iPad Air: Longest running mobile hotspot ever made

iPad Air: Longest running mobile hotspot ever made

Summary: In addition to a lot of features baked inside, the iPad Air with LTE can be the best mobile hotspot ever made.

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TOPICS: Mobility, iPad, Tablets
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Hotspot 2
(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

The iPad Air is a nice tablet with loads of features to satisfy many buyers. One feature rarely mentioned is a big one. The good battery life of the iPad Air with LTE means it should be able to serve as a mobile hotspot for at least 24 hours.

Those who live in areas that have major storms appreciate the value of a mobile hotspot, those gadgets that can connect to the web and dish it out to other devices over wi-fi. In iOS parlance it's known as "personal hotspot". You turn it on in settings and your other devices see the iPad as a wi-fi hotspot.

See also: Lure of the iPad AirDirty little secret about tablets: The platforms are basically equal | Yes Lenovo, there is a better way for tablets | New iPad mini: I pass | iPad Air: Color me surprised

I regularly use the original iPad mini as a hotspot for my laptops for several hours and the battery hit on the iPad is negligible. I used the original iPad mini as a hotspot for 20 hours on one occasion due to a power outage. The mini's battery can power the tablet for around 10 hours, but twice that as a hotspot with the display off. That's a great mobile hotspot to keep devices online for long periods, especially during major events such as storms. 

The 20 hour mobile hotspot service of the original iPad mini is impressive given the 16.3 watt-hour battery. That's why it's likely the iPad Air could serve as a hotspot for much longer periods due to its 32.4 watt-hour battery.

The iPad Air has a much bigger battery to power that bigger Retina Display, but when serving as a hotspot the display is turned off. That should make it possible to run as a hotspot for at least 24 hours, and perhaps much longer than that.

It's important to note that in order to get long mobile hotspot use with any iPad that the tablet shouldn't be used for anything else. Keep the display off and the iPad just serving as a hotspot and otherwise dormant.

Mobile hotspot use alone is not reason enough to buy an iPad Air with LTE, but it's a major feature that shouldn't be overlooked.

Topics: Mobility, iPad, Tablets

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11 comments
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  • Most expensive router ever

    At 1k, this is just funny'
    Uralbas
  • Sometimes things should just not make it out of the lab.

    Ranks up there with most expensive solutions ever, right along with using a Mainframe to backup your servers.

    I have a cheaper solution: a typical hotspot with USB plugin battery make it last as long as you want $25 vs $499 and up.
    greywolf7
  • Not best by a million miles...

    There are much elegant and cheaper solutions out there.
    Owl`Net
    • yes like a unlocked no contract nexus 4 or 5 for ~$349

      on tmobile for $20/mo, unlimited data. The ipad is too big and clunky to be practical. Also if in the car, battery life is not an issue
      drwong
  • hmmmm.

    very expensive access point.... expensive enough that the average consumer will overlook it every time.... bad move Apple.
    YehudahGriffin
  • Too clunky

    I could almost see myself using an iPad mini or a Nexus 7 as a hotspot since I tend to carry my Nexus 7 along with me even when I've got my laptop. But carrying around a laptop and a 10" tablet is a bit of a PITA, IMHO.
    dsf3g
  • Longest?

    Have you tested other LTE tablets to find out if this is true ?
    Ghest
    • Tom

      I don't believe the author ever said to go out and buy an iPad solely to make it a hotspot. It was more one of, if you have one (or are getting one for another purpose) you might not know that you also have this other great feature available and included for free (except for carrier charges and additional costs to get the cellular version and not the wifi only version). I use my iPhone 5s for a hotspot we more often than my iPad.
      farrago
  • Completely not getting it

    the author specifically stated it was silly to buy an air just to be a hotspot, so everyone pontificating about cheaper, more elegant solutions, give yourselves an F under paying attention.
    baggins_z
  • Like it

    Ipad air all the way!
    Sandy20201
  • @baggins_z and farrago

    Both of you get an A in paying attention. Most likely the typical iPad Air user would want to take advantage of that long battery life to use their tablet as a tablet and use any of the many other solutions available for an emergency wifi hotspot.
    bunkport