Which iPad Should You Buy?

Which is the Best iPad for You?

The process of buying an iPad got a little tougher when Apple unveiled its line of "Pro" iPads. The iPad now comes in three different sizes (12.9-inch, 9.7-inch, and 7.9-inch) and the top-of-the-line models include enterprise-level processors that can compete with most laptops. But do you even need that much power? While the iPad Pro tablets blow the doors off anything we've seen, the iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 2 may be a better fit for your needs. And your wallet.

For those who already own an iPad, the choice becomes whether to upgrade your iPad, and if you do, should you go with an iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4, or reach for the sky with an iPad Pro? We'll take a look at each iPad in the lineup and find out which one might be the best for specific needs.

Sporting Apple’s new True Tone display and running on the company's A9X mobile processor, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is hands-down the greatest tablet on the market right now. This is a great buy for people who want the best of the best and would use this iPad as a second mini computer (minus the bulk).

The iPad Pro has sensors that detect the light in wherever you are and automatically changes the color temperature of the screen to match the ambient light. The end result makes the screen resemble a sheet of paper. The feature is most apparent when switched off because the display (like all non-true tone displays) reveals its mostly bright bluish light. Not only does the 9.7-inch iPad pro have a 2048 x 1536 screen resolution, but it uses an A9X processor and features four speakers for the optimal sound quality (which is great for movie buffs and audiophiles).

In addition, the iPad Pro pairs perfectly with the Pencil, and has a nifty connector to keyboards, so you don’t have to count on a Bluetooth connection to type without using the on-screen keyboard. Love sharing photos on social media? It's the only iPad that has a rear-facing 12MP camera (and a front-facing 5MP camera), for those who want to snap better pictures on their device. The iPad Pro 9.7 measures 9.4 x 6.6 x .24 inches, weighs .96 pounds and comes in three storage sizes: 32GB (which we don't recommend), 128GB, and 256GB. Battery life averages a reliable 9 to 10 hours.

iPad
Courtesy of Apple

If you’ve paid any attention to technology the past few years, you’ve probably noticed that the excitement around tablets has died down a bit. In response to this, Apple released its latest iPad (simply called “iPad”) in early 2017 with an entry-level price to spur new interest.

The new iPad looks, feels and runs like most other iPads, except it doesn’t have all the coolest high-end features that the iPad Pro models have. (But since this is much less expensive, that shouldn’t be surprising.) This model has a 9.7-inch screen with 2,048 x 1,536 resolution and weighs just over a pound. Inside, the new iPad has an A9 processor with 64-bit architecture, 2GB of RAM, an eight-megapixel camera on back, a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera and a battery that claims to give 10 hours of active usage.

You can purchase this model in silver, gold and space gray and it offers either 32GB or 128GB of storage, depending on your needs. With all this tech stuffed into a reasonably priced package, this model is perfect for upgrading an iPad that you’ve had for several years or for buying your first iPad. More »

Want to get the biggest bang for your buck? Pound for pound, the iPad Air 2 is the best value of the bunch and has most of the features that the iPad Pro line of tablets do, minus four-speaker audio (it only has two) and some of the new accessories such as the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard (and its A8X processor is just a tad slower than the newer models). But, it's equipped with the same 9.7-inch retina display that offers a 2048 x 1536 resolution. It weighs less than a pound and offers 8MP photos on the rear-facing camera (an ƒ/2.4 aperture), as well as 1080p HD video recording. It comes in 16GB, 64GB or 128GB and there are three color options (gold, silver and space gray).

If you're looking to save a few hundred dollars and don't mind sacrificing the faster A9X processor that some of the iPad Air 2's siblings come with, then this is a great choice. You'll be able to watch immersive movies and viral YouTube clips on the beautiful display, and even though the speakers might pale in comparison to the two Pro versions, it still has the same Bluetooth 4.2 technology that they do, so it's easy to tether the device to speakers that offer better sound quality.

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is what you should strongly consider when you're in the market for replacing a laptop or desktop PC. The large display and ability to buy in 32GB, 128GB or 256GB means you'll have plenty storage capacity. It's 12 x 8.68 x .27 inches and weighs just 1.57 pounds (say goodbye to lugging around your laptop). This version of the iPad ups the resolution to 2732 x 2048 beautiful pixels, and has the same super-fast A9X processor as its smaller sibling, as well as a larger battery. If you're into snapping photos, though, it does only offer an 8MP rear-facing camera, whereas the 9.7-inch iPad Pro has a 12MP camera. The device also has Bluetooth 4.2 technology and the ability to record videos in 1080p HD.

Bottom line: If you're looking to get rid of your laptop or bulky desktop, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro clearly the best (and most powerful) choice. The top-notch display makes watching movies and TV shows via Netflix or Hulu a great experience. Need to do some work? Typing up documents and creating PowerPoint presentations in Google Drive is a breeze. Although a bit pricey, this iPad won't have you missing your old computer.

In terms of portability, the iPad mini 4 is your best bet. It uses an A8 processor that’s only a teeny bit slower than the iPad Air 2’s A8X chip, but can perform all the same software functions as the larger tablet such as side-by-side multitasking; it also has the same 8MP rear-facing camera as the Air 2. While its small screen might not be for everyone (and it is pricier than competitors), the device offers a sharp 2048 x 1536 resolution, 1080p HD video recording, slow-mo video support for 720p at 120 fps and measures just 8 x 5.3 x .24 inches, so it's perfect to store in your purse or a small backpack if you're traveling and want to consume some entertainment on-the-go. The iPad mini 4 weighs just over half a pound and comes in 32GB and 128GB, and is available in three colors (gold, silver, and space gray).

Disclosure

E-Commerce Content is independent of editorial content and we may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page.