Apple’s new iPad Pro comes with a lot of impressive features, but the cheaper iPad Air is still the best for most people

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ipad pro (2020) vs ipad air (2020) 4x3

  • The iPad Pro and iPad Air have a similar design and work with the same Apple accessories.
  • But the iPad Pro runs on a desktop-class processor while the Air has the same chip as the iPhone 12.
  • There are also important differences in their cameras and sensors.

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyPro (5th Gen. 2021) (small)iPad Air (4th Gen., 64GB) (small)

You’d be forgiven if you couldn’t distinguish the latest iPad Pro from the 2020 iPad Air just by looking at them. After all, they both have a similar design with a nearly borderless screen and flat aluminum edges.

However, there are plenty of important discrepancies that justify the Pro’s significantly higher price tag. The biggest difference comes down to the processor in each tablet. The iPad Pro runs on the same powerful Apple M1 chipset found in the company’s latest Mac computers. The iPad Air, by comparison, runs on the same A14 Bionic processor as the iPhone 12.

But there are a slew of other seemingly small changes that come together to make the iPad Pro a more capable device for creatives and multimedia editors. However, if that doesn’t describe you, skip the iPad Pro and opt for Apple’s less expensive (but still fairly costly) iPad Air instead.

Apple iPad Air vs. iPad Pro: Which is best?

iPad Air Apple Pencil
The 2020 iPad Air and Apple Pencil

Although the iPad Pro has more power when it comes to performance and camera quality, the iPad Air is the best choice for most people. It’s the right model for those who want an iPad that looks and feels premium and has a sleeker design with a larger screen and more power and storage than the $329 iPad.

If you’re planning to use your iPad for tasks like watching movies, taking notes, checking Facebook and Twitter, managing email, playing games, and shopping, there’s no reason to spend nearly $1,000 or more on the iPad Pro. Creatives like musicians and photographers that want a lightweight device for working on-the-go would benefit more from the iPad Pro’s larger screen and extra features.

Apple iPad Air vs. iPad Pro Specifications

Apple iPad Pro (2021)

Apple iPad Air
Processor Apple M1 Apple A14 Bionic
Display

11 inches, 2,388 x 1,668 resolution, 120Hz refresh rate

12.9-inch mini-LED, 2,732 x 2,048 resolution, 120Hz refresh rate

10.9 inches, 2360 x 1640 resolution at 264 pixels per inch
Main camera 12-megapixel wide, 10-megapixel ultra-wide 12-megapixel wide
Front camera 12 megapixels with Center Stage 7 megapixels
Sensors LiDAR, Face ID Touch ID
Connectivity 5G 4G LTE
Battery Life Estimated up to 10 hours Estimated up to 10 hours
Storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB 64GB or 256GB
Ports USB-C with Thunderbolt 4, Apple Smart Connector USB-C, Apple Smart Connector
Audio 4 speakers 2 speakers

Design and display

Apple’s 2021 iPad Pro has the new M1 chip
The 11-inch version of Apple’s 2021 iPad Pro.

The iPad Pro and iPad Air both have Apple’s more modern design that consists of an expansive screen with thin bezels and no home button. The edges are also flat on both of these models unlike the iPad and iPad Mini, which both have rounded corners.

The biggest difference in design between the two tablets is that the iPad Pro comes with a larger screen. The smaller-sized model has a slightly bigger 11-inch display compared to the iPad Air’s 10.9-inch screen, while the high-end iPad Pro features a massive 12.9-inch screen. That makes the larger Pro a better choice for those who want a laptop-sized device.

iPad Air Landscape
The 2020 iPad Air

The other major distinction is that there’s much more choice when it comes to color options for the iPad Air. Apple’s mid range tablet comes in silver, space gray, blue, pink, and green, while the iPad Pro is only available in silver and space gray.

The iPad Pro and iPad Air both have displays that pack 264 pixels-per-inch. But unlike the Air, both iPad Pros come with Apple’s ProMotion technology, which cranks the screen’s refresh rate up to 120Hz for smoother performance. It’s a nice perk, but sketching and coloring with the second-generation Apple Pencil feels just as pleasant and smooth on both tablets.

The larger iPad Pro, however, has gotten a major display upgrade over the iPad Air and 11-inch iPad Pro. The 12.9-inch tablet is Apple’s first to come with a mini-LED display, which gives it a big boost in brightness and contrast. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro can reach brightness levels of up to 1,000 to 1,600 nits, while the 11-inch iPad Pro has a max brightness of 600 nits and the iPad Air’s highest brightness is 500 nits.

Performance

Apple’s 2021 iPad Pro has the company’s M1 chip
The 2021 iPad Pro attached to Apple’s Magic Keyboard

Of course, what really makes the new iPad Pro stand out from Apple’s other tablets is its M1 chip. It’s the first iPad to share the same processor as Apple’s latest MacBooks, further signalling that the iPad Pro is intended for serious computing.

The iPad Air runs on the same A14 Bionic processor found in the iPhone 12, which is still pretty powerful but doesn’t have as many computing cores as the M1. The more cores a processor has, the better it generally is at juggling multiple tasks.

Both iPads offer fast performance, but the iPad Pro brings slightly speedier performance when it comes to processing photo and video edits. It also earned higher scores on benchmarking tests like the Geekbench 5 CPU test, which measures overall performance for everyday tasks. This was also true for graphics benchmarks such as the Geekbench 5 Compute test and 3DMark Wild Life, which measures how a device provides high levels of performance for short bursts of time in mobile games.

Geekbench 5 (CPU) Geekbench 5 (Compute) 3DMark Video export Photo export

iPad Air

1,578 (single); 3,568 (multi) 12,414 8,618; 51 FPS 3 minutes, 45 seconds 2 seconds
iPad Pro (11-inch) 1,723 (single); 7,319 (multi) 20,455 17,227; 103 FPS 3 minutes, 25 seconds 1.4 seconds

However, what’s more interesting than the raw computing power is how developers put this power to good use in their apps. The songwriting app StaffPad, for example, is updating its app to add a new feature for M1 devices that automatically recognizes notes as you’re playing an instrument.

Cameras and sensors

Apple’s 2021 iPad Pro has the new M1 chip
The 2021 iPad Pro has a dual camera and a LiDAR sensor

Performance aside, the camera system is the other major area in which the iPad Pro has gotten a major upgrade compared to the iPad Air. Both new iPad Pro models come with a new feature for the selfie camera powered by Apple’s M1 chip called Center Stage, which keeps the focus centered on the subject during video calls.

The iPad Pro accurately zoomed in to better frame my face as I shifted from the left to the right of my couch when reviewing the tablet back in May. This feature alone shouldn’t influence your buying decision, but it’s a useful addition for those who make a lot of video calls from their iPad and are already leaning toward the Pro. The iPad Pro also has a higher resolution 12-megapixel front camera compared to the iPad Air’s 7-megapixel selfie camera.

All three tablets feature a 12-megapixel main camera, but only the iPad Pros also have a 10-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera. That means you can capture photos with a noticeably wider field of view on the iPad Pro compared to the iPad Air.

The iPad Pros also both have a few extras that photographers and videographers might find useful, like the ability to zoom out by 2x, a brighter flash, stereo recording, and more frame rate options for 1080p video recording. Most people probably aren’t buying an iPad specifically for photography. Still, these features could be important for multimedia editors that want to shoot and edit content on one single device.

The iPad Pro comes with another extra sensor the iPad Air lacks: a depth-sensing LiDAR scanner for enabling better performance in augmented reality (AR) apps. I’ve noticed that Apple devices with LiDAR are slightly faster at detecting surfaces when using AR apps than those without the technology.That’s not likely to be a deal breaker unless you frequently use your iPad for working on projects related to architecture or interior design.

It’s also important to remember that the iPad Air lacks Face ID and instead has a Touch ID sensor built into its top button. Both iPad Pros have Face ID instead of Touch ID.

Storage, speakers, and battery life

Apple’s 2021 iPad Pro has the new M1 chip
The 2021 iPad Pro

The iPad Pro has a four speaker audio system compared to the iPad Air‘s two speakers. In my experience, even the smaller-sized 11-inch iPad Pro can pump out tunes at a noticeably louder volume than the iPad Air.

Since the iPad Pro is optimized for productivity, it also comes in higher storage capacities than the iPad Air – although this can drive up the price considerably. The iPad Air comes in 64GB and 256GB capacities, while both iPad Pros are available in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB options.

Battery life is fairly similar across the iPad Air and iPad Pro, despite the fact that the Pro runs on Apple’s M1 chip. Apple estimates that the iPad Air, 11-inch iPad Pro, and 12.9-inch iPad Pro should all last for 10 hours when browsing the web or watching video via Wi-Fi. See below for the results of our video streaming battery test.

Apple iPad Pro (11-inch, 2021) Apple iPad Air (2020) Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch 2020)
Battery Life 5 hours, 54 minutes 5 hours, 17 minutes 5 hours

The bottom line

iPad Air Screen
The iPad Air

Overall, the iPad Air is the better choice for most people. It has a sleek design that feels more modern than Apple’s $329 iPad, a large and vibrant screen, plenty of power for gaming and productivity, and compatibility with newer Apple accessories like the Magic Keyboard and second-generation Apple Pencil. Creative professionals will benefit more from the extra features that make the iPad Pro more expensive, like its extra-powerful processor and LiDAR sensor.

Pro (5th Gen. 2021) (small)iPad Air (4th Gen., 64GB) (small)

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 6 best tablets in 2021 for every size and budget, from the powerful iPad Pro to Amazon’s kid-friendly Fire tablet

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • The 10.2-inch Apple iPad is still the best tablet, thanks to its balance of performance and price.
  • Remember to check out those featured in the ‘what we considered’ section for the full picture.
  • Also expect the new 2021 iPad Pro and Amazon Fire HD 10 to join this list once they’ve been tested.

Tablets have become a necessity for a lot of people, despite there being less of them out there than smartphones or laptops. Thanks to the advances in functionalities a lot of them have acquired over the years, they’ve become quite vital to most folks, playing a variety of roles – from being a secondary laptop or screen for work to the main device people rely on for their daily computing demands.

It isn’t a surprise, therefore, that now there’s a tablet for pretty much everyone. The newly released iPad Pros, fitted with Apple’s highly praised M1 processor and that stunning XDR display, target creative professionals seeking the absolute best. Meanwhile, something like the Amazon Fire HD 10 is best for budget users who don’t really need to pay for all that power. There are tablets for kids as well, with the Fire HD 8 Kids being the ultimate choice if you want the best value.

As for the rest, the most highly recommended tablet for most people is almost always going to be Apple’s standard iPad 10.2, which is affordable enough while offering the best set of features and apps.

