Am I the only person in London who hasn't yet bought an iPad? Because that's the way it feels sometimes - they're absolutely everywhere! I have to admit, I'm tempted by Apple's new iPad, but I'm still not sure how much I'd use it. Can you please help me decide?
And also, if I do buy the new iPad, I think I'll need one with 3G internet. But should I buy it on contract? Or will that be more expensive in the long run? I'm looking for money-saving options!
Dave Shackleton, London, via email on 12 March, 2012
There's no denying the new Apple iPad is a spectacular piece of technology, and you're right - it does sometimes feel like everyone who's anyone owns one. But before you rush into buying an iPad, you need to think about how much it will cost and whether Apple's tablet is really the one for you.
The new iPad has a starting price of £399 for a Wi-Fi only model, and at least £100 more if you need a 3G connection - for mobile broadband wherever you go - so it's not a small purchase. An easy way to spread the cost of buying an iPad is to sign a contract with a 3G mobile network.
However, this will usually cost considerably more over the course of an 18 or 24-month deal. Buying your iPad outright - in a big one-off payment - and paying a few pounds a month for a 3G sim-only deal, works out a lot cheaper in the long run.
But if paying upfront is not an affordable option to you, there are lots of iPad deals worth looking at. You just need to make sure you're absolutely certain before signing a lengthy contract. Read on for our iPad buyer's guide, or compare iPad deals if you've already decided it's for you.
No one but you can make the final decision, but to help you reach that stage we'll look quickly at the new iPad's main selling points and why you might choose it over an older model. Remember, you could save money by choosing an iPad 2 - prices start at £329 - but it will be missing the latest features.
A few reasons you might decide to buy the new iPad:
For a lot of us, shelling out the full amount for an iPad is just not financially possible. If you're on a budget, you may be able to spread the cost by signing a contract with a 3G provider such as Three (www.three.co.uk), Vodafone (www.vodafone.co.uk) or T-Mobile (www.t-mobile.co.uk).
This kind of deal gives you a means of paying in affordable chunks, as well as a handy 3G connection just like on a mobile phone. But iPad contracts are usually at least 18 or 24 months long, meaning you actually end up paying a lot more for your Apple tablet than if you'd bought it outright.
For example, with T-Mobile, a new customer taking a monthly mobile broadband plan with a 16GB iPad 2 would pay a total of £829 over the course of the 24-month contract term.
If you bought the same iPad separately for £499, and take an equivalent iPad sim-only deal from Three, you would save around £150 over the same two-year period. At Mobilechoices.co.uk you can find the best deal for you, comparing prices and plans on a huge range of tablets and smartphones.
If you're looking to spread the cost of buying an iPad by taking out a contract with a 3G mobile provider, there are lots of options to consider. Major networks including Orange, Three, T-Mobile and Vodafone all offer deals for an iPad 2 with Wi-Fi and 3G starting from £229 upfront plus £25 a month for 24 months.
However, if you already had an iPad or were planning to buy one outright, the same providers offer sim-only deals with monthly usage allowances of between 1GB and 10GB.
Even when you spread the cost of buying yourself an iPad, there is still a lot of money involved so it's not a decision to be taken lightly. If you're looking to save as much money as possible, you might be thinking of the following options:
For more information or to find the best iPad deal for you, compare prices and plans at Mobilechoices.co.uk.