as a mobile hotspot. In addition, you can usually surf faster and more securely than on public WLAN. Alternatively, you can also set up a hotspot for your iPad on your iPhone so that you can surf the Internet from any location with the WiFi-only version. However, this is not quite as convenient as using the cellular version and being permanently connected to the Internet.

However, if you mainly use the iPad at home or in the office and have permanent access to a stable and secure WLAN network, then the WiFi-only version of the iPad might be enough for you. This is usually $200 cheaper and consumes slightly less battery life than the iPad Cellular.

Overall, the advantages of the Cellular version with LTE / 5G outweigh the disadvantages, but it ultimately depends on how often you want to use your tablet on the road. Both versions are good, and you can also use the WiFi-only iPad version while on the move, thanks to the ability to set up a hotspot using a smartphone.

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