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Tablet for European Travel: 3G/4G worth it?

Boston...
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Tablet for European Travel: 3G/4G worth it?

Hello, all:

I tried searching the forum regarding tablets and while I did find past topics on tablets (which are useful in deciding which to purchase), I did not see any that directly addressed my question.

For those who travel with a tablet, particularly in Europe, have you just used WiFi or do you find yourself needing a 3G/4G model? If you need 3G/4G, I assume you accomplished this by purchasing a sim and inserting it into the tablet.

Apologies, I am not well versed in tablets and am looking to purchase one before traveling around Europe (as well as for future use). I'm mainly looking at the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 edition) and the Nexus 10 based off of my research, but I'm not certain about the 3G/4G use with travels.

Thanks in advance!

r c
Portland, Oregon
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1. Re: Tablet for European Travel: 3G/4G worth it?

InANutshell15,

I just got a note 3 this year to replace my 1.5" notebook itinerary that i make and carry with me on my travels. the note 3 is wi-fi and 3/4G LTE ready.

This is how i see things and you and others may feel/work different.

Just as cellular came into being, it wasnt everywhere and still isnt. wi-fi is coming up and it in the same place. Its in places but not everywhere. I chose to go both since im betting if one isnt available, the other one will. worse case go old school.

another thing is too, you have to have ACCESS to the wi-fi for it to be of any good. If its locked/secure, youre back to square one.

There is a price dif on what you get, but the way i see it again, id rather have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

I started with T-mobile and for my note 3 i got the 50 USD/month plan including international. They give (yeah right) you 500 MB/month and its been upped to 1GB/month. after that it drops to 2G. i have a PAYG thru them too, but its not as nice and i cant get cellular unless i move up. later info on that.

If you have a carrier already, check with them first to see what they can offer you in terms of international.

SIMs. I have a UK and Netherlands SIM. I use them in my phone that i purchased in the UK a couple years ago and what i like about their PAYG sim (Both UK and NL) is that i can buy data anytime i want and in 1 day, 3 day or 1 week MB blocks. I cant to that with my USA PAYG!

when i get overthere this Sept, i plan on getting a PAYG sim for my Note 3. The only reason i have the 50 USD/month now is to use it and to update the apps im loading and learning alot how to use my note 3. Once i get back home, i will re evaluate the value of the 50 UDS/Month plan.

with re to what you decide to get, you will get everyones fav toy.

to me its up to you to decide what best fits your needs/requirements. There are many evaluation/review/comparsions sites you can do some homework on. If it was me, id go with something smaller, but if you want carry something like that around, you will figure out your first few days if you are liking it or not.

good luck and let us know what you end up with and how it works on your trip.

Edited: 31 March 2014, 23:16
Boston...
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2. Re: Tablet for European Travel: 3G/4G worth it?

Thanks for the detailed response. I've been leaning towards getting something with 3G or 4G for the same reason you say - I'd much rather have it and not use it than the opposite. At the same time, I'm pretty limited in my budget (so am buying refurb or used most likely). I've done a lot of research and comparisons, which, along with personal recommendations, is how I got to the two that I listed (and the Samsung Tab, which I forgot). I'm still debating about the size, but I'm planning on going to a Best Buy or similar this week to try them in my hand and decide if I can travel with them in my bag. One reason I was leaning towards the 10 inch size is for maximum use after my travels, as I do look at this more as a long term investment. However, I'm buying it for the travel, so I may end up with the 8 inch models if the difference seems right.

I really appreciate your explanation of what you do in different countries. I'll definitely ask Sprint (my carrier here) about international data, but my understanding is that getting something when I'm abroad (especially since I'll be there for months rather than a week or so) will likely be cheaper.

Thanks again so much for the response!

r c
Portland, Oregon
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3. Re: Tablet for European Travel: 3G/4G worth it?

InANutshell15,

i forgot to add.

take a look at carphonewarehouse.com

its a UK company thats all over the place. not to say youre going there, but you can get an idea on cost. also, from what i understand, rates are capped - lucky them. Its just one place, but it has info on in regarding the cost for SIMs and rates. you have to dig for it, but you will get an idea on the cost overthere vs here.

it doesnt mention that you can buy your data time when you want it, but you can. like i mentioned, i like that feature.

edit to add,

one important item. since youre going to be there longer, you may want to checkup what plans are offered for you for a longer period. that may make a difference.

also, who ever you choose to buy overthere, VERIFY (by doing) you can add mintues once outside of the SIMS country.

on my UK sim i can NOT add minutes w/o a UK credit card and i dont have one. I can buy a voucher(s) and use it outside of the UK, but they are only good for 1 year which is no problem for you. Once you leave the UK, good luck getting one.

On my NL sim i can add minutes via the www and paypal.

some other things to consider.

Edited: 01 April 2014, 05:39
Bangkok, Thailand
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4. Re: Tablet for European Travel: 3G/4G worth it?

If you are addicted to being connected anytime and anywhere, you really need the 3G/4G support in Europe. Wi-Fi coverage is much scarcer than in the USA, and free public Wi-Fi even more so.

On the other hand, 3G coverage has been for years quite thorough and data plan costs are quite reasonable even with prepaid SIM cards. For example, in my native Finland you can get unlimited prepaid mobile data for €14.90/month, although the speed will be capped at 4 Mbit/s; €5 more per month would get you speeds up to 21 Mbit/s.

Boston...
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5. Re: Tablet for European Travel: 3G/4G worth it?

Thanks for the responses

I'll take a look at the site you recommended, r c. Much appreciated!

Thanks for that information, the_goodsoil_family. That's exactly what I was wondering. I am not addicted to being connected, but I think that it will be worth it for traveling to so many new places - if nothing else, it will calm my family back home! Those prices are fantastic compared to the US! I hope Germany is the same! (I'll be researching it soon!)

Thanks again to both of you. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your experiences with me!!

Mission, Canada
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6. Re: Tablet for European Travel: 3G/4G worth it?

You really need to ask yourself "how connected you need to be" or "will occasional wi-fi suffice?"

Boston...
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7. Re: Tablet for European Travel: 3G/4G worth it?

Yes, I was mostly curious with how common free WiFi would be in my travels (since I am unfamiliar with most of my travel destinations) and how other travelers had fared with WiFi or 3G/4G coverage.

I'm glad I asked, since it seems that 3G/4G will be necessary in many areas. While I do intend to disconnect for much of my travels, I am planning to use the tablet as my primary means of communications back home and thus do not want to be without relatively easy access if necessary.

r c
Portland, Oregon
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8. Re: Tablet for European Travel: 3G/4G worth it?

InANutshell15,

just something to add.

i forgot to add. where ever i went i was able to find an internet cafe. Most of the time, in/near a train station. worst case, ask the locals/hotel/info center. Some hotels had a computer to use for either $$ or free to customers, but that varied more.

also, the price/hour of use was usually about 1 buck or whatever the local currency was. I felt it was reasonable.

Boston...
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9. Re: Tablet for European Travel: 3G/4G worth it?

Oh, that's great to know, thanks! I expected it to be more than that.

I'll still look for something with 3G or 4G to have options, but I won't worry about finding WiFi (which I hope to use as the main means to keep costs down overall).

Ottawa, Canada
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10. Re: Tablet for European Travel: 3G/4G worth it?

Regarding the size of the tablet you decide on... I have a 7 inch Samsung and my wife a 2nd generation iPad. I find the iPad way too big and clunky. Friends with iPads have bought iPad minis and the big ones now stay in a drawer unused. Be sure to play with and heft different sizes in a store before making a choice.