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tablet that works like a cell?

 
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Does this exist: a tablet that can connect to the cellphone network?  It would be like a cellphone but without the texting or phoning.  

I keep wondering if a smartphone would make my life easier, but I just can't see using it as a phone.  I currently use less than 1min of talk a month and I don't want to communicate via text.

But what I do want is something to check my emails and I know that some things in town you need a cellphone like some bike rentals and parking.  There's also a thingy I could use to take card payments at events called square.  But they need a cell connection.

If this kind of tablet does exist, what are the magic words I would use to start searching for it?  I want to buy an "unlocked" one outright and then keep the monthly subscription low.

I won't be wanting/needing it for at least a year, but I figure if I can get the idea of what I want and how much it can cost, I can earmark the money now for the time when I'm ready.  I also want two years subscription price in savings - Canadian cell rates are some of the highest in the world
 
pollinator
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Have you investigated an iPad? I use an iPad simply because I don't get any sort of internet service on my farm except AT&T cellphone. The iPad works. Hubby just signed up for AT&T as the iPad service provider. You don't get "real" phone service...no voice, no texting....but you get internet. iPads come with either a SIM for service via phone, or wifi. I have the SIM. But I can also easily click into wifi if it's available. If you have a wifi only (no SIM card), then you're restricted to just wifi. That won't work for me. No wifi within 10 miles, and that wifi isn't free.

I can do the Square on my iPad.
 
r ranson
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I'm going to stay away from Apple.  Mostly because I'm excellent at breaking them... by doing something as simple as being in the same room as them.  

My one friend has taken to locking the iphone in the other room so it can't hear my voice as it goes absolutely crazy if it hears me speak and starts ordering uper-ates or booking flights to Japan.  (we were talking about shoes)  When we finally got it to turn off, it came back on again and started reading anne of green gables


 
Su Ba
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Hahahahaha! Sounds like it's possessed! I turned Siri off as soon as I discovered the phone was eavesdropping on my conversations. While talking with a friend about the World Cup, Siri announced that latest scores. It was so spooky that it freaked me out. No Siri for me!
 
r ranson
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His phone only goes crazy for me.

I have some funny stories about my ability to break apple...and a handful of lifetime banns, but that's a long story for another day.  

Let's assume that Apple isn't an option, but if they are reading this and want to pay me copious amounts of money to find reproducable bugs...
 
r ranson
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What nonapple options are there?
 
pollinator
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The ability to connect to cell networks is provided by the cellular modem.

If a device has one, it is usually identified in descriptions by the connectivity level provided. Something like 4G/LTE+, or in older devices 3G/HSPA+

You can get many sorts of tablets that have one. Main non-apple OS options being Windows or Android(linux) based. Amazon's 'Fire' OS is a fork of android, Amazon creeps me out but some people like it..


In some cases the cell modem is an option, so you cannot assume that, for example, all used Venue 11 Pro tablets have one even though a review describes it, as some people will have configured their tablet without it.

Sometimes you can add one, if it was an omitted option... but since you haven't got the tablet yet it it easiest just to make sure it is already there.

I would suggest deciding on the size and operating system you would like; Android, Windows, ??. Then, identify a couple appealing options, and look for reviews discussing the performance of the cellular modem.
 
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R, down in the south 50 there are lots of options and I assume up there too. Our prepaid low-end companies have service for devices for $40 a month and they often have promotions with free android devices and cases are reasonable. I’m brutal on my phone and I break it every three years or so because I get armored cases! I have no tablet the phone is about the same for me. The nice thing about android is many have expansion slots for memory, which I don’t think iPads do. Most have a decent camera, and most will allow you to take and make calls with WhatsApp or Skype and euthanize your phone line if you really want to. Voice is all over IP anyway so it’s not hard at this point to have a device that is very cheap that does the occasional phone call. I think that’s built in to iPads but can be done with apps on android.

Apple and Google are both evil. There’s no winner. Amazon is very competitive in the evil olympics. Use a vpn if you really want privacy. Some vpns have integrated apps as well.
 
D Nikolls
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Tj Jefferson wrote:R, down in the south 50 there are lots of options and I assume up there too.



I am not sure how to spell the sound I made when I read that, but thank you for the laugh!

The only good thing that can be said about Canadian cell options is that they used to be worse. Perhaps in another year or two choices will be even less bad..


Excellent advice on the armoured case, with a full rigid screen cover if at all possible. Have no tablet so not sure what choices are like there, and it is harder to armour a larger device... but I ran over my cell phone with a 7000lb tractor... no damage, thanks to a $23 case.


