Choosing a new iPad can give you a serious case of analysis paralysis. It’s easy to understand why you’d want an iPad: they’re convenient, portable and easy to use. So far so good.
However, once you start comparing features and trying to work out what represents best value, the variety of devices can become a little overwhelming.
Never fear! Our handy buying guide will help you work out which iPad is the right one for you.
What do you want from an iPad?
Before you go anywhere near retailers, reviews or tech specs, there are two simple questions to ask yourself: ‘what do you want from your iPad?’ and ‘How will you use it?’ The right choice will depend on your lifestyle, preferences and personality.
To break down this question a bit, think about how your iPad will be used:
Do you want an iPad for web browsing, carrying out work tasks, giving presentations, taking pictures, or a mix?
What is it that you want from an iPad that your current devices don’t offer? How important are things like processing speed and image quality?
Will the iPad be used for a few hours in the evening, or regularly during the day, or only on holidays?
How do you plan to buy your iPad and what is your budget? What kind of warranties and protections are important to you? Will you need iPad insurance?
Will you be using the iPad at home, in an office or while you’re out and about? What kind of connectivity do you have in each place?
Who will use the device? Children? Adults? Someone who’s elderly? Do you need parental controls or increased usability because of a disability?
So for example, if you want an iPad to give presentations at business meetings, your key criteria might be elements like battery life and screen resolution.
If you want an iPad for casual web browsing and letting your child play games, size will be important to ensure the device fits both your hands.
If you’re not the world’s most tech-savvy person and just want a device for checking email and watching the odd film, you probably won’t get your money’s worth from the most hi-spec model on offer. It’s all about thinking about your individual needs.
Let’s go through the basics first. There are different models within the iPad family: iPad, iPad mini, iPad Air and iPad Pro.
There are pros and cons to each of these tablets. In a nutshell:
- iPad Pro – high spec but the high cost is only likely to be worth it for professional
- iPad – the best value for money and suitable for most people’s needs
- iPad mini – lower spec but very portable, good for casual browsing and email
- iPad Air – light, portable and reasonably priced but lower spec than iPad Pro
|iPad Pro 12.9 inch||iPad Pro 11 inch||iPad Air (2019)||iPad||iPad mini (2019)|
|Cost||From £969||From £769||From £479||From £319||From £399|
|Screen||12.9 inch (28cm) liquid retina display||11 inch Liquid retina display||9.8 inch (25cm) retina display||9.4 inch (24cm) retina display||7.9 inch retina display|
|Battery life||Up to 10 hours||Up to 10 hours||Up to 10 hours||Up to 10 hours||Up to 10 hours|
|Processor||A12X Bionic chip with Neural engine||A12X Bionic chip with Neural engine||A12 Bionic chip with Neural engine||A10 Fusion chip||A12 Bionic chip with Neural engine|
|Storage||Up to 1TB||Up to 1TB||Up to 256GB||Up to 128GB||Up to 256GB|
|Weight||Up to 633g||Up to 468g||Up to 464g||Up to 478g||Up to 308g|
|Apple pencil compatibility||2nd generation||2nd generation||1st generation||1st generation||1st generation|
Key iPad features
There are some things it’s important to understand about iPads. Let’s consider some of the key features:
As shown in the table above, all new iPads can be used with the Apple Pencil, either first or second generation. This looks like a pencil, but it’s smooth and white. It helps you use the iPad like an actual pad, drawing, writing by hand and marking up documents.
The Apple Pencil also has some features similar to a computer mouse, like double tapping and a range of tools. It can be used for sophisticated tasks such as shading and painting, as well as basic drawing.
The second generation Apple Pencil is only compatible with the iPad Pro. It attaches to the side of the iPad Pro magnetically and charges while the device charges. It automatically pairs with the device and switching tools is easy by double-tapping.
The main difference between the first and second generation Apple Pencils is that the first generation uses Lightning for pairing and charging. It is incompatible with the iPad Pro.
Only usable with the iPad Pro, the smart keyboard attaches magnetically to the back of the device so you can type as if on a laptop while you’re out and about. While not in use, the keyboard rests against the iPad Pro to protect the screen.
It’s a full-size keyboard that does not need to be charged separately – it runs from the iPad Pro battery.
Size and weight
iPads of any type are likely to be bigger and heavier than a phone, smaller and lighter than a laptop. If portability is a number one priority for you, the iPad mini could be a good option: it’s small and light enough to slip into a rucksack, jacket pocket or handbag.
Of course, the smaller the screen, the less immersive the experience if you’re using the iPad to watch a film or play a game.
Apple claims that all iPads currently on sale have the same battery life, which is up to 10 hours of surfing the web on WiFi, watching videos or listening to music, whereas this battery life is cut to nine hours across all devices if you’re using a mobile data network.
iPads come in two options: WiFi only or WiFi + cellular. The WiFi + cellular models are more expensive than WiFi-only models, costing roughly £150 more. So if you want to buy an iPad without WiFi, this would be a cheaper option. Just as with smartphones, the WiFi + cellular models can be used both through a data package or with a WiFi connection, whereas the WiFi-only models can only be used where WiFi is available, restricting their use.
Whatever iPad you choose, protect it
An iPad is a great tech investment, bringing you hours of enjoyment and convenience. You need the confidence to use your new device wherever you go, which is why iPad insurance is so important. With the right cover in place, you’ll be protected against risks such as damage, theft or loss.
Why not check out Gadget Cover for a quote?