The most effective iPads for 2022: the best way to choose the perfect Apple pill for you


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Apple’s iPad lineup is each extra fascinating and extra sophisticated than it’s been in years. After October’s launch of the Tenth-generation iPad and the M2-powered iPad Professional, Apple now sells three tablets within the 11-inch vary that pack broadly comparable designs however have key variations in the case of inner elements and accent help. Final 12 months’s 10.2-inch iPad stays on sale, however seemingly targets a special market than its “next-generation” successor of the identical title. The iPad mini remains to be doing its factor, too.

In the event you’re confused about which to purchase, you’re not alone. The choice isn’t as cut-and-dry because it has been up to now, so we’re right here to interrupt down the professionals and cons, element how they evaluate to one another and assist make your choice a bit simpler.

Engadget’s picks

Finest for many: iPad Air


Apple iPad Air (2022)

The ten.9-inch iPad Air nonetheless will get you many of the iPad Professional’s finest options at a cheaper price, with fewer compromises than the newer Tenth-gen iPad.

$549 at Amazon

Of the six iPad fashions at present on sale, the iPad Air is the closest to being universally interesting. We gave it a evaluation rating of 90 earlier this 12 months: It has the identical elegant and comfy design language because the iPad Professional whereas costing much less, with a shiny, sharp and correct 10.9-inch show surrounded by skinny bezels and flat edges. It comes with a USB-C port, much like what you’d discover on a MacBook and plenty of different non-iPhone units, and whereas it’s not a Thunderbolt connection as on theiPad Professional, merely with the ability to cost the Air with the identical cable you utilize along with your different devices is a plus.

Apple refreshed the Air earlier this 12 months with its M1 system-on-a-chip, which is identical silicon discovered within the entry-level MacBook Air. This isn’t Apple’s latest SoC, however it’s nonetheless greater than highly effective sufficient for just about any job you possibly can throw at it, and an rising variety of iPadOS options are unique to M-series chips.

The iPad Air can be appropriate with Apple’s finest equipment, together with the second-generation Pencil stylus and the (glorious) Magic Keyboard, identical to the 11-inch iPad Professional. These add little bit of price to the underside line, however for digital artists or frequent typers, they’re there.

The center of Apple’s iPad lineup is a bit congested. In the event you want greater than the Air’s default 64GB of storage, you may as effectively step as much as the 11-inch iPad Professional, which begins at 128GB and packs a greater 120 Hz show and M2 chip for not way more than a higher-capacity Air. (The show on the 2021 iPad Professional is healthier, too.) The brand new 10.9-inch iPad isn’t unhealthy, both, however with its non-laminated show and missing accent help, it’s a tougher promote until you see it on deep low cost. Nonetheless, whereas it’s not low cost, the iPad Air is Apple’s finest mix of worth and efficiency for many.

Finest finances: iPad (Ninth era)

Apple iPad (9th gen)


In the event you can’t afford the Air, or for those who simply don’t use your pill closely sufficient to warrant spending that a lot, it’s completely secure to get the Ninth-gen iPad as an alternative. Beginning at $329 for a 64GB mannequin — and usually out there for lower than $300 — it’s by far essentially the most wallet-friendly method into iPadOS. Whereas its {hardware} is an apparent step down from the fashions above, it’s nonetheless greater than succesful for the necessities.

We gave the Ninth-gen iPad a evaluation rating of 86 final 12 months. That is the one “present” iPad to observe Apple’s older design language: It’s only a tiny bit thicker and heavier than the Tenth-gen iPad and iPad Air, however its wider bezels imply there’s solely sufficient room for a ten.2-inch show. Just like the Tenth-gen iPad, that display is not laminated and extra vulnerable to glare, although it’s simply as sharp. There’s a Dwelling button situated on the underside bezel that additionally homes a Contact ID fingerprint scanner, and the machine expenses by way of Lightning port moderately than USB-C. Its audio system don’t sound as good, both, however it’s the one iPad to nonetheless have a headphone jack, and its 12MP entrance digital camera is ok (although, it’s not landscape-oriented as on the Tenth-gen iPad).

The Ninth-gen iPad runs on Apple’s A13 Bionic, which is identical SoC utilized in 2019’s iPhone 11 sequence. It received’t be as fluid or futureproof because the M1, however it’s lots fast for informal duties. When it comes to first-party equipment, the pill helps Apple’s Good Keyboard and first-gen Pencil stylus. These are much less handy than the corporate’s newer choices, however they’re a minimum of there.

