So you’ve decided you need an iPad, but your bank balance isn’t having any of it, so you desperately need to find the cheapest way to get one.
Don’t worry. Wired.co.uk is here to look after you.
We have scoured the pages of Apple’s website, the tariffs of the five UK networks that are offering iPad data-only tariffs, and fed it all into a big number-crunching machine. The result: we know the rock-bottom, most affordable ways to get a cheap iPad legitimately into your hands.
We’ve had to make a few assumptions — the biggest being that you don’t need more than 16GB of storage on the device itself, and that you’re going to use it for 24 months before it becomes useless to you. Tweak the figures a little if you don’t think that’s true, though be aware that some of the contracts have 24-month minimum terms.
It’s also worth saying a little more about the 3G packages on offer from the different networks. O2, Vodafone 3, T-Mobile and Orange all offer data bundles and a microSIM, but they’re not created equal — each has different little tweaks that make them better or worse than the others.
On the surface, Orange looks good because it comes with “unlimited” access to more than 150,000 Wi-Fi networks across Britain. But a fair usage policy limits access to those hotspots to 10GB per month — this is Wi-Fi, for crying out loud. Why are there limits at all?
Before we give you the prices we need to know a little more about you. How much are you going to use your iPad, and where? If you’re primarily thinking of buying the device for use in the home, and can’t see any situations where you might want to take it somewhere else that doesn’t have free Wi-Fi, then there’s no point buying the model equipped with 3G access. If you do want 3G, then how much are you going to use it? Every single day, or maybe once a week?
Pick whichever category over the page applies to you best, and we’ll point out your cheapest option — you can bookmark that page to get back to just the prices quickly.