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Which iPad should I buy?

By Jack Turner

Find out how Apple's iPads compare. Should you replace your iPad Air with the latest iPad 9.7? And is the Apple iPad Pro really the cream of the crop?

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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 £860 for the most premium iPad to £329 for the standard model, Apple's tablet range includes the iPad Pro, iPad 9.7 and iPad Mini. 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.

Which iPad should I buy?

Lowest price (in stock) £539.99
Which? score 83%
Reviewed Jun 2017
Ease of use:
5 out of 5
Screen quality:
5 out of 5
Sound quality:
5 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Lowest price (in stock) £299.00
Which? score 81%
Reviewed Apr 2017
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Screen quality:
5 out of 5
Sound quality:
4 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

This iPad might have only received a small update since its predecessor, but it's still comfortably one of the best tablets we've ever tested.

Typical price £769.00
Which? score 81%
Reviewed Jun 2017
Ease of use:
5 out of 5
Screen quality:
5 out of 5
Sound quality:
5 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Lowest price (in stock) £456.00
Which? score 80%
Reviewed Sep 2015
Ease of use:
5 out of 5
Screen quality:
5 out of 5
Sound quality:
3 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

This tablet is diminutive, but shouldn't be overlooked. With its stunning display, excellent battery life, and snappy processor make this a smart choice for anyone looking for tablet that's highly portable without compromising on speed.

Table correct as of November 2017

iPad Pro, iPad 9.7, or iPad Mini?

iPad Mini 4: Its smaller screen makes the iPad Mini a winner for portability, but it's a couple of years old now, and the standard iPad 9.7, released in 2017, is faster, and cheaper. However, the Mini can still hold its own in terms of power, and if you're after the iPad in its most diminutive form, the 7.9-inch Mini could well be it.

iPad 9.7: The iPad 9.7 was launched in March 2017, and replaces the iPad Air 2 before it. While it's only a small technical upgrade to the previous version, Apple seem to have taken the complaints about its pricing to heart, as this is competitively priced, leading to a bizarre situation where the newer model is cheaper than the previous. This is very much the everyday iPad, but packing plenty of power thanks to its A9 processor. 

iPad Pro: The iPad Pro range, as the name suggests, is the most powerful tablet Apple provides, and its recent refresh in June 2017 means its more powerful than ever. Available in 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch sizes, this premium model will handle pretty much everything you throw at it with ease, but at a price. It's the most expensive iPad out there, and many users will never even get close to reaching its full potential. However, for those looking to run demanding apps, it's a strong contender.   

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 mini 4 is available in three storage sizes: 16GB, 64GB and 128GB, although Apple only stocks the 128GB on its own site. 

The iPad 9.7 is available in 32GB and 128GB size variants.

The iPad Pro 10.5" and 12.9" models are available in 64GB, 256GB and a huge 512GB size.

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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