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The Best Apple iPad

Last updated on September 3, 2019

We looked at the top 13 iPads and dug through the reviews from 87 of the most popular review sites including New York Times Wirecutter, BestReviews, CNET, Creative Bloq, Tech Advisor, The Verge and more. The result is a ranking of the best iPads.

DWYM Tip: 

If you are interested in non-Apple tablets, there are plenty of amazing products to look at (especially for kids). Check out our review of the best tablets to buy.

Best Apple iPad

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Our Picks For The Top iPads

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

Apple

iPad Pro (11-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB)

Overall Take

Long Battery LifeThere are plenty of benefits associated with this latest iPad, including a top-notch camera and a battery that lasts all day.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus New York Times Wirecutter, BestReviews, CNET, Creative Bloq, Tech Advisor, The Verge and 3 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Best Buy and Target.
Pros
" Only slightly bigger than the standard iPad but considerably faster, the Pro also has a larger, better screen and better cameras."
Cons
"Screen is just as vulnerable to drops as its predecessors. Pricey."

Apple

iPad Pro 10.5 inch

Overall Take

Basic But ReliableSince this iPad isn't the most recent version, you'll save on the price.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus CNET, The Verge, Engadget, Tech Radar, Laptop Magazine, PG Magazine – SE Asia and 2 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart.
Pros
" It zips through tasks and its display is excellent."
Cons
"Except for one thing: this iPad wasn’t built for today."
  The Best Value

Apple

iPad, 9.7-inch (128GB)

Overall Take

Large Storage CapacityThis basic iPad model is great for every day use and has plenty of room for storing your favorite family photos and videos.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus Laptop Magazine, Tech Radar, CNET, Digital Trends, ARS Technical’s. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart and Target.
Pros
" Other highlights include more than 10 hours of battery life and a new iWork suite that makes the iPad a good productivity tool."
Cons
"If you’re looking for something to replace a notepad, we wouldn’t recommend the new iPad – or any iPad for that matter, as it’s really difficult to write legibly on them, thanks to the way the tip of the Pencil..."

Apple

iPad Pro, 12.9-inch (256GB)

Overall Take

Best Bonus FeaturesIn addition to everything you normally get with an iPad, this model features an extra camera, a more lightweight design and an Apple pencil.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus BestReviews, New York Times Wirecutter, Tech Radar, Laptop Magazine, Pocket-lint, PG Magazine – SE Asia. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart.
Pros
" Includes new FaceID sign in tech. The liquid retina display makes the massive screen seem even bigger."
Cons
"The iPad Pro’s biggest downside, especially when viewed as a laptop replacement, is iOS. iOS 12 is a great tablet operating system, but it can come up short as productivity software. Getting work done an iPad Pro simply isn’t as..."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
20

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the ipads available to purchase.
13

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

View All Product Rankings

87

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: New York Times Wirecutter, BestReviews, CNET, Creative Bloq, Tech Advisor.

246,976

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Walmart.

Our experts reviewed the top 13 iPads and also dug through the reviews from 87 of the most popular review sites including New York Times Wirecutter, BestReviews, CNET, Creative Bloq, Tech Advisor, The Verge and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best iPads.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Apple iPad Pro (11-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB)

Our Expert Score
8.5
9 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.5
1,105 user reviews
Our Take

The Apple iPad Pro is the latest and greatest in iPad technology, which is why it's our No. 1 pick if you're in the market for a new iPad. With up to 10 hours of battery life, an incredible display and an awesome camera, there's little left to be desired with this model.

