Which Is Better: iPhone 4 or iPad 3G?

At long last, I've finally decided to buy a personal mobile device to go along with my work Blackberry.  I want to keep things separate given it's important not to mix personal with work in this day of scrutiny.  Furthermore, with Yakezie.com now up, it's important to try and keep in touch at least once during the day with readers over comments, e-mail, and Twitter as opposed to being incommunicado from 7am to 7pm.

I'm currently using a stable 3 year old MacBook with 1.2 GHz of speed, a 160GB hard drive, and 4 GB of memory.  My laptop is actually an upgrade from my old iBook G4 with only 512MB of RAM just last Christmas.  It's my hope that I don't need to change laptops for another 5+ years because I absolutely love what I have.  That said, if you are a blogging nerd, which to choose between an iPad 3G and an iPhone 4?

Benefits of an iPad 3G:

* Thin and light with a great big screen for reading.

* A feasible replacement over your existing laptop or netbook.

* Movies are more enjoyable.

* Typing notes and writing in general.

Benefits of an iPhone 4

* Has phone, video, and camera.

* More portable.

* Cheaper at only $199 for the 16GB version.

* Does everything the iPad does and more.

Cons of an iPad 3G:

* Costs $700 before taxes.

* Doesn't have calling capabilities.

* Doesn't have video capabilities.

* Can't make me pizza.

* Can't attract women.

* Can't take it everywhere such as the club.

* Essentially, an over-sized iPhone 4without a phone.

Cons of an iPhone 4

* Much harder to type.

* Harder to read.

* You have to pay tax on the unsubsidized iPhone 4 price, which is $600 for the iPhone 16GB!  That's $60 bucks in taxes in California.

* The battery life sucks.  With “normal” use, the iPhone loses all power after  7-8 hours no joke.

* Rarely gets me any loving.


It seems obvious that if you have a laptop that you enjoy then there's absolutely no reason to buy an iPad over an iPhone.  But what if you also have a phone?  Isn't getting a second phone absolute nonsense? It is, unless your other phone is a work phone, in which case all the data going through that phone is the property of your company.

In the end, I chose the iPhone 4 mainly because it's cheaper, more portable, and does everything the iPad 3G does and more.  The thing is amazing!  This is coming from someone who has never had an iPhone mind you.  Unless you don't have a computer at all, I really don't see why someone would get the iPad.  It's a neat device and 3 million+ have been sold already, but come on.  Are we convincing ourselves an iPad is necessity rather than a toy?  You know Apple will come up with a new iPad within a year with a phone and camera.  By then, the iPad will really just be an oversized iPhone!

Subscribe to the Financial Samurai newsletter by clicking here.

Readers, what would you choose and why?  I'm trying to understand why anybody would get an iPad except for the hard core readers out there with long commutes on public transportation and a lot of money to spare.

Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

41 thoughts on “Which Is Better: iPhone 4 or iPad 3G?”

  1. Here are some reasons to make the iPhone 4 is better than the iPad. The Reasons are that iPhone 4 has a better processor. It has a camera so you can take beautiful pictures and send your network via facebook and twitter. It is also easier to carry in today’s busy lifestyle. So I love my iPhone 4.

  2. Danny @ Frugal Quack

    I think you’re comparing Apples and Peanut butter. One is a fruit, the other a tablet. lol.

  3. I agree.. why would anyone bother getting an Ipad unless you are one of those who don’t already own and computer and refuse to own a computer or laptop?

    Hey did you get affected by daylight savings? I realized that the reason my alarm clock didn’t wake me up two days in a row was because of a glitch in the software if you pick the “daily” option for the alarm.

    Geez :( Apple, you made me stressed out for two days because I slept in for work! At least I wasn’t alone :)

  4. ipad is a waste of money because u will want it to do more than it currently can without extra accessories. Also it is does not operate truly independent of your PC; u still need to sync it from time to time for updates and such. it’s 2 versions away from a true independent mobile PC device.

