Which iPad is right for you? iPad, iPad mini, iPad Air, or iPad Pro? 

Apple offers four iPad versions, each with a distinct pricing and performance profile. We compare them all to assist you in determining which is the best fit for you.

Affordability of the Apple iPad

At $329, the basic iPad is Apple’s entry-level tablet. Although it is the least sophisticated, the most recent refresh has resulted in a significant increase in processing power. The 2021 iPad upgrades the 2020 iPad’s A12 CPU with the A13 Bionic chip featured in the iPhone 11 and iPhone SE. Although it lags behind the iPad Air (A14 Bionic), the iPad mini (A15 Bionic), and the iPad Pro (M1) in terms of power, the A13 Bionic is no slouch. Apple claims that it is 20% faster than the previous model. Storage has also been increased, to 64GB for the base model and 256GB for those who require more capacity.

The display is the most basic of the current iPad devices. It features the same 10.2-inch Retina LCD like the iPad Air, with a resolution of 2,160 by 1,620 pixels and a pixel density of 264 pixels per inch. The new model’s screen is the same save for the addition of Apple’s True Tone function, which automatically adjusts colour balance based on ambient light.

Apple iPad mini: Sleek and Powerful

This is the tiniest iPad, and it, like the entry-level model, has been upgraded significantly for 2021. These changes result in a higher starting price than previously; the new iPad mini starts at $499, up from $399 for the 2019 model.

The iPad mini makes few concessions to its diminutive dimensions. Its new Liquid Retina display measures 8.3 inches diagonally and has a resolution of 2,266 by 1,488 pixels. That’s still 326 pixels per inch, so don’t anticipate a noticeably sharper image. While it lacks the iPad Pro’s ProMotion technology, it does include the same P3 Wide Color and True Tone settings, as well as a completely laminated panel with an anti-reflective coating.

The Apple iPad Air is more than an iPad.

The iPad Air occupies an interesting space between the more affordable iPad and the more powerful iPad Pro. It is more akin to the iPad Pro in terms of style, with flat corners and a very thin frame around the screen that lacks a home button. It offers the quality feel and aesthetic of the iPad Pro at a lower price (though still more than the iPad and iPad mini), starting at $599.

Additionally, the screen occupies practically the entirety of the tablet’s front, relocating the fingerprint sensor to the top edge. While it lacks the iPad Pro’s ProMotion technology for fluid scrolling, it shares the iPad Pro’s completely laminated construction, anti-reflective coating, and P3 Wide Color support with Apple’s TrueTone mode.

The Apple iPad Pro: A Workhorse

Finally, there’s the iPad Pro, which will be introduced in early 2021 and will stand out as a computing monster in the lineup. The moniker “Pro” is self-explanatory: the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros are professional tablets meant to provide artists, musicians, designers, and editors with the processing power and screen quality they require for their job. This differentiation is critical since it explains the significantly higher baseline prices of $799 and $1,099 for the Pro models compared to the other versions.

Apple’s M1 processor is used in the iPad Pro. That is a desktop processor, the same as the one found in the iMac, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro. This is a tablet with the processing power of a Mac, and the performance reflects that. At the very least, it would show in its performance if iPadOS weren’t a bottleneck; there just aren’t any iPad apps that truly test the M1’s capabilities.

Which iPad should you purchase?

Finally, the best iPad is determined by your specific requirements. You shouldn’t spend more than $1,000 on a tablet for Netflix and comic books, but you also shouldn’t expect professional-grade performance and features from a $329 entry-level device. Fortunately, the iPad mini and iPad Air ensure that Apple’s tablet lineup is no longer limited to those two extremes.

We adore the $329 iPad for its functionality and value, and the addition of a faster CPU just adds to its appeal. If you’re looking for an Apple tablet for entertainment and personal use, the iPad remains a great value, while the more expensive iPad mini packs much more processing power into a smaller package. The iPad Air is a fantastic alternative if you want the quality appearance and feel of the iPad Pro without paying the highest price, while the iPad Pro is a reasonable investment for professionals.

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