Making Phone Calls Using Your iPad SIM

Background

I needed a second phone. The previous one that acted as a backup phone – housing my spare SIM card – was an ageing Samsung Galaxy Duos S6102 that was beginning to present some quirks.

This is a project that i did not set out to spend too much on, being just a backup phone to my trusty Samsung S3. But more importantly, stack of bills jostling for my attention would not allow me to be frivolous with my spending.

My Requirements

1. 7+ inch screen – Now, suddenly, even 5 inch screen phones seem so small. Thanks Samsung! But really, I was through with straining my eyes reading from a 3 inch screen, like that of the Galaxy Duos S6102. I wanted a phone that could double as a tablet too (Phablet), something i can easily read my Pdf files from, my Zinio Magazines and other eBook formats. My days of having separate tablet and phone devices are long gone.

2. A Dual SIM device would be fantastic

3. Budget of N40,000 (US$250) – Preferrably less

4. Preferably, an Alternative OS to Android. Do not get me wrong here. Android is fantastic, and the best mobile OS – without doubt. However, all i have known for about 3 years now is android, android and android! A little breather would not hurt.

My Shortlist

1. Techno Phantom A+ – Had to slip this device in, i felt i needed to give it a honourable mention. This Chinese company has made a good job of trying to change our perception of Chinese products as being inferior. At about N35,000 (US$230), the Phantom A+, though half the price of the Samsung S3, has been compared favourably with it. Unfortunately, its 5-inch screen makes it not worthy of consideration.

2. Chinese Tablet Clones – Some even come with Dual SIM and some are actually useable. My younger son has one. If i get one of these, would probably take me just a week to fling it at the wall.

3. Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 or 3 (7 inch) – The cheapest i got for this class of devices is N38,000 (US$235) that i negotiated for a used Galaxy Tab 2 i saw online. Comes straight out of the box with phoning capabilities. Pdf files and eBooks render fairly well on it but there will be very frequent need to zoom to view texts conveniently because of its relatively small screen estate.

4. iPad Classic (iPad 1 – First Generation) – Let us call this the grand daddy of the lot. Though the oldest in this line-up, its specifications compares favourably with the previously listed. However, its miserly 256MB RAM was a bit of a show stopper.

Unfortunately, hardware restrictions in iPad 2 and later iterations has made it IMPOSSIBLE to use any of these later iPad models for phone calls. Reason why they where not consider.

Conclusion

My eventual choice was the grand daddy, iPad First Generation. I am sure many will disagree with my choice, however i will share my reasons with you at the end of this write-up.

With a 2-minute hack (jailbreak) using absinthe and a US$19.99 software download from the guys at iphoneislam.com, the iPad is turned to a larger version of iPhone 4. For a few months back in 2011, i had experimented with using iPad as a phone. You may read about my experiences here.

Pros:

  • A breather from Android. Let me see what the competition has been up to.
  • Very generous screen estate, all 9.7 inch
  • Is it just me? Why do i think iPad tablets have sharper displays than Android tabs?
  • I only paid N35,000 for the 3G, 32GB variant of iPad 1. Pricing is very comparable, if not cheaper than i would have shipped it in from the United States.
  • Think of it as an iPhone 4, has about the same features.
  • Perfect for use in conference calls, very loud speakers.

Cons:

  • You will look very stupid slapping a 9.7 inch phone to your ears. Do not try it!
  • Apple, in its infinite wisdom, crippled the bluetooth hardware on the iPad 1 and i believe later models too. You can not make calls over bluetooth. You are stuck with a wired ear piece.
  • Though not very noticeable, iPad 1 has a miserly 256 MB RAM. It, however, does a better job in managing low RAM than Android devices.
  • Pegged at iOS 5.1.1, guess that is the highest iOS version its low RAM can accommodate. Because of this, you can not install recent apps made for iOS 6+ on iPad 1.

View the screenshots from the “phone” below;

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One Comment

  1. Chuks says:

    Interesting read

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