With more options than ever, it might seem hard to commit to a tablet before you make the investment. But we can tell you with full confidence that no matter which iPad you choose, it’ll be the best tablet in its respective category. You can expect elegant design, excellent craftsmanship, a high-quality Retina display, and effortless performance from every product in this list — all of which make the iPad price tag worth pressing the 'buy' button every single time.
During its recent “California Streaming” keynote event, Apple unveiled a refreshed entry-level iPad, as well as a thoroughly revamped iPad mini alongside the iPhone 13 range. Both gadgets are already available to order, with the iPad starting at $329 and the iPad mini rocking a $499 sticker.
Today's iPad Lineup
- Best for Most Consumers — Apple iPad Air (4th Generation)
- Best Budget — Apple iPad (9th Generation)
- Most Powerful and Feature-Packed — Apple iPad Pro (5th Generation)
- Most Compact — Apple iPad mini (6th generation)
Apple's selection of tablet-friendly apps and games is the best in the industry. They range from apps for streaming your favorite content to immersive augmented reality offerings. In this instance, tablet rivals that use Android, Chrome OS, and Windows 10 are so far behind that there’s no point in comparing them.
You'll get Apple's iPadOS, too. The platform is based on Apple iOS, but it's packed with unique features that take advantage of the tablet's big screen. It has baked-in support for a mouse and a trackpad, making the iPad an even more exciting laptop alternative. Best of all, the platform comes with many years' worth of timely updates, ensuring that you'll always get the best iPad experience.
Every iPad is also backed by an industry-leading selection of original and third-party accessories. This is another major reason to choose Apple's products over their product category's rivals.
When shopping for an iPad, we recommend spending a bit extra for a variant with more storage. It won’t take long before you find the additional expense to be well worth it. Every variant of the product is also available with optional cellular connectivity for $130 extra.
Here's a breakdown of what each iPad offers so you can pick the best one to suit your needs.
Best for Most Consumers
• Apple A14 Bionic chip with a Neural Engine
• 10.9-inch Retina display with True Tone technology
• Up to 256GB of available storage
• 12MP camera with 4K video recording
• Built-in stereo speakers
• Compatible with Magic Keyboard and second-generation Apple Pencil
The latest iPad Air is the best option for most buyers, and it offers an iPad Pro-like design and features at a more reasonable price point. Available in five colors (silver, space gray, rose gold, sky blue, green), the lightweight and super thin slate is also Apple's most colorful iPad to date.
The fourth-generation iPad Air is Apple's first tablet with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor that's embedded into the power button. Making the move has allowed the tech giant to equip the device with a noticeably larger display while maintaining the same footprint as its predecessor.
Containing the same A14 Bionic chip as the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro, the iPad Air is the most powerful tablet in its price range and beyond. While testing it, I discovered that there is literally no work- or entertainment-related task that it isn’t up for.
I especially like the large and vibrant Retina display of the iPad Air. It has thin bezels, as well as True Tone tech — a handy feature that reduces eye strain by automatically adjusting the white balance and color temperature, depending on your lighting conditions.
Compared to the pricier iPad Pro, the new iPad Air lacks a ProMotion Retina display with a high refresh rate, a dual camera with a LiDAR sensor, and Face ID. The iPad Pro also has an edge in graphics and processing power and built-in storage in the entry-level guise (128 versus 64GB). But unless you plan to utilize the Pro's aforementioned hardware features on a regular basis, there's probably no need to spend an extra $200 to get one.
• Apple A13 Bionic chip with a Neural Engine
• 10.2-inch Retina display
• Up to 256GB of available storage
• 12MP ultra wide front camera with Center Stage, 8MP rear-facing camera
• Built-in bottom/side-facing stereo speakers, Lightning connector
• Compatible with first-generation Apple Pencil
Apple's refreshed entry-level iPad has the same timelessly cool design and screen size as its predecessor, but a more capable A13 Bionic chip with a Neural Engine, an upgraded display panel, more storage, and a next-level front camera, all while retaining the same amazing price point. The chip upgrade brings significant power and performance bumps, making the slate even better at multitasking, productivity, and creative work, gaming, and augmented reality experiences, among many others.
The iPad's 10.2-inch Retina display has been updated to support True Tone tech, so it’ll adjust its colors based on the ambient lighting to deliver a top-tier viewing experience. Compared to the Retina displays of pricier iPad models, the panel lacks the ability to cover the P3 gamut, so it won't have the same color range.
