iPad Mini 2021 64GB Wifi
The Apple iPad brand still dominates the tablet market, despite iPads first being launched back in 2010 and being some of the most expensive tablets you can buy. There are four current models, each with a different user (and budget) in mind.
Here, we take you through the similarities and differences between the latest Mini, standard, Air and Pro versions of Apple's iconic tablet. As well as taking a look at whether it's still worth buying some of the older-generation models, and helping you to make the most of your iPad once you've got it.
Given there are four distinct iPad models – five if you include the two sizes of iPad Pro – there's never been more choice. Here we summarise what sort of buyer should choose each type.
You can follow the links to find out how each iPad scored in our lab tests, and how they compare with rival models.
The standard 10.2-inch iPad is the cheapest you can buy, but also the heaviest and thickest of all the non-Pro iPads. While it still weighs under 500g, the large screen and slightly bulkier size means it's best suited for use when you're sitting down.
It doesn't have the very latest tech powering its processor or cameras, and it doesn't have Apple's Face ID facial recognition features. All that said, if you just want a tablet for watching videos or web browsing, it should deliver the goods.
The iPad Mini now has the A15 processor, which means there's a clearer difference between the Mini and the standard iPad. The Mini is now a stronger option if you want a powerful, quick tablet without a huge display. It's more of an iPad Pro Mini thanks to the processor.
Despite the smaller screen, it's almost £200 more than a standard iPad.
The iPad Air ups the specs compared with the standard iPad. It uses the M1 processor, which is the same as the iPad Pro. Plus it can magnetically connect to Apple's range of Smart Keyboards so it can be used like a laptop.
It has a large, 10.9-inch screen but weighs less than the standard, smaller iPad. On the downside, some may find the larger screen size makes it a touch unwieldy to use while standing up.
The iPad Air was refreshed in 2022 (which is when it got the M1 processor and a sharper display) but the older 2020 model is still available.
The iPad Pro comes in two sizes: the smaller is more or less on par with the iPad Air, while the screen on the larger is more like that of a medium-sized laptop.
The latest 2021 models are as fast as your typical laptop and are powered by the M1 processor. You also get an upgraded screen that can show colours more accurately and four speakers surrounding the device for a more immersive sound. Plus, like the iPad Air, the iPad Pro can connect to Apple's Smart Keyboard accessories.
For most people these extras will be overkill. But if you are a creative professional who wants to edit photos, videos or 3D projects on the move, an iPad Pro could be a great choice.
The iPad Air was updated most recently. We got a new version in March 2022, but the others aren't exactly old.
If you already have an iPhone or Mac computer, you’ll unlock extra iPad features from the off thanks to Apple’s Continuity feature.
This includes Handoff, which lets you start work on an app on one device and continue it on another where you left off. You could start writing a note on your iPad before you leave home and immediately continue it on your iPhone on your commute.
There’s also a Universal Clipboard, which means any content you copy on one device can be pasted on another. Make calls on your iPad as if it were your phone and auto-unlock your phone if your iPad is nearby, and vice-versa.
As standard, iPads connect to the internet over wi-fi; you pay a premium to get a 4G or 5G-enabled iPad, and that’s not including the monthly cost of the subscription.
Most phones nowadays feature so-called ‘hotspots’, letting you easily share your 4G or 5G connection from your phone to your iPad as a wi-fi network. Plus, free public wi-fi is now very common on long-distance trains and cafés.
So you probably don’t need to pay extra for this added connectivity.
Because iPads can’t have extra storage added post-purchase – unlike Android tablets with microSD card slots – it’s important to pick the right amount for you.
This is what we’d recommend for different uses:
As of October 2021, all current iPad models support Apple Pencil, which is Apple's name for its stylus.
The 10.2-inch iPad and iPad Mini released before 2021 do support the Apple Pencil, but only the first-generation model. This has an awkward charging mechanism that requires it to be shoved into the charging port of the tablet.
The iPad Air, iPad Pro, iPad 2021 and iPad Mini 2021 models all support the second-generation model, which charges when attached to the edge of your iPad using a magnet.
All iPads work with Bluetooth keyboards, such as those made by Logitech and other companies. All the most recently released iPads from 2021, as well as the iPad Pro and iPad Air from 2020, support the official Apple keyboard.
It’s still possible to pick up a new version of a previous-generation iPad. If you’re buying new, a last-generation model of a 9.7-inch iPad will cost around £20 less than the current model. Saving money is great, but Apple’s policy on updating devices typically means that older iPads will stop receiving updates sooner than newer models.
This isn’t necessarily a disaster, but people using older Apple devices have eventually found that some apps will no longer update to the latest version because their device is too old to support it.
iPads are basically big smartphones and our tests find them to be intuitive to use, but there are still intricacies and functions that aren't immediately apparent.