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Which iPad should you buy? Apple’s tablets compared

Apple has started selling its laptop baiting iPad Pro and just launched the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. But which iPad is right for for you?

Woth the addition of iPad Pro, Apple’s tablet range will be the most diverse it’s ever been, with three main form factors and a range of price options for customers to choose from.

Let’s take a look at what the options are, and who each iPad is best suited to.

iPad Pro 12.9

Why you should buy it: Largest screen, Apple Pencil compatibility | Price starts at: £679

Apple’s iPad Pro 12.9 is its biggest and most powerful. The iPad Pro has a huge 12.9-inch display, dwarfing what we’ve thought of as the ‘big’ iPad range up to this point by 3.2 inches.

Related: Which iPhone is best for you?
iPad pro

Of course, extra pixels means extra demand on the processor, but the iPad Pro has an enhanced A9X CPU that makes it the most powerful iOS device on the market.

The iPad Pro is also unique for offering support for the new Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard, which provide stylus and physical keyboard input options respectively.

All of which means that the iPad Pro is the perfect choice for artists who like to sketch on their tablets, as well as for those who want to use their iPad for the kind of productivity tasks usually reserved for a laptop.

iPad Pro 9.7-inch

Why you should buy it: Lots of power in smaller body, Works with Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard | Price starts at: £499

iPad Pro 9.7 9

The iPad Pro now comes in two sizes. The 9.7-inch version is the baby of the duo, but it’s still a powerful piece of kit. It looks just like an iPad Air 2 on the surface, but underneath there’s an A9X processor, 2GB RAM and either 32GB, 128GB or the new 256GB worth of internal storage.

That 9.7-inch display features a new tech called True Tone, which adjusts the colours depending on your environment to always give you the best possible view. There’s also the Smart Connector on the side, so you can use Apple’s Smart Keyboard and Pencil. Both of these are, of course, sold separarately.

iPad Air 2

Why you should buy it: Best ‘normal’ iPad | Price starts at: £349

The iPad Air 2 is the current top model of the iPad as we all know it. It’s got the same-sized 9.7-inch display as the very first iPad, but with a sharper 2048 x 1536 resolution.

It’s also a lot slimmer and lighter than previous full-sized iPads at 6.1mm and 437 grams respectively.

Meanwhile, an A8X CPU and 2GB of RAM makes it the fastest device of Apple’s 2014 roster, and it still holds its own today as the second-fastest iPad in the range. The addition of a Touch ID sensor, meanwhile, is nice – but nowhere near as essential a feature as it is on the iPhone.

iPad Air 2

It’s worth noting that the iPad Air 2 is more than a year old now, but that you still have to pay the same price (starting from £399) as you did on launch day. It’s a sign of what an excellent tablet it is that Apple feels confident it can stand as a flagship ‘normal’ tablet for at least a few months more.

Put simply, there still isn’t another 10-inch tablet that comes close to the iPad Air 2 for all-round excellence.

iPad mini 4

Why you should buy it: Best value | Price starts at: £319

The second new iPad of 2015 is a much-needed replacement for the calamitously undercooked iPad mini 3. It’s what that tablet should have been at the time.

It essentially offers the iPad Air 2’s performance and component advantages – including an A8 CPU, 2GB of RAM, and a TouchID sensor under the home button – but in a smaller form factor.

This compact tablet has a smaller 7.9-inch display, but the same 2048 x 1536 resolution as the Air family. It’s also 138g lighter.

iPad Mini 4

As you may have noticed, we said that the mini 4 ran on the A8 CPU rather than the enhanced A8X of the iPad Air 2, so the iPad mini 4 doesn’t quite boast the outright performance of its big brother. Still, it’s no slouch.

Despite being such a well kitted out tablet, the iPad mini 4 price starts from £319, like the inferior iPad Air.

With its ideal balance of power, portability, and price, the iPad mini 4 is arguably the best-value iPad in the range.

iPad mini 2

Why you should buy it: Most affordable | Price starts at: £219

For sheer affordability, you can’t look past the iPad mini 2. It’s essentially the same as the original iPad Air, but with a smaller 7.9-inch display like the mini 4.

Otherwise, you get the Air’s A7 CPU which, while two generations out of date, is still a highly capable 64-bit chip. You shouldn’t have any major performance issues, though of course it won’t be as future-proof as the mini 4.

iPad mini 2

But the main advantage of the iPad mini 2 is its price. You can pick one up from just £219. That means it’s a whopping £100 cheaper than the mini 4 and £180 less than the iPad Air 2.

The iPad mini 2 is far from the best or most forward-looking iPad in the range, but it’s the only iPad in the range that fits the description “affordable.”


Which iPad are you looking to buy? Let us know in the comments below.

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