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Best iPad 2020: Which iPad Should I Buy?

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Which iPad should you buy? It’s a much more complicated decision than it used to be, with five models of iPad officially to buy from Apple and many older variants still available from third-party retailers – and that’s before we get into elements like colours, storage options, cellular connectivity and optional accessories. 

But don’t fear! We at Tech Advisor are iPad experts, and here, we showcase our selection of the best iPads available to buy right now, along with expert buying advice on what to consider when on the hunt for an iPad. If you’re open to Android and Windows alternatives, why not take a look at our choice of the best tablets?

Best iPad 2020

1. iPad 10.2in (2020) – Best Overall

2. iPad Pro (2020) – Best for Pros

iPad Pro 12.9in (2020)

3. iPad mini (2019) – Best portable iPad

Apple iPad mini (2019)

4. iPad Air (2019) – A great powerful option

Apple iPad Air (2019)

It’s worth noting that Apple has announced the upgraded fourth-gen iPad Air that looks to be a huge improvement on its predecessor, so it might be worth holding off on purchasing Apple’s old iPad Air until we’ve had a chance to review the new one ourselves. 

What should I look for when buying an iPad?

There are several factors to consider when on the market for an iPad.

Form factor

iPads come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s more of a question of preference than simply going for the biggest tablet you can get your hands on. Bigger isn’t always necessarily better, especially if you’re looking for a portable tablet you can use on-the-go. 

In terms of screen size, you’ve got five options available:

  • iPad mini: 7.9in
  • iPad: 10.2in
  • iPad Air: 10.5in
  • iPad Pro 11: 11in
  • iPad Pro 12.9: 12.9in

Of course, a larger screen is going to provide a more immersive entertainment experience, whether you’re watching movies on Netflix or playing Call of Duty: Mobile, but as the screen size increases, so does the weight. While the iPad mini weighs only 301g, the iPad Pro 12.9 weighs a whopping 641g – over double the weight – although the iPad Air strikes a nice balance with a 10.5in display and a weight of only 456g. It really does depend on your preferences and how you intend to use the iPad.

It’s also worth noting that the iPad Pro range features the best screen-to-body ratio in the current collection, ditching the chin and forehead present on the rest of the iPad range, but whether that’s worth paying a premium for is up to you. 

Performance

The level of performance varies amongst the current iPad offering, with the iPad 10.2in featuring the ageing A10 Fusion chipset while the latest models of iPad Pro feature the incredibly powerful A12Z Bionic chipset. The iPad mini and iPad Air sport the A12 Bionic, offering the sweet spot in terms of performance. 

What does that mean? If you’re looking to use your iPad for work and intend on editing videos, creating graphics and playing high-end AAA games, you’ll benefit from the A12Z Bionic chipset of the iPad Pro range. If you’re only looking for an iPad to browse the web, use your favourite apps and play simple games, the iPad mini or Air should suffice. 

Though the A10 Fusion of the 10.2in iPad still provides decent performance depending on what you’re doing, it’ll likely stop receiving software updates long before any other iPad currently on sale, so we’d avoid it where possible. 

Accessories

Consider the accessories available for each iPad, as it’s not a uniform offering: the high-end iPad Pro range, for example, features an exclusive Magic Keyboard with a built-in trackpad and innovative cantilever hinge that turns the tablet into a true laptop competitor, and it’s compatible with the second-gen Apple Pencil too.

You do have a Smart Keyboard and first-gen Apple Pencil available for other iPads, but it’s not the same experience as what you’ll get from Apple’s latest Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil. If using Apple’s high-end accessories is a key part of what you’ll be doing with the iPad, you should consider an iPad Pro. 

Price

Most importantly of all, you’ve got to decide just how much you want to spend on a new iPad. The good news is that Apple has expanded the iPad portfolio in recent years, with options to suit every budget. The 10.2in iPad is the cheapest in the range at only £349/$329, and it goes all the way up to £1,619/$1,649 for the 1TB variant of 12.9in iPad Pro, and although that is still incredibly expensive, it’s actually £200/$200 cheaper than the same version from 2018.

Though you may be tempted to go for the 10.2in iPad if you’re on the hunt for a bargain, we’d advise spending a little more on the iPad Air or iPad mini – with the 10.2in model’s ageing A10 Bionic chipset, it’s likely that it’ll stop receiving software updates much sooner than any other iPad Apple sells right now.

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