In the long run, it’s all in regards to the worth. The Ninth-gen iPad is essentially the most inexpensive mannequin in Apple’s lineup, and people financial savings go a good distance towards papering over its points.

Finest for one-handed use: iPad mini 

Apple iPad mini


Apple iPad mini

Primarily a smaller iPad Air, the iPad mini is the perfect compact pill you should buy. Simply do not get it to do work.

$459 at Amazon

The iPad mini is precisely what it feels like: the small iPad. It’s simply the shortest (7.69×5.3×0.25 inches) and lightest (0.65 kilos for the WiFi mannequin) of each present iPad, with an 8.3-inch show that’s extra snug to function with one hand.

We gave the iPad mini a evaluation rating of 89 final 12 months. Its design follows carefully after that of the iPad Air: squared-off edges, skinny bezels, no Dwelling button, a Contact ID sensor within the energy button, stereo audio system, strong cameras and a USB-C port. Its show is technically sharper, however in any other case offers you an identical max brightness, lamination, anti-reflective coating and huge colour gamut. It doesn’t have a “Good Connector” to hook up Apple-made keyboards, however it does help the second-gen Apple Pencil.

The mini runs on Apple’s A15 Bionic SoC, the identical because the one in 2021’s iPhone 13 telephones. That is technically sooner than the chip contained in the Tenth-gen iPad and, once more, greater than highly effective sufficient for many duties, although it’s a step behind the laptop-grade M1 or M2.

The mini has an MSRP of $499 for the 64GB mannequin and $649 for the 256GB mannequin. That’s rather a lot, although in current months we’ve seen each SKUs out there on-line for as much as $100 much less. In the event you particularly desire a smaller pill — whether or not it’s to simply stuff in a bag, use with one hand or deal with like a high-end e-reader — that is the one possibility Apple sells, and the perfect pill in its measurement vary, interval.

Finest for energy customers: iPad Professional 12.9-inch

Apple iPad Pro (2022, 12.9-inch)


The 12.9-inch iPad Professional exists in one thing of its personal realm inside Apple’s pill lineup. It begins at $1,099 for 128GB of storage, which is $100 greater than the M1 MacBook Air. That’s effectively past what anybody must pay to do the overwhelming majority of iPad issues, and fairly a piece of change for a platform that also has points with laptop-style productiveness. However the 12.9-inch iPad Professional is the perfect pure piece of pill {hardware} that Apple makes.

We gave the most recent iPad Professional a evaluation rating of 87 in November. The show right here can get brighter than the Air’s, and it has a 120 Hz refresh charge (the Air is restricted to 60 Hz). The 12.9-inch Professional’s show is extra of an improve than the 11-inch mannequin, although, because it’s the one iPad to make use of mini-LED backlighting, which might ship larger peak brightness, improved distinction and a usually extra practical picture. Past that, the Professional runs on Apple’s new M2 SoC, which isn’t an enormous improve over the M1 in real-world use however presents extra efficiency overhead going ahead. The iPad Professional has the identical 12MP rear digital camera because the Air, however provides a 10MP ultrawide lens and an LED flash (plus a LIDAR scanner for AR apps). The 12MP entrance cameras, in the meantime, can take pictures in portrait mode.

Past that, the Professional has a sooner Thunderbolt USB-C port, extra sturdy audio system and Face ID help. With its newest refresh, it may possibly now acknowledge when an Apple Pencil is hovering above the show and preview would-be inputs. There are extra storage choices, going all the best way as much as 2TB, with the 1TB and 2TB fashions doubling the RAM from 8GB to 16GB (at an excellent excessive price). And it really works with all of Apple’s finest equipment.

It’s a powerhouse, and for those who do need to use an iPad extra closely for work, the roomier show on the 12.9-inch Professional ought to make it essentially the most amenable possibility for all-day, laptop-style use. You’ll need to add a keyboard to get essentially the most out of that, however for those who’re spending this a lot on an iPad to start with, that is probably not as massive of a deal.

Just like the iPad mini, that is very a lot a distinct segment machine. It’s prohibitively costly, and its hulking measurement makes it much less moveable than different iPads. Sure creatives have made it work as a laptop computer substitute, however for many, iPadOS nonetheless makes multitasking and different computer-y duties extra convoluted than they’d be on a equally priced MacBook. It’s solely a minor improve over final 12 months’s mannequin, too. Nonetheless, as a pill, the 12.9-inch Professional is deeply highly effective.

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