What is the best iPad? That’s a question without an easy answer, especially given Apple’s September 2020 updates to the iPad Air and iPad 8. These updated models join an already impressive iPad family with the popular iPad mini and iPad Pro models, making it harder than ever to choose the right iPad. With specs that are closer than ever, it’s important to know the differences between what you are buying and who should use what.
Apple refreshed its most affordable tablet which starts at $329 with 32GB of storage. As was the case with the year prior, Apple didn’t make any major changes. The 8th generation iPad still offers a sizable 10.2-inch screen, TouchID support with its home button as well as support for the first generation Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. What does make this refresh notable is the inclusion of the A12 Bionic chip.
This is the same model in the current iPad mini and 3rd generation iPad Air. It’s powerful enough for nearly every task you can throw at it. It’s also new, so that guarantees software updates for years to come. The Retina display remains beautiful to use, and with 10 hours of battery life, the iPad can last throughout an entire school or workday.
iPad Air (4)
The September 2020 refresh of the iPad Air is the most notable update for iPad since the launch of the 2018 iPad Pro. In fact, the iPad Air is now a dead ringer for the iPad Pro until you look at the color spectrum. The iPad Air will be available in a variety of colors when it arrives next month. The 10.9-inch display is 0.4 inches larger than the previous generation Air. Along with the size increase, the iPad Air 4 screen now supports the second-generation Apple Pencil and a USB-C lightning port.
The biggest improvement on the iPad Air for 2020 is the inclusion of the A14 Bionic processor, which is 40 percent faster than the previous gen iPad Air 3. The newest Air is likely the best mix of pro and consumer features beginning at a $599 price point. Add in support for Magic Keyboard, and the difference between the Pro and Air lineup becomes very murky.
The iPad Mini remains the most interesting of Apple’s iPad lineup. With its 7.9-inch display, the iPad Mini remains the most portable of the entire line. Don’t let its diminutive size fool you. The inclusion of the A12 Bionic processor gives the Mini plenty of power to handle day-to-day tasks. Support for the first-generation Apple pencil also makes it perfect for quickly writing notes or drawing on the go.
Starting at $399 with 64GB of storage, the iPad Mini is affordable for budget shoppers. A front-facing 7-megapixel camera adds excellent quality for FaceTime and video chat calls. Adding a Bluetooth keyboard can also make this a great portable workhorse.
The best iPad in Apple’s lineup, the iPad Pro, does not come cheap, nor does it come poorly equipped. What it lacks in tactile buttons, it more than makes up for in extras like Face ID and slim edges around the screen. Available in both 11 and 12.9-inch displays, the iPad Pro is something of an anomaly in the iPad lineup. With support for the second-generation Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard, the iPad Pro can easily serve as a laptop for many iPad users.
Its A12Z processor is the most powerful in Apple’s lineup. The 120Hz screen refresh on the display makes it incredibly satisfactory to use with colors that just pop. That it can last more than 10 hours on battery life puts it in the same space with many laptops, and its $799 entry price makes it comparable with most laptops.
How to Choose the Right iPad?
Best for Portability and Travel
The best tablet for portability is no doubt the iPad mini. It has the smallest size among all iPads and an easy-to-hold form factor, making it the ideal companion to use on a plane, or on the go.
Best for Professionals
For most professionals, the iPad Air 4 is now the best iPad for you. You get all of the best parts of the iPad Pro while saving enough money to buy a second generation Apple Pencil.
This is the best mix of pro and consumer features at a price that doesn’t feel like you are sacrificing your kids’ college fund. The iPad Air 4 will be fast enough to handle every daily task a professional can throw at it.
Best for Creatives
Users who want the very best Apple has to offer should choose the iPad Pro. Apple’s most powerful iPad in terms of performance also adds quad speakers for the best sound. Its screen and microphone are the best in the lineup, and that makes it ideal for not just editing photos and videos but recording them as well. The 120Hz Liquid Retina screen adds a refresh rate that is so smooth it just feels natural, and when you pay the price tag, you want the very best.
Best for Everyone
The entry level iPad is undoubtedly the best iPad for the majority of users. For anyone who just wants to pick up a tablet to read, watch movies, surf the Web and do some occasional work, this is the best choice.
If you just want an iPad to use around the house, this remains the best option. All of your favorite apps and games will run on this, giving you well over a million apps to choose from.
Now that you know how to choose the right iPad, if you have decided to get one with cellular connection and it doesn’t work, here are the ways to fix the cellular data not working issue on an iPad.
What is your iPad of choice?
David Beren is a freelance tech writer with over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He loves dogs, his kids and all things Nintendo.
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