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Which iPad should I buy?

By Adam Marshall

Find out how Apple's iPads compare. Does the compact iPad mini 4 match up the 10-inch iPad Air 2? And is the latest Apple iPad tablet really that much better than the previous one?

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Since Apple announced the original iPad in 2010, it has dominated the tablets market.

If you want to join the iPad crowd, there are a few models and several variants to choose between. Here we will introduce you to the current iPad family, so you know which one will suit you best.

To find out how Apple's iPads score against other top tablets - read all our tablet reviews.

Which iPad is the best?

With prices ranging from £520 for the most premium iPad to £199 for the most basic, Apple's tablet range includes the iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad mini 4 and iPad mini 2 (also known as the iPad mini with Retina display). Most models are available with different storage sizes and 3G/4G mobile internet options, across a range of prices.

We give our expert verdict along with lab test scores for all of the iPad models in the table below. See whether any impressed us enough to become Best Buy tablets.

We have the latest Apple iPad at the lab now, and will be publishing results very shortly. We'll update this page as soon as we have the full test results, but until then, you can read our initial impressions of the Apple iPad.

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Which is the best iPad for you?
Tablet Click for full review Starting price Score
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 Apple iPad Pro 12.9 £679

The iPad Pro 12.9 is the most expensive tablet in the iPad family, but is it worth the cost?

Read our review to see whether the enormous screen and 'Apple Pencil' stylus justifies the outlay.

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Apple iPad Pro 9.7 Apple iPad Pro 9.7 £499

An iPad with the discreet dimensions of the Air 2, but all the power of the Pro 12.9? The iPad Pro 9.7 is certainly eye-catching.

The newest iPad in this table, we see if it's best of both worlds or simply a poor compromise.

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Apple iPad Air 2 Apple iPad Air 2 £399

For those looking for a reasonably-sized all-rounder the iPad Air 2 is the most obvious choice.

We take a look to see whether the new fingerprint reader and faster processor make this a better option than the cheaper original iPad Air.

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Apple iPad Air Apple iPad Air £319

The iPad Air is the predecessor to the popular Air 2. It lacks the fingerprint reader and has an older processor, but is it still up to the job?

Here we reveal exactly how it compares to the latest models.

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Apple iPad mini 4 Apple iPad mini 4 £319

The iPad mini 4 is the newest small member of the iPad family and costs the same as the original iPad Air.

Does it do enough to justify the high price tag? And how does it compare to Google and Samsung rivals? Read on for our verdict.

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Apple iPad mini with Retina display Apple iPad mini 2 £219

The cheapest iPad in Apple's armoury? But is it still up to the task of your everyday tablet needs?

Can its processor keep pace with newer models? We reveal all in our full review.

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Member Content

iPad Air or iPad mini?

What we think: Its smaller screen makes the iPad mini a winner for portability, but the iPad Air’s new slimline design means it’s not that far behind its smaller-screened brother.

Both the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 are extremely quick when it comes to browsing the web, using apps and watching video, but our expert testing found some significant differences between the battery life you'll get from each model.

Our comprehensive tablet tests include more than just Apple devices, and we've noticed a sharp upturn in the number of tablets available that rival the iPad range in terms of both performance and price. For more information, see our guides to the best Android tablets and best Windows tablets.

Do I need 3G or 4G, or is wi-fi enough?

What we think: If you need to connect to the internet on the go, then a 3G or 4G iPad is a must. But if you plan to mostly use your tablet at home or work where you have a stable wi-fi connection, then a wi-fi only version will be fine.

With so many public places where you can access wi-fi, it's worth saving money on your tablet and avoiding mobile data models, unless it’s essential that you have constant access to the internet.

For more information, check out our expert guide to wi-fi, 4G and 3G tablets.

What size of storage should I choose for my iPad?

What we think: With iPads, the storage space is fixed, unlike some tablets made by Apple's rivals that let you expand the storage by inserting a micro-SD memory card. So it's important that you choose an iPad with enough space for your long-term needs.

The iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 are available in three storage sizes: 16GB, 64GB and 128GB. The original iPad Air and iPad mini 2 only offer 16GB and 32GB options. The costs go up significantly as you increase the storage size, so it's worth considering what you need.

If you're a heavy user of apps and videos, then it might be worth paying for more storage. However, it’s only worth going beyond the 32GB size if you plan on storing multiple high-definition films on your iPad.

Still uncertain? See all our best-reviewed iPads in one place on our Apple tablets brand page.


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