What other experts liked
Only slightly bigger than the standard iPad but considerably faster, the Pro also has a larger, better screen and better cameras.
- New York Times Wirecutter
The tablet’s A12X chip performs on par with the Macbook Pro, helping boost the brilliance of its sharp, detailed screen. Charges quickly, and works with the 2nd-generation Apple Pencil.
- BestReviews
It's got a big, laptop-like screen. It's more portable -- and far more powerful -- than the last version.
- CNET
December 14, 2018 | Full review
In the main Notes app, this is easily the best performance we’ve seen from a stylus from Apple, with the Apple-created software taking full use of the Metal 2 framework to give direct access to the GPU.
- Creative Bloq
November 15, 2018 | Full review
It's a huge improvement and we like the new matt finish and the flat edge not only helps it fit the side, but makes it more ergonomic in the hand.
- Tech Advisor
With one huge exception, most normal stuff you’d plug into a USB-C port works without fuss, and a bunch of other things work if you have an app that supports it.
- The Verge
November 5, 2018 | Full review
It offers more screen within a similar footprint to the 10.5, slimmer bezels, ditches Touch ID for Face ID and it squares off the aluminium edges for a more refined design.
- Pocket-lint
March 24, 2019 | Full review
Apple promises a battery life of up to 10 hours, or 9 hours when using a cellular data connection over Wi-Fi. I've consistently hit the 10-hour mark when using the iPad Pro -- both as my main device throughout a...
- ZD Net
November 13, 2018 | Full review
The display fills almost the entire space, leaving only a thin frame around it.
- Ebook Friendly
October 31, 2018 | Full review
What other experts didn't like
Even though the new iPad Pro models are the best tablet hardware Apple’s ever put out, the software still limits how much of a computer replacement they can be.
- New York Times Wirecutter
Screen is just as vulnerable to drops as its predecessors. Pricey.
- BestReviews
No trackpad on the optional keyboard and no support for mice makes text editing cumbersome.
- CNET
December 14, 2018 | Full review
We did have a couple of issues with the Pencil, namely that the Metal framework isn’t used on every app yet, it seems, as we noted a little more latency in some applications.
- Creative Bloq
November 15, 2018 | Full review
Not having a headphone jack is a little annoying, but when it comes to built-in audio there are still four speakers despite the iPad Pro being so thin.
- Tech Advisor
Like everything about the new iPad Pro, that USB-C connector is both remarkably powerful and incredibly frustrating.
- The Verge
November 5, 2018 | Full review
You get less colour options with the 11-inch model than the 10.5 but Apple has included the A12X Bionic processor in the iPad Pro 11, and it also comes in a 1TB storage option.
- Pocket-lint
March 24, 2019 | Full review
Right now, that's my biggest gripe about the iPad's software. Apple still uses mobile Safari on the iPad Pro, meaning most websites you visit are showing you the mobile version of the site.
- ZD Net
November 13, 2018 | Full review
The all-new Smart Keyboard Folio is sold separately but is designed to make you think it’s a part of the iPad Pro workspace.
- Ebook Friendly
October 31, 2018 | Full review

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Apple iPad, 9.7-inch (128GB)

Expert Summarized Score
8.6
5 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.6
10,933 user reviews
Our Take

For the value, it's hard to beat the 9.7-inch Apple iPad, which has all of the standard features you'd expect in an iPad. The 128-gig model means you'll never run out of room for all your photos and videos, either.

What other experts liked
Other highlights include more than 10 hours of battery life and a new iWork suite that makes the iPad a good productivity tool.
- Laptop Magazine
March 18, 2019 | Full review
The new iPad 9.7 for 2018 is designed to achieve one thing: deliver the best of Apple’s tablet efforts at a more affordable price.
- Tech Radar
November 9, 2018 | Full review
The 2018 entry-level iPad supports the Apple Pencil for art work and annotation, and adds a faster A10 processor. iOS continues to offer the best overall selection of free and paid apps on affordable tablets.
- CNET
April 12, 2018 | Full review
There were absolutely no issues with performance on this tablet with everyday tasks.
- Digital Trends
In terms of specs and internals, the star of the show is the A10 processor. It's less than two years old, and it's still in a sweet spot for running recent apps. The A10 has four cores—two high-performance and two efficiency—and only two can be powered at any given time....
- ARS Technical's
April 7, 2018 | Full review
What other experts didn't like
Thick bezels; Apple Pencil, keyboard and cover all cost extra
- Laptop Magazine
March 18, 2019 | Full review
If you’re looking for something to replace a notepad, we wouldn’t recommend the new iPad – or any iPad for that matter, as it’s really difficult to write legibly on them, thanks to the way the tip of the Pencil glides across the surface.
- Tech Radar
November 9, 2018 | Full review
Lacks the bigger, better screen, quad speakers and Smart Connector found on pricier iPad Pros.
- CNET
April 12, 2018 | Full review
The thick bezels surrounding the 9.7-inch screen are everything we’re moving away from in the mobile industry; and while we still need some edges around the display so we can hold the tablet, it would have been nice to see them slightly shaved down.
- Digital Trends
The camera is not good enough for AR or content creation
- ARS Technical's
April 7, 2018 | Full review

