Consumer Reports writes about its tests with streaming video on the 3G cellular wireless capable iPad, which is being shipped to those pre-ordering earlier and will be officially available for others on May 7 -- for $629 for the lowest storage capability of 16G.
They speak to the issue of $15 vs $30 for a month's of cellular web-data from AT&T's 3G network on top of the added $130 cost for 3G capability of the hardware.
Most of us know that 3G cellular wireless will tend to be slower in real-world access speed than a strong WiFi system. But I would have held out for the 3G capability for use when not near a WiFi hotpoint. This report recommends against that.
Excerpts: notable points
3G was slower than Wi-Fi. Download and upload speeds were significantly slower than the Wi-Fi version, but still fast enough for routine Web browsing.My take The 3G iPad does have WiFi capability too though, so it's still at least as useful as the WiFi-only model while giving some capability when away from hot spots, if you can justify the expense.
You can’t stream all sources on 3G.
[ The ABC Player app does not support cellular apps at this time.]
[CR's attempt to download a TV show over 3G from the iTunes store was also thwarted, with a message they'd need Wi-Fi or should use iTunes on a computer to buy the video.]
Video quality varied by app
[ The YouTube video was blocky and lacked detail. Netflix was better but still softer ]
Video quickly eats into the cheapest iPad 3G plan
[ The $15/mo. plan can be used up pretty quickly -- a few Youtube videos, a short segment from a Netflix movie, downloading some small apps and buying a couple of books used up more than 30%.]
[They'll run more tests over the coming week. but here's their take so far:]
You won’t want to buy the iPad 3G to stream videos; we encountered too many problems. It might come in handy for Web browsing and e-mail, but odds are you already have a smart phone to do just that. Unless you want to spend another $30 a month to browse on a large screen, we recommend a pass.
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