The best iPads to buy this year for every budget

Looking for the best iPad? We've got you covered.

Woman using iPad

by Eleanor Weaver |

An iPad is a fantastic way to stay connected and entertained from the comfort of your armchair. Facetime the grandkids, play games and puzzles, catch up with your favourite programme, shop online, and keep up to date with the latest news.

They're an easily transportable piece of kit with a great-sized screen to help your eyesight (much better than squinting at your smartphone) and come with all the latest Apple features.

If you're not a fan of the Apple software, we'd recommend checking out our guide to the best Android tablets or our pick of the best budget tablets that are easy to use.

We've listed the best iPads to buy from a range of budget points and with different features that make each standout, so you can find the right one for you.

Looking for a tablet to read with? Save yourself a fortune with a Kindle that's built to emulate that book feel, has great battery life, and is perfectly waterproof.

Best iPad deals

Sales are coming in thick and fast at the moment so this is the perfect time to keep your eyes peeled for deals on Apple products. Here are the best iPad deals available to shop right now.

What features should I look for?

If you don't already have an iPad however, choosing your first isn't the easiest of tasks. There are so many options and with new releases from Apple each year, the choices can seem a little overwhelming!

The best features to look out for will depend on what you intend to use your iPad for, but here are a few key features that'll make for a great well-rounded tablet.

Battery life

As a fantastic piece of tech crammed full of features and entertainment, you might find yourself using your iPad quite a bit and will need it to have a good battery life to save you from charging frequently, or for carrying on the go without worrying about it dying. Look out for the iPad's mAh (Milliampre per hour) - the higher the mAh capacity, the longer you can expect your iPad to last before its next charge.

Screen resolution

The screen resolution shows how many pixels are on the screen with the higher the number of pixels, the clearer, sharper, and better the image detail will be. This is definitely something to keep an eye out for if you plan to use your iPad to watch movies or TV, play games, do work or do creative tasks.

iPad
©Henry Ascroft: Unsplash

Size

iPads are great for providing you with a large-screened device that's still portable - even more so than a laptop. iPads can vary in size and shape and so you may want to choose one that's bigger for a larger screen, or more lightweight to make carrying or holding easier for you.

Camera

iPads come with front and back cameras so you can video-call family and friends, and take pictures to share or capture special moments. The camera quality will depend on how many megapixels or MP the device has. The higher the megapixel count, the better the quality of the videos and pictures will be. If you plan to take pictures or videos often, we'd definitely recommend keeping an eye out for this.

Storage

The more storage your iPad has measured in Gigabytes (GB), the more your iPad can hold. This includes images, videos, music, apps, and games, with the latter taking up the most room. You can choose iPads with 32GB or 64GB built-in, but if you're likely to have a large number of games or apps, you may want to choose those with larger storage of 128GB or higher.

The best iPads 2022

Specifications:

Camera: Rear camera 12MP wide camera, front camera 12MP ultra wide front camera

Battery: 10 hours of surfing on the web

Resolution: 2360 x 1640 pixels

Storage: 64 GB - 256 GB available

Pros / cons:

Pros:

Very powerful

Incredible resolution

Incredibly light

Cons: Camera is a little lacking

Overview:

Apple's 2022 iPad Air delivers quality in spades with one of their most powerful iPads to date. Rapid, slick, and packed with tonnes of fantastic functions while retaining a decent price, the iPad Air is a fantastic choice for anyone who's looking to get a top-tier tablet this year.

Customer review: "Screen, sound and general performance is immense. Very slick, easy to set up and everything is in typical intuitive Apple fashion."

Specifications:

Camera: Rear camera 12MP, front camera 7MP FaceTime HD

Battery: 7,606mAh

Resolution: 1640 x 2360 pixels

Storage: 64GB or 256GB available

Pros / cons:

Pros:

Powerful performance

Great audio

Cons:

Only 64GB of storage

Overview:

We've given this the award for 'best value' as while it may not be the cheapest iPad on our list, it's the best iPad for getting the most features from the iPad Pro, but at a more affordable price tag. It comes in a range of pop pastel colours including this sky blue and can last for up to 10 hours on one charge. It has lovely wide stereo audio for immersive listening, a powerful A14 Bionic chip for great performance, and is compatible with the Apple Pencil (2nd Gen).

The only downside is that the iPad is only available with storage of 64GB or 256GB, no in-between.