Overall Product Rankings

1. Apple iPad Pro (11-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB)

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 13

2. Apple iPad Pro 10.5 inch

Overall Score: 9.2
Reviews Included: 11

3. Apple iPad, 9.7-inch (128GB)

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 9

4. Apple iPad Pro, 12.9-inch (256GB)

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 10

5. Apple iPad 9.7″ (2017) 128GB

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 12

6. Apple iPad with WiFi

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 7

7. Apple iPad Pro 9.7

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 8

8. Apple iPad MP2G2LL/A

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 12

9. Apple iPad Air 2 MGLW2LL/A

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 9

10. Apple iPad 2 MC769LL/A

Overall Score: 8.7
Reviews Included: 8

11. Apple iPad mini 4

Overall Score: 8.6
Reviews Included: 12

12. Apple iPad Air MD785LL/B

Overall Score: 8.6
Reviews Included: 8

13. Apple iPad Pro

Overall Score: 8.3
Reviews Included: 12

Our Findings

Apple iPad Pro (11-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB)

Best Overall

Apple iPad Pro (11-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB) - Silver (Latest Model) (Personal Computers)


List Price: $799.00 USD
New From: $747.42 USD In Stock
Used from: $747.42 USD In Stock

What We Liked: The Apple iPad Pro is the latest and greatest in iPad technology, which is why it’s our No. 1 pick if you’re in the market for a new iPad. With up to 10 hours of battery life, an incredible display and an awesome camera, there’s little left to be desired with this model.

Apple iPad, 9.7-inch (128GB)

Best Value

Apple iPad (Wi-Fi, 128GB) - Space Gray (Previous Model) (Personal Computers)


List Price: $429.00 USD
New From: $329.00 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

What We Liked: For the value, it’s hard to beat the 9.7-inch Apple iPad, which has all of the standard features you’d expect in an iPad. The 128-gig model means you’ll never run out of room for all your photos and videos, either.

Apple iPad Pro 10.5 inch

Also Consider

Apple iPad Pro (10.5-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB) - Space Gray (Previous Model) (Personal Computers)


List Price: $649.00 USD
New From: $549.00 USD In Stock
Used from: $549.00 USD In Stock

What We Liked: You can save a little dough by opting for this earlier version of the iPad Pro. You’ll still get the retina display and crisp audio without blowing your budget.

Apple iPad Pro, 12.9-inch (256GB)

Also Great

Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch, Wi-Fi, 256GB) - Silver (Latest Model) (Personal Computers)


List Price: $1,149.00 USD
New From: $1,070.90 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

What We Liked: Though it’s expensive, the 12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro is so worth it if you need tons of storage space, two stellar cameras and cool features, like the Apple pencil. It’s the thinnest iPad ever, so you won’t feel like you’re lugging around a mini computer here.

Our IPad Buying Guide

The iPad has come a long way in the years since its 2010 release. The device has gotten thinner and lighter, allowing it to increase in screen size without compromising its portability. In 2012, Apple debuted the iPad Mini, which struck the perfect compromise between smartphones and tablets.

Today, you have plenty of choices within the iPad family, from the powerful 11-inch latest iPad Pro to the 8-inch Mini. If you plan to take your tablet everywhere with you, the Mini packs a good punch while still comfortably fitting into your purse or backpack. But there is also ample reason to choose the larger versions as well, including the larger screen size and faster speeds for browsing and viewing.

Among the larger iPads, you still have two major choices to make. The standard iPad will save you some money, but those savings may not be worth it for those who plan to engage in bandwidth-consuming activities, like gaming and video streaming. You’ll likely see minimal differences between the 11-inch and 10.5-inch iPad Pros since both feature the latest technologies. However, the 11-inch version does offer up to 1 terabyte of storage. So if you plan to save videos to watch later or you have an extensive music library you’d prefer to have on the device itself, it might be worth the extra expense.

