With a 31% share of the global market, Apple’s iPad is by far the most popular tablet in the world, and for good reason. Whether you’re a student, professional, or creative, the iPad is a great all-round tool that opens you up to a whole new world of digital computing.
While the choice between picking an iPad versus tablets from other brands is pretty simple for most people, the real challenge comes when trying to pick the best iPad for you. With Apple releasing new versions of these tablets every single year in a variety of sizes and specs, buying the right iPad for yourself or as a gift for others can be very confusing.
Most Powerful iPad - iPad Pro 12.9 inch (5th Gen)
If you’re a working professional who just wants the most powerful iPad regardless of the price, then you should definitely get the iPad Pro 12.9 inch (5th Gen).
I picked up one of these with the latest magic keyboard and it was a huge upgrade over my previous iPad.
The tag “pro” in the name of this iPad is definitely not there for nothing, because this tablet was designed from the ground up with pro users in mind. With a blend of power, performance, and stunning visuals, this iPad has everything you could ever need from a tablet.
The iPad Pro is available in a stunning 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display. With this, you can watch HDR content and watch one of the most vivid and bright pictures you’ll ever see on any display. The difference between this screen and my previous iPad is pretty huge. If you’re a photo or video editor, this is especially helpful as you’ll be able to edit your footage perfectly thanks to the accuracy of the colors on this display.
With Apple’s new Stage Manager feature, connecting this to an external monitor is now better than ever. You get a full screen extended display on an external monitor, with the option to add other iPads or Macs to your workflow through Universal Control.
The cameras on this iPad are also top of the line. With LIDAR scanners at the back for accurate measuring and document scanning, and Center Stage in the front-facing camera for the best video calling experience, the iPad Pro is truly a jack of all trades and master of all.
If you have the money, there truly is no better tablet experience anywhere on the market than the 2021 iPad Pro 12.9 inch, at least until the next gen comes out.
Best Small iPad - iPad Mini (6th Gen)
Swinging from one extreme to the other, if you don’t need the biggest and best tablet, but would rather have something that’s small and cute yet still very much capable, you definitely want to check out the iPad Mini.
In 2021, Apple finally refreshed the iPad mini, giving it a new stunning design to match the rest of the iPad lineup, save for the original iPad, which we would talk about later on.
This all-new 8.3-inch Retina display iPad is Apple’s best attempt yet to bring the amazing iPad experience down to a smaller form factor.
If you want a tablet that you can easily take with you when you’re traveling, something to play games on a long flight, read a book while on your commute, or even draw while you’re out and about thanks to its Apple Pencil 2 support, then the iPad Mini is a great choice for you.
Also, because Apple significantly improved the specs on this generation of the iPad mini, it’s beefy enough to handle most productivity tasks. Pair this with a decent budget keyboard and mouse, and you could be doing some serious work in a very compact form factor.
The size of the iPad Mini also makes it a perfect content consumption device. It’s small enough to hold while lying down on the bed without fear of it falling on your nose, but it’s also big enough for you to enjoy whatever you’re watching without having to squint.
It’s also perfect for students or anyone really who just wants a smaller EDC. This tablet is so small that it can literally fit in any bag. Whether it’s a sling bag, or even small to medium-sized pursues, just chuck this thing in and you can be on your merry way. You can even hold it in your hand together with a pile of books, while your other hand is busy with your coffee.
In a dorm room setting, the iPad Mini can act as an Apple Home device to control all of your smart home devices, or even act as a dedicated music player when connected to an external speaker.
And thanks to the fact that this device has finally been updated with USB-C charging, you can easily charge this with the same charger you use on your Macbook.
The iPad Mini is also the perfect companion for people who use the mini iPhones. Together, they make a great pair. You can use the mini iPhones when you’re on the go and you just need something to communicate, and then the iPad mini once you’re settled and want to enjoy some content or scroll through social media on a bigger screen.
All in all, for less than $500, you’re getting a very capable tablet equipped with all of Apple’s latest and greatest Tablet features, including Center Stage for video calls that track your face.
Best Value - iPad Air (5th Gen)
If you’re looking for the best value iPad, then look no further than the iPad Air. Apple’s Air line of devices have always been known to provide the most value, just look at the Macbook Air for reference. The iPad Air 5th Gen is no different.