A groundbreaking feature of the iPad Pro, Center Stage has made its way to the starter iPad, and we applaud Apple for including it. By utilizing machine learning, the device’s ultra wide camera will ensure that you are always in the center of the frame during video calls.
Equipped with the Apple Smart Keyboard, the new iPad is also an excellent tool for cranking out work. For an even more laptop-like experience, consider this Logitech keyboard cover with a built-in trackpad instead.
Overall, the iPad will deliver a phenomenal tablet experience that’s the best in its price range and well beyond. You can order it in silver or space gray.
Most Powerful and Feature-Packed
• Apple M1 chip with a Neural Engine
• 11- or 12.9-inch Liquid Retina display with ProMotion and True Tone technology
• Up to 2TB of available storage
• Dual camera (12MP and 10MP), built-in LiDAR scanner, 12MP Face ID camera
• Thunderbolt-4 USB-C connector
• Four built-in stereo speakers, five built-in microphones
• Compatible with second-generation Apple Pencil, Magic Keyboard
Fresh off a major hardware update with the mighty Apple M1 chip, the latest iPad Pro is the tech giant’s most powerful iPad to date. It brings a host of exciting upgrades, headlined by even more graphics and processing power, a Thunderbolt-compatible USB-C connector, more storage options, and optional 5G connectivity. By delivering fast network speeds, the new iPad Pro is a great tool for staying connected and productive while commuting or in places without access to a Wi-Fi network if you opt for a pick with cellular connectivity.
A centerpiece of the MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro, the industry-altering Apple M1 chip takes the new iPad Pro to a whole new level. In terms of sheer hardware and graphics performance, the new generation is not only the most powerful iPad available today but also more capable than most desktop and laptop computers out there.
Once again, you can order the iPad Pro with an 11- or a 12.9-inch Liquid Retina display that’s nothing short of spectacular — and a joy to use. In addition to True Tone, it has ProMotion tech with a maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz for more fluid onscreen interactions with apps and games.
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro has an even more captivating Liquid Retina XDR display with similar qualities as Apple's Pro Display XDR monitor. The screen is a marvel to behold and the best I’ve seen on an Apple iPad yet. Its panel has more than 10,000 mini-LED lights and a peak brightness of 1,600 nits, which combine to deliver a detail-rich viewing experience with vibrant colors and deep contrast levels.
Just like the outgoing model, the new iPad Pro has a dual camera with a LiDar scanner and five built-in microphones for a pro-grade audio experience. The updated FaceTime camera, on the other hand, has a cool new feature dubbed Center Stage. With the help of machine-learning tech, it can keep you in the center of the frame (hence the name) even if you move around.
The slate is compatible with an updated Magic Keyboard that’s available in black or white. You can also use the second-generation Apple Pencil and a more reasonably priced Smart Keyboard Cover with your new Pro.
Overall, the new iPad Pro is the best tablet money can buy — by an insurmountable margin.
• Apple A15 Bionic chip with a Neural Engine
• 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone technology
• Up to 256GB of available storage
• Built-in stereo speakers
• Compatible with second-generation Apple Pencil
More than 2 years after launching the previous iteration, Apple completely revamped the beloved iPad mini. The newcomer rocks an iPad Air-like, all-screen design with a bigger display and a Touch ID sensor that’s integrated into its power button. It also packs the same Apple A15 Bionic chip as the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro, an upgraded camera setup with Center Stage tech and 4K video recording, optional 5G network connectivity, and a USB-C connector.
The iPad mini has an 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone technology and compatibility with the P3 color gamut that’s not only bigger and more vibrant than the 7.9-inch panel of the outgoing model but also compatible with the second-generation Apple Pencil. The optional accessory can snap onto the right side of the slate for charging and storage.
Combined with the fast chip, the bigger screen will help you work or stay entertained with equally impressive results. Being a small tablet, the iPad mini does not have a built-in Smart Connector for attaching a keyboard cover. You can pair the slate with a Bluetooth keyboard instead.
When it comes to sheer portability, the iPad mini is truly in a league of its own. The most compact iPad is also hands-down the best small tablet worth your attention today. It’s available in a quartet of eye-catching colors: space gray, starlight, pink, and purple.