Due to Apple’s recent release of so many models, finding the ideal iPad for you can be challenging. Previously, you could purchase the iPad in any color and storage configuration you desired if you wanted an Apple tablet. The situation has changed.
The large, gorgeous iPad Pro to the sleek iPad Air are just a few of the many iPad models that Apple sells. Due to the fact that both the iPad Pro and iPad Air are powered by Apple silicon, there are even noticeable variances in performance and cost depending on the iPad Pro size you choose to purchase.
We’ve put together an easy-to-read list of each iPad’s benefits and drawbacks below to assist you in choosing the model that best suits your needs. All of this is based on our in-depth reviews and lab testing, with the intention of preventing you from making a purchase that you could later regret. Here is our list of the top iPads available today in light of that. Visit our best iPads for kids guide if you’re specifically searching for a tablet for family use.
Table of Contents
1. iPad Pro 2021 (12.9 inches)
The already formidable iPad Pro 2021 grew even more powerful when Apple installed its super-powerful M1 chip inside. As part of Apple’s practice of packing a ton of power into its svelte tablets, that chipset new tablet records in Geekbench and Adobe Premiere Rush.
Furthermore, this 12.9-inch tablet is the only one with Apple’s Liquid Retina XDR display, which has a substantially brighter brightness of up to 1588 nits. The camera monitors and follows you as you walk during talks thanks to a new video conferencing technique from Apple called Center Stage.
The quad-speaker configuration of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2021 booms, the optional Magic Keyboard provides a pleasurable typing experience, and the device’s 10+ hours of battery life is sufficient for a full day of use. But since services like Hulu and HBO Max haven’t yet embraced HDR, the ultra-bright XDR display doesn’t always have access to HDR content.
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2021 is also heavier, more expensive, and larger than the MacBook Air at least when docked with the Magic Keyboard. The iPad Pro 2021 is still worthwhile for creative professionals who seek the best tablet for their upcoming masterpiece, nonetheless.
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2. iPad Air (5th Gen)
The MacBook Air and iMac’s Apple M1 desktop chip are also used in the iPad Air lineup. With its 8-core GPU, this processor offers a fluid gaming and graphics-intensive workflow that is perfect for 3D modeling, drawing, and video editing. A 16-core Neural Engine for machine learning processes is also included, which improves performance in optimized programs.
The 12MP ultrawide front-facing camera on the iPad Air now has Center Stage, which enables it to intelligently follow you around the space. This makes it perfect for video conferencing, streaming, and video calling. Additionally, the tablet has the same tiny bezels, Touch ID power button, and contemporary design elements as the previous iPad Air redesign.
The second-generation Apple Pencil and Apple’s premium Magic Keyboard, which has an integrated trackpad and USB-C pass-through charging, are also compatible with the iPad Air. As a result, the Air is now comparable in terms of accessory versatility to the Pro line while being several hundred dollars less expensive.
A single 12MP wide camera is located on the rear and makes use of the M1 chip’s upgraded image signal processor to enable Smart HDR and produce crisper stills and video. This is a significant improvement over the base iPad model, but if capturing images or recording video is something you value on a tablet, you might want to think about the iPad Pro 11-inch instead.
If you want a quick, cutting-edge tablet with superb accessory compatibility, the iPad Air is the best option. In comparison to the standard model, it offers a significantly more up-to-date iPad experience, and it will operate better and endure longer in terms of software support.
3. iPad Air 2022
The iPad Air 5 has superseded the excellent iPad Air 4 by striking the same balance between portability and power. The brand-new iPad Air 2022 is excellent for both reading and producing content, and its starting price of $599 is affordable for a large number of individuals.
The iPad Air 2022 is now practically on pace with the iPad Pro thanks to the addition of the M1. This does not mean that the Air has replaced the Pro, but the power gap is much smaller. This, together with its rather low starting price, may make the new iPad Air more alluring than the iPad Pro for consumers on a tight budget who nevertheless want to obtain the best iPad they can afford.
The most recent iPad Air is a tablet that is almost ideal. Even while there is definitely room for improvement, it is difficult to put this svelte, potent slate down. For the majority of folks, this tablet is arguably the best.