To help you decide which tablet is best for you, we gathered the best tablets for every type of user including those with premium tastes and those who prefer things small and portable.

Here are the best tablets

The best tablet for most people

ipad 2019 10.2 cyber monday deal

The 10.2-inch iPad is a great tablet for the vast majority of tablet users, and it supports the Apple Pencil.

Pros: Incredible price for an iPad, slick aluminum design, Touch ID for security and Apple Pay, great screen, supports the Apple Pencil 

Cons: Light on entry-level storage, no expandable storage

Apple’s standard 10.2-inch iPad is a breath of fresh air in a sea of premium tablets. While all the others seem to be getting more expensive, it offers an incredible balance of price, performance, and features – the best out of any other tablet we’ve tested, in fact. 

Starting at $330, the 10.2-inch iPad is a great inexpensive option as a general purpose tablet. It may run on the same A12 processor that spun the wheels in the 2018 iPhone XS series, but this chip is still a very capable processor that will see you through your needs. That is, if your needs mostly consist of running undemanding apps, streaming videos, sending emails, browsing, and playing games designed specifically for iOS.

The 10.2-inch iPad is also perfectly suitable as a lightweight productivity tablet especially when paired with a Bluetooth keyboard or keyboard case to type up documents, messages, and emails. If taking notes or drawing is a criteria, the 10.2-inch iPad also supports the first generation of the Apple Pencil, which is good for general use. 

For more intense productivity where you think a mouse would be beneficial or for more involved creative tasks where support for a more precise stylus is necessary, Apple’s iPad Air or Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 would be a better choice. However, for general usage, the 10.2-inch iPad already offers a lot more for less.

And finally, Apple’s iPads are normally the best tablets to buy in general largely because of the wider availability of apps that are specifically designed for iPads. On top of that, as with any Apple product, Apple’s physical stores are good resources for repairs, and users have a clear idea of where to bring their iPad if something goes wrong.

The best budget tablet

Amazon Fire HD 10

The latest Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019) is super affordable, but it still delivers a good set of features that you’ll enjoy using for watching videos and running simple apps.

Pros: Low price point, performs basic functions of a tablet well, offers expandable storage with a memory card slot, good for kids, works especially well for those with Amazon Prime accounts

Cons: Not a high performer, slow at charging, restricted to Amazon’s app store, no access to Google Play Store

Amazon’s Fire Tablets have come a long way from being a glorified e-reader. While previous iterations of the Amazon Fire HD 10, for example, were sluggish, its more recent models have improved quite a bit in terms of performance.

Based on our own experience with previous generations of the Amazon Fire HD 10, as well as reviews of the 2019 model from PCMag and Tom’s Guide, it’s an ideal and inexpensive tablet for simple video streaming, browsing the web, and naturally, ticking another book off your reading list. 

Boasting a 10-inch screen with 1080p resolution and a 2.0 GHz octa-core processor that gets the job done for running basic apps, the Amazon Fire HD 10 is certainly an excellent budget proposition. If you have a bit of flexibility in your budget, a 64GB storage is also on hand for just a little more – something you should consider if you plan on utilizing those two 2MP cameras located in front and in the back.

Like all of Amazon’s tablets, the Fire HD 10 is also a terrific option for kids, thanks to its extensive parental controls, kid-friendly features, and availability of apps designed specifically for kids – though the smaller and cheaper Fire HD 8 or Fire HD 7 may better suit smaller children. 

Just bear in mind that Amazon’s tablets are restricted to Amazon’s own app store and don’t support Google’s Play Store so app selection will be more limited. Most popular streaming apps can be found in Amazon’s app store, except for YouTube’s dedicated app. There’s a workaround where you can watch YouTube videos from the web browser, however. You can check the app selection in Amazon’s own app store before buying to make sure it has the apps you’ll want to run here.

The best high-end Android tablet

Samsung Tab S7

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 is as stylish as it is powerful, you can use it as a laptop in a pinch, and it comes with the superb S Pen stylus.

Pros: Gorgeous screen, fast processor, S-Pen stylus is included, and powerful speakers

Cons: Expensive compared to most Android tablets

Samsung has been making excellent Android tablets for years, and its recently launched Galaxy Tab S7 continues that tradition. Scratch that, this new release improves on its predecessors in a lot of ways, making it perhaps the best Samsung tablet release yet. Make no mistake: this is a high-end Android tablet that can go toe-to-toe with Apple’s iPad Pro on nearly every level.

The Galaxy Tab S7 is a stylish, well-made tablet with a metal frame and back. The keyboard case is sturdy and turns your tablet into a quasi-laptop – although, while it does moonlight as a laptop and does a heck of a job at it, it is a tablet first and foremost.

This tablet showcases Samsung’s knack for making astonishingly beautiful screens, boasting a stunner of a 11-inch LTPS LCD screen. I watched lots of Netflix and Prime Video on the tablet, and I was really impressed by the clarity, color reproduction, and intensity of the brilliant screen. 

When used with the included Samsung’s S-Pen stylus, you’re getting a terrific experience, whether you’re creating designs or simply scribbling your thoughts. The S-Pen itself feels like a real pen. I love to draw on tablets, and I was impressed by the lack of lag on the Tab S7. Palm rejection works perfectly as well. 

Other noteworthy features here are the 128GB of storage to give you ample space for downloads, a microSD card slot if you ever need to expand your memory, and that fast performance made possible by the Snapdragon 865 Plus, one of the best chips for Android devices, powering it.

The Galaxy Tab S7 comes with a steep price tag, starting at $649.99 for its base configuration. However, if you want the best iPad Pro alternative, this is it.

The best tablet for professionals

iPad Pro Keyboard 4

Apple’s iPad Pro comes in 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes with specs that are so high-end they surpass some laptops.

Pros: Gorgeous screens, new design with smaller bezels, excellent specs, high-end performance, Pencil is superb for drawing, two screen sizes, now comes with mouse support

Cons: Very expensive, accessories are extra

The recently released iPad Pros for 2021 are set to be a game-changer, touting the same much-lauded M1 processor that runs Apple’s newest MacBook computers and brings big gains in power and battery life.

Additionally, these new iPad Pros come equipped with a Thunderbolt connector for more accessory compatibility, optional 5G connectivity, and up to 2TB of storage. The 12.9-inch model also features a Liquid Retina XDR display powered by mini-LED technology for enhanced brightness and clarity.

We are currently testing the 2021 iPad Pro lineup. In the meantime, the 2020 iPad Pro still has its merits, including those slim bezels, a stunning sharp screen in two sizes, and a powerful processor. It also comes in 11- and 12.9-inch screen sizes to suit your preferences, with the 12.9-inch screen ideal for digital artists who need room to roam and the 11-inch model better for portability. (You may also more easily get a deal on a previous-generation model.)

Regardless of the model, the 2020 iPad Pro is a powerhouse. The A12Z Bionic processor is so high-powered it can surpass some laptops. Apple’s entry-level model comes with 128GB of storage, but you can get up to 1TB if you want to spend a whole lot of money. Apple no longer sells the 2020 iPad Pro, but you can still find it through retailers like Amazon.

We recommend picking up the new Apple Pencil if you like to take notes or draw. It may cost $129, but the new version charges wirelessly and magnetically attaches to your iPad for easy storage.

Apple’s Keyboard will also cost you a pretty penny, so we recommend going for a third-party case and keyboard. — Malarie Gokey

The best tablet for kids

Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Lifestyle 2

If you feel a little nervous handing your mobile devices to your kids, the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet comes with a tough case to keep it safe.

Pros: Better performance, rugged build, parental controls built-in, longer battery life, two-year worry-free guarantee, a plethora of apps, more affordable than ever 

Cons: Doesn’t contain powerful components, tablet runs slower than most models

When it comes to kids, it’s not advisable to just hand them your pricey tablet. That’s why tablets for kids exist, because not only are they built to withstand all the abuse a toddler can muster, but they’re also cheap enough that you won’t feel bad when they are eventually destroyed.

Take the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, for example. It comes with a tough kid-proof case that’s designed to protect it from drops and bumps as well as keep crumbs and other messes away. 

Amazon is so confident that this case will do the job that it offers a two-year worry-free guarantee. That way, if you’re dealing with a mini Hulk, you can rest assured that Amazon will replace the device for free. We only wish it also offered some level of water-proofing.

It takes more than a rugged build to be a great kids tablet, and the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition knows that. It comes with a whole lot of kid-friendly content and apps so that your kids can play educational games, watch their favorite shows, and even read books to their heart’s content – or at least until you say so. 

Amazon bundles it with a year’s worth of free Amazon Kids+ access to save you money. After that, it’s $2.99 a month, which really isn’t bad considering that your kids will be entertained for hours and you’ll get a much deserved break when you need it.

While its predecessor is a little sluggish, the newest Fire HD 8 Kids Edition offers better performance without costing you a lot more. That’s without mentioning its longer battery life of up to 12 hours, more storage (that is also expandable up to 1TB, thanks to its microSD card slot), and USB-C port for faster charging.

The Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is a slightly bigger option with better performance than our previous choice, the Fire 7 Kids Edition, and it’s barely more expensive at $140.

The best small tablet

iPad Mini 2019

The iPad Mini is essentially a smaller replica of the standard 10.2-inch iPad. Just watch out for its higher price tag. 

Pros: Compact, good performance, sharp screen, works with the Apple Pencil

Cons: Dated design, expensive for what it is

The 2019 iPad Mini is Apple’s small tablet that’s powered by the capable A12 Bionic chip, and it supports the first-generation Apple Pencil, which makes the Mini a great tablet for note taking or drawing.

The Mini‘s 7.9-inch Retina display has a sharp 2,048 x 1,536-pixel resolution, too, so you can really enjoy watching videos, reading, and creating on the screen.

You can choose between 64GB or 256GB of storage and three color options: Silver, Space Gray, or Gold). If you want to keep the price down, you can get the Wi-Fi-only version, but there is also a Mini with both cellular and Wi-Fi connections.

Our main gripe with the iPad Mini is that it’s a smaller version of the $330 10.2-inch iPad with nearly the same specs, and yet it costs $70 more. That higher price casts a shadow over the iPad Mini, as it’s hard to justify paying extra for something smaller, especially if it’s a year old already. Still, it’s the best small tablet there is.

What else we considered

iPad Air Wide

There are a lot of amazing tablets out there, and just because they didn’t quite make our list above, that doesn’t mean they’re not equally worthy of consideration when you’re looking for your next tablet. 

In fact, there are a couple of tablets we’ve tested that we wish we could include, but have opted not to. That’s mostly because they couldn’t quite compete in terms of value – even though when it comes to performance and features, they are still top-notch.