Last year, Apple updated the iPad Air with new features that everyone had been asking for. With a new design with tiny bezels, squared-off edges, and USB-C charging, last year’s iPad Air is still a steal even now in 2022.
So when Apple released the 2022 version of the Air, people had high expectations, and thankfully, all of those expectations were met and surpassed.
The iPad Air 5 is not that much different from its predecessor, with its size, display, rear camera and speakers being the exact same as the Air 4. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because the Air 4 was a huge upgrade from previous generations and featured some very impressive hardware.
Apple made two major changes to the Air 5, they added the ultra-fast M1 chip, yes the same one on their flagship computers, and 5G connectivity, and all this for the same price as last year’s model for the Wifi-only version, or just $20 extra for the 5G version.
Thanks to the M1 chip, the iPad Air is also capable of Stage Manager, which like we’ve mentioned before, is iPad OS’s new and improved desktop manager that only works on M1 powered iPads.
You also get huge performance boosts, making the Air 5 an even better option for productivity and creativity than the Air 4. The only downside to this tablet is that it still has a 60 Hertz refresh rate screen.
For most people, this isn’t really a problem. If you’re just getting the tablet as a content consumption device, then we honestly doubt you would notice the difference.
However, if you’re getting this to take lots of notes or draw, basically if you’re going to be working with the Apple Pencil a lot, then we highly suggest you consider getting an iPad with 120 Hertz screen. That difference is noticeable when using the Apple Pencil, but not much anywhere else.
Some other differences between the iPad Air and Pro include the use of TouchID on the Air, while the Pro still uses FaceID, just like it has since 2018. Speaking of 2018, here’s a bonus iPad for you.
Bonus - Best Refurbished - iPad Pro 2018
The iPad Pro 2018 was the first iPad Pro to ditch the home button in favor of a more squaredout design with minimal bezels. The A12X bionic chip that was in this iPad is still really powerful today. I actually hung onto my iPad Pro 2018 till I upgraded to the new Pro.
If you’re looking for an iPad that has a ProMotion Display which is Apple’s fancy way of saying it has 120 hertz refresh rate, but you don’t want to break the bank on the really expensive iPad Pro 2022, then you should definitely consider getting the iPad Pro 2018 used or refurbished.
For less than $500, you’re getting a really capable tablet that’s still very competitive, even in today’s market. Trust us when we say if you get this even today, you definitely won’t regret it.
We have to mention, though, that the one downside to getting older hardware is that you miss out on some of the newer features Center Stage and Stage Manager. But if you can do without those two, then the iPad Pro 2018 is definitely a killer value now in 2022.
Best budget iPad (9th gen)
Finally, if you’re simply looking for the most affordable iPad, then at close to $300, the iPad 9th Gen is definitely the one to go with.
If you can look past its outdated appearance, the iPad is definitely a great tablet, much better than anything you can get at its price.
Surrounded by so many other great iPads, one might ask, why choose the budget iPad? Well, there are a couple of reasons, and all of them are in some way tied to its price.
The iPad comes with a 10.2-inch screen. So, if the 8.3 inches you get with the iPad mini just isn’t good enough, you can bump up that screen size while actually bringing the cost down, which is incredible. And the screen on the iPad is not bad at all. Yes it doesn’t have ProMotion or Liquid Retina XDR, but it’s a really good Retina display that is great for watching content.
Also, if you’re one of those people who still love the Home button, then this is the only current gen iPad that you can get that still has that button. And while the giant bezels might seem unappealing, they actually serve as great positions to place your hand whilst holding the tablet in landscape mode.
You do get what you pay for, though in many aspects. This tablet still features the Lightning port as opposed to USB-C, and it does not have support for the Apple Pencil 2. Although, you can still use the older Apple Pencil if you want that functionality.
On the bright side, the front camera on this features Center Stage, which is a feature the iPad Pros even from barely two years ago lack.
If you’re on a budget or you want to get something you can carry around without being too worried about what happens to it, or perhaps you want to give someone as a present, maybe your kids or your parents, the iPad 9th Gen is a great option at an affordable price.
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Thank you very much for watching. See you in the next video!