    The iphone should suit your needs as a tweener device and when the blackberry playbook is available and u must have a tablet u can tether it to ur bberry phone and write it off as a biz device

  5. The comparison is a bit of Apples and Oranges. Needs vary.

    I already have a Blackberry and didn’t see much point getting another phone with a tiny screen. The virtual keyboard had zero appeal. I got an iPad (my very first Apple purchase). However, I got the WiFi version since I already had MiFi.

    Thanks to the iPad, my Blackberry is used mainly as a phone. I rarely take my notebook computer with me. The iPad is more portable, the battery easily lasts all day, the screen is gorgeous and there’s a “wow” factor when used with clients.

  6. I would go for a iphone 4 instead of an ipad. The ipad doesn’t have all the features that would make it a great tablet yet. No, front facing camera, usb, sd card slot etc. It lacks a lot of the necessary features that would make it a must have.
    On the contrary, the iphone 4 has all the features that would help you as a blogger and social person.
    I would prefer the Evo over the iphone but we don’t have a lot of options here in Canada.

  7. Blackberry user here. Yeah, it’s useless for any web stuff, plus mine is a work device, so lots of things are blocked on top of that.

    To me it seems like overkill to have 2 phones, although I know people at work who do have the work BB and the personal Iphone for surfing only. I’m in sales so there is a lot of time spent en route to places, so it’s good to have the option to surf.

    I still don’t really understand the purpose of an IPAD if you already have a laptop and phone.

  8. I think both are cool. If I had money to burn I’d probably have both because I love gadgets. But the iphone was my choice of the two and was only so because my old phone died and it seemed like the right time to buy one since I could get the 2 year contract discount. I love all the apps and the internet surfing – it’s so much better than trying to surf on my work blackberry. It’s hard to type on the iphone though but with phones getting tinier each year I can’t complain (esp b/c it’s so portable!) The ipad is too big for me but if I traveled a lot I’d definitely save up to buy one b/c it’d be easier to travel with than a laptop.

  9. Investor Junkie

    iPad. You already have a phone. iPad screen is more usable from my experience will ALL the devices mentioned (I have them all including a Droid)

    1. Investor Junkie

      The new MacBook Air are neat also. I like my 13″ MacBook Pro with SSD drive. Boots up in 15 seconds (no joke).

      iPad battery life is amazing. Standby battery life I swear is forever.

  10. I would only get the iPad if I ever wanted to replace my little Eepc notebook. Wait, I do want to replace my notebook. Having an iPad would give me so much more cred :). I know a lot of people in design professions who use them for client presentations, so that’s another reason to have one.

    Really though, I think you made the best choice considering your situation. And iPhones really do rock. No matter what those silly Droid users want to think.

    1. Sounds like you are getting an iPad! It’s kinda FUNNY how Droid users really bash Apple users, but Apple users do no such thing.

      Weird huh? It always seems like people gun for #1, even if #1 hasn’t done anything wrong.

      1. Investor Junkie


        TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) is what counts! From my 25+ years of computer
        experience Macs overall cost less. Less hassle, and less time software breaks.

      2. Investor Junkie

        TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) is what counts! In my 25+ years experience,
        Macs break less (software) and more stable.

        Don’t hate Apple cuz they are some left coast liberal “green” company :-)

      3. I think they are higher priced because of the history of Apple keeping its patent while the PC format lost theirs and prices came down on PCs but not Macs.

        Now we are entrained to expect high prices when the word “Apple” is involved.

        My friend who is an Apple fanboy keeps trying to tell me they aren’t that expensive, but I can get a brand new (PC) style laptop for about $280, shipped. The cheapest Mac laptop is about $1,000. That’s $700 more for…what, really?

        1. Investor Junkie

          Netbooks IMHO most are not usable and this is from experience. IMHO iPad is
          much more usable. In fact the sales numbers show that tablets like the iPad are
          eating into Netbook sales.