It was hard not to include, for example, the iPad Air 4, which was released in October 2020. This stunning tablet from Apple is thin and lightweight, and it comes in three appealing colors on top of the usual space gray and silver. 

It also delivers impressive performance, thanks to Apple’s latest A14 Bionic chip, and that beautiful 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display that’s simply terrific for media consumption. That’s without mentioning its compatibility with the second generation Apple Pencil and the Magic Keyboard, both of which turn it into a highly capable creative and productivity tool.

Unfortunately, it’s also neither the best value of the iPads nor the most powerful. However, it’s the way to go if you have a bigger budget but don’t necessarily need the sheer power that the iPad Pro offers.

Then there’s the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus, which is as premium as you can get in the Android tablet scene. This “Plus” version of the Galaxy Tab S7, our current
“best high-end Android tablet” pick, comes with an even more beautiful Super AMOLED display with 2,800 x 1,752 resolution, as well as an in-screen fingerprint sensor and a longer battery life, making it a superior prospect.

Sadly, it’s also the pricier one, starting at $850. While that price is cheaper than the iPad Pro, the fact that the Tab S7 is cheaper still makes the S7 Plus less appealing for most people – even those looking for something premium. 

However, if you do want the best of the best and have deep pockets, it’s definitely worth the upgrade

How to pick the right tablet for you

iPAd

Operating systems for tablets

As with smartphones and laptops, you can choose among a few different types of operating systems with tablets. Picking the right OS will enhance your enjoyment of the tablet you select.

  • Apple’s iOS: For many people, the name iPad is synonymous with tablets. Although the iPad wasn’t the first tablet on the market, it’s credited with making tablets popular and invigorating the tablet market in 2010. The iPad runs Apple’s iOS operating system, which also powers the iPhone. iOS has a great interface and works equally well on a smartphone or tablet screen. There are tons of special apps made for the iPad, which makes it an excellent investment. However, because only Apple-branded iPads can run iOS, you’ll pay more for them versus tablets with other operating systems. 
  • Google’s Android: You also may be familiar with the Android operating system, managed by Google. Android powers many different kinds of smartphones. It’s also very user-friendly and offers tons of apps. There are numerous Android tablets to choose from, and they range in price from under $10 to around $600 and up. 
  • Amazon’s Fire OS: Fire OS is a special ecosystem, rather than an operating system, as it runs on top of Android. Basically, it brings Amazon’s services to the forefront of the OS and you download apps from Amazon’s app store. Amazon also has special software for kids on its kid-friendly tablets. These Fire tablets are much more affordable than any other kind of tablet.
  • Microsoft’s Windows: Microsoft has tweaked the Windows operating system to make it far more user-friendly than older versions of Windows, meaning it works equally well with a traditional desktop computer or a touchscreen tablet. When running Windows on a tablet, you’ll have access to a lot of traditional software, but you’ll find a significant lack of apps compared to Apple or Android. However, since these tablets run Windows, they can be used as full laptops.

What to look for in a tablet

Tablets have a lot of different strengths, depending on the one you choose. Think about what you want to do with the tablet, and you’ll be able to find one that’ll perfectly meet your needs.

  • Battery Life: Completing a really long car trip in successful silence may depend on whether your tablet has a long battery life. Battery life typically can range anywhere from 4 to 12 hours, depending on the tablet model and screen size. Seven hours is about average.
  • Connectivity: Different tablets allow you to make a connection to the Internet in a few different ways. Most will offer Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing you to connect to your home or work network. Others also include the ability to connect to a cellular network, much like a smartphone, and access the Internet through the cell network. However, you must have a cellular account with a monthly fee to use it.
  • Fast Processor: Look at the CPU and GPU chips included in your tablet. Newer, more powerful chips will give you faster performance levels. Some Windows tablets even have laptop-level processors inside, so you can use them as portable PCs. However, you will pay more for more power.
  • Keyboard: Most tablets are able to connect to a physical keyboard for typing, making it easier to input data into the tablet versus using the digital keyboard on the screen. Some tablets are 2-in-1 devices, meaning the keyboard/screen configuration looks more like a laptop because the two are connected. You then can fold up the keyboard to make it work like a tablet.
  • RAM: RAM is the amount of memory used to operate software and apps. This is different from the type of memory used for data storage. The more RAM you have available on the tablet, the better it will perform, but the more you’ll have to pay.
  • Screen Resolution: Tablets that can display more pixels will have a sharper image that looks great. If you want to watch movies on the tablets, having a resolution of at least full HD quality (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) will be very desirable.
  • Screen Size: The size of the tablet’s screen marks the most important feature for most people. Larger screens work better for things like watching movies, drawing, or playing games. Of course, screen size plays a direct role in the size of the tablet, too. So if you want a smaller tablet, you’ll want a smaller screen.
  • Storage: Tablets have an interior solid state drive (or SSD) for storing apps, movies, games, and more. You may be able to add more storage through a Micro SD memory card, although not all tablets have a memory card slot. Some tablets rely on cloud storage for extra storage. You may want extra storage for movies, books, and games.
  • Stylus: Some people love having a stylus for working with the tablet, especially if they’re drawing by freehand. Not every tablet can make use of a stylus, and some stylus pens don’t work as well as others. So if you need one, do your homework to find a tablet that can take full advantage of the features of the stylus.

Check out our guide to the best iPads you can buy

ipad air and ipad mini 2019

The best iPads you can buy

Apple is the uncontested king of tablets. The word iPad is synonymous with the word tablet. Chances are if you own a tablet at all, you have an iPad.

We’ve tested nearly every iPad that has been released over the past three years, and these are the absolute best iPads you can buy. You can also check out the best iPad cases for every type of person and read why we love the Apple Pencil.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 9 best iPad Pro accessories in 2021 for the two new models

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Apple’s 2021 iPad Pro has the company’s M1 chip
  • Armed with the M1 processor, the 2021 iPad Pros might give the best laptops a run for their money.
  • Your new iPad Pro can be enhanced by one of these accessories that expand its functionality.
  • Apple Pencil is the best iPad Pro accessory overall, but everything below is a worthy addition.

The best iPad Pro accessories are designed specifically to expand your tablet’s functionality, giving you more ways to be productive, creative, or entertained (or all of the above). It makes sense, therefore, to invest in some of them if you want to take full advantage, especially if you plan on upgrading to the 2021 models.

With the new iPad Pro models’ impending release, powered by Apple’s all-powerful M1 chip, we expect Apple to roll out tablets that will rival or even surpass some of the most popular laptops out there. So, if ever there was a time to start shopping around for the best iPad Pro accessories, it is now.

Table of Contents: Static

The best must-have iPad Pro accessory

Apple Pencil
The Apple Pencil is, by far, the best iPad Pro accessory there is.

Apple Pencil

Just as practical and useful a tool for productivity as it is for creative workflows, Apple’s 2nd generation Pencil gets our vote as the must-have accessory if we were to pick just one. This sleek and extremely smooth stylus pen has seen us through a host of tasks, from taking notes, scribbling, and drawing to something as mundane as jotting down our day’s checklist and scheduling our weekly tasks.

The best part is that it’s so easy to use: simply snap it to the side of your iPad Pro for charging, and lightly press it to change writing modes.

Pencil (button)
The best iPad Pro keyboard overall

Apple Magic Keyboard
The Apple Magic Keyboard is the best iPad Pro accessory if you do a lot of typing.

Apple Magic Keyboard

There are quite a few reliable iPad Pro keyboard cases out there, but none can’t quite rival the Apple Magic Keyboard. Boasting Apple’s highly-regarded scissor switch, which makes those keys incredibly comfortable to use, this keyboard case is generally easy to use as well. It requires no real setup or charging, magnetically snaps to the iPad Pro, and is also easy to remove when you want to go back into tablet mode. It also now comes in white, making it an even more appealing option.

It’s a bit pricier than its competitors. However, the Magic Keyboard is well worth the price, especially if you spend a chunk of your day typing.

Magic Keyboard for 11-inch iPad Pro and new iPad Air (button)
The best iPad Pro accessory for creatives

Best iPad Pro accessories SketchPad Pro

Sketchboard Pro

The Sketchboard Pro won’t turn your iPad Pro into a laptop. Designed specifically for artists by artists, this iPad Pro stand instead turns it into a creative workstation – one that lets you better create wherever you are. It lets you prop your tablet at a 20-degree incline or vertically like an easel, so you can draw with ease, allowing you to completely focus on your creative process. It even has space for your Apple Pencil as well so you can keep it close whenever you need to take a break.

Those who want to follow in Apple’s sustainability footsteps will appreciate that the company plants a tree for every Sketchboard Pro you purchase.

Pro (button)
The best iPad Pro headphones

airpods pro
For music listening, streaming, and even gaming, the Apple AirPods Pro is the best iPad Pro accessory to have.

Apple AirPods Pro

With Apple expanding its sustainability and green initiatives, many of its products have less carbon footprint than before. For example, it’s reduced the environmental impact of its Apple AirPods Pro, making these awesome audio devices better than ever. That’s without mentioning its beautiful sound quality, Active Noise Cancellation, sweat and water resistance, and spatial audio so you’re completely immersed in what you’re listening to.

Thanks to its charging case, you’re also getting up to 24 hours of battery life. Finally, thanks to Apple’s brilliant design approach, AirPods Pro can also seamlessly move connectivity from one Apple device to another, making connected life that much easier.

AirPods Pro (button)
The best iPad Pro battery pack

Intelli ScoutPro charger
Never travel without extra juice. The Intelli ScoutPro is among the most powerful power banks out there.

Intelli ScoutPro

Apple might promise all-day battery life on the 2021 iPad Pro. However, its longevity will be cut in half if you’re doing video rendering, photo editing, or 3D modeling. Luckily, more powerful power banks like the Intelli ScoutPro are more accessible than ever. This 240W option from Intelli is so compact, it’ll fit in your pocket. Yet, it’s got so much juice it’ll fully charge your 11-inch iPad Pro three times or your 12.9-inch two times, and still have some power leftover.

With one USB-A port, two 100W USB-C ports, and a wireless charger, you can even charge all your Apple devices all at once.

ScoutPro (button)
The best rugged iPad Pro case

OtterBox case for iPad Pro
Protect your iPad Pro from harsh elements with Otterbox’s Defender Series Pro Case.

Otterbox iPad Pro (12.9-inch) (5th gen) Defender Series Pro Case

One thing Apple’s Magic Keyboard cannot do is protect your iPad Pro from harsh elements or even drops and bumps. For that, you can always rely on Otterbox, one of our go-to brands for cases for mobile devices. For the new iPad Pro 12.9-inch, there’s the Defender Series Pro Case, which is not just designed to be rugged, but also built to inhibit microbial growth thanks to a silver-based antimicrobial additive.

It’s not just drop- and pathogen-resistant. It’s dust-resistant as well, featuring a port that keeps dirt and dust away from your iPad Pro’s audio jack and USB-C port.

iPad Pro (12.9-inch) (5th gen) Defender Series Pro Case (button)
The best iPad Pro Bluetooth keyboard

Logitech K380
Looking for a stand-alone keyboard? The Logitech K380 comes with high recommendations… from us.

Logitech K380

If you prefer a more traditional keyboard that is separate from your tablet, the Logitech K380 is an excellent, travel-friendly choice. This mini wireless keyboard with a 75% form factor is amazing to use, with great bounce and travel that make it among the most comfortable keyboards out there. Best of all, it pairs beautifully with your iPad Pro, along with two other devices due to its three-device connectivity feature.

Because it’s thin and light, it’s the perfect travel companion to your iPad Pro, and will come in handy when you’re working while traveling. Best yet, it’s cheap – much cheaper than the Magic Keyboard, in fact.

K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard (button)
The best iPad Pro stand

Yohann iPad Pro Stand
Beautiful and minimalist yet versatile and functional, Yohann’s iPad Pro Stand might just be our favorite.

Yohann iPad Pro Stand

Of course, if you’re getting a separate keyboard, you’re going to need a stand for your iPad Pro as well. For one, you can go on Amazon and choose one from the sea of homogeneous options. Or you can get this stunner of a stand from Yohann, whose minimalist design is only topped by its versatility. Made of walnut or oak, it offers three different angles as well as landscape and portrait mounting. Finally, it has two ways to safely and easily store your Apple Pencil.

If you’re an artist and want a minimalist yet stylist setup, you’ll love this one as much as we do.

iPad Pro Stand (button)
The best iPad Pro tracker

AirTags Back
Keep your iPad Pro protected with Apple’s new AirTags.

Apple AirTags

We only wish that Apple had devised a way to attach its new AirTags to Apple devices like the iPad Pro. At the moment, there’s really no way to do so. However, as they are now, these trackers are a great way to ensure that your tablet is safe – or at the very least, retrievable when it does get stolen. 

There might not be a way to snap the AirTag directly on your iPad Pro, but you can pop it into your laptop bag. If someone steals your bag, you can use your phone to not just track it, but also audibly and visually ping it as well as find its exact location.

AirTags (button)

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The best iPads in 2021 for every size and budget

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • The 10.2-inch iPad offers solid performance at a reasonable price, making it our top pick.
  • Those who want a nicer screen and other features without splurging on the Pro should consider the Air.
  • The new M1-powered iPad Pro models are for those looking for the most powerful tablet they can buy.

Apple is the uncontested king of tablets. The iPad is the most popular tablet in the world, with Apple beating Samsung and Lenovo by claiming 36.5% of the global tablet market.

Apple’s tablet lineup is varied and surprisingly affordable. On the high end, Apple recently announced an update to the iPad Pro lineup which adds the powerful M1 chip, as well as 5G capability to the iPad for the first time, while maintaining the $799 price for the 11-inch model.

At $329.99, the 10.2-inch iPad is the cheapest iPad Apple has ever sold, but it’s quite powerful and supports the Apple Pencil, making it a great choice for anyone in need of a general purpose tablet.

Other iPads offer higher performance and more features and functionality, all of which come at higher prices.

Here are the best iPads in 2021:

The best iPad overall

Apple ipad 8th gen widgets

The 2020 10.2-inch iPad offers the best balance of value, performance, and features, and is the best deal for most people.

Pros: Incredible price for an iPad, slick aluminum design, Touch ID for security and Apple Pay, gorgeous screen, supports the Apple Pencil

Cons: Low resolution front camera, very little storage at base price

The 2020 10.2-inch iPad is the most affordable model, and it’s the best option for those picking up their first iPad. It’s also a great choice if you’re looking to upgrade from an aging iPad or iPad Mini.

The 2,160 x 1,620-pixel resolution on the 10.2-inch model is sharp and clear. The A12 processor is still perfectly capable for most apps and tasks, the battery life is long, and you can buy things on iPad with Apple Pay, thanks to the Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

Best of all, this iPad supports the first-generation Apple Pencil, an incredible stylus with virtually no lag. You will have to pay $100 extra for the Pencil, but if you like to take notes or draw on your iPad, it is well worth it. 

You simply can’t beat those specs at that price point. Comparable Android tablets cost hundreds of dollars more, and the iPad still has a better app library and accessory support.

The aluminum build looks and feels premium. Both iPads are quite light, too, so you can happily binge-watch Netflix in bed or take them with you. Tech nerds will say the iPads have a boring old design, but it’s tried and true. Plus, the aluminum build is durable.

However, there are some drawbacks that are worth considering. The 1.2-megapixel front camera isn’t very sharp, which is something to keep in mind if you make a lot of FaceTime calls. And, the base model only comes with 32GB of storage. That means you won’t be able to store many apps, videos, and photos on the device and will have to keep most of your content in the cloud unless you upgrade to the $429 model with 128GB of storage.

The best mid-range iPad

ipad air 4th gen 2020 with magic keyboard

The 2020 iPad Air brings power and a premium updated design and features for $600

Pros: Updated design, sharp screen, Touch ID, works with accessories like the newer Apple Pencil, fast performance, new processor, mouse support, close to iPad Pro functionality and power while costing less

Cons: Only 64GB of storage, price gets expensive when you add on accessories Price is creeping up

The iPad Air got a big upgrade when the newest version debuted in September 2020. New features include an all-screen design with sharper edges that’s similar to the iPad Pro’s look, the powerful A14 Bionic processor that powers the iPhone 12 series, USB-C for faster charging and connecting to computers, and a Touch ID sensor on the top button.

The tablet also supports the second-generation Apple Pencil, which is widely considered the best stylus for drawing on a tablet and features an improved design compared to the first-generation pencil. The iPad Air also has a sharp 10.9-inch Liquid Retina True Tone screen with a resolution of 2,360 × 1,640 pixels.

If you’re looking for an iPad for work-related tasks, the 2020 iPad Air supports Apple’s Smart Keyboard Folio and the Magic Keyboard, which includes a trackpad for mouse control. Support for the Magic Keyboard, in particular, brings the 2020 iPad Air closer than ever to the iPad Pro’s high level of functionality, making the 2020 iPad Air a less expensive alternative to the iPad Pro.

You can buy the iPad Air with either 64GB or 256GB of storage, and it comes in five color options: Silver, Space Gray, Green, Sky Blue, or Rose Gold. You can also choose either a Wi-Fi-only connection or a combination of cellular and Wi-Fi connections.

The best small iPad

iPad Mini 2019

The 2019 iPad Mini is essentially the smaller version of the 10.2-inch iPad, and it’s the best option if you prefer a smaller tablet.

Pros: Compact, affordable, new processor, sharp screen, works with the Pencil

Cons: Older design with bigger bezels, more expensive than larger 10.2-inch 2020 iPad

With a 7.9-inch display, the 2019 iPad Mini is Apple’s smallest tablet. It may not have the newer iPad-Pro style design, but it has all the latest specs we wanted in this update.

It’s powered by the same powerful A12 Bionic processor found inside  the 2020 iPad, and it supports the first-generation Apple Pencil. We’re thrilled Apple gave the Mini Pencil support, as it’s the best stylus we’ve ever used, and it makes the Mini a great tablet for note taking or drawing.

The Mini’s True Tone, 7.9-inch screen has a sharp 2,048 x 1,536 pixel resolution, too, so you can really enjoy watching videos, reading, and creating on the screen.

You can choose between 64GB or 256GB of storage and three color options: Silver, Space Gray, or Gold).

Overall, the iPad Mini is the best choice for those who prioritize portability above all else in a tablet. If you want a screen that’s slightly bigger than your phone for reading, watching movies, and checking email, the iPad Mini is worth considering. 

The best iPad for pros

ipad pro

Apple’s newest iPad Pros come with fast performance and excellent cameras at a high price, making them best for creative professionals.

Pros: Fast performance, great selfie camera that keeps you in frame, improved vibrant screen on the 12.9-inch model

Cons: Expensive, gets even more expensive when you add accessories, multitasking and general productivity is still better on a laptop

Apple’s recently launched iPad Pros come equipped with the company’s M1 processor, bringing faster processing and better camera performance to an already-powerful tablet. But the iPad Pro’s high price and extra power mean that it’s best-suited for creative professionals looking to get work done on their tablet rather than everyday users.

The 11-inch model starts at $800, while the 12.9-inch version begins at $1,100, just like their predecessors. 

The new iPad Pro’s headlining feature is a camera trick called Center Stage, which adjusts the front-facing camera as you move to ensure that you remain centered in frame. Plus, the iPad Pro benefits from the Apple image signal processor in the M1 chip, resulting in more colorful selfies. That makes the iPad Pro a strong choice for those who plan to take a lot of video calls from their iPad, or for those who plan to record video projects using the iPad’s selfie camera. 

The iPad Pros also have a dual-camera system with a 12-megapixel main camera and a 10-megapixel wide lens, another factor that makes it more appealing than the iPad Air for those who want to shoot and edit multimedia content on one device. 

The larger-sized model also has a new display that uses mini-LED technology, meaning that it has much greater brightness and contrast compared to Apple’s other tablets. 

But for that price, the iPad Pros are really best for those who want a tablet for more than just watching videos, browsing the web, and getting light work done. That’s especially true since the iPad Air is now compatible with Apple’s Magic Keyboard and second-generation Apple Pencil. All told, the iPad Pro’s increased storage capacity, faster performance, better cameras, and Thunderbolt connectivity make the iPad Pro best for creatives that want a portable work device.

The best stylus

ipad pro

The first-generation Apple Pencil is the best for the 2020 10.2-inch and 2019 iPad Mini, while the second-generation stylus is ideal for the 2020 iPad Air and 2020 iPad Pro models.

Pros: Works with even the cheapest 10.2-inch iPad, lack of latency, pressure sensitivity, made for the iPad’s screen, easy to charge, comfortable to hold

Cons: Expensive 

Over the years, we’ve tested a lot of styluses from companies like Adonit, 53, Wacom, and more. None of those styluses can hold a candle to the Apple Pencil. Whether you buy the first-generation Pencil or the second, you’re getting a stylus that was made by Apple in tandem with the iPad.

As such, the Pencil works with the iPads’ screens in special ways that no other stylus can. The result is improved pressure sensitivity and an impressively low level of latency. You won’t even notice a lag because it’s imperceptible. When you use an Apple Pencil, you actually feel like you’re using a normal graphite pencil.

