General Question

prioritymail's avatar

Can an ipad4 replace the cell phone, laptop, and kindle?

Asked by prioritymail (1617 points ) March 7th, 2012

I am living out of a backpack at the moment and am thinking about replacing my ancient Samsung T939 cell phone, which sucked from day 1. At first I wanted to get an Android phone, but I am having a hard time figuring out which ones are good and which ones are the new T939s. Then I thought, maybe it is easier to just buy the iphone which you know is a decent phone. Then I thought, maybe I should get a kindle so i can read some books without having to carry them around. Then I thought, what if the ipad could replace all of these and my laptop? Then I could just have ONE device to do it all. The ipad4 is 4G compatible so i could stick a micro sim card in there….

-Can it make phone calls over a cell phone network?
-Can you send text messages over a cell phone network?
-Can you edit documents and make pdfs and powerpoint presentations?
-Can you use it as an ereader, and where would you get the content from?
-Can you plug in regular keyboard and mouse?

Is there anything else I should know about what it can’t do? I am not a mac person.

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27 Answers

Dog's avatar

Excellent question! I can tell you a lot about the iPad.

Can it make phone calls. Yes- there are a few apps that allow phone calls. It is a bit large but I have used it to call with headphones.

Yes there are texting apps that are quite good.

Yes you can edit documents and make Keynote presentations. (Mac version of powerpoint)

Yes- it is an excellent eReader. Content can come from several apps, the Kindle store, Nook, Google etc.

Yes it accepts bluetooth keyboards- I have never needed a mouse as I just touch the screen.

That being said there is no iPad 4, yet. There is the latest iPad- the third generation- which was announced today at Apple

The iPad (coming out on the 16th) would be able to replace my laptop because it allows me to work on files up to 100mb. It also has a new dictation feature that will type up what you say.

I do my banking with mine too- take a photo of checks to deposit them. My laptop wont be so kind.

Any other questions?

Dog's avatar

Just for fun I do suggest that you go to a local Apple Store if you have one. They have demos you can use. They do take a bit of getting used to but even my dad has taken to his like a duck to water. Your local Apple store offers free classes. They are fun and great for learning new tricks but most people catch on just fine without classes.

Oh- much to my disappointment the iPad refuses to do laundry. It will play sympathetic music or even a movie streamed as I fold. But it wont help at all.

gailcalled's avatar

Will it drive me an hour through highway traffic to the nearest Apple store, then park the car and get me to the store in a gargantuan mall that has too-loud music and the smell of used grease wafting through it?

prioritymail's avatar

@Dog Cool. When you say there are apps for that, does that mean I need to get extra software in order to use the cell phone service or that I use the software over wi-fi/internet. Because IME call quality w/ phone calls over the internet is highly variable so it would be better to be able to make local calls via SIM card/cell phone network and international calls via internet (Google voice / skype). Re – ipad4, I must have got it confused with the iphone?

@Dog I have seen and used them before, but only to play not for work. It was great fun for games and media but for making calls, producing and editing documents, reading books (glossy screen?), I am not as sure…For example, I never noticed if it had usb ports or not, but apparently it doesn’t. Does it have card readers? I keep thinking of more and more questions.

Dog's avatar

Actually @gailcalled, if you own this car you can have Siri direct you to the mall, and with noise canceling headsets you can enjoy incredible classical music. As for parking and old grease I am afraid it is beyond it’s help range.

XOIIO's avatar

An iphone would be a better investment for someone like you.

Dog's avatar

@prioritymail It is really confusing about the versions of iDevices. :) You can get 3G in a plan without a contract and use the iPad pretty much anywhere that there is service. The apps I use most frequently are:

Viber It is made for the iPhone but I use it on the iPad with good results. It is great for oveseas and the ringtone is very consistent, unlike some other apps I have tried.

As you mentioned there is Google Voice allows you to sign up for a phone number which you can use on your iPad. It also allows texting to any other phone. I do not think proper carrier calls can be made but I have used these apps a lot.

Regarding the glossy screen, I have a matte screen protector that is great for cutting the glare out.

jerv's avatar

The reason many people own both an iPad and an iPhone despite them doing most of the same things is the biggest reason I will never consider an iPad; size. As much as I love my 7” tablet, I would never want to make it my only Android device. If I had to choose between it and my Droid X, well, I still use my phone to view PDFs, play games, and surf the web largely because it fits in my pocket while my tablet, though far smaller than an iPad does not. That means that there are times/places where I cannot even bring my tablet, so I would pick phone over tablet.