        2. I wasn’t referring to netbooks. I mean deals like:

          Brand new 14.0″ Core i3 Laptop 2.4GHz, 2GB DDR3, 250GB HDD, 8X DVD+/-RW DL $220, shipped.


          Toshiba Satellite C650D-BT2N13 15.6″ Laptop for $327 shipped: AMD V Series V140 2.30GHz CPU, 2GB DDR3, 250GB HDD. 802.11b/g/n, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4250, Windows 7 HP x64.

          These are decent laptops and just very good deals. The problem is, Apple doesnt do “deals”–it’s just not how they operate. That said, yes, my example is kind of extreme. Maybe a fairer comparison is a $600 laptop vs. a $1,000 Macbook. Still, the Mac is 66% more expensive.

          1. To me $400 is nothing due to the superior service (Genius Bar fixes everything), and integration. It’s a different level of buyer I guess who has more disposable income and wants less hassle. Apple has done well obviously.

  11. Robert Muir

    It’s not just the upfront cost you should consider, but also the monthly cost.

    I don’t have an iPhone, but I do have the wi-fi iPad. It comes in handy for when I’m waiting for computers to update/reboot/etc. Nearly any place I would use the iPad has wi-fi available so no monthly charge.

  12. I didn’t know the options for staying in touch during the day were limited to Apple products. :) Solve all your problems and just get an awesome Android phone – the Samsung Intercept/Epic or the HTC Evo. They’re better than the iPhone anyway… ;)

  13. Sunil from The Extra Money Blog

    we have both

    get the ipad if you want to waste time

    get the iphone if you want to get stuff done (with the risk that you can be glued to it all day and therefore get nothing done)

    when the blackberry was brand new and very expensive, i decided to sell mine of ebay for $20. i loved the feeling. not because i made $20, in fact i lost money because it was worth a ton more, but rather because i freed up my life. since then i reduced email consumption significantly, developed one and done email scripts and have become more efficient as a result.

    all tech is good, if used the right way and it utmost discipline

  14. I have a laptop, and whereas the Ipad seems easier, I can’t bring myself to spend the money.

    I am tempted by an Iphone because they seem so fun. Again, expensive and I really don’t need to access the internet all the time since I am home so much. I do envy those that can look up things on the internet so quickly on their phone though.

    In your shoes, I would have gone with the phone too probably.

    1. If you are home most of the time, then save your money. However, I have to say, after a couple months with the iPhone, I can’t believe I didn’t get one sooner. It rocks! But, I’m ALWAYS on the go…. so, it’s worth it. 3 hour flight delay? No problem, iPhone! Client is 30 min late? No problem! iPhone!

  15. I think you’re making the wrong comparison.

    You need a phone, period. Whether it has an internet connection depends on whether you have other convenient options. So there’s definitely no need for both and iPhone and an iPad.

    You have a laptop, but the iPad isn’t meant to replace your iPhone, it’s meant to replace your computer.

    So the real question is: iPhone and laptop vs. crappy phone and iPad.

    It sounds like you have a good laptop, so the iPad won’t provide you with that much value.

    And if you want a larger screen for when you’re on the road, get an aircard for your laptop. No need to shell out at $700, just the monthly fee.

    1. I hear you, but I already have a working phone (Blackberry). So, choosing between an iPad and an iPhone is harder, since I already have a phone. So it’s Blackberry + iPhone, or Blackberry + iPad. On the face of it, Bberry + iPad sounds better….. but not really.

      1. No need for both blackberry + iphone. Why not just forward all blackberry calls automatically to iPhone? Then you’ll only have one phone (two numbers people can call) and you’ll save all that room in your pockets. Imagine the cash you can stuff in there!

  16. Sam, are you carrying your blackberry and your iphone on your belt every day?

    I am afraid that would pull down my scrub pants….

    We still don’t have good ATT coverage here, in our rural areas-so I haven’t been tempted with iphone. A friend loves his iPad.

    Will continue to contemplate here.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *