Is an iPad Worth It? 5 Reasons Why You Should Buy One

And reasons you might not need to buy an iPad

An iPad offers better portability than a laptop, and their big screens make them better for streaming video, reading websites, and getting work done than a phone. The iPad is also a great e-book reader. You may not need an iPad if you already carry around a phone and a laptop, and they are pretty expensive, but you might be surprised at just how often an iPad can come in handy. This guide will help you figure out whether you need an iPad based on your lifestyle and needs if you're on the fence.

What Is an iPad?

An iPad is a tablet that runs on iPadOS, a variation of the operating system that powers iPhones. As a tablet, an iPad is a thin touchscreen device that resembles an oversized iPhone or the screen of a laptop with the keyboard portion removed. In addition to the standard iPad, you can also get a lightweight iPad Air, a powerful iPad Pro, or a compact iPad mini. These devices are all highly integrated into the Apple ecosystem, allowing you to access your iCloud files on the go, and use most of the same apps you can use on an iPhone. They're better for consuming media and getting work done than iPhones due to their larger displays, and they're more portable than MacBooks.

Who Should Get an iPad?

An iPad may replace your need for a laptop or just in specific situations. You should consider an iPad if you:

  • Participate in a lot of video calls
  • Are a creative who could benefit from the Apple Pencil
  • Need to take a lot of notes in a variety of situations
  • Want to get work done on the go without a bulky laptop

Who Shouldn’t Get an iPad?

Not everyone needs an iPad. You might not if you:

  • Are working with a tight budget
  • Already have an Android tablet
  • Want to use removable storage
Using an iPad with other Apple devices.

Westend61 / Getty Images

Why You Should Get an iPad

There are a lot of situations where an iPad can come in handy, and some people are even able to replace their desktop computer or laptop with an iPad. Here are some reasons you might consider getting an iPad.

You’re Already Invested in the Apple Ecosystem

The iPad is a high-quality tablet that can be useful regardless of what other hardware you own. It comes alive if you’re already in the Apple Ecosystem. If you use an iPhone, wear an Apple Watch, and do most of your work on an iMac or MacBook, you’ll find that an iPad is a natural extension of that family of devices. AirDrop lets you seamlessly transfer files, iCloud gives you access to photos, settings, and other data, and you can even use an iPad as a second monitor with your Mac.

You’re an Artist or Take a Lot of Handwritten Notes

If you’re an artist or enjoy doodling in your free time, the Apple Pencil is a game-changer. It essentially turns the iPad into a drawing tablet, and the latest version even wirelessly charges when magnetically connected to the iPad. It’s also tremendously helpful if you take a lot of handwritten notes for your job or any other purpose, as it makes it easy to jot down notes and organize them for quick access later.

You Consume a Lot of Media

Whether you love binge-watching Netflix, spend all day listening to music or podcasts, or are an avid reader, an iPad represents an upgrade over using a phone or laptop. The big screen is better for video content and e-books, and the built-in speakers provide better sound for instances where you find yourself without your earbuds. An iPad is also easier to carry around and hold for long periods than a laptop.

You Find Yourself in a Lot of Video Calls

Whether you’re Facetiming friends and family or stuck in Zoom meetings all day for work, an iPad is the perfect solution. Instead of tying up your computer or laptop or relying on the tiny screen of your phone, making video calls on your iPad allows you to free up your other devices and increase your productivity. The latest iPads also have unique features like Center Stage specifically designed to improve video calls.

You’re on the Go All Day

Despite their big screens and powerful hardware, iPads have excellent battery life. If you often find yourself on the go all day, without any time to stop and charge your phone, an iPad could be a game-changer. Instead of your phone battery hanging by a thread at day's end, shifting tasks to the iPad is likely to see both batteries in the green even after the longest, most active days.

Video conferencing on an iPad while using an Imac as well.

Luis Alvarez / DigitalVision / Getty Images

When You Shouldn’t Get an iPad

There are many reasons to get an iPad, but not everyone needs one. They are expensive, and some people won’t get enough out of an iPad to justify the purchase. Here are some of the reasons you might not want an iPad.