There are a few differences between the first- and second-generation Pencils: the second-gen model has wireless charging and magnetically attaches to the side of the iPad. The first-gen Pencil charges with a lightning port on the end and doesn’t attach to your iPad. It’s also a bit cheaper.

As far as compatibility, the first-generation Apple Pencil is for the older iPad models, as well as the 2020 10.2-inch iPad and the 2019 iPad Mini. The second-generation Apple Pencil and supports newer and higher-end iPads, including most iPad Pros and the 2020 iPad Air.

Choose whichever makes the most sense to you, but the newer Pencil’s easier charging method and magnetic attraction to the iPad make it a winner in our book.

The best keyboard for your iPad

logitech k780 keyboard

The Logitech K780 works with any device, connects wirelessly, and offers a full-sized keyboard with satisfying keys for typing.

Pros: Nice design, comfortable, two-year battery life

Cons: Needs AAA batteries

The Logitech K780 is the best Bluetooth keyboard for just about any device, including the iPad. Sure, it’s not a keyboard case, so it won’t protect your iPad and provide a keyboard, but that means you get a full-sized keyboard with a number pad and satisfying keys that have good travel.

The K780 supports connections to multiple devices, so you can use it with your iPad, phone, and computer if you want. The circular keys are comfortable to type on because they are full size. Logitech also incorporated a tablet and phone stand into the keyboard’s design, so it’s easy to prop your iPad up without needing to buy a separate stand or case.

The only downsides here are that it needs AAA batteries to run and it’s not the most portable keyboard you can buy. If you want a more portable option, the foldable iClever Ultra Slim 3 Keyboard folds up to one-third of its size and can be used in both wireless and wired modes.

What to consider when buying an iPad

  • Price: The biggest factor you’ll want to consider when purchasing an iPad is how much you’re willing to spend. The 10.2-inch $329 iPad is the best choice for anyone on a tight budget, since it’s Apple’s most affordable iPad. But if you want more storage space than the 32GB that comes with the cheapest standard iPad by default and are looking for something more compact, the $400 iPad Mini is your best bet. If you’re willing to invest in a tablet that you’re also planning to use for work purposes, particularly for photography, the top-of-the-line $800-$1,000 iPad Pro may be right for you. And then there’s the $600 iPad Air, which falls right in the middle and is best if you want a tablet for casual productivity and entertainment.
  • Size: Aside from price, size is one of the most important aspects to consider when buying an iPad. The 7.9-inch iPad Mini is Apple’s smallest tablet, and it’s the right choice if you mostly think you’ll be using your iPad during your commute or while traveling. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is best for those who want a laptop-sized tablet for getting work done or watching movies. And for those looking for something in between, there’s the 10.2-inch iPad, 10.9-inch iPad Air, and 11-inch iPad Pro.
  • Performance: When picking out an iPad, you’ll also want to consider what kinds of tasks you think you’ll be using it for. If you just want an iPad that can serve as a larger and more suitable screen for doing many of the things you’d normally do on your smartphone, like browsing the internet, watching Netflix, playing casual games, light productivity such as note-taking, and checking email, then the iPad or iPad Mini will do just fine. But if you need something more powerful that packs more graphics performance, which could be important for video and photo editors, you’ll want to check out the iPad Pro. And then, of course, the iPad Air falls right in the middle, offering performance that’s just as fast and snappy as the iPhone 12 for a lower price than the iPad Pro.
  • Features: All of Apple’s iPads run on the same software and can download the same apps from the App Store. But they do differ in several important ways when it comes to hardware-based features. Compared to Apple’s cheaper tablets, the iPad Air and iPad Pro offer sleeker designs, nearly borderless screens, USB-C input, compatibility with newer Apple accessories, and sharper cameras. The iPad Pro is also the only iPad to come with two rear camera lenses, Face ID, and a LiDAR sensor for augmented reality apps. Consider which features matter to you most when deciding which iPad is right for you. 
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The best tablets in 2021 for every size and budget, from the powerful iPad Pro to Amazon’s kid-friendly Fire tablet

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Apple’s 10.2-inch iPad is the best tablet for most people.
  • But the cheaper Amazon Fire HD is worth considering for those mostly interested in watching video.
  • Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 is a great choice for Android users, as it comes with the excellent S Pen.

There aren’t nearly as many tablet options as there are smartphones, but there’s a tablet for pretty much anyone.

You’ll hear it from us, and you’ll hear it from most tech authorities – the most highly recommended tablet for most people is almost always going to be Apple’s standard iPad. At its $329.00 full retail price, it’s affordable enough while offering the best set of features and apps. And if there’s ever a deal on Apple’s standard iPad, it’s pretty much a no-brainer for anyone in the market for a tablet.

Still, there are other worthwhile options, especially when it comes to lower price ranges that might be more suitable for certain users, like kids, or using a tablet exclusively as a video streaming device where power and features don’t really matter.

And there’s the opposite end of the spectrum: powerful tablets that are better suited for professional users who can justify paying a premium for better performance. For example, the newly announced iPad Pros offer the same M1 processor found in Apple’s newest MacBooks, but most people probably don’t need laptop-grade performance in their tablet.

Here are the best tablets

The best tablet for most people

ipad 2019 10.2 cyber monday deal

The 10.2-inch iPad is a great tablet for the vast majority of tablet users, and it supports the Apple Pencil.

Pros: Incredible price for an iPad, slick aluminum design, Touch ID for security and Apple Pay, great screen, supports the Apple Pencil 

Cons: Light on entry-level storage, no expandable storage

Apple’s standard 10.2-inch iPad offers the best balance of price, performance, and features out of any other tablet we’ve tried. 

Starting at $330, the 10.2-inch iPad is a great inexpensive option as a general purpose tablet for running normal apps, streaming videos, playing games, and browsing the web. It runs on the same A12 processor that spun the wheels in the 2018 iPhone XS series, but it’s still a very capable processor.

The 10.2-inch iPad is also perfectly suitable as a lightweight productivity tablet. It can be paired with a Bluetooth keyboard or keyboard case to type up documents, messages, and emails without any issue. For more intense productivity where you think a mouse would be beneficial, your best bet will be a tablet with mouse support, like Apple’s iPad Air or Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7

If taking notes or drawing is a criteria, the 10.2-inch iPad supports the first generation of the Apple Pencil, which is fine for general use. If note-taking or drawing is a primary driver for getting a tablet, however, we’d recommend again looking at the iPad Air that supports the second generation Apple Pencil for a more precise and responsive feel, or Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 that includes the excellent S Pen. 

And finally, Apple’s iPads are generally the best tablets to buy in general largely because of the wider availability of apps that are specifically designed for iPads. On top of that, as with any Apple product, Apple’s physical stores are good resources for repairs, and users have a clear idea of where to bring their iPad if something goes wrong.

The best budget tablet

Amazon Fire HD 10

The latest Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019) is super affordable, but it still delivers a good set of features that you’ll enjoy using for watching videos and running simple apps.

Pros: Low price point, performs basic functions of a tablet well, offers expandable storage with a memory card slot, good for kids, works especially well for those with Amazon Prime accounts

Cons: Not a high performer, slow at charging, restricted to Amazon’s app store, no access to Google Play Store

Based on our own experience with previous generations of Amazon’s Fire HD 10, as well as reviews of the current model from PCMag and Tom’s Guide, Amazon’s Fire HD 10 is an ideal and inexpensive tablet for simple video streaming and browsing the web. It has a 10-inch screen with 1080p resolution and a decent processor for running basic apps.

Amazon’s tablets are also excellent options for kids due to their extensive parental controls,  and features and apps for kids. The Fire HD 10 is a good option, but the smaller and cheaper Fire HD 8 or Fire HD 7 may better suit smaller children. 

Note that Amazon’s tablets are restricted to Amazon’s own app store and don’t support Google’s Play Store, which means app selection will be more limited than a typical Android tablet or iPad. Most popular streaming apps can be found in Amazon’s app store, except for YouTube’s dedicated app. There’s a workaround where you can watch YouTube videos from the web browser, however. 

You can check the app selection in Amazon’s own app store before buying to make sure it has the apps you’ll want to run here.

The best high-end Android tablet

Samsung Tab S7

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 is as stylish as it is powerful, you can use it as a laptop in a pinch, and it comes with the superb S Pen stylus.

Pros: Gorgeous screen, fast processor, S-Pen stylus is included, and powerful speakers

Cons: Expensive compared to most Android tablets

Samsung has been making excellent Android tablets for years, and its recently launched Galaxy Tab S7 continues that tradition. It’s a high-end Android tablet that can compete with Apple’s iPad Pro on nearly every level.

The Tab S7 is a stylish, well-made tablet with a metal frame and back. The keyboard case is sturdy and it turns your tablet into a quasi-laptop. Although this tablet doubles as a laptop, it is a tablet first and foremost.

Samsung sure knows how to make astonishingly beautiful screens. The Tab S7 has a gorgeous 10.5-inch Super AMOLED screen. I watched lots of Netflix and Prime Video on the tablet, and I was really impressed by the clarity, color reproduction, and intensity of the brilliant screen. The tablet’s 128GB of storage gives you ample space for downloads, and it’s expandable with a microSD card.

Every Tab S7 comes with Samsung’s S-Pen stylus, which is great for drawing and feels like a real pen. I love to draw on tablets, and I was impressed by the lack of lag on the Tab S7. Palm rejection works well, and it’s a great tablet for drawing or note-taking.

It is an expensive price to pay — especially for an Android tablet, but if you want the best iPad Pro alternative, this is it.

The best tablet for professionals

iPad Pro Keyboard 4

Apple’s iPad Pro comes in 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes with specs that are so high-end they surpass some laptops.

Pros: Gorgeous screens, new design with smaller bezels, excellent specs, high-end performance, Pencil is superb for drawing, two screen sizes, now comes with mouse support

Cons: Very expensive, accessories are extra

Apple recently announced updated iPad Pros that are the first to include its M1 processor. This is the same chip that runs Apple’s newest MacBook computers, bringing big gains in power and battery life. 

Additionally, the new iPad Pros come equipped with a Thunderbolt connector for more accessory compatibility, optional 5G connectivity, and up to 2TB of storage. The 12.9-inch model also features a Liquid Retina XDR display powered by mini-LED technology for enhanced brightness and clarity.  The iPad Pro is available for preorder on April 30, with shipping expected in mid-May. 

We look forward to reviewing the 2021 iPad Pro. But in the meantime, we still like that the 2020 iPad Pro has slim bezels, a stunning sharp screen in two sizes, and a powerful processor.

You can get it in 11- and 12.9-inch screen sizes to suit your preferences. The 12.9-inch screen is great for digital artists who need room to roam, while the 11-inch model offers a little more portability. 