Before you start shopping, though, make sure tablets are the right option for you. A laptop may be more expensive, but the convenience of a built-in keyboard can be a plus if you plan to use your device for work or school. You should also consider other tablet models to make sure the iPad is the best choice for your own unique needs. There are many advantages to the iPad, but  Android, Chrome and Windows tablets also have their own benefits.

DWYM Fun Fact

Even though the iPhone debuted three years earlier, the iPad project came first. At some point, Apple decided to temporarily pause the iPad to focus on launching the iPhone. When Steve Jobs debuted his new tablet technology in 2010, it was introduced as a new category that fell between the iPhone and the MacBook. But the iPad wasn’t the first tablet on the market — that distinction goes to Microsoft, which has been credited with coining the term “tablet PC.” However, Apple’s introduction of the iPad ushered in an era in which consumers gravitate toward smartphones and tablets rather than laptops and desktops. Although iPads are far from the only choice when it comes to tablets, they still hold a sizable share of the market.

The IPad Tips and Advice

  • When it comes to size, each iPad has its own pros and cons. The latest version features an 11-inch screen, which offers plenty of viewing space. If you go all the way down to the Mini, though, the 7.9-inch screen squeezes everything down to a small size. At the same time, the size makes it far more portable.
  • Though the screen size may vary greatly, there isn’t a huge difference in size of the unit itself. The iPad Mini is 8” X 5.3”, while the newest iPad Pro is only 9.74” X 7.02”. You’ll also only save an inch in thickness by going for the Mini versus the iPad Pro.
  • When it comes to weight, though, the Mini soars. This is important if you’re planning to carry your iPad around with you. The iPad Mini weighs in at only 0.65 pounds, while all of the newer iPad Pros are 1.03 pounds.
  • Newer iPad models feature Apple’s Retina display, including both the Mini and standard versions. The Retina display reduces pixelation to give you a crisp, clear image.
  • When you’re playing games or watching movies, speed is a must. Although all of the iPads perform well in speed tests, the latest iPad Pro promises a central processing unit (CPU) that’s three times faster and graphics that are eight times faster. On the other end of the spectrum is the Mini, which has a slower CPU.
  • One thing you’ll get with the iPad Pro 11- and 10.5-inch models is Apple’s ProMotion technology, which provides a smoother, more responsive web experience.
  • As with any mobile device, battery life is a top consideration. You’ll get up to 10 hours of battery life per charge, whether you buy a Mini or the newest larger iPads.
  • The iPad is made to be portable, which means you can watch movies, listen to music and even snap photos anywhere. But storage can be limited, depending on the model you choose. The iPad Mini comes with only one storage option, 128 GB, while the standard iPad comes in either a 32 GB or 128 GB option. The 10.5-inch version of the iPad Pro provides up to 512 GB of storage, although you can go as low as 64 GB if you want to save some money. For the widest range of storage options, though, consider the newest model of the iPad Pro, which has 64 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB versions.
  • One major choice you’ll need to make when you purchase an iPad is whether you want Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi plus cellular. The Wi-Fi plus cellular model will let you access the internet even when you aren’t on a Wi-Fi network. However, in addition to adding more to the purchase price, you’ll also need to purchase an extra monthly plan from your cell phone provider, which may come with data limits.
  • If you’re working within a budget, cost is probably going to be one of the most important deciding factors. Your cheapest option will be a standard iPad on a Wi-Fi plan, but it’s neck and neck with the iPad Mini. Prices can fluctuate, though, and you can definitely find deals on iPads, especially during back-to-school season and as new editions are released.
  • No iPad purchase is complete without accessories. At the very least, you’ll need a case if you want to prop it up while you’re streaming video. Since these accessories add to the purchase price, it’s important to look into them before you buy. You may also need a keyboard and an Apple Pencil stylus.
  • iPads have a variety of applications beyond leisure time. They’ve become especially popular in the medical field, where professionals can use them for charting and accessing patient records.

About The Author

Avatar
Stephanie Faris 

Stephanie Faris is a former information technology professional who spent most of her career working with computers and printers. Now a novelist and professional writer, her writings on electronics have been published on Online-Tech-Tips.com and Switching to Mac, among many others. When she isn't writing about technology, she's often checking out the latest news on the upcoming iPhone release.