What’s the best iPad to buy? We compare all of Apple’s currently available tablets.
If you’re on the hunt for a tablet, chances are an iPad is top of your wishlist, and for good reason.
Since Google unceremoniously announced it was pulling out of the tablet market, outside of Microsoft’s business/productivity focussed Surface-line, Apple’s been left pretty much unopposed in the space.
But that hasn’t stopped it releasing all manner of great iPads over the years, with highlights including industry-leading high refresh rate screens, top notch performance and an app ecosystem that puts the competition to shame.
2020 continues this trend and has been another great year for the iPad line with Apple unveiling a new iPad Air 4 and iPad 8, giving it a complete portfolio of tablets covering multiple price points and user cases.
If you’re just after a tablet to keep the kids entertained, there’s no point shelling out for a top end Pro-model with a keyboard and Apple Pencil. Equally, if you’re looking to do creative work, you’ll definitely want to pay the premium and get one with a large ProMotion display and stylus.
Here to make sure you get the exact right iPad for your needs, we created this guide detailing the best iPads we’ve reviewed that are still on the market.
1. iPad Air 4
iPad Air 4 is the best iPad you can buy right now. It takes the overall look of the pricier Pro models but makes it cheaper and more fun with a selection of colours. It ditches Face ID for a Touch ID sensor in the power button and while you don’t get the buttery smooth 120Hz display, the 10.9-inch panel here remains excellent.
Inside you’ll find the A14 Bionic chipset and either 64GB or 256GB of storage. Support for the newer Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard is here too, really elevating this tablet above the older model.
Read our full iPad Air 4 review
2. iPad Pro 11-inch
The smaller 11-inch iPad Pro offers the same underlying hardware and power as its larger sibling in an even more compact package. Impressively, Apple has managed to squeeze the larger screen, onto a device that has the same footprint as 2017’s 10.5-inch iPad Pro and the same thickness – at 5.9mm – as the newer 12.9-inch model.
The move to USB-C in place of Lighting should negate the necessity for quite so many dongles, letting you more readily interface with peripherals such as external displays and digital cameras. Apple offers new new keyboard folio covers for both 2020 Pros.
With the option of LTE and storage now available up to 1TB, it’s clear that Apple is serious about marketing its iPad Pros as legitimate competitors to more traditional laptops, convertibles and 2-in-1s.
Read our full iPad Pro review
3. iPad Pro 12.9-inch
The largest of Apple’s slates features the same-sized screen as 2017’s biggest model but this time it’s set within smaller dimensions overall. The result is a big-screened tablet that, by comparison, should be easier to handle.
It’s powered by Apple’s own A12Z Bionic chip and has a lovely 120Hz screen that’s very responsive when drawing.
The tablet packs support for the Apple Pencil stylus that magnetically attaches to either iPad Pro, automatically pairing with them and charging as it does so.
Read our full iPad Pro review
5. iPad 8
If you’re a regular person that just wants a tablet to browse the internet, occasionally game and watch Netflix or Disney Plus on the go then the iPad 8 is the best option on the market right now.
It doesn’t have most of the fancy features you’ll find on Apple’s more expensive iPads, but by getting nearly all the basics right, it’ll be more than good enough for 99% of buyers.
The new A13 Bionic chip is super fast and ensures the iPad is more than powerful enough to run nearly every app on the App Store and any game you’ll find on Apple Arcade. The screen doesn’t have the high refresh rate or DCIP3 colour gamut coverage of more expensive models, but it’s still bright and wonderfully vibrant.
The only serious downside for most buyers is its slightly retro design, which features fairly large and chunky bezels by today’s standards. Still, even with this small flaw, all-in-all, for less than £350 you’ll struggle to find a better iPad.
Read our iPad 8 review
6. iPad Mini 5
Barely touched in years, Apple’s announcement of an updated iPad Mini 5 in 2019 came as something of a shock.
The fifth-generation iPad Mini looks very much like the older ones, with the classic metal and glass design along with a TouchID-toting home button, Lightning connector and headphone jack. What is new though is that the 7.9-inch display now supports Apple’s True Tone tech for altering the colour temperature depending on your environment to make it a lot more comfortable to read on. You’ve also got Apple’s latest A12 Bionic chipset and support for the Apple Pencil.
Read our full iPad Mini 5 review
iPad/iPad Pro competitors
Apple has made sure that if you’re considering a tablet purchase then an iPad will be at the top of your list. However, these stylish slates aren’t a perfect fit for everyone. If you’re not locked into the Apple ecosystem then an iPad might hold little appeal. If this is the case then there are a couple of alternatives worth looking into.
- Check out our Best tablets roundup for a full rundown on which tablets are worth your money right now.