The other big thing for phone longevity IMO is wireless/inductive charging. Removing the physical wear of multiple daily connect/disconnect cycles is very beneficial.
 
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There are loads of android tablets that can take a sim card and operate on cellular internet. Also laptops: I have an old Thinkpad that was originally a high end business machine I got for $200 that has a slot for a sim card.

There are going to be drawbacks to every option.
 
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We’ve had two iPads, neither with a cell modem (WIFI only) as well as iPhone-7’s. All of the devices have been dropped numerous times and appear indestructible. The older iPad we’ve had 7 years and cannot receive updates anymore, yet works Like new otherwise. The newer iPad is a Pro and is almost 4 years and uses an Apple Pencil as an input device. Being an artist And designer it was a no brainer w/ the utility the Pencil offered over other companies stylus. Other than an occasional reboot and needing to free space by deleting cat videos, the Apple iOS has been rock solid. Having spent many hours dealing with issues on Android phones and Windows devices I have found the Apple environment just simply works w/ minimal fiddling.

If I was going for a tablet/phone no question I would go with either an iPad Air or Mini of the later iteration that can use the Apple pencil. They are 9.8” x 6.8” or 8” x 5.3”respectively. The website Mac Rumors has a buyers guide that tracks updates of models with a recommendation of which to buy. I suspect the eventually coming generations of the iPhone will have Pencil functionality which would give me the same function with a bit more portability and less screen space.

Another option is to use a cell phone and tether the tablet to it so the phone acts as a modem for the tablet. I’ve worked remotely using a laptop tethered to my phone. One drawback is the connection can be slow, but it does save you having an additional device on your phone plan.
 
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Samnsung makes a nice android tablet (Galaxy), and there are some cheaper options from Asus. Unless you`re using the ipad for hand written note taking there doesn`t seem to be much difference (i`m also not an apple fan). All of these can take a cell phone chip (which you could buy pre-paid, that's what I do when I go to the US. i don't know what options there are in Canada but in the US I can go to any pharmacy and buy a card and then just top it off when it's getting low (or old, since they usually only last a certain period of time)
 
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I think you should go the other way and get a smart phone, it can do almost everything the tablet can and is easier to transport etc. They do not have to be on expensive tarrifs, look for tarrifs that are designed for smart devices not phones, or look for business tariffs, for example my phone is on a "plan" that is for things like security cameras. I pay a tiny monthly fee, about $6 and I have added on 2GB data a month which allows me to use MobilPay (like square) for a one off yearly cost about $60. These plans come with no talk time and no texts, which is fine for me as I don't use either on that phone.
 
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Hubs used to have one, and he actually could call and text from it - I think that's just part of the package, with most cell companies, at least here, in the USA. It was either a Samsung or LG, but I'm leaning toward Samsung. That was with TMobile, though. AT&T no longer offers that service. I've no clue about service in CA.
 
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I wanted a similar thing. I got a Samsung Galaxy Tab E from Virgin Mobile with a 2-year 3 GB per month data plan. It's roughly C$17/mo. And then using the Fongo app I sometimes make calls and texts from the tablet. It's not the world's most amazing device, but it has been really handy at times. And I am also very happy to avoid Apple (I'm a disgruntled ex-fanboy).
 
r ranson
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Plans - I think it's not worth looking at plans yet.  
   Canadian plans are way different than the rest of the world.  And things are in the courts right now that means by the time I am ready, the plans available will change.

Getting a gadget with a Plan - I'm not feeling good about this.  
    The companies put a lot of uninstallable software on their gadgets that slow things up. This really bugs me as I'm a DOS girl who likes to be in controll of the gadget rather than have it anticipate my needs (wrongly).  I get a computer built from scratch to avoid this kind of unnecessary software.  

    I'm also worried about the service on these gadgets.  My friends with phones got on a 3-year contract and break it after 8 months.  The insurance was more than the cost of a new phone, so they didn't get it.  So there's no help from the company.  Sorry.  Shit out of luck!  

    That's why I'm thinking of buying my own gadget separately as it means I can choose my own insurance on the gadget and more importantly, it means that the monthly plan will be less and not locked in for several years.  I would rather spend a lot more money upfront to avoid extra subscription fees.  I'm much better at budgeting for large purchasses than monthly fees.  When I look at the amount extra my friends paid for the "free" phone over the 3 years, they could have bought three phones for that.  

     I'm not completely set against getting a "free" gadget with a plan, but I want to be sure I'm not paying extra to get something for "free".

Phone vs Tablet - I've been thinking about this for a couple of years.  

