Apple iPad, 9.7-inch (128GB)

Last updated date: September 3, 2019

DWYM Score
9.0

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We looked at the top 1 iPads and dug through the reviews from 5 of the most popular review sites including Laptop Magazine, Tech Radar, CNET, Digital Trends, ARS Technical's and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best iPad you should buy.

Overall 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. In our analysis of 92 expert reviews, the Apple Apple iPad, 9.7-inch (128GB) placed 3rd when we looked at the top 13 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note September 3, 2019:
Checkout The Best Apple iPad for a detailed review of all the top ipads.

Expert Summarized Score
8.6
5 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.6
10,933 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What 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 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

From The Manufacturer

9.7-inch Retina display. A10 Fusion chip with 64-bit desktop-class architecture. Touch ID fingerprint sensor. 8MP camera with 1080p video and 1.2MP FaceTime HD camera 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO. Syncing with iTunes on a Mac or PC requires- Mac- OS X 10.10.5 or later. PC- Windows 7 or. later.iTunes 12.7.3 or later. Up to 10 hours of battery life. Two speaker audio.

Overall Product Rankings

1. Apple iPad Pro (11-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB)
Overall Score: 9.3
Expert Reviews: 9
2. Apple iPad Pro 10.5 inch
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 8
3. Apple iPad, 9.7-inch (128GB)
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 5
4. Apple iPad Pro, 12.9-inch (256GB)
Overall Score: 8.9
Expert Reviews: 6
5. Apple iPad 9.7″ (2017) 128GB
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 8
6. Apple iPad with WiFi
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 4
7. Apple iPad Pro 9.7
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 6
8. Apple iPad MP2G2LL/A
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 8
9. Apple iPad Air 2 MGLW2LL/A
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 6
10. Apple iPad 2 MC769LL/A
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 5
11. Apple iPad mini 4
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 9
12. Apple iPad Air MD785LL/B
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 4
13. Apple iPad Pro
Overall Score: 8.3
Expert Reviews: 9

An Overview On IPads

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.

DYWM 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 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 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.