The Best iPads to Buy in 2023: Which Is Right for You

iPads have gone on to become extremely popular all over the world. Some may use it as an entertainment hub while some may use it to take notes and sketch. Regardless of the use case, Apple has kept improving its iPads to the extent that when one thinks of buying a tablet, an iPad is the default choice. But with so many options, which is the best iPad to buy?

best iPad to buy

Unfortunately, there’s no universal answer. Apple spoils you for choice with several iPad models across different price points. If you’re confused and unable to decide which is the best iPad for you, you’re at the right place. This guide will give you a comprehensive overview of which is the best iPad to buy right now for your usage.

Before that though, here are some other articles that may interest you:

Let’s tell you all about the iPads now!

Which iPads Does Apple Sell

When categorized broadly, Apple sells four different types of iPads — the standard iPad, iPad mini, iPad Air, and iPad Pro which come with multiple storage variants and cellular connectivity options. All the different models are catered to different audiences. Furthermore, Apple also sells older versions along with the latest iPad under some categories.

With so many permutations and combinations, it might be difficult to determine the best tablet to buy. To make matters more confusing, some iPads even have the same chipset and design. This may make you wonder why to pay the extra money when there are not a lot of significant differences. We’ll address all of these concerns via this article.

1. Best iPad for Students: iPad 9th Gen

  • Display: 10.2-inch, 60Hz
  • Chipset: A13 Bionic
  • Biometrics: Touch ID
  • Storage: 64GB/256GB
  • Charging Port: Lightning
  • Colors: Silver, Space Gray
iPad 9th gen

The 9th generation iPad is Apple’s entry-level tablet. While it has been replaced by the latest iPad 10th gen, the 9th gen version still provides the best value for money making it the best budget iPad. Under the hood, you get a capable chip that assures snappy performance and multitasking.

If you’re a student, chances are that you’re on a tight budget. That’s exactly why we recommend getting the iPad 9th-gen instead of the new 10th-gen version. It’s considerably cheaper but doesn’t compromise on a lot of features. The design is dated with thick bezels but it doesn’t affect the functionality in any way.

The iPad 9th-gen runs the latest version of iPadOS so you get all the features including multitasking. With support for the Apple Pencil 1st-gen, you can use the iPad to take notes or scribble in class. In fact, the A13 Bionic is powerful enough to run games and serve as a laptop with a keyboard case. Reviews say the battery lasts an entire day on a single charge which is the cherry on top.

The base model only has 64GB storage, though, which can be highly limiting. So, try picking up the 256GB variant. In case you’re not limited by budget and want an updated design with slim bezels, you can also consider the iPad 10th generation.

2. Best iPad for Multimedia: iPad Air

  • Display: 10.9-inch, 60Hz
  • Chipset: M1
  • Biometrics: Touch ID
  • Storage: 64GB/256GB
  • Charging Port: USB-C
  • Colors: Starlight, Space Gray, Purple, Pink, Blue
iPad Air

The iPad Air sits in the middle of the pack and is the ideal tablet for most users. It has a large display, Apple’s flagship M1 chip, and an updated design with minimal bezels. All of these combined make it a perfect fit for most use cases. And yes, it also gets a USB-C port which is much better than its lightning counterpart on the baseline iPad.

The USB-C port allows you to connect a wide range of accessories and peripherals like SSDs and dongles. This also means you can use the iPad Air almost like a mini-computer. The 10.9-inch screen is large enough to run most apps. Under the hood, the iPad Air sports the M1 chip so there’s no compromise in terms of performance.

In fact, you can even run Apple’s Final Cut Pro on the iPad Air for professional video editing on the go. This makes it a great option for creators. Apple’s iPad Air is one of the best-rated tablets on Amazon with close to 10,000 reviews and a 4.8 rating. And that’s because the price-to-performance ratio is stellar.

Most users like using their iPads to consume media. If you’re one of them, the iPad Air’s display will serve you well. Of course, all the additional functionality is a bonus. However, just like the base iPad, the 64GB variant isn’t recommended, especially if you’re going to watch a lot of content. The 256GB option is what most users should get.

3. Best iPad for Travel: iPad mini 6

  • Display: 8.3-inch, 60Hz
  • Chipset: A15 Bionic
  • Biometrics: Touch ID
  • Storage: 64GB/256GB
  • Charging Port: USB-C
  • Colors: Starlight, Space Gray, Purple, Pink
iPad mini

The primary reason why the iPad mini 6 is excellent for travelers is the ultra-portable form factor. The tiny size means you can carry it in your backpack without adding any weight. In fact, if you wear cargo pants when traveling, you might even be able to fit the iPad mini 6 in your pockets!