As for plugging much of anything into an iPad, odds are that you will have to use Bluetooth keyboards as Apple doesn’t seem to like having connectors. That may change now that Jobs is dead, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Note; some Android phones have a built-in slide-out keyboard for no added cost ;) But as @Dog points out, a mouse is not required; touchscreens FTW!

The things that an iPad cannot do are things that may not be important to you. The main thing is that can be a bit of a hassle if for no reason other than the thing is fucking huge. Not an issue in some circumstances, but oftentimes when I am on the phone, I am on the move and not in a position to even carry a huge slab of a tablet.

prioritymail's avatar

@jerv Yes I was just thinking about the size thing. Even if it can replace all (which it sounds like you can’t make carrier phone calls/text? even though it accepts a micro sim card which puzzles me…), there are still a lot of compromises…smaller than ideal screen for computing, larger than ideal size for a phone…

I have just discovered the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1….I would prefer Android :P…Does anyone know if you can install software like GIMP, Open Office on these tablets or is it app only?

XOIIO's avatar

An ipad isn’t for computing, a computer is. You should get an iphone or an android tablet.

prioritymail's avatar

@XOIIO You think android tablet better than android phone? These phones are like $600 new when you buy without a plan, which is what I need to do and it just seems like you get more going with a tablet than a phone for about the same price, or even less if you buy used…but walking around talking to the tablet would probably be not as convenient as the phone…

jerv's avatar

The MicroSIM is for 3G.

As for tablets, I went the cheap route. I originally had my eye on a Galaxy Tab 7, but my wife found a sale so I got a Nook Color (the older ones, which can be rooted; the new Nook Tablet is locked) instead. Within 15 minutes of opening the box, I voided the warranty; I deleted the old firmware, and replaced it with CyanogenMod. The end result is that I paid $150 for a fully functional wifi-only 7” Android tablet :)

It’s better for gaming and (where wifi is available) surfing. It is far more portable than my 13” Toshiba laptop. I can do the office suite type stuff on it. But I still love my phone.

XOIIO's avatar

@prioritymail I beleive some of theur tablets have 3g, and you can actually do computer related stuff and more powerfull things with an androi d tablet than a phone, but if you dont need stuff like that get a phone.

tedd's avatar

It’s a $500+ toy.

My brother has one (I believe 2nd generation), and honestly I’ve used it and found myself bored inside of an hour. The one time it was genuinely nice and fun to have was during a trip to Hawaii (for the plane rides). But even then I had to convert a bunch of movies into the proper format to get the thing to play them, rather than use iTunes or whatever to pay for a bunch of movies I already had.

I also use one at work sometimes (part time job tutoring an autistic boy). I find typing on it to be painful and tedious.

They’re neat gadgets, that’s for sure, but honestly I don’t know that they’ve reached a point where they can practically replace a phone or a computer. It may be fitting for someone in your scenario, but if you’re really that worried about using it as a phone, why not just get a small laptop and use skype? My phone broke a few years ago and I used skype and a headset for a week until buying a new one, worked great.

As far as technology goes, it’s a moot point trying to buy the latest and greatest, because it will be obsolete and old inside 6 months. Just get something that works and that you like.

dabbler's avatar

I think there is a lot of wisdom having your phone, a simple hardworking phone, separate from your information gadget.
If you have both you can play/work on the info gadget until you run the battery into the ground and you can still get/make an important phone call.

As far as info gadgets go, maybe this is obvious but just forget about putting a tablet in your pocket like you could a phone. You have to be carrying it a bag, which is fine if you typically carry a bag anyway.

jerv's avatar

@dabbler That is why I went with two devices; in the event that I can carry my tablet without much hassle, I prefer to preserve my phones battery.

@tedd Strike two against Apple, but most of the Android tablets aren’t much cheaper (except those that are cheap for a reason). But there are ways to cut cost without losing quality. I love my $150 tablet, and it’s hardware is actually on-par with things more than twice it’s price. The catch is that it took a little hacking.
Also, try Swype™ ;)

prioritymail's avatar

@tedd Thanks for your insight. I have a laptop and use Google Talk. Call quality to non US #s has been spotty for me in all 3 countries Ive used it in, so I need a phone for local calls. I typically agree that buying the latest and greatest isn’t good bang for buck, but the last three or four phones I’ve had were terrible (my current phone has to be charged daily, the touch screen remains active in calls, the list goes on and on), and I really am willing to consider anything that will definitely work. I was looking at some Samsung Android phones like the Galaxy S which is cheaper now that the S2 and Nexus are out, but there are some reviews that say battery life is bad (presumably even worse if you buy used), and I just don’t want to drop $150+ on something and have the same problems I have now.

