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The Best Apple iPad

Last updated on March 15, 2019

We looked at the top 6 Tablets and dug through the reviews from 88 of the most popular review sites including CNET, The Verge, Engadget, Tech Radar, Laptop Magazine, Wired and more. The result is a ranking of the best Tablets.

DWYM Tip: 

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

Best Apple iPad

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DWYM is your trusted product review source. Along with our in-house experts, our team analyzes thousands of product reviews from the most trusted websites. We then create one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

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

Our experts reviewed the top 6 Tablets and also dug through the reviews from 88 of the most popular review sites including CNET, The Verge, Engadget, Tech Radar, Laptop Magazine, Wired and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Tablets.

Our Picks For The Top Tablets

Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

Apple

iPad Pro (2018)

Overall Take

The newest iPad Pro has all the bells and whistles, including a USB-C port and support for Apple Pencil. Although you'll pay a little more, the larger screen shows off the clarity of the retina display perfectly.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus CNET, The Verge, Engadget, Consumer Reports, Laptop Magazine, Wired and 2 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Walmart and Best Buy.
Pros
" It's shockingly fast, has USB-C, a far better Pencil design, easy login with Face ID and there's more screen real estate crammed into a more compact design."
Cons
"What you will not find anywhere is a headphone jack, which is a curious omission since so many iPads are used essentially as televisions, and so many pro media workflows demand low-latency audio monitoring."

Apple

iPad Pro (2017)

Overall Take

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.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus CNET, The Verge, Engadget, Tech Radar, Laptop Magazine, Wired and 1 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

Overall Take

The standard iPad offers a slightly smaller size, making it easier to slip into your bag as you head out. You'll also pay less while still gaining access to many of the same features you'd get with the iPad Pro.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus New York Times Wirecutter, The Verge, Engadget, CNET, Tech Radar, Laptop Magazine and 2 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart.
Pros
" The 6th-generation iPad’s price is significantly lower than previous models’ prices, making it even more appealing and simplifying the decision between it and other iPad models. Although the iPad Pro and iPad mini models will be better for some people,..."
Cons
"It has a visible air gap, it lacks the faster refresh rate, and it can’t adjust itself to the color temperature of the room."

Apple

iPad mini 4

Overall Take

Some of the best things come in small packages, and Apple proves that with the iPad Mini. With dimensions of only 8” X 5.3”, this smaller version of the iPad is ideal for those who want a high-quality tablet in a more portable size.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus Tech Radar, Engadget, CNET, The Verge, Consumer Reports, Laptop Magazine and 3 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Walmart and Best Buy.
Pros
" The same swooping curved edges are used once more, and the ceramic-like back of the tablet feels brilliant in the hand."
Cons
"The Air-ification of the Mini line also means that handy rotation-lock switch -- part of the iPad's hardware formula for years -- has been excised."
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.
13

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the tablets available to purchase.
6

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products to review and score.

View All Product Rankings

88

Expert Reviews Included

Reviews from our DWYM category experts and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: CNET, The Verge, Engadget, Tech Radar, Laptop Magazine.

124,366

User Opinions Analyzed

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

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

Expert Summarized Score
8.1
8 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.7
1,238 user reviews
The DWYM Expert Take

The newest iPad Pro has all the bells and whistles, including a USB-C port and support for Apple Pencil. Although you'll pay a little more, the larger screen shows off the clarity of the retina display perfectly.

What other experts liked
It's shockingly fast, has USB-C, a far better Pencil design, easy login with Face ID and there's more screen real estate crammed into a more compact design.
- CNET
November 5, 2018 | Full review
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
And then there's the screen. The 12.9-inch "Liquid Retina" display has the same 2,732 x 2,048 resolution as earlier models did, and it's about as nice a screen as you'll find on a tablet right now.
- Engadget
November 9, 2018 | Full review
The very bright screen and its reduced glare will be easy to view when used outdoors or in bright rooms.
- Consumer Reports
The 7-nanometer A12X Bionic chip inside the iPad Pro is so fast we almost did a spit take when we tested the CPU in our labs.
- Laptop Magazine
December 10, 2018 | Full review
Color is vibrant and precise enough for Photoshopping and minute color tweaking if needed.
- Wired
November 5, 2018 | Full review
ProMotion technology delivers a screen with a refresh rate of 120Hz, meaning you see incredibly smooth scrolling and an overall more responsive experience.
- Digital Trends
December 10, 2018 | Full review
The effects of ProMotion are superb, and those who have been using this screen for a while will certainly find it difficult to return to a regular display, which typically refreshes at 60Hz.
- Trusted Reviews
November 21, 2018 | Full review
What other experts didn't like
But Apple also followed its worst iPhone design instincts and dropped the standard 3.5 millimeter headphone jack.
- CNET
November 5, 2018 | Full review
What you will not find anywhere is a headphone jack, which is a curious omission since so many iPads are used essentially as televisions, and so many pro media workflows demand low-latency audio monitoring.
- The Verge
November 5, 2018 | Full review
But most damning is the Pro's fundamental incompatibility with external USB storage devices.
- Engadget
November 9, 2018 | Full review
There were limitations when transferring files to and from different computers, and you may need to use a flash drive or similar intermediary storage solution.
- Consumer Reports
My biggest gripe with the iPad Pro is the short, 1-meter power cable.
- Laptop Magazine
December 10, 2018 | Full review
Spreadsheets are also tougher (slower) to manipulate in the apps I’ve used.
- Wired
November 5, 2018 | Full review
The same quad-speaker setup is still here, but there’s a crucial component missing — a headphone jack.
- Digital Trends
December 10, 2018 | Full review
Losing a headphone jack on a tablet seems odd, and having only one USB-C port suggests you’ll need to invest in a set of dongles right away to fulfil basic tasks such as charging and plugging in headphones at the...
- Trusted Reviews
November 21, 2018 | Full review