You’re Working on a Tight Budget

The base iPad model might be more affordable than you expect, but it's still pretty expensive compared to other tablets. If you're working on a tight budget and already have a phone and laptop, it might be a stretch to justify an iPad's premium price tag. If you don't need a high-performance device, you can find Android tablets that cost significantly less. Or you might want to consider sticking with the gear you already have.

Limited Storage Turns You Off

One of the biggest problems with the iPad family of devices is Apple charges a premium for storage. There is always a base model without much internal storage and significantly more expensive options with more storage. Most Android tablets let you insert an inexpensive micro SD card if you need more space, but Apple doesn’t give you that option. If that’s a deal-breaker, then you shouldn’t get an iPad.

An Upgrade Is Around the Corner

Apple releases a new iPad every 12 to 18 months, and the releases of new iPads, iPad Airs, and iPad Pros are staggered. That means a brand new iPad is almost always around the corner, and the iPad you buy today might be overshadowed by a new model tomorrow. If you don’t need an iPad right now, check and see when the next model is coming, along with the most likely new features. If the next model includes any killer new features that you need to have, then you may want to wait before you buy.

Do You Need an iPad to Increase Productivity and Enjoy Multimedia?

An iPad can help you increase your productivity if you're an artist or you find yourself in many video calls, spend a lot of time out of the office, or take lots of notes. While you can do a lot of the same things with a phone and laptop that you can also do with an iPad, there are a lot of situations where an iPad is the more efficient option, is easier to carry around, and provides a superior experience. An iPad is also handy to have around during downtime, as the big screen is great for streaming media and reading e-books, especially if you currently do those things on a cramped phone screen. 

Using an iPad to draw and take notes with the Apple Pencil.

Chainarong Prasertthai / iStock / Getty Images

Should I Buy an iPad if I Have a Laptop?

While an iPad can accomplish many of the same tasks as a laptop, that doesn’t mean they’re interchangeable. There are probably some tasks you’ll still need your laptop for, but there are also a lot of situations where you’ll be able to leave your laptop at home and only carry the much lighter iPad. The transition is seamless if you use an iPhone, iPad, and MacBook. You can also use an iPad as a second screen for your MacBook, for video calls while still using your MacBook for other tasks, and for creating art and jotting notes if you add an Apple Pencil. 

Is It Worth Getting an iPad for School?

Depending on where you go to school and the apps you’re required to use, you may be able to use an iPad exclusively. That could save you money since iPads are cheaper than MacBooks, and they’re also lighter and easier to carry between your classes. However, your school might require apps that won’t run on an iPad, or your workload requires an actual laptop. In those cases, you’ll need to decide if the convenience of the iPad is worth the extra cost, especially if you’ll typically need to be carrying a laptop to class in addition to the iPad.

Is It Worth Getting an iPad Pro?

Apple offers several iPad models to hit a wide variety of price points, and the difference in price between the entry-level iPad and a top-of-the-line iPad Pro is huge. If you plan on reasonably light usage, like streaming media, sending email, and taking notes, you can safely avoid an iPad Pro and get a regular iPad. The current iPad Air model will typically have similar hardware to the previous iPad Pro at a significantly lower price point if you're looking to save some money without taking too much of a hit in the area of performance. If you need the extra power or want all the latest bells and whistles, and you can afford the higher price tag, the latest model iPad Pro will significantly outperform the competition.

  • How do I connect an Apple Pencil to an iPad?

    The first- and second-generation Apple Pencils use different means to sync with an iPad, but they're both easy. For the original, plug the Pencil into the Lightning port at the bottom of your tablet (the same one you use to charge the iPad). For the second-gen, attach the Pencil to the magnetic connector on the side of the iPad. It's on the same side as the volume buttons. After doing either of these steps, the iPad will automatically detect and pair with the Apple Pencil.

  • How do I print from an iPad?

    Like the iPhone, the iPad supports AirPrint, which lets you send documents and photos to a compatible printer. As long as both the printer and your iPad are on the same wireless network, you can transmit something and print it through the Share menu.

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