What models of iPad are available?
There are currently four iPad models available (from new - older refurbished models are another option, see below). These are the iPad mini, iPad, iPad Air and iPad Pro.
What is the latest iPad on the market?
The newest version is the iPad. This is the mid-range model, with a 9.7 inch screen and up to 128GB of storage. It is not quite as powerful as the iPad Pro, and does not support the Apple stylus.
How do I choose an iPad model which is right for me?
When selecting an iPad, consider the following:
Cost: iPads are not the cheapest tablets around, so cost is likely to be a major factor. If you want the lowest price, look at the iPad mini or a refurbished older model.
Screen size: This is probably the single most important specification as you’ll need to select the most appropriate screen size for your needs. The 7.9 inch iPad mini is more portable and comfortable to hold but the larger iPad and iPad Pro provide far more display space, which may be important for work or entertainment.
Storage: iPads do not have memory card slots or upgradeable memory so it’s important to choose a suitable amount of storage when purchasing. Higher capacity storage is recommended if you’re likely to be saving video and music, or installing lots of apps.
Mobile broadband: Every iPad can be purchased with Wi-Fi only, or with a SIM card slot for mobile internet access. This is a decision you need to make before buying as it is not possible to add a SIM card slot to the Wi-Fi models.
Will my iPad come with 4G?
All of the iPads currently available can be purchased as Wi-Fi only, or with a SIM card slot for mobile internet access using 3G and 4G networks. If you wish to use a mobile broadband service on your iPad, make sure you select a model with mobile internet support (which is included on all the iPads you see bundled with a mobile broadband service here on Broadband Genie).
How do I know if I need an iPad with mobile broadband?
Wi-Fi only iPads are the cheapest option, but obviously you can only get internet access when there is a Wi-Fi signal nearby. If you’re using the iPad while traveling and internet access is important, an iPad with a mobile broadband SIM lets you get online anywhere.
What type of mobile contract is best for an iPad?
Pay monthly contract: Contracts are available for periods of one month, 12 months, 18 months and 24 months. Longer contracts tend to offer better value in terms of data allowance, and often have a lower upfront fee, but you are committed to that network for the entire term. These types of contracts are best if you’re going to make very regular use of the mobile internet service, and are also good for spreading the cost of the iPad rather than paying for it in one lump sum.
PAYG: Choosing a pay-as-you-go iPad deal requires that the iPad be paid for upfront. But PAYG is very flexible as you’re not obligated to pay for data each month.
What SIM card will I need?
The current iPad range all use nano SIM cards. If you have an older model and are buying a SIM only deal you may need to check that it comes with the appropriate size (though most providers now supply “combi SIMs” which convert between sizes).
If you're not sure which SIM card you need read our guide to iPad SIM cards for further help.
What are the key things I should look for when comparing iPad data deals?
Upfront cost: The initial fees can vary wildly. Some may be as little as £10, occasionally it will be free, or it can cost over £100. And some deals will ask you to pay for the iPad in one go. When comparing deals calculate the total cost including upfront fees to check that it makes financial sense.
Monthly cost: The higher the monthly fee, the bigger your data limit and the lower the upfront cost. But it may make sense to pay more initially and have a smaller monthly charge.
Contract length: Contracts can be up to 24 months, and cancelling early comes with a penalty payment.
Network: Select a network which offers the best signal strength in the areas it’s going to be used most often. See 'What is the best network?' below for links to coverage checkers.
How do I get a cheap contract iPad?
Pay more upfront: The more money you’re willing to pay upfront, the lower the monthly costs. When comparing deals, calculate the entire cost over the full length of the contract including upfront fees.
Choose a SIM only deal: If you can afford it, purchasing the hardware yourself and combining it with a SIM only contract can be much cheaper (and it gives you more flexibility to switch networks later on).
Get a refurb: Refurbished hardware can offer a significant saving over the cost of the latest and greatest model.
What is the best network?
To find the best network you need to check signal strength in the locations where the iPad is going to be used. Click the network logos to access the official coverage check tools:
You can also find guides to coverage in specific towns and cities on our local broadband page.
Which networks do you list?
Broadband Genie lists all four of the major network operators: EE, O2, Three and Vodafone. In addition we also offer deals from Virgin Mobile, which is an MVNO that uses the EE network for its services.
How much data do I need?
Selecting an appropriate data limit is important when choosing any mobile broadband deal as you cannot simply opt for an unlimited data service. Too little and you’ll pay more in extra charges, too much and money is wasted on data allowance that isn’t used.
In general, activities such as web browsing, email and social media are very low impact and do not use much data, while the likes of video streaming and file downloads can consume a large quantity very quickly.
Our guide to mobile broadband data usage gives further information and shows how you can select the right package.