    My friends always have gadgets on them, so the last few years, I've been asking them to walk me through how they work.  My fingers have very poor connectivity to touch screens so I cannot use my friend's phones.  I also have trouble reading on so small a screen.  The apple products break before I try them.  Tablets seem better and I like the idea of getting a keyboard so the tablet could be a bit like a mini-laptop for doing basic things like typing or replying to emails while I wait.  

Battery - This is a big issue for me.

   When I had a cellphone, it needed charging at least three times a year.  This was so seldom that I had trouble finding the charger.

   My Kindles need charging every 4 to 8 weeks, depending on how many hours a day I read on them.  That's about right.

   My mirrorless camera needs charging after 800 photos which is every 5 days.  This seems a lot to me, but I carry spare batteries and charge them all up once every three weeks.  That's an okay amount.

   I'm guessing a tablet will be more annoying.  My friends phones need charging at least once a day (they often charge them at work so they can make it through to the evening when they charge the phone again) but they are on the phones constantly.  Observing my behaviour, I could see using it about 20 min during the day and up to an hour in the evening/morning when I'm on my home wi-fi.  Maybe an extra hour here or there during the week while I'm waiting for appointments.  

Saving money - I'm of the opinion that the best way to save money is to spend more.

The last time I bought a new computer, I started studying what I wanted two years prior to buying it.  I went to a lot of places before I found someone who I thought could make a computer good enough to last 10 years and then be easily upgraded from there.  See, my old computer was 14 years old by that time and it had better components than the new ones most places were selling.  I think salesmen get stuck in the idea that someone like me (young looking, female, farm stained) only wants to buy cheap tat.  So they try to direct me away from better quality stuff.  They also cannot believe that a computer lasts more than 3 years.  

With this gadget, I want to buy one that lasts at least 10 years.  So I'm going to buy the best quality and most advanced gadget I can afford.  Since I'm looking ahead, I can save up in advance I don't have to spend money on credit interest or pay extra for a "free" gadget.  My friends need a new phone every two years - either it breaks, it's too slow, or it doesn't look right, or they need a new case, so they might as well get a new phone.  So if mine can last 10 years, I'm saving the cost of 4 gadgets.  I'm quite okay with spending more money for the luxury of not having to go shopping so often.  

 
r ranson
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Shawn Klassen-Koop wrote:I wanted a similar thing. I got a Samsung Galaxy Tab E from Virgin Mobile with a 2-year 3 GB per month data plan. It's roughly C$17/mo. And then using the Fongo app I sometimes make calls and texts from the tablet. It's not the world's most amazing device, but it has been really handy at times. And I am also very happy to avoid Apple (I'm a disgruntled ex-fanboy).



I was thinking about Samsung.

They are one of the few makes of hardware I don't break things called "firmware" or "bios".  I used to really like their flip phones about... oh, wow. Has it been that long?  Back in the early 21st century.  
 
r ranson
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Tj Jefferson wrote:
Apple and Google are both evil. There’s no winner. Amazon is very competitive in the evil olympics.



I was wondering which flavour of evil I should go for.

One of the things I like about having a PC vs a Laptop is I can easily unplug the PC from the internet if I need some "vacation" time.  

Are the Amazon Fires a tablet?  I like their kindles for quality, but there's no camera or audio so it's more private than a phone or a tablet.
 
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There should be many options I just searched for tablet with sim card.
https://www.google.com/search?q=tablet+with+sim+card

You can try swappa to get a used one unlocked or that matches your network.
https://swappa.com/mobile/unlocked/tablets?platform=android

It does not look like they have many but check out the LG7 they have a used one for ~75. You can also use them to narrow your search and them look for one on ebay or amazon.
 
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I do tonnes of research before buying stuff too. I finally upgraded from my Samsung galaxy ace and settled on a moto g6 play. I didn't worry too much about lifespan because with my light, pretty basic needs I can usually get by with totally obsolete stuff just fine anyway.

One of my main things I wanted was a big battery, and I'm happy with the 4000mA in my moto. If I used my phone the way you described above, the battery would probably last a weekish. A tablet would suck more juice, but they probably have bigger batteries anyway.

You might want to learn how to root your device and replace the os. Then whatever brand of evil you buy into doesn't need to be such a consideration. The drawback to buying the newest best is that there probably isn't a root package available for it yet. If, like me, you barely know what you're doing, you want whatever you use to be well tested to minimize the risk of turning your shiny new toy into a brick.