Regardless of the model, the 2020 iPad Pro is a powerhouse. The A12Z Bionic processor is so high-powered it can surpass some laptops. Apple’s entry-level model comes with 128GB of storage, but you can get up to 1TB if you want to spend a whole lot of money. Apple no longer sells the 2020 iPad Pro, but you can still find it through retailers like Amazon.

We recommend picking up the new Apple Pencil if you like to take notes or draw. It may cost $129, but the new version charges wirelessly and magnetically attaches to your iPad for easy storage.

Apple’s Keyboard will also cost you a pretty penny, so we recommend going for a third-party case and keyboard. — Malarie Gokey

The best tablet for kids

fire 7 kids

If you feel a little nervous handing your mobile devices to your kids, the Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition tablet comes with a tough case to keep it safe.

Pros: Great price for a tablet designed for kids, includes a tough exterior case that will protect the tablet if the child drops it, includes a two-year replacement warranty for any damage that occurs

Cons: Doesn’t contain powerful components, tablet runs slower than most models

The Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition provides a tough case that will protect the tablet, even if the child drops the tablet (as long as it’s not dropped in a toilet). Laptop Mag says parents can feel comfortable allowing their children to use the Fire 7 because of the two-year accidental-damage warranty it comes with.

Although the sound quality of the Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition tablet is below average, Wired says the small size of this tablet with a 7-inch screen works great for young children.

There’s a lot of children’s content on the Amazon tablet, along with several features for setting up parental controls, which is great. You will have to download the content through apps before accessing the content, but the tablet’s simple interface works great for kids to operate on their own.

This admittedly isn’t the most powerful tablet, as it features below-average processor speed and less-than HD resolution on the screen. But, kids aren’t likely to complain, or even notice. 

The Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is a slightly bigger option with better performance, and it’s barely more expensive at $140. Still the Fire 7 Kids Edition is more portable and its performance is just fine for kids while costing $40 less.

The best small tablet

iPad Mini 2019

The iPad Mini is essentially a smaller replica of the standard 10.2-inch iPad. Just watch out for its higher price tag. 

Pros: Compact, good performance, sharp screen, works with the Apple Pencil

Cons: Dated design, expensive for what it is

The 2019 iPad Mini is Apple’s small tablet that’s powered by the capable A12 Bionic chip, and it supports the first-generation Apple Pencil, which makes the Mini a great tablet for note taking or drawing.

The Mini‘s 7.9-inch Retina display has a sharp 2,048 x 1,536-pixel resolution, too, so you can really enjoy watching videos, reading, and creating on the screen.

You can choose between 64GB or 256GB of storage and three color options: Silver, Space Gray, or Gold). If you want to keep the price down, you can get the Wi-Fi-only version, but there is also a Mini with both cellular and Wi-Fi connections.

Our main gripe with the iPad Mini is that it’s a smaller version of the $330 10.2-inch iPad with nearly the same specs, and yet it costs $70 more. That higher price casts a shadow over the iPad Mini, as it’s hard to justify paying extra for something smaller, especially if it’s a year old already. Still, it’s the best small tablet there is.

How to pick the right tablet for you

iPAd

Operating systems for tablets

As with smartphones and laptops, you can choose among a few different types of operating systems with tablets. Picking the right OS will enhance your enjoyment of the tablet you select.

  • Apple’s iOS: For many people, the name iPad is synonymous with tablets. Although the iPad wasn’t the first tablet on the market, it’s credited with making tablets popular and invigorating the tablet market in 2010. The iPad runs Apple’s iOS operating system, which also powers the iPhone. iOS has a great interface and works equally well on a smartphone or tablet screen. There are tons of special apps made for the iPad, which makes it an excellent investment. However, because only Apple-branded iPads can run iOS, you’ll pay more for them versus tablets with other operating systems. 
  • Google’s Android: You also may be familiar with the Android operating system, managed by Google. Android powers many different kinds of smartphones. It’s also very user-friendly and offers tons of apps. There are numerous Android tablets to choose from, and they range in price from under $10 to around $600 and up. 
  • Amazon’s Fire OS: Fire OS is a special ecosystem, rather than an operating system, as it runs on top of Android. Basically, it brings Amazon’s services to the forefront of the OS and you download apps from Amazon’s app store. Amazon also has special software for kids on its kid-friendly tablets. These Fire tablets are much more affordable than any other kind of tablet.
  • Microsoft’s Windows: Microsoft has tweaked the Windows operating system to make it far more user-friendly than older versions of Windows, meaning it works equally well with a traditional desktop computer or a touchscreen tablet. When running Windows on a tablet, you’ll have access to a lot of traditional software, but you’ll find a significant lack of apps compared to Apple or Android. However, since these tablets run Windows, they can be used as full laptops.

What to look for in a tablet

Tablets have a lot of different strengths, depending on the one you choose. Think about what you want to do with the tablet, and you’ll be able to find one that’ll perfectly meet your needs.

  • Battery Life: Completing a really long car trip in successful silence may depend on whether your tablet has a long battery life. Battery life typically can range anywhere from 4 to 12 hours, depending on the tablet model and screen size. Seven hours is about average.
  • Connectivity: Different tablets allow you to make a connection to the Internet in a few different ways. Most will offer Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing you to connect to your home or work network. Others also include the ability to connect to a cellular network, much like a smartphone, and access the Internet through the cell network. However, you must have a cellular account with a monthly fee to use it.
  • Fast Processor: Look at the CPU and GPU chips included in your tablet. Newer, more powerful chips will give you faster performance levels. Some Windows tablets even have laptop-level processors inside, so you can use them as portable PCs. However, you will pay more for more power.
  • Keyboard: Most tablets are able to connect to a physical keyboard for typing, making it easier to input data into the tablet versus using the digital keyboard on the screen. Some tablets are 2-in-1 devices, meaning the keyboard/screen configuration looks more like a laptop because the two are connected. You then can fold up the keyboard to make it work like a tablet.
  • RAM: RAM is the amount of memory used to operate software and apps. This is different from the type of memory used for data storage. The more RAM you have available on the tablet, the better it will perform, but the more you’ll have to pay.
  • Screen Resolution: Tablets that can display more pixels will have a sharper image that looks great. If you want to watch movies on the tablets, having a resolution of at least full HD quality (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) will be very desirable.
  • Screen Size: The size of the tablet’s screen marks the most important feature for most people. Larger screens work better for things like watching movies, drawing, or playing games. Of course, screen size plays a direct role in the size of the tablet, too. So if you want a smaller tablet, you’ll want a smaller screen.
  • Storage: Tablets have an interior solid state drive (or SSD) for storing apps, movies, games, and more. You may be able to add more storage through a Micro SD memory card, although not all tablets have a memory card slot. Some tablets rely on cloud storage for extra storage. You may want extra storage for movies, books, and games.
  • Stylus: Some people love having a stylus for working with the tablet, especially if they’re drawing by freehand. Not every tablet can make use of a stylus, and some stylus pens don’t work as well as others. So if you need one, do your homework to find a tablet that can take full advantage of the features of the stylus.

Check out our guide to the best iPads you can buy

ipad air and ipad mini 2019

The best iPads you can buy

Apple is the uncontested king of tablets. The word iPad is synonymous with the word tablet. Chances are if you own a tablet at all, you have an iPad.

We’ve tested nearly every iPad that has been released over the past three years, and these are the absolute best iPads you can buy. You can also check out the best iPad cases for every type of person and read why we love the Apple Pencil.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I’ve been using Apple’s iPad Pro and iPad Air to see which is right for most people, and the more affordable Air is the obvious choice

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

ipad pro (2020) vs ipad air (2020) 4x3

  • The iPad Air is best for most people since it offers some of the Pro’s best features for less.
  • The iPad Pro is only worth it if you need a larger screen and a better camera.
  • Check out our guide to the best iPad cases.

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyProduct Card (small)Product Card (small)

With iPads available at different sizes and prices, it can be difficult to know which model is right for you. Is it worth splurging on the $800 iPad Pro, or should you go for Apple’s less expensive, but still fairly pricey $600 iPad Air? Both tablets share many similarities, particularly when it comes to their size, design, and compatibility with accessories.

Just like any other shopping decision, figuring out which iPad is right for you comes down to one important question: What do you intend to use it for? The iPad Air and iPad Pro may look alike, especially if you’re eyeballing the 11-inch iPad Pro, but they come with some nuanced differences that are worth considering.

Those differences could become more pronounced in the next week, as Apple is holding an event on April 20th where it is expected to release new iPad Pros. We’ll be sure to update our recommendations as soon as we get our hands on the new product.

Overall, the iPad Air is the better choice for most people. Its new design gives it a more modern look that feels similar to the iPad Pro and Apple’s latest iPhones, it’s powerful enough for gaming, productivity, and basic tasks, and it’s incredibly lightweight. The Pro, on the other hand, comes with a few extra features that could be useful for specific circumstances and workflows, but aren’t necessary for most people.

Here’s a closer look at how the two compare.

Apple iPad Air vs. iPad Pro: Which is best?

iPad Air Apple Pencil
The 2020 iPad Air and Apple Pencil

The iPad Air’s more affordable price and powerful chip that matches the one in Apple’s iPhone 12 lineup make it a great choice for anyone looking for a tablet that serves well for both work and play.

You’re not missing out on much by opting for the Air instead of the Pro. The most important factor in deciding between the two – other than the option for a larger 12.9-inch screen – comes down to the processor and camera. The A12Z Bionic chip in the iPad Pro should be better-suited for graphics performance compared to the Air, which could make it a superior choice for video and photo editors.

The iPad Pro also has a dual-lens camera with an ultra-wide-angle camera unlike the iPad Air, and since it has Face ID it can also capture Portrait Mode selfies unlike the Air. Other iPad Pro features that are missing from the iPad Air include a display that can increase its refresh rate for smoother scrolling, more storage space, and a LiDAR sensor for measuring depth.

But, the iPad Air has a lot of the other benefits that were previously only available on the Pro, such as a nearly borderless screen, USB-C charging, and compatibility with Apple accessories like the Magic Keyboard, Smart Folio Keyboard Case, and second-generation Apple Pencil.

Apple iPad Air vs. iPad Pro Specifications

iPad Air (2020)

iPad Pro (2020)
Starting price $599 $799
Display size 10.9 inches 11 inches or 12.9 inches
Display resolution 2360 x 1640, 264 pixels per inch 2388 x 1668 , 264 pixels per inch (11-inch) or 2732 x 2048, 264 pixels per inch (12.9-inch)
Processor A14 Bionic A12Z Bionic
Camera (rear) 12-MP wide lens 12-MP wide lens, 10-MP ultra-wide lens
Camera (front) 7-MP 7-MP
Storage 64GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB,1TB
Sensors and biometrics Touch ID Face ID, LiDAR
Audio Two speakers Four speakers
Battery Life 10 hours on Wi-Fi 10 hours on Wi-Fi
Ports USB-C USB-C
Colors Silver, space gray, rose gold, green, sky blue Silver or space gray

Design and display

Apple iPad Pro 12.9 inch 128 GB
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 inch 128 GB.

