An iPad Air next to an iPad Mini

Tablets: Which iPad should I buy?

  • How does the compact iPad mini 3 compare to the 10-inch iPad Air?
  • Is the latest Apple iPad tablet really that much better than the previous one?
  • Should I pay more for an iPad with more storage space or 3G/4G?

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

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 tablet will suit you best.

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

Which iPad is the best?

With prices ranging from £659 for the most premium to £199 for the most basic, Apple's tablet range includes 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 straight away, take £1 trial to Which?. If you're already member, simply log in to 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

iPad Air or iPad mini?

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.

Ipad mini 3 and air 2

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 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.

Check out our expert guide to wi-fi, 4G and 3G tablets.

What memory size should I get for my iPad?

What we think: 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. So it's important that you buy one with the ideal memory at the first time of asking.

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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