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Tablet computers have become hugely popular over the last couple of years, with Apple’s original iPad range now facing increasingly competitive alternatives to help give consumers plenty of choice.

Not all tablets are created equal and there are many affordable devices that are priced to sell to those on a tight budget.

However, if you opt for a tablet from the bottom of a particular range it will almost certainly offer Wi-Fi connectivity as the sole means by which you can access the internet.

This means you will be limited to using short-range Wi-Fi hotspots to get online, which is great if you just want to use your tablet at home but might become a problem when you take it out and about.

Internet access is a vital facet of tablets because without it many of their functions will simply fail to operate. As such, the type of connectivity that your tablet has will determine how usable it is in different circumstances.

Thankfully, there are also tablet iterations that come with both Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity on board. And 3G is an important addition that will help to make your device much more mobile.

There are several advantages of 3G tablet PCs that are important, so you might want to think about buying this type of device rather than the more basic Wi-Fi only models.

The Advantages of 3G Tablets


A 3G tablet will be able to connect to the internet wherever you can receive mobile-phone coverage, since its internal antenna will be able to pick up a network signal from your provider.

This does mean that you need to invest in a pay-monthly or pay-as-you-go data deal with a corresponding and compatible 3G SIM card. This is often available as part of a bundle with a 3G tablet, so getting online should be quite straightforward.

3G coverage in the UK varies depending on the provider you choose, but in most towns and cities you should find that signal strength is relatively good. All the usual factors will affect the quality of the service, but as a rule if your mobile phone can get good 3G coverage in an area then so will your 3G tablet.

3G is important because it means that there will be no barriers to prevent you getting access to the internet. You can then use your tablet while you are out and about to browse sites, download apps and engage in social networking and many other activities.

You should be aware that 3G usage, unlike Wi-Fi, will incur various data charges depending on the price plan you commit to, with contracts offering different levels of value. It makes sense to assess how much you will need to use your tablet while you are away from Wi-Fi hotspots to work out which tariff is best for you.


While 3G tablets are generally more expensive than Wi-Fi only models because of the additional hardware they contain, this does not mean that they are prohibitively costly.

In fact, there are a number of 3G-ready tablets running the Android operating system that are cheaper than a base level Wi-Fi only iPad.

Google is gearing up to introduce a 3G version of its Nexus 7 tablet, which could be one of the cheapest mobile devices of its kind. If you must have an Apple tablet then the recently launched iPad Mini will be more affordable in its 3G form than the equivalent full-sized, fourth-generation iPad with the same levels of connectivity.

Ultimately, the 3G tablet approach is not for everyone, especially those who will not be taking their tablet away from a dedicated Wi-Fi hotspot at home. However, if you want to experience true freedom of movement with your tablet PC then 3G is the way to go.

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