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Apple iPad 6

Expert Summarized Score
8.5
8 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.8
4,414 user reviews
The DWYM Expert Take

The standard iPad offers a slightly smaller size, making it easier to slip into your bag as you head out. You'll also pay less while still gaining access to many of the same features you'd get with the iPad Pro.

What other experts liked
The 6th-generation iPad’s price is significantly lower than previous models’ prices, making it even more appealing and simplifying the decision between it and other iPad models. Although the iPad Pro and iPad mini models will be better for some people, the 6th-generation iPad is the best all-around value. (Though...
- New York Times Wirecutter
I’ve been using the iPad for a little less than a week, and I can report that it feels fast, lasts all day (Apple claims 10 hours of battery life, and it gets close), and runs everything I’ve thrown at it well.
- The Verge
April 3, 2018 | Full review
As I mentioned before, the iPad runs with an A10 Fusion chipset that pairs two high-performance CPU cores with two energy efficient cores for less strenuous tasks.
- Engadget
January 5, 2019 | Full review
As I said above, this iPad now works with the Pencil stylus, too, which is great news for anyone thinking of doing creative work.
- CNET
April 12, 2018 | Full review
The screen on the new iPad is bright, legible in most lighting, and usable in nearly any situation.
- Tech Radar
November 9, 2018 | Full review
I appreciated the snappy performance from the A10 Fusion chip, especially when I was trying out augmented reality apps.
- Laptop Magazine
December 10, 2018 | Full review
That's a step up from the A9 in the fifth-generation iPad, and it really shows on benchmarks: On Geekbench 4, we got 3512 single-core and 5934 multi-core, as compared with 2548/4435 on the fifth-gen.
- PC Magazine
April 2, 2018 | Full review
It’s powered by Apple’s A10 Fusion processor with an embedded M10 coprocessor — the same chip that’s in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus — which offers a solid performance and graphics improvement over last year’s A9 chip.
- Digital Trends
April 3, 2018 | Full review
What other experts didn't like
It has a visible air gap, it lacks the faster refresh rate, and it can’t adjust itself to the color temperature of the room.
- The Verge
April 3, 2018 | Full review
And my biggest quibble with the 2017 iPad is back: the noticeable gap between the 9.7-inch Retina display and the glass that covers it.
- Engadget
January 5, 2019 | Full review
First, there's no side Smart Connector.
- CNET
April 12, 2018 | Full review
Sadly, as it's made of metal we would suggest that you get a case for this thing, or at the very least a cover that allows you to prop it up, as the new iPad comes into its own when used as a standing screen for watching films or checking...
- Tech Radar
November 9, 2018 | Full review
What bothers me is that this iPad forgoes the keyboard connector that's on the iPad Pro, so you can't use Apple's own keyboard; you'll have to use another option.
- Laptop Magazine
December 10, 2018 | Full review
The tablet isn't formally ruggedized or water-resistant.
- PC Magazine
April 2, 2018 | Full review
It’s a functional design, but in 2018 the iPad looks dull and unattractive.
- Digital Trends
April 3, 2018 | Full review

Overall Product Rankings

1. Apple iPad Pro
Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 11

2. Apple iPad Pro 10.5 inch
Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 10

3. Apple iPad 6
Overall Score: 8.7
Reviews Included: 11

4. Apple iPad mini 4
Overall Score: 8.5
Reviews Included: 12

An Overview On Tablets

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 Tablet Buying Guide

  • 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 than $100 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. The Wi-Fi only version of the latest iPad Pro nears $800, with cellular putting it around the $900 mark. 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.