@dabbler I do typically have a bag, but I can imagine scenarios where you wouldn’t want to be using a 10” tablet to make phone calls…so agree that a phone might be better after all…although it is a tough call cuz you can get the Galaxy Tab used on EBay for about the same price as a used iphone 3gs…

@jerv yes that is pretty cool that you were able to get that to work. i’m not sure if i am savvy enough to do it myself…

dabbler's avatar

@jerv Swype looks very promising, gotta try it.

tedd's avatar

@prioritymail I use an EVO 4G (it’s almost 2 year old tech now I believe), and I’ve never had major issues. The touch screen stays active in calls, but if you lift the phone upright it goes black so you’re not pushing buttons with your face (I was of the understanding most androids do this). Never had speed issues, and very rarely have I had software issues, and it was always just with a 3rd party thing I downloaded.

The battery life is admittedly low. I purchased an after market extended battery and I can usually get through a full day without killing it. It all depends on how much you use it (your phone, regardless of model).... Almost all the high end smart phones right now have battery issues though, especially if you use it for everything.

jerv's avatar

@prioritymail It was about as hard as burning a CD from a .ISO file. In fact, step 1 is to “burn” an ISO to an SD card. That is the hard part; the rest is just two or three button presses.

gailcalled's avatar

I’d buy whatever @jerv recommends as long as he comes bundled with it.

janbb's avatar

I like having my iPhone (3G) and iPad (wifi) with my when I travel. Certainly can read, surf and work on iPad; use the phone when WIFI, size or battery are not convenient.

prioritymail's avatar

@gailcalled ROFL!

Update: I am still debating! A phone is probably what I want after all. I learned recently that only the iphone 4 has tethering abilities and that only Android 2.2 and up can do it out of the box. I have < Android 2.2 right now, and installed an app called “Easy Tether” ages ago, but never used it. I think it is possible to tether <Android 2.2, but it involves either rooting Android (which sounds like a PITA) or 3rd party software and some tweaking. Because around here, iphones are sometimes singled out in phone plans and come with addl restrictions, I’d rather go with an Android. Plus I think you get more bang for buck with Android. However, it seems impossible to find a decent Android phone. I have a Samsung now, and the battery life was always abysmal. Models like the Galaxy S have gotten strong reviews overall but people still complain about battery life. I don’t really want to spend 100s on a phone with sucky b-life.

Can anyone recommend an Android phone <$300 that rocks?

@tedd Thanks for this. Yes I have the pushing buttons with face issue, and it makes me want to punch someone in the face! I would be satisfied w a phone that makes it through a whole day, like 24 hours. I hardly use my phone at all throughout the day, and still the battery is dead after maybe 10 hours!

Dog's avatar

Cool! Okay I am totally out of my realm here but Jerv and J0E can help for sure. I know Jerv will be around and will send your question to J0E who is a writer for Android/PC stuff in the same way I write for iOS.

Let us know how you do!

jerv's avatar

A few little notes;

- I updated my Droid X from 2.2 (Froyo) to 2.3 (Gingerbread) long ago. Most phones currently out there are 2.3 or newer, so that isn’t much of an issue.

- Rooting my Nook Color was a simple process.

- Smartphones in general have poor battery life; iPhone, Android… doesn’t matter. Now, if I don’t use mine, I can be around 60% after 8 hours. Catch is, I use mine fairly constantly, and that eats the battery.

- Many phones (including my old Droid X) have proximity sensors that shut off the screen when it’s close to something like a face; I have yet to cheek-press a button.

- Part of the reason I went Verizon was that they had Motorola. I like Motorola :)

prioritymail's avatar

@jerv Thank you. Mine is 1.5!! (TMobile sucks) Someone is selling a Samsung Galaxy S i9000 on EBay with Android 4 on it, but I thought that phone could only go up to 2.3…

jerv's avatar

Android 4? Last I checked, only the Nexus ran Ice Cream Sandwich; the i9000 ran/runs Gingerbread, just like most other phones. There are a few that can be upgraded to ICS; the Motorola Razr and Bionic come to mind. However, teh i9000 is not one of them.

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