An iPad Air next to an iPad Mini

Tablets: Which iPad should I buy?

  • How does the iPad mini compare to the iPad Air?
  • Is the latest iPad really that much better than the previous one?
  • Should I pay more for an iPad with more storage space?

Since Apple announced the original iPad in January 2010 the brand has dominated the tablet computer market. But if you want to join the iPad crowd, there are a few models and several variations to choose between. Here we will introduce you to the current iPad family, so you know which model will suit you best.

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

There are five iPad models available to buy today, with prices ranging from £659 for the most premium to £199 for the most basic. These are the iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 2 (previously known as the iPad mini with Retina display) and the original iPad mini. They are available with different memory sizes and mobile internet options across a range of price points.

We give our expert verdict along with lab test scores for all of the iPad models in the table below.

To see our scores and Which? verdicts in the table below, try Which? for £1. If you're already member, go to the log-in page and unlock the table.

Which iPad should I buy?
iPadClick for full reviewStarting priceScore

Apple ipad air 2

Apple iPad Air 2£399Subscriber only content
  • The iPad Air 2 is the most expensive in the iPad family, but is it worth the cost?
  • We take a look to see if the new fingerprint reader and faster processor make this a better option than the cheaper original iPad Air.
  • Read all of our latest tablet reviews by taking out a £1 trial Which? subscription

Apple iPad Air

Apple iPad Air£319Subscriber only content

Apple ipad mini 3

Apple iPad mini 3£319Subscriber only content
  • The iPad mini 3 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.
  • See all of our latest tablet reviews by taking out a £1 trial Which? subscription

Apple iPad mini with Retina display

Apple iPad mini 2 (Retina display)£239Subscriber only content
  • The cheapest iPad that still features a Retina display, is this the best-value iPad around?
  • Can its processor keep pace with newer models? We reveal all in our full review.
  • Discover the benefits of Which? by taking out a £1 trial subscription

Apple iPad Mini

Apple iPad mini£199Subscriber only content
  • At less than £200, this is the cheapest iPad in the current range. 
  • But with older screen and processor technology, does it really offer value for money? Read on for our expert opinion.
  • Is this the tablet for you? Try Which? for £1 to find out

The Big questions

Choosing your ideal iPad is more complex than a simple choice between an iPad Air or iPad mini. You will also want to consider whether you want a mobile internet plan and how much storage you'll need. The latter point is particularly important as no iPad yet has featured a way of expanding storage via a USB stick or a memory card, unlike some tablets made by Apple's rivals.

Should I get an iPad mini or larger iPad?

Ipad mini 3 and air 2

What we think: The 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 brothers.

Both the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 are extremely quick when it comes to browsing the web, using apps and watching video, so ultimately it comes down to a personal choice in terms of what size tablet you prefer to use and how much you want to spend. 

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. See our guide to the best iPad alternative tablets for more information.

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 tablet 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 tablet will be fine. With so many places to access wi-fi available now, 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.

What memory size should I get for my iPad?

iPad Air

What we think: The iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 come with four different memory sizes: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB. The costs go up significantly as you increase the storage size, so it's worth considering what you need.

If you're a heavy app and video content user 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 onto your iPad.

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