Which iPad should you buy?

UPDATED: Should you be saving up for the new wallet-slapping iPad Pro?

Once upon a time, buying an iPad just meant buying the iPad. There was one model, and nothing else on the market came close to it.

But these days, Apple has four different iPads in five different sizes, each with its own components and perks, not to mention wildly varying price tags.

Still, if you're planning on spending a few (or several) thousands on a tablet, you'll want to make sure you end up with the device that's perfectly suited for your needs. Which iPad is best for you? Let's explore…

IPAD PRO 11IN (₹71,900)

Apple might’ve made the 12.9in iPad Pro physically smaller but we still reckon the 11in one is the better option for most people. For starters, you can get the entry level one for ₹20,000 less.

Even though the home button has been ditched it’s still not quite all screen, with a fairly chunky bezel needed to house the TrueDepth camera, at least in comparison to the one on your phone. Face ID works a treat, whether you’re holding the Pro in portrait or landscape, but once it’s unlocked you’ll be too busy gazing at that 2388x1668 Liquid Retina display to care about what’s surrounding it.

The A12X Bionic chip inside the iPad Pro makes it an absolute speed demon. Geekbench reckons it’s almost as powerful as a 15in Macbook Pro and whether it’s complex multi-layered image files or a remix of your latest single you throw at it, there’s not a bead of binary sweat in sight.

It’s worth noting that if you’re looking for something to send emails and manage spreadsheets on a traditional laptop is probably a better bet. But with the new wireless-charging Pencil and the USB-C port making it easier to hook up to external displays, if you want to do the kind of ‘creative’ things you see people doing in Apple ads, the 11in iPad Pro really is a joy to use.

Buy the iPad Pro 11in if… you're creative or want a big screen in your lap

iPad (From ₹28,000)

 

Now this is the iPad that we all know and love from years ago. Apple released a new, core 9.7in iPad in 2017, and now the 2018 edition is here with a couple of key upgrades - and a lower price, amazingly.

Apple's latest iPad is a bit trimmed down from the iPad Pro, expectedly, given the price difference. The A10 Fusion processor here is a smidge behind the A10X Fusion in the Pro models, although there shouldn't be much of a performance difference in day-to-day usage. The screen lacks anti-reflective coating, so it's not quite as much of a pleasure to look at in bright lighting. Likewise, the stereo speakers don't hold up to the four speakers on the Pro models, and the 8MP camera here is a bit dated.

But the addition of Apple Pencil support in the 2018 model is an enormous upgrade for anyone who wants to jot down notes, sketch, annotate documents, or scribble to their heart's content. The Pencil is still pretty pricey at ₹7,600, but at least the total buy-in for a compatible model has dropped considerably. It is lacking the Smart Connector for other accessories, however.

All things considered, this feels like the iPad for the vast majority of people. It's the cheapest of the bunch at ₹28,000 for the 32GB model, it's still plenty powerful, it still looks great, and it'll run any apps, games, or media you throw at it. And now Pencil support makes it vastly more appealing. For most buyers today, this is probably your iPad.

Buy the iPad (2018) if… you want a well-rounded, well-priced tablet with Pencil support

iPad Pro 10.5 (From ₹50,800)

Here it is: our favourite tablet in the world, and therefore our pick for the best iPad of the bunch in 2017. It's the newest size in Apple's lineup: the 10.5in display is a solid couple of inches smaller than the original 12.9in iPad Pro, and just a smidge larger than the core 9.7in iPad size.

And it's a stunner. The 2224x1668 screen is a gorgeous LCD panel with a wide colour gamut and brilliant contrast, as well as True Tone technology that automatically adjusts the colours based on your ambient lighting conditions. This iPad Pro is also packed with power, thanks to its A10X Fusion processor, and has an iPhone 7-caliber 12-megapixel back camera.

Paired with the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil, it's a nearly-unbeatable portable productivity machine, and it's a lot easier to carry around than a standard laptop. But even without those pricey accessories, the iPad Pro 10.5 is still an ideal machine for getting work done thanks to its size, power, and iOS 11's tablet-centric enhancements.

The base 64GB Wi-Fi model starts at ₹50,800 and ranges up to ₹80,500 for 512GB of storage, while the cellular-equipped versions range from 61,400 to 91,100.

Buy the iPad Pro 10.5 if… you want top-of-the-line power in a modest package

iPad Mini 4 (From ₹33,800)

The iPad Mini 4 occupies a strange space in Apple's lineup. It's the smallest iPad, of course, with a 7.9in display – but at 33,800, it's not the cheapest of the bunch, nor is it more powerful than the newer, entry-level iPad. In fact, it's two years old at this point.

Granted, the 33,800 Mini 4 comes with 128GB storage, and it's 2,200 less than the 128GB version of the 9.7in iPad. But for a two grand, you'll not only get the larger screen, but also a faster processor too. In the Mini's favour, it does have the anti-reflective coating that the standard iPad lacks, plus it has the sharpest screen of an iPad thanks to its compact size.

Given the price and its age, the iPad Mini 4 feels a bit left behind. Apple keeps it around to satisfy customers who like the smaller form factor, but hasn't seen fit to actually update the device in a couple years now. And in an age of larger and larger smartphones, the 7.9in size seems a bit less necessary for anyone who has a big handset.

But if you love the smaller size and want the heftier storage, this is still a very fine iPad. We would probably just point you towards the standard iPad instead.

Buy the iPad Mini 4 if… you must have the smallest iPad around