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4. iPad (9th Gen)
The ninth-generation iPad’s A13 Bionic chip, which launched in 2019, is still incredibly powerful. It can easily manage the majority of tasks that youngsters perform on their tablets, such as word processing for schoolwork, streaming video and music, web browsing, and social media.
The majority of App Store apps, such as 3D games like Minecraft, online games like Roblox, and Apple’s own Swift Playgrounds, which teaches tablet users of all ages the fundamentals of programming, run smoothly on the iPad as well. A less-than-impressive 8MP rear camera and a superior 12MP front camera are both present.
Be warned that the 64GB of internal memory that comes with the standard iPad might be quickly depleted if you install numerous apps and games. Apple increased the next storage level for 2021 to 256GB. The fact that the base iPad has been around for so long and has a lot of accessory support at this point is one of its strongest features. This implies that it’s simple to find kid-friendly cases, such as the recognizable HDE Kids Case with Handle for added security.
5. Apple iPad 2021
Since the new 9th Gen iPad performs as well as a typical iPad, we like it. Excellent screen, excellent audio, long power life, and even faster performance. Yes, even though it resembles older generations exactly, the iPad 2021 is nonetheless interesting to look at. Because Apple improved the 1.2MP front-facing camera to a 12MP sensor, if you make a lot of video calls, you’ll be surprised by how much clearer you look on this iPad than on prior generations. Because of Center Stage, that viewpoint is also more intelligent.
With iPadOS 15 becoming more intelligent and features like LiveText (which allows you to copy and paste text out of photos) benefiting from a speedier processor, the A13 Bionic chip is a welcome performance improvement. The new iPad is quite similar to the previous generation other than that, which is wonderful if you use wired headphones and still prefer Lightning cords to USB-C, but it’s not as great if you want the excellent second-gen Apple Pencil or wish Apple would reduce the bezels.
6. iPad mini (6th Gen)
The iPad mini, which starts at $499 for the Wi-Fi variant, is a good option if you’re searching for an iPad to take on trips. For the ninth generation, which will debut in late 2021 and feature a new 8.3′′ Liquid Retina display, the design has been updated.
The Home button has been eliminated in favor of the newest iPad Air and Pro models’ thin bezel designs. The power button on the side of the device doubles as a fingerprint reader, but there is no Face ID to unlock your device using facial recognition.
The A15 Bionic chip found in the iPhone 13 is also included in the iPad Mini but somewhat clocked down from the chip found in Apple’s top-tier smartphone. New cameras for 2021 include a 12MP wide on the back and a 12MP ultra-wide on the front, allowing for Apple’s sophisticated Center Stage subject tracking during FaceTime sessions.
The iPad mini features a USB-C port for the first time ever in addition to support for the second-generation Apple Pencil that attaches to the side of the device for charging. If you spend more money on the cellular version, you’ll also receive 5G connectivity, which is ideal if you’re traveling in a location with reliable 5G service. With 10 hours of wireless web or video playback and a meager 64GB capacity on the base model, the battery life and storage capacity of the iPad is the same.
What are the best iPad models?
A great screen and powerful audio are included when you purchase the entry-level iPad, which is why it has become synonymous with tablets. However, we advise most users to think about the iPad Air 2022 while deciding which iPad is ideal for them.
It costs a little bit more than the base iPad, but if you want to use the most recent Apple Pencil or an attachable keyboard, it’s the greatest iPad for the money. It is almost as performant as the more expensive iPad Pro thanks to the inclusion of a potent M1 chip.
In relation to the iPad Pro, it’s the finest tablet for people looking for a high-end gadget for both work and play. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2021 is the only iPad currently equipped with a brilliant mini-LED display, however, it is also available in 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes. Both sizes look beautiful and perform amazingly owing to Apple’s M1 CPU.
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How to examine iPads
In order to directly compare their performance to that of competitors, we first run as many benchmarks on the iPad as it would support. The color and brightness of the screens of these tablets are then measured using colorimeters and light meters. Then we put them through our own battery test, which measures how long it takes for a tablet to run completely out of battery power while using a 150-nit webcam to browse the internet.
we perform similar activities as yours, including web browsing, YouTube watching, gaming, email composing, and much more. On an attachable keyboard, if possible, we try to write some of our tablet reviews while using the devices we’re testing. I promise you that no one wants to compose their masterpiece on a glass screen.