If it’s been a while since you’ve upgraded your iPad, the look and feel of both the iPad Air and iPad Pro will feel new and fresh.

Both tablets have Apple’s more modern design that features a display that nearly covers the entire front of the tablet and flat aluminum edges, distinguishing them from the standard iPad and iPad Mini. Those tablets, comparatively, have the familiar Touch ID home button, curved edges, and thicker borders located above and below the display.

Both the Air and Pro have a sleek and sharp look that’s not only more aesthetically pleasing, but is also more comfortable to hold. The iPad Air and Pro each have their advantages when it comes to choice. The iPad Pro, for example, is available in two different sizes – 11 inches and 12.9-inches – while the Air only comes in one 10.9-inch option. That bigger 12.9-inch model starts at $1,000.

But, the Air comes in more color options, with choices including silver, space gray, rose gold, green, and blue, while the Pro is only available in silver and space gray. The iPad Air also has Touch ID integrated into the top button, unlike the iPad Pro which instead has Face ID. That could factor into your decision depending on your preference.

iPad Air Landscape
The 2020 iPad Air

When it comes to their displays, both tablets have screens that pack 264 pixels per inch and are capable of offering a crisp and colorful viewing experience. When viewing them side-by-side, both screens look almost identical, displaying bold color and sharp detail. The only somewhat noticeable difference is that the iPad Pro’s screen is slightly brighter at 600 nits compared to the iPad Air’s 500-nit display.

They also both have Apple’s TrueTone feature, which adjusts the display’s color to match surrounding lighting conditions, and support for P3 Wide Color. But, the iPad Pro has ProMotion technology, which can boost the screen’s refresh rate up to 120Hz depending on the content being displayed. This could be useful for artists who plan to do a lot of sketching with the Apple Pencil on their iPad, but I didn’t experience much of a difference when drawing and coloring on both the iPad Air and iPad Pro.

All told, both tablets have slim, lightweight designs and screens that are plenty sharp enough for watching movies, viewing photos, reading, and working. But, the Pro’s screen is more fluid and comes in two different size options, while the Air offers more selection when it comes to color choices.

Performance

iPad Air Game
The 2020 iPad AIr

Apple’s iPad Pro and iPad Air both run on some of the company’s most powerful mobile chips. Driving the iPad Air is Apple’s A14 Bionic, the same processor found inside the iPhone 12 and the first one to be built on Apple’s 5-nanometer (nm) manufacturing process. That means the company was able to cram even more transistors into this chip for improved performance and battery life.

But, the iPad Pro’s A12Z chip has more cores when it comes to its central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU), which should make it better at multitasking and graphically-intensive tasks like photo and video editing. The A12Z’s has an eight-core CPU and an eight-core GPU, while the iPad Air’s A14 Bionic has a six-core CPU and a four-core GPU.

Still, in most real-world scenarios, the differences in performance aren’t very noticeable. From sketching with the Apple Pencil to launching apps and playing games, the iPad Pro and iPad Air perform pretty much the same.

The Apple Pencil feels buttery smooth when drawing in Adobe Illustrator, and the first-person shooter “Shadowgun: Legends” runs seamlessly when set to the ultra-high graphics setting on either tablet. Editing photos and processing changes made to images in apps like FaceTune 2 and Adobe Lightroom is also a breeze on both the iPad Pro and iPad Air.

However, there are some differences in performance when exporting video clips, although it varies depending on the app being used. When exporting a 4K 25-second video clip to 1080p in Adobe Rush, the iPad Air is surprisingly, noticeably faster than the iPad Pro in every instance during my testing.

The iPad Air exported the clip in between 10 and 11 seconds, while the iPad Pro took between one and two minutes. But, when exporting a 25-second 4K video from iMovie, the iPad Pro beat the iPad Air by about 10 seconds every time.

When it comes to benchmark tests designed to simulate real-world app usage and graphics performance, the iPad Air and iPad Pro each excel in different areas. During Geekbench 5’s test that’s meant to assess the single-core performance of a device’s processor, the iPad Air’s A14 Bionic chip scored higher than the iPad Pro’s A12Z processor.

The iPad Air scored an average of 1,583 on this test while the iPad Pro scored 1,116. Yet the iPad Pro outscored the iPad Air during Geekbench’s test for measuring multi-core performance, which isn’t entirely surprising since the A12Z Bionic processor has more cores than the A14 Bionic. The iPad Pro had an average score of 4,676 during this test, while the iPad Air scored 4,257 on average.

The iPad Pro also scored higher than the Air on 3DMark Wild Life, a benchmark that measures graphics performance by rendering a demanding scene that simulates a video game in real time. Apple’s high-end tablet scored an average of 13,483 and reached 80 frames per second (fps), while the iPad Air scored an average of 8,895 and with a frame rate of 53 fps.

All told, the iPad Air’s performance is more than enough power for gaming, productivity, web browsing, and photo editing. But, the Pro should have a little bit of an edge when it comes to graphically demanding tasks, although it’s unclear why it performs more slowly than the Air in Adobe Rush.

Accessories

iPad Pro Keyboard 3
The iPad Pro being used with Apple’s Magic Keyboard

Another characteristic that the iPad Pro and latest iPad Air share: they each work with Apple’s latest accessories. Both tablets are compatible with the second-generation Apple Pencil, which launched in 2018 and charges and pairs by magnetically attaching to the iPad.

The previous version required that you plug the stylus into the iPad’s Lightning connector. Not only was that a less convenient design, but it also became obsolete for the iPad Pro and newest Air now that they use USB-C instead.

Apple’s newest iPad Air and iPad Pro tablets also both work with the company’s Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio cases. The Magic Keyboard is Apple’s top-of-the-line keyboard that most closely resembles that of a laptop keyboard. It comes with tactile, comfortable keys and a trackpad, while the $179 Smart Folio Keyboard case is smaller with softer, shallower fabric-laden keys. Both keyboards are expensive, but the Magic Keyboard is especially pricey starting at $300.

Cameras and battery life

iPad Pro Camera
The iPad Pro’s double camera and LiDAR sensor

There are many similarities between the new iPad Air and iPad Pro, but one of the biggest ways in which they differ is in their cameras. The iPad Pro is the only Apple tablet to come with two cameras: a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens and a 10-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens. That means you can take images with a broader field of view on the iPad Pro in addition to standard photos just like you can with the iPhone 12.

The iPad Pro also has a brighter flash than the iPad Air, which only has a single 12-megapixel wide angle camera. And since the iPad Pro supports Face ID, you can take selfies in Portrait Mode using the front-facing camera, another feature that’s missing from the iPad Air.

The iPad Pro was also the first Apple device to come with a LiDAR sensor, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging. This sensor enables the iPad to measure the distance between objects by detecting how long it takes for light to reach an object and reflect back. The iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max also have this LiDAR sensor, but on the iPad Pro Apple is pushing this sensor as being ideal for augmented reality applications.

These types of apps also run just fine on the iPad Air, but the iPad Pro is noticeably faster in certain scenarios. For example, when using Apple’s digital tape measure app to determine the length and width of furniture in my living room, the iPad Pro can automatically detect and focus on surfaces much more quickly than the iPad Air.

The LiDAR sensor is a nice perk that will probably make the iPad Pro more useful for those with occupations that call for taking a lot of real-world measurements – perhaps architects, interior designers, and artists – but it shouldn’t be the only reason you’re considering buying the iPad Pro.

Both tablets are also estimated to last for 10 hours when browsing the web and watching video on Wi-Fi, which I found to be generally accurate during my anecdotal testing.

The bottom line

iPad Air Screen
The iPad Air

Overall, the iPad Air is a better choice for those interested in a tablet for entertainment, general usage like browsing the web and checking email, and some light productivity. It has the same thin and sleek design as the iPad Pro, a sharp screen, powerful performance, and is compatible with the same accessories as the Pro. Not to mention, it also charges via USB-C instead of Lightning like the iPad Pro, so you can use your non-iPhone chargers with it.

The iPad Pro is only worth it if you intend to use it in a specific way that calls for a larger screen, a dual camera, and a LiDAR sensor, perhaps making it better-suited for artists, graphic designers, and others working in creative fields.

If you do feel like the iPad Pro is a better fit, don’t buy one just yet. Apple is expected to announce two new iPad Pros at an event on April 20 with improved processors similar to the M1 chip in the latest MacBook laptops, according to Bloomberg. That processor brought big gains in performance and battery life to Apple’s laptops, and the 12.9-inch model is also said to come with a better micro-LED screen for enhanced contrast. Even if you don’t need the newest model, you might be able to find the current iPad Pro at a discount once the updated versions debut.

iPad Air

Product Card (button)

iPad Pro

Product Card (button)

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The best iPads

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Apple is the uncontested king of tablets. The iPad is the most popular tablet in the world, with Apple beating Samsung and Lenovo by claiming 36.5% of the global tablet market. 

Apple’s tablet lineup is varied and surprisingly affordable. At $329.99, the 10.2-inch iPad is the cheapest iPad Apple has ever sold, but it’s quite powerful and supports the Apple Pencil, making it a great choice for anyone in need of a general purpose tablet. 

Other iPads offer higher performance and more features and functionality, all of which come at higher prices. 

Here are the best iPads in 2021:

The best iPad overall

Apple ipad 8th gen widgets

The 2020 10.2-inch iPad offers the best balance of value, performance, and features, and is the best deal for most people.

Pros: Incredible price for an iPad, slick aluminum design, Touch ID for security and Apple Pay, gorgeous screen, supports the Apple Pencil

Cons: Low resolution front camera, very little storage at base price

The 2020 10.2-inch iPad is the most affordable model, and it’s the best option for those picking up their first iPad. It’s also a great choice if you’re looking to upgrade from an aging iPad or iPad Mini.

The 2,160 x 1,620-pixel resolution on the 10.2-inch model is sharp and clear. The A12 processor is still perfectly capable for most apps and tasks, the battery life is long, and you can buy things on iPad with Apple Pay, thanks to the Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

Best of all, this iPad supports the first-generation Apple Pencil, an incredible stylus with virtually no lag. You will have to pay $100 extra for the Pencil, but if you like to take notes or draw on your iPad, it is well worth it. Naturally, any Bluetooth keyboard also works with the iPad, so if you want to use it as a quasi-laptop, you can pick up a great keyboard.