If that sounds too risky, be aware a lot of the supposedly uninstallable software can be actually be uninstalled and replaced (or not) with open source stuff just fine.
 
pollinator
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Wading through tech...

https://wiki.ezvid.com/best-tablets-with-lte
https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-android-tablet/
https://www.pcmag.com/roundup/305922/the-best-tablets
https://www.zdnet.com/article/best-tablets/

The "buzz" sounds like Apple is considered the hands down best. But I don't use Apple.

I use an old Motorola tablet for gps service with a large screen; it also stores offline maps for 48 states.  When I need internet, I hook it up through my smart phone using the native "wifi access point" service on the phone and put the phone in my pocket. When I activate the tablet it finds my wifi signal from the phone and connects to the internet through the phone's cell connection. Helps if I remember to turn off the tethering when I'm done so I reduce battery use and don't temp wifi hitch hikers. I also have a cover for the tablet which came with it's own keyboard that connects to the tablet with BlueTooth - works well, helps a LOT with email and text stuff. Keyboard needs charging, as well as the tablet, but not often the way I use it.

My set up works well, but it's way obsolete and I don't store or do _anything_ on the tablet that I think needs to remain private.

If you don't need the phone then a tablet with integrated cell modem makes some sense.  I think you will want an external keyboard, though - I really don't like the feel of smart phone touchscreens, even though I use my phone a lot. But because of the value of a keyboard, you may want to consider "hybrids" which look like extra slim laptops and try to do the basic computer stuff. I can think of too concerns: The keyboards probably mostly suck. And you DON'T want Windows10 because it's effectively impossible to lose all the flash/bloat tangle they pile into their screen and options - makes it impossible to simplify usage and workflow. I can't comment on the other operating systems. Android works for me but I know nothing of Google's other systems or Microsoft's phone system or whatever Amazon has put out there for their tablets.

Other thoughts:

Buy from someplace with a real (30+ day) return policy and test the new toy heavily starting the first day it arrives. Failure points would be anything from "feels wrong" to "won't hold a good cell connection" to "doesn't charge". Send it back ruthlessly and buy it again later of you decide to change your mind.

My phone is a Lenovo/Motorola G5+ and it's a promiscuous beast - it will connect to _any_ cell system if you give it the right chip. But I paid full retail price for this and sourced my provider (and chip) afterward. I wanted a phone which was fully unlocked and included NO built in ad-push hooks. I mention this because the exact same phone was sold at Walmart for 1/5 the price I paid, but it came locked to one cellular company and it had built-in ads which one could not disable. I don't know if you will run into similar "options" north of the border.

In the USA it appears that a simple pre-paid agreement with a cellular RESELLER provides the simplest and best deal. I use PagePlus and pay $30/mo for unlimited communications w/in the USA and 3GB of full speed data. There is a small discount for automatic renewal direct from a bank account or CC and I consider that convenience _very_ worthwhile. I am running all my internet through the phone this month and passed the 3GB limit a couple days ago; I'm running "degraded" data speeds right now and have seen no impact at all. What they offer up there in Northland will be different, but I mention my setup to raise the point about Resellers. The big boys sell blocks of service to the Reseller and they in turn see if they can  make money on it. So far it looks like the way to go down here and you might find something similar available to you.

Regards,
Rufus
 
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You are in a seemingly similar situation that I found myself in just before my recent move!

Due to the nature of my life I need a phone, so I have one.

Then I started looking into tablets battery life, power usage modes, and charging current (running on solar in the winter )

I found that the higher end tablets ( Samsung galaxy tab 10.1", is available in a massive amount of variants)

Also comes with a stylus that's connected to the tab, I have Engineers hands, touch screens only work if I lick my finger first to make it conductive enough 😂😂 now have  a totally usable tablet that I can do all the fancy stuff on that before I had to make sure I had a bottle of water to hand for!

GSM arena compare devices

Should have the galaxy tab variants already selected for you.

And here is the case I use by poetic, i have used the case for almost a month now and not a single bit of damage to the tablet!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07XB3NL36/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_-Jo9DbXDW44ZS" target="_new" rel="nofollow">poetic case

The reason I went for the s6 was it's a powerhouse, futureproof as such, and also with the detachable keyboard and a mode called DEX (look into this it's really usefull) turns your tablet into a windows like device that can then be shared to a bigger screen use a mouse etc etc

Also the keyboard that's available separately has a magnetic connector underneath, but this WONT work with the poetic case, so you will want a bluetooth one, more money will get you one with a track ball embedded,  better for those of us that don't have nice soft skin!


I have a data only sim, unlimited data £19 a month, But in your position  I'd advise getting a PAYG SIM (pay as you go) with addons buy a 5gb addon and see how you get on, make sure you watch your usage or only put enough on to cover the add on, data can be expensive if you go over!

