With five different options available to customers, choosing the right iPad isn’t exactly black and white. Do you want something powerful that can double as a computer? The iPad Pro might be right for you. Perhaps you would prefer something smaller and more portable like the iPad mini. Maybe you just need the basics with the 9.7 or 10.2-inch “regular” iPads. The good news is that there is something for everyone, no matter your budget or your use case.
Best for Everyone
Apple’s new 10.2-inch iPad is best described as the jack of all trades, master of none. It’s the perfect iPad for someone who wants to jump into the tablet pool without diving into the deep end.
Utilizing the A10 processor, it’s plenty powerful for reading, writing, browsing and everything in between. The Retina display is beautiful and, at $329 for 32GB of space, it’s the most affordable way to get started. Even with a processor that’s slightly older, there’s no reason to think this hardware will be outdated anytime soon.
Apple has been fantastic about ensuring iPad models have a lifespan of around five to six years. It also has support for the first-generation iPad pencil, and that is a bonus. What you don’t get with this model is the Smart Connector or Apple’s built-in connection to a hardware keyboard. Fortunately, there are dozens and dozens of third-party Bluetooth keyboards available.
Best for Travel
While the iPad Mini had to wait a few years for a major upgrade, Apple hit a home-run with the iPad mini 5. Portable, lightweight and powerful, the iPad Mini is the perfect solution for iPad buyers who want something small and light.
Ideal for carrying around with you, the 7.9-inch Retina display is in a word, beautiful. Everything about this iPad makes it ideal for anyone who wants to have an iPad with minimal weight. Weighing a mere 0.66 pounds, it’s so lightweight you’ll almost forget you’re holding it. If your major focus is reading on the couch, in bed or in a coffee shop, this is your best option. The same goes for comic book fans since the screen is perfect for one-handed reading.
The iPad Mini 5 comes with the one-year-old A12 processor, so that ensures there’s plenty of life ahead for this device. Throw in 10 hours of battery life, and you’re comfortably gone all day without worrying about a charge.
Best for Professionals
Creative types unite as Apple’s 11 and 12.9-inch iPads are unquestionably some of the best hardware Apple has ever manufactured. Let it be said that these are the ultimate iPads. For the first time in iPad history, this generation of Pro models eliminates the home button and introduces Face ID. Similar to Apple’s most recent iPhone releases, there are no more buttons or headset jacks to worry about.
There’s nothing you can throw at either size that it won’t handle with aplomb. Both models have gorgeous displays, and aside from the screen size, there’s very little difference between the two.
If you want something that’s around the size of a magazine for drawing or multitasking with multiple apps, the larger 12.9-inch iPad is for you. Inside is Apple’s A12X (same for the 11-inch) processor and 4GB of RAM. To put it mildly, this tablet is a powerhouse. Putting this power to good use is the inclusion of a USB-C port which can connect to a monitor or a variety of third-party accessories.
Apple’s Smart Keyboard connects for quickly typing out messages, emails or working on your first novel. Everyone from art students to graphic artists will love Apple Pencil 2 and its incredible speed and efficiency. When you’re ready to move from work to entertainment, four speakers create surround sound making Netflix sound better than ever. Don’t forget it has more than 10 hours of battery life to get you through a work or school day.
Best Better iPad
Finding the sweet spot between all of the above is Apple’s iPad Air. Essentially a larger version of the iPad mini 5, the iPad Air packs a 10.5-inch Retina display. The same A12 processor is packed away inside ensuring there’s plenty of power for running multiple apps at once. Apple kept the home button. so Touch ID quickly gets you into Apple’s vaunted home screen.
There’s no question that if you want a mix of premium features without the premium price, the iPad Air is the way to go. It’s limited to Apple’s first-generation pencil, but there’s still that connectivity for both fun and work. This iPad can handle just about everything you can toss at it, including 3D and AR games or resource-heavy drawing apps. That it also works with the Smart Keyboard magnetic attachment is just icing on the cake. Pick up this iPad if you want the best of the entire lineup without the price tag of a full computer.
Apple’s iPad lineup has something for everyone. You can even go as far back as the 2017 10.5-inch iPad Pro if you really want something powerful yet inexpensive. It won’t have the latest processor, but it packs power where it counts. Before you run out and spend money, really consider what you need and then choose your iPad. Just make sure you choose wisely, as there’s a good chance you’ll own this tablet for years.