Find Your Perfect Match: A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Right iPad Model

Which iPad should I Buy?

Apple’s iPad lineup, with its top-tier hardware and software optimization, has been a go-to choice for tablet users.

However, choosing an iPad model isn’t as straightforward as it seems. The 11″ and 13″ iPad Air and iPad Pro models differ mainly in size, with the iPad Mini being the smallest. The 10th-gen iPad, with its recent price reduction, has effectively replaced the 9th-gen model. But, the complexity lies in the varying upgrade and accessory options for each model.

Let’s start with the basics. The table below provides a quick overview of how the current iPad models differ in terms of price, display, processing power, accessory support, and storage options.

Model iPad Pro iPad Air iPad Mini iPad
Processor M4 M2 A15 A14
Display Size 11″ or 13″ 10.9″ or 12.9″ 8.3″ 10.9″
Display Technology 120Hz OLED 60Hz LCD 60Hz LCD 60Hz LCD
Min / Max Storage 256GB / 2TB 128GB / 1TB 64GB / 256GB 64GB / 256GB
Keyboard Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro Magic Keyboard n/a Magic Keyboard Folio
Pencil Pencil Pro & USB-C Pencil Pro & USB-C 2nd-gen & USB-C 1st-gen & USB-C
Price starts at: 950 570 469 334

Now, let’s delve into each model and the features they offer.

The Basic iPad: Is it Sufficient for You?

If you’re looking for a tablet for video streaming and web browsing, the basic iPad is a cost-effective choice. It offers the same display resolution (2360 x 1640) and max brightness (500 nits) as the 11″ iPad Air. The 12MP front camera is also the same across all models.

For those who want a tablet-cum-laptop, the iPad has an edge over the Air with its Magic Keyboard Folio, which offers function keys and a trackpad. However, it requires more desk space due to the kickstand.

Despite its solid features and affordability, the basic iPad isn’t for everyone. The lack of an anti-reflective coating makes it less suitable for outdoor use. The A14 SoC and 4GB RAM are no match for the M2 and 8GB RAM of the iPad Air. The base iPad supports the 1st-gen Pencil, which requires a $9 adapter for use with the Pencil bought before the adapter was included in the box.

The iPad is available at $349 for the 64GB Wi-Fi model. For $150 more, you can upgrade to 256GB, but that’s only $100 less than the 128GB iPad Air. The device is available in silver, blue, pink, and yellow.

The iPad Mini: Is Bigger Always Better?

The iPad Mini, with its dimensions of 7.7″ x 5.3″ (19.5 x 13.4 cm), is one of the largest tablets that can be comfortably held in one hand. If you plan to use your iPad while standing, the Mini might be your best bet.

However, the Mini hasn’t been updated since late 2021. It’s the only iPad with the front camera on the short edge, which is better for one-hand use.

The Mini is powered by the A15 Bionic chip and 4GB RAM, which may not be as powerful as the high-end models, but it’s hard to find a faster device in this size and price range. The 8.3″ display, with a resolution of 2266 x 1488, has the highest pixel density of all iPads. It supports Bluetooth keyboards and the 2nd-gen Pencil with wireless pairing, charging, and double-tap to switch tools.

The Mini is available in light pink, purple, starlight, and space grey, starting at $499 ($400 with coupon) for the 64GB Wi-Fi model. For $150 extra, you can upgrade to 256GB.

The iPad Air: The Best Bang for Your Buck?

Powered by the Apple M2 processor and 8GB RAM, the iPad Air is great for gaming, multitasking, 3D modeling, and even video editing, except for HDR content. It’s compatible with the Magic Keyboard and the new Pencil Pro, which offers features like rotation, squeeze, haptic feedback, and Find My compatibility.

The 11″ iPad Air starts at $600 with 128GB storage, and for $200 more, you can upgrade to the 13″ model, which offers higher max brightness (600 nits) and improved bass. The Air is available in starlight, space grey, and delicate shades of blue and purple.

Do You Really Need the iPad Pro?

The iPad Pro is a top choice for professionals like graphic artists and indoor designers. The 120Hz display offers a superior drawing experience, and LiDAR is a must-have for designers. For video editors, the Pro’s dual OLED panels provide 1600 nits of peak brightness and true black at the pixel level. It’s also a great backup camera, with ProRes recording, audio zoom, and stereo recording.

The M4 chip outperforms the M2 in the Air, and the USB-C connector supports USB4/Thunderbolt speeds. The Pro is compatible with the Pencil Pro and the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro. The 11″ iPad Pro Wi-Fi model starts at $999 with 256GB storage, and the 13″ model is an extra $300.

Should You Opt for a Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad?

Adding sub-6GHz 5G to your basic iPad, iPad Mini, or iPad Air will cost $150 extra, and $200 for the iPad Pro. While you can use your smartphone as a hotspot, it will drain both devices’ batteries.

The more expensive your iPad, the more painful it’ll be to replace it due to the lack of cellular connectivity. If you’re buying a Pro model with 1TB or more storage, the $200 shouldn’t be a significant concern.

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