The iPad mini 6 is a pocket rocket. Despite having a small form factor, it doesn’t compromise performance. Apple’s A15 Bionic chip handles everything thrown at it without breaking a sweat. At first look, the 8.3-inch screen might feel limiting but that’s the USP of the iPad mini 6. It’s specifically made for users who want a smaller footprint.

Think of the iPad mini 6 as a shrunken-down version of the iPad Air. You can still watch content, play games, and get work done. It’s just that everyone on the screen will appear smaller than usual. Students who want a small notebook-sized tablet for school can also consider getting the iPad mini 6 with the Apple Pencil.

However, you have to be slightly wary of the battery life of the iPad mini 6. Due to the smaller form factor, the battery capacity is slightly lower so if you’re a heavy user, you might want to carry a power bank with you or avoid getting iPad mini 6 altogether.

4. Best iPad for Gaming and Art: iPad Pro 11

  • Display: 11-inch, 120Hz
  • Chipset: M2
  • Biometrics: Face ID
  • Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB
  • Charging Port: USB-C
  • Colors: Silver, Space Gray
iPad Pro 11

Just like Apple’s recent products with the Pro moniker, the iPad Pro is the top-of-the-line tablet from the brand. It has a gorgeous LED display with Apple’s ProMotion technology which basically means the display refreshes at 120Hz. The new M2 chip handles CPU duties.

If you thought the M1 chip on the iPad Air was a big deal, the iPad Pro 11 has the latest M2 chip giving it a performance boost. This extra bit of performance is what makes the iPad Pro 11 excellent for gaming. Fire up a game from Apple Arcade and enjoy the amazing visuals on that smooth display.

The 120Hz refresh rate not only helps gamers but is also a boon for digital artists. It reduces the input lag when drawing or sketching with the Apple Pencil 2nd Generation. On the rear, the dual cameras are accompanied by a LiDAR sensor for AR capabilities.

Thankfully, the iPad Pro starts with 128GB of storage on the base variant which should be good for most people. If you’re truly a Pro user, Apple even sells a 2TB variant. If you’re a professional digital artist, the iPad Pro 11 is the perfect iPad for you.

5. Best iPad for Working and Multitasking: 12.9 iPad Pro 6

  • Display: 12.9-inch, 120Hz
  • Chipset: M2
  • Biometrics: Face ID
  • Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB
  • Charging Port: USB-C
  • Colors: Silver, Space Gray
iPad Pro 12.9

While the iPad Pro 11 suffices most users’ needs, the 12.9-inch variant gives you a larger canvas for multitasking. For users who like running multiple apps at once, the iPad Pro 12.9 is certainly the way to go. Apart from the bigger display, the rest of the specs remain the same as the iPad Pro 11.

At 12.9 inches, the iPad Pro is almost entering laptop territory. Pair it with the Magic Keyboard and you pretty much have a portable laptop with an excellent display. The same M2 chip resides at the heart of the iPad Pro 12.9 giving you fast and snappy performance.

Those who regularly work on documents, spreadsheets, presentations, or edit photos should consider splurging and getting the 12.9-inch variant of the iPad Pro. You can use it pretty much like a laptop, especially when connected to a keyboard which gives you an array of shortcuts.

Note that the form factor is large and the iPad becomes rather heavy when used with the Magic Keyboard. So, if you’re looking for a lighter alternative, the iPad Pro 11 is the way to go.

FAQs for Best iPads to Buy

1. Can I use an iPad as my only computer?

iPadOS has matured substantially over the years to the point where you can use an iPad as a standalone computer for several tasks.

2. Is an iPad good for taking notes?

An iPad, coupled with an Apple Pencil, is probably the best way to take notes digitally. Alternatively, you can also consider picking up an e-ink tablet for note-taking.

3. Can I edit videos on an iPad?

You can edit videos for free using iMovie on an iPad. Professional video editors can use DaVinci Resolve and Final Cut Pro as well on some iPads making it a good purchase for creators.

Don’t Pick the Wrong iPad

Based on your budget, usage patterns, and requirements, you can decide the best iPad to buy for yourself after taking a look at the pointers mentioned above. If you’re still confused and want a safe option, we would recommend the iPad Air for most people. It pretty much nails all parameters and offers excellent value.

Last updated on 02 June, 2023

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