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us ipad in australia? recomendations on good travel laptop?

us ipad in australia? recomendations on good travel laptop?

Old Dec 15, 10, 8:18 pm
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us ipad in australia? recomendations on good travel laptop?

This is my first post!

I'm taking a 6 week trip to Australia in Jan. I work in politics, so it's nice to have time after elections when you figure out your next job and so I'm going to figure it out across the ocean. That being said, I need to be connected daily to my life back in the US to not miss out on job opportunities when I return. I thought about getting an ipad so I can just have the web right at my fingertips in my purse while i'm traveling and can use the 3g network through an australian phone system while there. The folks at Best Buy tell me this is possible, but I'd love to know if anyone has any ideas or has used a US ipad in australia.

or...am I just falling for the amazing apple marketing and instead should get a netbook?
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Old Dec 15, 10, 8:36 pm
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Hello and welcome to Flyertalk.

The ipads are not carrier locked, so you will need to find a carrier down under that offers a micro sim and a data plan, or you can cut the regular sim down to size or you can get one of the specialized sim cutters that have been discussed several times here in the FT tech forum. Or you can skip the data plan and just use the wifi at whatever free wifi hotspots you can find, including your hotel or your friends house.

It's up to you what you want/get. Lots of people will post after me telling you not to waste your money and get a netbook, and other people will tell you Apple makes the best products in the world. Both are right and both are wrong. Only you can decide which is right for you.

And you aren't the only one that drinks from the cup of Steve Jobs.

-David
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Old Dec 15, 10, 8:37 pm
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If you want to use 3G you can use AT&T's insane prepaid rates and plans, works out to about $1/MB so very, very easy to rack up a big bill. I believe iPads are unlocked so buying an Australian data SIM and using that would be a much cheaper option
Or you can stick to using wifi and have a bill of $0 at the end of the month

For Apple info go to a proper site like Mac Rumours or TUAW. The guys at Best Buy are at best useless in my experience, just slightly worse than the employees at Apple Stores
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Old Dec 16, 10, 4:19 am
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All the major Australian carriers offer prepaid for the iPad. For best coverage, go with Telstra NextG, then Optus and finally Vodafone/3. Pricing will reflect this as well.

Optus is renowned for image compression, so for the best speed and coverage I suggest Telstra.

Telstra iPad
Optus iPad
Vodafone iPad

Oh and for more reading about iPad prepaid in Oz visit the Whirlpool Forums...
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Old Dec 16, 10, 5:39 pm
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When I was looking at hotels for a Sydney trip, I saw that many charged $20 or more a day for Internet.

So Wifi isn't necessarily free.

Not sure if this is typical of Australia or Sydney or just certain hotels in Sydney.

Some did have free Wifi.
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Old Dec 16, 10, 10:32 pm
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McDonalds is your friend ... free WiFi in every store.
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Old Dec 16, 10, 10:53 pm
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How are the prices there?

Seems sandwiches in most Sydney restaurants are at least around $15 just for the sandwich/burger.
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Old Dec 17, 10, 8:03 pm
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The U.S. dollar is at the lowest point it's been in the 15 years I've been traveling to Australia (99 cents for an Australia dollar today-- a few years ago an Australian dollar could be had for 50 cents). I'd expect everything to cost more. I've cut back a 2011 visit to 8 days to reduce my exposure, and fortunately have some almost-free hotel nights included.
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Old Dec 17, 10, 8:06 pm
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Originally Posted by LifeTimeBronze View Post
McDonalds is your friend ... free WiFi in every store.
Although that's fine for ordinary web activity, I found it about impossible to upload photos from the McDonalds in Adelaide when I was over earlier this year. I wonder if they cap the upload speed to deter anyone from using their free service to upload files.
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Old Dec 19, 10, 12:52 am
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McDonalds' wifi is as useless as tits on a bull.

Vodafone is currently having some serious problems with an open revolt by many vodafone users and an investigation underway by the consumer watchdog.

Telstra, while more expensive, provides the best coverage and speed by far. This is especially the case if you are going to Tassie where Optus is useless. Anywhere outside of major centres only Telstra will have the necessary coverage.
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Old Dec 19, 10, 1:23 am
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For serious use you need to get Telstra 3G, and that will cost about AUD 100 for 6 weeks with reasonable activity (no movie downloads). I have Vodafone 3G which works fine 90% of the time, but not 100% like Telstra. Finding free wifi hotspots that have enough bandwidth and don't have your sites blocked is too much hassle -- some even block Yahoo and Hotmail! As stated hotel wifi will run AUD 20/day, or about AUD 800 for 6 weeks ... and often has a low data volume cap for that high price. The ipad is ever so sexy, but useless in the sun, so if planning to be on the beach/outdoors in Oz then maybe it isn't the best choice. Personally I use a cheap $200 IBM thinkpad T43 for this kind of travel that is ultra-rugged (has fallen down flights of stairs without ill effects) and great for email and surfing, also nobody wants to steal it. Saves my good laptops for less vulnerable usage.
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Old Dec 19, 10, 8:54 am
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There's nothing like a Mifi rental service in Sydney, is there?
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Old Dec 19, 10, 10:29 am
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Not sure about rental, but you can get Huawei mifi-like devices from Vodaphone, Telstra, and Optus (and maybe others?). I plan on buying the Optus one when I visit next... AU$129 for 8GB over 6 months. I'll use it in Australia and then unlock it for use when I travel elsewhere.
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Old Dec 19, 10, 2:27 pm
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Originally Posted by goback View Post
McDonalds' wifi is as useless as tits on a bull.

Vodafone is currently having some serious problems with an open revolt by many vodafone users and an investigation underway by the consumer watchdog.

Telstra, while more expensive, provides the best coverage and speed by far. This is especially the case if you are going to Tassie where Optus is useless. Anywhere outside of major centres only Telstra will have the necessary coverage.
Is it just the McDonald's free wifi in Australia?

I frequently use free wifi at McDonalds in the US. Sometimes I can get speeds as fast as 6mbps, which is faster than what I can get from my cell carrier.
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Old Dec 19, 10, 6:12 pm
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Originally Posted by noam View Post
Not sure about rental, but you can get Huawei mifi-like devices from Vodaphone, Telstra, and Optus (and maybe others?). I plan on buying the Optus one when I visit next... AU$129 for 8GB over 6 months. I'll use it in Australia and then unlock it for use when I travel elsewhere.
Hmm, Telestra's Mobile Wifi is $149 with 5 GB of use for 3 months. There is an unlocking fee of some kind which isn't disclosed.

The Vodaphone one is nicer at $99 but only 1 GB of data? Again that one is locked with an undisclosed unlocking fee.

PC World has reviews of both and measured the speed of the Telestra as being faster but with shorter battery life and inferior build quality:

http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/review...e_wi-fi/370262

Only other thing is the Telestra has WPA security rather than WEP that Vodaphone has. Not clear if it supports HSPA or HSPA+ all over the world though and what the unlocking process is.

If it's straightforward, it might not be a bad way to get a Mifi, which aren't cheap unlocked.
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