Which iPad is best for you in 2021?
Since the iPad was first released way back in 2010, there have been eight generations of iPads. And the years since have introduced the iPad mini, iPad Air and iPad Pro. With several different iPad models on the market, it can be tricky to find the best model for you and your needs. To help you out, we broke down the latest models of iPads to help you understand the features they offer, what they do, and which is the best iPad model for you this year.
iPad (8th generation)
With the most recent model being the 8th generation, the original iPad is actually the least powerful of the four current iPad models. But that’s not to say it’s weak. And it’s also the least expensive iPad, which makes it an attractive option.
The iPad has a 10.2-inch Retina display, which makes it the second smallest iPad. Only the iPad Mini is smaller. That said, the difference in size between this iPad and the iPads Air and Pro is literally only fractions of an inch.
The iPad and an A12 Bionic chip, which offers solid performance capability for working on projects and streaming movies. This 8th generation iPad is thin, weighs around 1 pound, and is durable with the enclosure made from 100% recycled aluminum. It has a built-in FaceTime HD camera and an 8 MP back camera, so it takes solid photos and videos. It’s compatible with the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil.
Despite being the main, flagship iPad, the original iPad is actually the budget option out of the four iPad models currently available. The 32 GB starts at $329 while the 128 GB starts at $429.
iPad Mini (5th generation)
The iPad mini is in its 5th generation model. It’s like the 8th generation iPad with its A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine, but it’s in a smaller, more compact size with a 7.9‑inch Retina display with True Tone. It also has a few features that are improvements over what you get from the standard iPad.
The iPad mini is 0.66 pounds and 6.1 mm thin making it easy to travel by carrying in a bag or your pocket. This 5th generation model is up to three times faster than the previous iPad mini and has a battery life of up to 10 hours, so you should be able to work for an entire day on a single charge.
The iPadOS is now available on the iPad mini, so everything you can do on the iPad is possible on the iPad mini. You can use many apps at once, drop and drag files, and do tasks with more precision. It also has accessibility features that support vision, interaction, hearing, and cognitive needs. So you can engage the Switch Control that allows you to control your iPad mini without touching it. This iPad mini is compatible with the Apple Pencil, which turns your iPad mini into your digital notebook. This way, you can use your iPad mini to help you brainstorm your next creative venture or sign off on documents.
For storage, it comes in either 64 GB starting at $399 or 256 GB for $549.
Yes, the iPad mini is more expensive than the iPad. Why is that if it’s a smaller model? There are a few reasons:
- Smaller size, but bigger storage. The iPad has 32GB and 128GB models. The iPad mini comes in 64GB and 256GB versions.
- A better screen. Unlike the iPad, the iPad mini has a laminated display, an anti-reflective coating, a wide color display, and a True Tone display. These features make the iPad mini more like the iPad Air and Pro, hence the price difference.
- A better front-facing camera. The standard iPad’s front-facing camera takes 1.2-megapixel photos. The iPad mini’s takes 7-megapixel photos.
iPad Pro (5th generation)
This is the big guy, a tablet powerful enough to put a lot of laptops and even desktops to shame. You can get the 5th generation iPad pro in a 12.9-inch model or the 3rd generation 11-inch model. Both are larger than the other iPad models.
Both come equipped with the Apple M1 chip instead of the other models’ Bionic chips, making the iPad Pro the fastest device of its kind. And its 2TB of storage is a monster.
The iPad Pro offers all-day battery life while still being lightweight. The 12.9-inch model only weighs 1.5 pounds and the 11-inch model weighs around 1 pound. The iPad Pro has 5G and Wi-Fi 6, ensuring that you will get the fastest Wi-Fi available.
The camera quality on the iPad Pro is phenomenal. It has 12MP Wide and 10MP ultra wide cameras and a feature called Center Stage that allows the camera to follow you, keeping you centered in the frame during a FaceTime or video conference call. The iPad Pro is also compatible with the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil. These accessories allow you to take your note-taking, business plans, illustrations, editing, and creativity to the next level.
One of the differences between the 12.9 and 11-inch models is the display quality. The 11-inch iPad Pro has a Liquid Retina display. So there is a higher level of pixels-per-inch on the screen, creating a smooth, clear appearance. Before, the Liquid Retina display was also available on the iPhone 11, iPhone XR, and the 2018 iPad Pro. But the 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a Liquid Retina XDR display which translates to stunning HDR quality.
The iPad Pro 11-inch model starts at $799 while the 12-inch model starts at $1,099.
iPad Air (4th generation)
The iPad Air is currently available in its 4th generation model. It’s great for taking notes, drawing illustrations, and marking up screenshots and documents.
With the iPadOS 14, you can convert your handwriting into typed text, your sketches into perfect shapes, and use Scribble to write in any field space.
The iPad Air faster than many PCs and laptops, making it ideal for work. The A14 Bionic chip and Liquid Retina display combine to create stunning graphics for streaming videos and playing video games.
It features a 12MP back camera and 7MP FaceTime HD camera for high‑quality video calls. As with the iPad Pro, the iPad Air is compatible with the Apple Pencil, Magic Keyboard, and Smart Keyboard Folio.
The price for the iPad Air starts at $599 for 64 GB and $749 for 256 GB.
Which iPad is best for you?
When deciding which iPad is the best for you, think about how you intend to use it. If you are looking at using your iPad for entertainment and personal uses, then the iPad or iPad mini is your best option. But if you are a professional illustrator, designer, writer, editor, artist, or creative person, then the iPad Pro is the ideal option if it’s within your budget. Otherwise, look into getting an iPad Air. Since the iPad Air is easy to transport and great for taking notes and creating projects, it’s also a great option for college students.