You simply can’t beat those specs at that price point. Comparable Android tablets cost hundreds of dollars more, and the iPad still has a better app library and accessory support.

The aluminum build looks and feels premium. Both iPads are quite light, too, so you can happily binge-watch Netflix in bed or take them with you. Tech nerds will say the iPads have a boring old design, but it’s tried and true. Plus, the aluminum build is durable.

However, there are some drawbacks that are worth considering. The 1.2-megapixel front camera isn’t very sharp, which is something to keep in mind if you make a lot of FaceTime calls. And, the base model only comes with 32GB of storage. That means you won’t be able to store many apps, videos, and photos on the device and will have to keep most of your content in the cloud unless you upgrade to the $429 model with 128GB of storage.

Check out our full review of Apple’s 10.2-inch iPad.

The best mid-range iPad

ipad air 4th gen 2020 with magic keyboard

The 2020 iPad Air brings power and a premium updated design and features for $600

Pros: Updated design, sharp screen, Touch ID, works with accessories like the newer Apple Pencil, fast performance, new processor, mouse support, close to iPad Pro functionality and power while costing less

Cons: Only 64GB of storage, price gets expensive when you add on accessories Price is creeping up

The iPad Air got a big upgrade when the newest version debuted in September 2020. New features include an all-screen design with sharper edges that’s similar to the iPad Pro’s look, the powerful A14 Bionic processor that powers the iPhone 12 series, USB-C for faster charging and connecting to computers, and a Touch ID sensor on the top button.

The tablet also supports the second-generation Apple Pencil, which is widely considered the best stylus for drawing on a tablet and features an improved design compared to the first-generation pencil. The iPad Air also has a sharp 10.9-inch Liquid Retina True Tone screen with a resolution of 2,360 × 1,640 pixels.

If you’re looking for an iPad for work-related tasks, the 2020 iPad Air supports Apple’s Smart Keyboard Folio and the Magic Keyboard, which includes a trackpad for mouse control. Support for the Magic Keyboard, in particular, brings the 2020 iPad Air closer than ever to the iPad Pro’s high level of functionality, making the 2020 iPad Air a less expensive alternative to the iPad Pro.

You can buy the iPad Air with either 64GB or 256GB of storage, and it comes in five color options: Silver, Space Gray, Green, Sky Blue, or Rose Gold. You can also choose either a Wi-Fi-only connection or a combination of cellular and Wi-Fi connections.

Check out our full review of the 2020 iPad Air.

The best small iPad

iPad Mini 2019

The 2019 iPad Mini is essentially the smaller version of the 10.2-inch iPad, and it’s the best option if you prefer a smaller tablet.

Pros: Compact, affordable, new processor, sharp screen, works with the Pencil

Cons: Older design with bigger bezels, more expensive than larger 10.2-inch 2020 iPad

With a 7.9-inch display, the 2019 iPad Mini is Apple’s smallest tablet. It may not have the newer iPad-Pro style design, but it has all the latest specs we wanted in this update.

It’s powered by the same powerful A12 Bionic processor found inside  the 2020 iPad, and it supports the first-generation Apple Pencil. We’re thrilled Apple gave the Mini Pencil support, as it’s the best stylus we’ve ever used, and it makes the Mini a great tablet for note taking or drawing.

The Mini’s True Tone, 7.9-inch screen has a sharp 2,048 x 1,536 pixel resolution, too, so you can really enjoy watching videos, reading, and creating on the screen.

You can choose between 64GB or 256GB of storage and three color options: Silver, Space Gray, or Gold).

Overall, the iPad Mini is the best choice for those who prioritize portability above all else in a tablet. If you want a screen that’s slightly bigger than your phone for reading, watching movies, and checking email, the iPad Mini is worth considering. 

Check out our full review of the 2019 iPad Mini here.

The best iPad for pros

ipad pro

Apple’s 2020 iPad Pro comes in 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes with hardware inside that is so high-end these tablets can surpass some laptops.

Pros: Gorgeous screens, excellent specs, high-end performance, Pencil is superb for drawing, two screen sizes, mouse support

Cons: Very expensive, not a laptop replacement, accessories are extra

The latest 2020 iPad Pro tablet has slim bezels, a stunning sharp screen in two sizes, a powerful processor, and tons of great accessories to go with it, including the Apple Pencil and the Magic Keyboard with a trackpad. Professionals intending to use this tablet for work should opt for the larger 12.9-inch size, which has a more spacious screen that’s about the same size as a laptop’s display. 

It’s also the only iPad to come with two cameras: a standard wide lens and an ultra-wide angle lens, making it a more attractive choice for photographers that want to shoot and edit directly on their device.  

You can get it in 11- and 12.9-inch screen sizes to suit your preferences.  The 11-inch model brings all the power, features, and functionality in a more compact form. But if you prefer this smaller size, we’d recommend considering the iPad Air instead. 

Regardless of which model you buy, the iPad Pro is a powerhouse thanks to its A12Z Bionic processor. It’s the same processor Apple included in its developer transition kit to help app makers optimize their programs for its new Apple silicon processors for the Mac.

That alone should tell you the iPad Pro has enough performance to go toe-to-toe with laptops. Apple’s entry-level model comes with 64GB of storage, but you can get up to 1TB if you don’t mind spending a whole lot of money. Both iPad Pros have really high screen resolutions: 2,388-by-1,668 pixels (11-inch model) and 2,732-by-2,048 pixels (12.9-inch model).

We recommend picking up the new Apple Pencil if you like to take notes or draw. It may cost $129.00, but it is worth it. The Apple Pencil is the best stylus we’ve ever used, and the new version even charges wirelessly and magnetically attaches to your iPad for easy storage.

Apple’s Keyboard will also cost you a pretty penny, so we recommend going for a third-party case and keyboard.

There are three downsides to the iPad Pro, as we see it: It’s expensive, it won’t fully replace your laptop, and you have to pay extra for the keyboard and the stylus. Otherwise, it’s a great tablet that’s well worth the cost — if you have the money.

The best stylus

ipad pro

The first-generation Apple Pencil is the best for the 2020 10.2-inch and 2019 iPad Mini, while the second-generation stylus is ideal for the 2020 iPad Air and 2020 iPad Pro models.

Pros: Works with even the cheapest 10.2-inch iPad, lack of latency, pressure sensitivity, made for the iPad’s screen, easy to charge, comfortable to hold

Cons: Expensive 

Over the years, we’ve tested a lot of styluses from companies like Adonit, 53, Wacom, and more. None of those styluses can hold a candle to the Apple Pencil. Whether you buy the first-generation Pencil or the second, you’re getting a stylus that was made by Apple in tandem with the iPad.

As such, the Pencil works with the iPads’ screens in special ways that no other stylus can. The result is improved pressure sensitivity and an impressively low level of latency. You won’t even notice a lag because it’s imperceptible. When you use an Apple Pencil, you actually feel like you’re using a normal graphite pencil.

There are a few differences between the first- and second-generation Pencils: the second-gen model has wireless charging and magnetically attaches to the side of the iPad. The first-gen Pencil charges with a lightning port on the end and doesn’t attach to your iPad. It’s also a bit cheaper.

As far as compatibility, the first-generation Apple Pencil is for the older iPad models, as well as the 2020 10.2-inch iPad and the 2019 iPad Mini. The second-generation Apple Pencil and supports newer and higher-end iPads, including most iPad Pros and the 2020 iPad Air.

Choose whichever makes the most sense to you, but the newer Pencil’s easier charging method and magnetic attraction to the iPad make it a winner in our book.

The best keyboard for your iPad

logitech k780 keyboard

The Logitech K780 works with any device, connects wirelessly, and offers a full-sized keyboard with satisfying keys for typing.

Pros: Nice design, comfortable, two-year battery life

Cons: Needs AAA batteries

The Logitech K780 is the best Bluetooth keyboard for just about any device, including the iPad. Sure, it’s not a keyboard case, so it won’t protect your iPad and provide a keyboard, but that means you get a full-sized keyboard with a number pad and satisfying keys that have good travel.

The K780 supports connections to multiple devices, so you can use it with your iPad, phone, and computer if you want. The circular keys are comfortable to type on because they are full size. Logitech also incorporated a tablet and phone stand into the keyboard’s design, so it’s easy to prop your iPad up without needing to buy a separate stand or case.

The only downsides here are that it needs AAA batteries to run and it’s not the most portable keyboard you can buy. If you want a more portable option, the foldable iClever Ultra Slim 3 Keyboard folds up to one-third of its size and can be used in both wireless and wired modes.

What to consider when buying an iPad

  • Price: The biggest factor you’ll want to consider when purchasing an iPad is how much you’re willing to spend. The 10.2-inch $329 iPad is the best choice for anyone on a tight budget, since it’s Apple’s most affordable iPad. But if you want more storage space than the 32GB that comes with the cheapest standard iPad by default and are looking for something more compact, the $400 iPad Mini is your best bet. If you’re willing to invest in a tablet that you’re also planning to use for work purposes, particularly for photography, the top-of-the-line $800-$1,000 iPad Pro may be right for you. And then there’s the $600 iPad Air, which falls right in the middle and is best if you want a tablet for casual productivity and entertainment.
  • Size: Aside from price, size is one of the most important aspects to consider when buying an iPad. The 7.9-inch iPad Mini is Apple’s smallest tablet, and it’s the right choice if you mostly think you’ll be using your iPad during your commute or while traveling. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is best for those who want a laptop-sized tablet for getting work done or watching movies. And for those looking for something in between, there’s the 10.2-inch iPad, 10.9-inch iPad Air, and 11-inch iPad Pro.
  • Performance: When picking out an iPad, you’ll also want to consider what kinds of tasks you think you’ll be using it for. If you just want an iPad that can serve as a larger and more suitable screen for doing many of the things you’d normally do on your smartphone, like browsing the internet, watching Netflix, playing casual games, light productivity such as note-taking, and checking email, then the iPad or iPad Mini will do just fine. But if you need something more powerful that packs more graphics performance, which could be important for video and photo editors, you’ll want to check out the iPad Pro. And then, of course, the iPad Air falls right in the middle, offering performance that’s just as fast and snappy as the iPhone 12 for a lower price than the iPad Pro.
  • Features: All of Apple’s iPads run on the same software and can download the same apps from the App Store. But they do differ in several important ways when it comes to hardware-based features. Compared to Apple’s cheaper tablets, the iPad Air and iPad Pro offer sleeker designs, nearly borderless screens, USB-C input, compatibility with newer Apple accessories, and sharper cameras. The iPad Pro is also the only iPad to come with two rear camera lenses, Face ID, and a LiDAR sensor for augmented reality apps. Consider which features matter to you most when deciding which iPad is right for you. 
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