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First Look: Apple iPad 3G

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First Look: Apple iPad 3G

2:41 /

The Apple iPad is the first affordable tablet computer worth owning, but it won't (yet) replace your laptop.

>>Donald Bell: Hey, I'm Donald Bell for CNET.com and this is a first look at the Apple iPad 3G. You're probably already familiar with the original version of the iPad which came out a month ahead of this model. The iPad 3G is essentially identical to the standard iPad with the added capability of connecting to the internet using a built-in 3G cellular connection. For a broader run down of the iPad's capabilities, you can take a look at my comprehensive review on CNET.com. But for this video I'm just going to zero in on the details that make the 3G model unique. First off, you have pricing. The iPad 3G comes in the same three capacities as the original only they're priced at an extra $130 each. There's a 16 gigabyte version for $629, 32 gigabytes for $729 and 64 gigs for $829. On top of that extra upfront costs, users also need to purchase a monthly data plan from AT&T which you can activate directly on the device. Under the settings' menu there's an option for cellular data where you can choose between an unlimited plan for $30 or a $15 plan with a monthly cap of 250 megabytes. If you go with the capped plan, you can always buy more data as you need it. Now, just because you have the 3G wireless connection doesn't mean you need to use it. The Wi-Fi capabilities of the iPad 3G are just as robust as the original model and typically provide better speeds than 3G. In fact, if the iPad recognizes a familiar Wi-Fi connection, it will automatically switch over to it and use the 3G as a last resort. Ultimately, what this model gets you is the added freedom to access the web on the go anywhere 3G coverage is available. The 3G model also includes an assisted GPS chip not found on the standard version which makes it easier for maps and other apps to track your location. For some, these advantages are a huge deal but we expect to find most people will find the lower priced Wi-Fi only model just as practical. There are some other small distinctions on the iPad 3G. The back has this two-tone design with a streak of black plastic that helps the internal 3G antenna work more effectively. There's also a tiny tray on the side here that holds AT&T's Micro SIM Card. Another telltale sign is the little AT&T callout up here at the top of the screen. If you're using this over Wi-Fi, Apple raised the iPad 3G at the same 10 hours as the standard model. Surfing over 3G will knock you down to 9 hours which is still exceptional for a device that is as light and powerful as this. So, that's the iPad 3G, a more expensive better connected fraternal twin of the original iPad. For CNET.com, I'm Donald Bell. ^M00:02:34 [ Music ] ^M00:02:40

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