Walt Mossberg

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Need Mobile Email? You’ll Need a Data Plan.

Q:

I have not used my cellphone for anything other than making calls, so I had a cheap $20 per month plan. Now, I need to access emails when I’m on the road. Is there any cheap way to do this other than getting a new, costlier two-year contract with a data plan? I don’t plan to surf the Web on the phone.

A:

I don’t know exactly what plans are available for your particular phone, but I do know that wireless carriers consider email a form of data and that you will therefore need to add a data plan, whether you plan to surf the Web or not. If your phone can connect to Wi-Fi networks and your need to check email isn’t constant, you might be able to use free Wi-Fi hotspots for email, when you can get to them. But phones with Wi-Fi are typically smartphones, for which carriers require a data plan. The other option would be to rely for email on a device other than your phone, such as a laptop, a tablet, or a connected mobile media player—all of which use Wi-Fi and none of which require a cellular data contract.

Q:

Is it normal for the new iPad to be charged only 87% after four full hours of charging?

A:

Based on my experience, that doesn’t sound out of line. Because it has a much larger battery, the time it takes to fully charge the new iPad is noticeably longer than on the earlier models. (Note: See this post by AllThingsD’s Ina Fried.)

Email Walt at mossberg@wsj.com.


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