And do all your initial setup at home on wifi, it can be quite a few GB in updates!

If you have any questions feel free to ask, I have somewhere near 6 hours of total research on them (I'm a careful buyer)

I use the tablet all day, hard, and it gets to 20%

It's used for power intensive things like AR measure (Augmented reality tape measure)

And lots and lots of YouTube and podcasts (permies or course)

EDITED To add the Samsung's come with minimal "Bloatware" I worked in a PC world for a week, got fired for being too honest about the actual usable spec after all the rubbish they added so I know what you mean

HTH

Toby Winston

 
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Dual sim tablet is what worked for me..also lesser known as phablet (what happens when you leave a phone and a tablet together in the winter when theres a power outqage).
I got mine on E-bay it works here in the uk fine and uses the large multi sim card. the brand name on the box is xgody a quick look on ebay found similar
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/XGODY-10-1-INCH-Android-7-0-Tablet-PC-2-32GB-8-Core-Dual-SIM-Phablet-HD-WIFI-4G-/233437230787?var=&hash=item3659f176c3

you probably found one by now I see others have pointed you in the right direction.  Good luck Mike
 
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I am not in the marked for a tablet as I can't work without a real keyboard, but I thought I'd add my experience with an old Android Phone:

When I bought it used for 25€, it was already outdated but CyanogenMod still had updates for it. That stopped a year later, so now it has not been updated for two years.
Nobody has ported Linux to it yet and since it is 8 years old, I don't think that will ever change.

So for me, Linux has to run on it.
 
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@r ramson - Yes they do, or at least did. I have one! I don't use it as a cell phone though, but it has capability.  It's a Samsung. Perhaps it can be sold? It's about 2 years old and still works. Reply or private message me if this interests you!
 
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r ranson wrote:I'm going to wait a while longer

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/12/19/opinion/location-tracking-cell-phone.html



I'm going to go rural and ditch my phone 😂😂😂
 
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r ranson wrote:I'm going to wait a while longer

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/12/19/opinion/location-tracking-cell-phone.html



Are you saying you are not interested anymore? I typed up a useful response related to VI location, pricing and hardware and got an error in posting.

I wont bother retrying if you're uninterested.

ps: privacy intrusion will only get worse, never better.
 
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I'll probably have to get one in a few years as some stores now don't take cash.  This makes me incredibly sad.

But I'm going to put it off a while longer.  At least six months, hopefully, a couple of years.
 
Lito George
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You dont need to buy new (right now, there are incredible deals second hand because of the time of year and the natural competition of retail stores discounting), and you could always find a store that does. Sounds like you're more keen on waiting a while. All the best!
 
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Given the limited uses you're looking for, it might be worth exploring eReader devices as a cheaper option than full-on tablets or full feature smartphones. Many (most? all?) eReaders have internet and email option over wifi. Something like a low end basic function Nook might also satisfy your desire to avoid Amazon and Google products and services.
 
r ranson
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Can I use an e-reader to pay for things like parking or automatic bike rentals?  
 
Lito George
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I can recommend a few things for security:

a) Use a free service like ProtonMail which is highly encrypted, offers a useful free version carrying the same layers of protection and is created by the boffins at CERN.

b) Use Duck Duck Go as a search engine because they don't track you.

c) Use Vivaldi as a browser because their tracking is significantly minimal and uses device resources wisely.

d) Use a VPN that truly doesnt track you (do your homework here!), and consider paying about 5bucks a month for a decent offering. After my research an outfit called Mullvad in the Nordic countries ticked every box for 2019. Review annually and go where its best.

e) If you like Pinterest like I do, you'll quickly discover how any search through Chrome for example will yield near instant results in Pinterest shortly thereafter.


Move away from gmail, and other free services, including whatsapp, voice to text services. Their freeness comes at a privacy cost.
 
r ranson
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It looks like I might have to hurry up my timeline on this.

I was looking at a company called Public.  They have a plan that starts at $15 per month for a smart phone.  Can I use a tablet instead?
 
r ranson
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The other option is the a smart phone
but these have such tiny screens.  

I'm also still confused as to these different plans.  How many bytes of data do I need per month?  How many does watching a 10 min youtube take?
 
r ranson
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does anyone know if this would work in Canada?
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0" (2019, WiFi + Cellular) 32GB, 5100mAh Battery, 4G LTE Tablet & Phone (Makes Calls) GSM Unlocked SM-T295, International Model (Silver)

More importantly, would it work with square for taking card payments in person?
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10 Podcast Review of the book Just Enough by Azby Brown
will be released to subscribers in: soon!
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