Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

iPads are arguably the best consumer tablets on the market, and with good reason. They offer a versatile user experience thanks to iPadOS, powerful specs, and a growing number of compatible accessories.

Whether you’re a student, a creative professional, or just someone looking to get a new tablet, Apple’s iPad lineup covers a wide range of users. From the base 10.2-inch iPad all the way to the beefy 12.9-inch iPad Pro, each iPad offers features and tools specific to its price point. With that said, here’s our list of the best iPads to spend your money on right now.

The best iPads to buy right now:

  • The iPad 10.2-inch is the best iPad for most people. Coming in at an affordable price, this iPad offers the core iPad experience without breaking the bank.
  • The iPad Air is the best iPad for students with its iPad Pro-inspired design, Apple Pencil 2 support, and an expansive yet portable 10.9-inch display.
  • The iPad Mini is the best portable iPad with its 8.3-inch display and weighing only 297 grams.
  • The iPad Pro 11/12.9-inch are the best iPads for performance and productivity, thanks to their M1 processor.

iPad 10.2-inch: The best iPad for most people

Apple iPad 2021 rear panel angled in carpet

Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

When deciding which iPad is the best for most people, we considered everything from price, performance, and features. This 9th generation iPad doesn’t have any singular characteristic that makes it better than the rest of Apple’s lineup. However, considering what it offers at this price point, the 10.2-inch iPad is still the best iPad for everyday users.

At this price point, no other tablet can compete with the iPad’s performance and software support.

With this entry-level iPad, you’re getting a tablet that is great for taking notes, watching movies, and playing games, thanks to the A13 Bionic processor. At $329, no other tablet can compete with this iPad’s performance, software support, or longevity. The best part is that Apple doubled the base storage from 32GB to 64GB, allowing you to store more apps and games without stepping up to higher storage options.

The trade-off of having an iPad at this price is that you’re not going to get many of the newer features like USB-C, Apple Pencil 2 support, or the all-screen design of the iPad Pro that has trickled its way to the Air and Mini models. That said, Apple managed to add the new ultrawide front-facing camera that utilizes CenterStage, and this iPad is still compatible with the first generation Apple Pencil if you’re into sketching and taking notes.

Apple iPad (2021)
The new most-basic iPad gets some new processing power.
The vanilla iPad got a 2021 refresh with a new A13 Bionic chipset and a new price.

  • $320 at Amazon
  • $329 at Apple

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Solid battery life
  • Good display

Cons:

  • Dated design
  • It still has a Lightning port
  • Mono speakers


Check out our full review: Apple iPad (2021)

iPad Air: The best iPad for students

apple ipad air 2020 review camera touch id

Credit: Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

Ever since the redesigned iPad Pro launched in 2018, iPads have become the gold standard for students looking to get a sleek device for taking notes, finishing assignments, and relaxing after a long day on campus. Of course, the iPad Pro sits at the flagship price in Apple’s lineup, meaning many students had to opt for the last generation iPad Air or regular iPad, which, while decent, didn’t support the second-generation Apple Pencil and didn’t feel as robust and versatile with the proprietary Lightning port.

With this redesigned iPad Air, you’re getting the best middle ground between price and versatility, making it the best iPad for students. Apple reserves ProMotion, Lidar, and Thunderbolt 4 support for its Pro models. Still, aside from those specific features, the iPad Air is essentially a toned-down version of the 11-inch iPad Pro, which is excellent. You’re getting Apple’s snappy A14 Bionic processor, which means incredible performance and decent battery life.

Read more: The best iPhones to get

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