The Best iPad 2023: Top Apple Tablets For You
Apple’s iPad portfolio is more intriguing and complex than it has been in years. After the October release of the 10th-generation iPad and the M2-powered iPad Pro, Apple now sells three 11-inch tablets with generally identical designs but significant variances in internal components and accessory functionality. The 2021 10.2-inch iPad is still available for purchase, although it appears to be aimed at a different market than its “next-generation” replacement of the same name. The iPad mini is still going strong.
You’re not alone if you’re unsure which to buy. Choosing the finest iPad for you isn’t as straightforward as it once was. We’re here to help you go through the benefits and disadvantages, compare them, and make your decision a little simpler.
We’ll help you find the best iPad in 2023 for you
1. Best for most: iPad Air
The iPad Air is the most widely attractive of the six iPad versions now available. In our most current edition review, we gave it a score of 90: With a bright, crisp, and accurate 10.9-inch display surrounded by tiny bezels and smooth corners, it has the same beautiful and comfortable design language as the iPad Pro but costing less. It has a USB-C connector, which is comparable to what you’d find on a MacBook and many other non-iPhone devices, and while it’s not a Thunderbolt connection like the iPad Pro, merely being able to charge the Air with the same cable you use for other devices is a benefit.
In 2022, Apple will update the Air with its M1 system-on-a-chip, which is the same silicon present in the entry-level MacBook Air. This isn’t Apple’s newest SoC, but it’s still more than capable of handling almost any work, and an increasing number of iPadOS capabilities are limited to M-series CPUs.
The iPad Air, like the 11-inch iPad Pro, is also compatible with Apple’s greatest accessories, such as the second-generation Pencil pen and the (amazing) Magic Keyboard. They add a significant expense to the bottom line, yet they are available for digital artists and regular typers.
The centre of Apple’s iPad range is quite crowded. If you want more storage than the Air’s default 64GB, you might consider the 11-inch iPad Pro, which starts at 128GB and has a superior 120 Hz display and M2 processor for not much more than a larger-capacity Air. (The display on the 2021 iPad Pro is also improved.) The new 10.9-inch iPad isn’t awful either, but with its non-laminated display and lack of accessory compatibility, it’ll be a tough sell until it’s on sale. Yet, while not inexpensive, the iPad Air remains Apple’s finest combination of price and performance for the majority of users.
2. Best budget: iPad (9th generation)
If you can’t afford the Air, or if you don’t use your tablet enough to justify paying that much money, the 9th-generation iPad is a perfectly safe bet. Beginning at $329 for a 64GB model — and frequently available for less than $300 — it’s by far the most affordable way to get started with iPadOS. While its hardware is clearly inferior to those of the models above, it is still more than enough for the fundamentals.
In 2021, we gave the 9th-generation iPad device a review score of 86. This is the only “current” iPad that adheres to Apple’s earlier design language: it’s somewhat larger and heavier than the 10th-generation iPad and iPad Air, but its wider bezels only allow for a 10.2-inch display. The screen, like the 10th-generation iPad, isn’t laminated and is more prone to glare, while being just as crisp.
The smartphone charges through Lightning connection rather than USB-C and has a Home button on the bottom bezel that also contains a Touch ID fingerprint scanner. Its speakers aren’t as good, but it’s the only iPad with a headphone port, and its 12MP front camera is adequate (albeit not landscape-oriented like the 10th-generation iPad).The A13 Bionic SoC used in the 2019 iPhone 11 series powers the 9th-generation iPad. It’s not as fluid or future-proof as the M1, but it’s adequately fast for everyday work. The Apple tablet is compatible with Apple’s Smart Keyboard and the first-generation Pencil stylus. They are less handy than the company’s newest offerings, yet they are available.
In the end, it all comes down to pricing. The 9th-generation iPad is Apple’s most cheap device, and the savings go a long way toward covering up its flaws.
3. Best for one-handed use: iPad mini
The iPad mini is precisely what its name implies: a little iPad. It’s the smallest (7.69×5.3×0.25 inches) and lightest (0.65 pounds for the WiFi variant) iPad ever, with an 8.3-inch display that’s easier to use with one hand.
In 2021, we rated the iPad mini a review score of 89. Its design is similar to the iPad Air’s, with squared-off corners, small bezels, no Home button, a Touch ID sensor in the power button, stereo speakers, solid cameras, and a USB-C connection. While its display is theoretically crisper, it offers the same maximum brightness, lamination, anti-reflective coating, and wide color gamut. It lacks a “Smart Connector” for connecting Apple-made keyboards, although it does support the second-generation Apple pencil.
The small is powered by Apple’s A15 Bionic Chipset, which is also used in the iPhone 13 phones released in 2021. This is theoretically quicker than the chip in the 10th-generation iPad model and, once again, more than powerful enough for most jobs, albeit it falls short of the laptop-grade M1 or M2.
The 64GB variant of the mini costs $499, while the 256GB model costs $649. That’s a lot, but in recent months, both SKUs have been offered online for up to $100 less. If you want a smaller tablet, whether to fit in a bag, use with one hand, or treat as a high-end e-reader, this is Apple’s sole option, and the greatest tablet in its size range, period.
4. Best for power users: iPad Pro 12.9-inch
Inside Apple’s tablet series, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro resides in its own domain. It costs $100 more than the M1 MacBook Air and starts at $1,099 for 128GB of storage. That’s far more than anybody should have to spend to complete the vast majority of iPad tasks, and it’s a lot of money for a device that still struggles with laptop-style productivity. Yet, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is Apple’s greatest pure piece of tablet hardware.
In November, we gave the newest iPad Pro a review score of 87. The display here can grow brighter than the one on the Air, and it has a refresh rate of 120 Hz (the Air is limited to 60 Hz). The 12.9-inch Pro’s Liquid Retina display, on the other hand, is more of an improvement than the 11-inch model because it’s the only iPad with mini-LED illumination, which can give higher peak brightness, enhanced contrast, and a more realistic image in general.Other from that, the Pro is powered by Apple’s new M2 Processor, which isn’t a significant gain over the M1 in real-world usage but provides greater performance overhead in the future. The iPad Pro has the same 12MP back camera as the iPad Air, but it also has a 10MP ultrawide lens and an LED light (plus a LIDAR scanner for AR apps). Meanwhile, the front-facing 12MP cameras can shoot in portrait mode.
Other than that, the Pro boasts a speedier Thunderbolt USB-C port, better speakers, and Face ID compatibility. With the most recent update, it can now detect when an Apple Pencil is hovering above the display and preview potential inputs. There are additional storage options, ranging from 1TB to 2TB, with the 1TB and 2TB versions increasing RAM from 8GB to 16GB (at a super high cost). Plus it is compatible with all of Apple’s greatest accessories.
It’s a beast, and if you want to use an iPad for business, the 12.9-inch Pro’s larger display should make it the most comfortable option for all-day, laptop-style use. You’ll want to add a keyboard to get the most out of it, but if you’re already spending this much on an iPad, that might not be such a huge issue.
This, like the iPad mini, is a niche gadget. It’s unreasonably pricey, and because of its massive size, it’s less portable than previous iPads. Some creatives have made it work as a laptop replacement, but for the most part, iPadOS makes multitasking and other computer-like activities more difficult than they would be on a comparably priced MacBook. It’s also merely a slight improvement over the previous model. Still, the 12.9-inch Pro is a formidable tablet.
5. Best Ipad overall : iPad Pro (6th generation)
Technical specifications: Processor: Apple Silicon M2 | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB or 2TB | Biometrics: Face ID | Colours: Silver, space grey | Cameras: 12MP wide, 10MP ultra wide back, and 12MP TrueDepth FaceTime front | Weight: 11-inch: 1.03 pounds 11-inch: 9.74 x 7.02 x 0.23 inches, 12.9-inch: 11.04 x 8.46 x 0.25 inches | Connections: USB-C Thunderbolt/USB-4 | Battery life: 10 hours
Apple’s 2022 iPad Pro series is by far the most capable and stunning we’ve seen, earning it our top overall selection. It’s also, by far, the most costly. On the surface, the design hasn’t changed much, but on the inside, you’ll discover Apple’s M2 CPU, which has 20 billion transistors – 25% more than the M1. It’s the same CPU used in Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.
We spent some time with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and discovered that it is speedier and more competent than any previous iPad model we’ve tried. You may anticipate download speeds of up to 2.4Gbps, which is twice as fast as the previous model, 15% quicker performance, and up to 35% better graphics performance.
The Pro also supports the second-generation Apple Pencil, and the M2 chip has enabled a new hover function. The functionality works as follows: when the tip of the Apple Pencil comes within 12 millimetres of the iPad Pro’s display, sections of the UI in applications that support the new feature come to life. The Smart Connector is located on the back of the iPad Pro and may be used with either the Magic Keyboard, which has illuminated keys and a touchpad, or Apple’s Smart Keyboard.
And, while the differences between the fifth and sixth generation models are more modest, the M2 processor is what truly shines here, making it a powerful tablet. The iPad Pro, when paired with iPadOS and the M2 processor, is as close to a laptop as you can get without actually purchasing one.
6. Best base model iPad : iPad (10th generation)
Technical specifications: Display: 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone | Processor: A14 Bionic chip with 16-core Neural Engine | Storage: 64GB or 256GB | Biometrics: Touch ID | Colours: Silver, Pink, Blue, Yellow | Cameras: 12MP f/1.8 wide, 12MP Landscape f/2.4 front | Weight: 1.05 pounds | Dimensions: 9.79 x 7.07 x.28 inches | Connections: USB-C, Smart Connector
Apple’s tried-and-true tablet, the iPad basic model, is perhaps the best buy of the bunch. All of the capabilities of the more costly Pro and Air versions are available in a lighter form factor, including a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone and narrower bezels than the previous generation.
In the fall of 2022, Apple redesigned the iPad with the A14 Bionic CPU, USB-C connectivity, 5G capability for on-the-go work, and a new 12MP ultra-wide camera. It also boasts an adjustable kickstand and a 14-key function row for shortcuts, as well as support for the Magic Keyboard Folio designed exclusively for this iPad.
It also comes in unique and exciting hues that deviate from the traditional space gray and silver. Pink, blue, yellow, and the expected Apple silver are among the hues available.
One significant disadvantage of the new iPad is that it does not support the second-generation Apple Pencil. To utilize your second-generation Apple Pencil, you’ll need to connect it to a dongle, which is an unneeded nuisance.
Another factor to consider is that Apple raised the price of its entry-level iPad by $120. You’ll have to pay $449 for this iPad immediately. Still, it is now the most affordable iPad in the series.
Which is the best iPad for you?
If you can’t decide whether to acquire the base model iPad or the iPad Air (or, for that matter, the iPad Air or the iPad Pro), we recommend sitting down and brainstorming all the ways you’ll use the iPad.
If your list mostly consists of consuming activities such as viewing movies and reading news, the base model iPad is likely the best choice. But, if you plan to do a lot of emailing, chatting, writing, or online surfing, the iPad Air is the place to start.
The iPad Pro, on the other hand, is clearly aimed for those who want to push it to its limits while working, whether by attaching several devices and displays, or other peripherals.
If you need a laptop replacement and enjoy using the iPad, the iPad Pro is a good place to start.