Customer review: "The 2021 iPad Pro 11 inch 128GB is an amazing product! The screen goes nice and is great for browsing and watching 4K content movies, TV series and hardcore editing of 4K footage etc. This thing is a powerhouse!"

Specifications:

Camera: Rear camera 8MP, front camera 1.2MP FaceTime HD

Battery: Up to 10 hours

Resolution: 1620 x 2160 pixels

Storage: 32GB or 128GB available

Pros / cons:

Pros:

Best value for money

good resolution

Cons:

Rear camera only 1.2MP

Overview:

Available in silver and gold, this is the best iPad to get on a budget - saving you quite a bit of money without compromising too much on the features. Enjoy up to 10 hours of battery life, a gorgeous 10.2-inch Retina display, and a powerful A12 Bionic chip making this still a fantastic choice for versatility and capability. It's compatible with the Apple Pencil (1st Gen), and reviewers have found this one to be of great proportions for tasks for weight, size, and functionality.

The back camera is good quality too, but it's worth noting that the front camera for FaceTime is only 1.2MP, the lowest quality on our list.

No home is complete without some terrific smart home technology, here's our picks for the ultimate home tech.

Customer review: "The Mini iPad 6 is smart, neat and stylish, and fits easily into a handbag to carry round. I use mainly for reading e-books, internet surfing, social media and checking emails, and, as expected, it works perfectly. Like all Apple devices, it’s responsive, intuitive, and easy to use."

Specifications:

Camera: Rear camera 8MP with HDR and 1080p HD video, front camera 7MP FaceTime HD with Auto HDR

Battery: 5,124mAh

Resolution: 1536 x 2048 pixels

Storage: 64GB or 256GB available

Pros / cons:

Pros: Easy to transport

Cons: Smaller screen size, despite size difference it's not much cheaper than the larger model

Overview:

If you're looking for an iPad to carry on the go and to fit nicely in your handbag, whether that be on a trip for friends or family or to keep you occupied on public transport, the iPad Mini is the best choice for you. Smaller in size with a 7.9-inch display, it is still packed with features including a great front and back camera, Touch ID, and 10 hours of battery life.

This iPad is compatible with the Apple pencil and for its size, boasts a powerful performance with the A12 Bionic chip.

Customer review: "Really impressive for £319. Obviously that’s still a lot of money but with the pro pretty much 3x that and most competitors higher the quality for price is brilliant. Great screen quality and super quick."

What does the Apple Pencil do?

We've mentioned that a few of these iPads are compatible with the Apple Pencil - but what is it?

The Apple Pencil is a stylus that you can use to write, draw, point or tap on your screen. It's optional to use along with or instead of your finger and you may find it easier to use depending on your hand strength and dexterity.

The second-generation Apple Pencil is compatible with most iPads unless it specifies that the first-generation is needed. The Apple iPad Pros come with an Apple Pencil, but you'll need to buy these separately for other models as it doesn't come included.

How is an iPad different from other tablets?

The biggest difference between an iPad and other tablets on the market is the operating system used.

Operating systems are the software that allows your mobile phone to run all its applications and functions much like a mini-computer. The iPad uses the Apple iOS, whist most other tablets use Google's Android OS.

The Apple OS gives a great user experience, is simple to use, and has loads of apps designed for iOS specifically, more than Android. We also think that iPads look extra sleek and it contains more features in comparison.

However, in comparison to Android tablets, the iPad is less customisable, can't multitask (you can't use multiple apps at once), and is more expensive.

Related: The best tablets for your grandkids

Is an iPad worth buying?

While it may be more costly than other tablets on the market, the iPad is definitely a worthwhile purchase for user experience, great display, and available uses. It leads the way for apps that are free of any possible malware, and if you have other Apple devices, you can easily connect them together, sharing files, images, notes, and more safely via the iCloud.

If cost is a barrier for you, you can opt for an older generation model as these tend to drop in price when new models are released. Or, if you're looking to get a new iPad, you can trade in your current one and get credit towards your new one, helping to curb the costs of the new tech.

If you're in the market for a new phone, but aren't super tech-savvy, we've got a great selection of budget-friendly mobile phones that are perfect for anyone.

Can you use an iPad for office work?

By simply getting yourself a Magic Keyboard, you can essentially convert your iPad into a mini laptop. Nowadays, iPads and other tablets can use Google Docs as well as Microsoft Office, so there's no need to worry about not being able to run your work programs.

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