The best iPads

  • The 2020 10.2-inch iPad is best for most people with its sharp screen, fast processor, Apple Pencil support, and low $329.99 price tag. We fully expect deals from other vendors over the course of the 2020 iPad's lifetime. 
  • We also consider the 2019 iPad Mini ($399) and 2020 iPad Air ($599) to be great deals if you want to spend a bit more for new processors and better specs.
  • Additionally, the iPad Pro models (starting at $799) are terrific for people who want a super powerful tablet that can act like a laptop in a pinch.
  • Read more: The best tablets

Apple is the uncontested king of tablets. The word iPad is synonymous with the word "tablet." Chances are if you own a tablet at all, you have an iPad.

Apple's tablet lineup is varied and surprisingly affordable. At $329.99, the 10.2-inch iPad is the cheapest iPad Apple has ever sold, but it's quite powerful, supports the Apple Pencil, and surely to become the subject of deals over the course of its lifetime. 

Other iPads offer higher performance and more features and functionality, all of which come at higher prices. 

Here are the best iPads in 2020:

  • Best iPad overall: 2020 10.2-inch iPad
  • Best mid-range iPad: 2020 iPad Air
  • Best small iPad: 2019 iPad Mini
  • Best iPad Pro: 11-and- 12.9-inch iPad Pro
  • Best iPad stylus: Apple Pencil
  • Best iPad keyboard: Logitech K780

Updated on 09/22/2020 by Antonio Villas-Boas: Updated prices, facts, and formatting. Updated iPad and iPad Air models to reflect newly announced models.

The best iPad overall

The 2020 10.2-inch iPad poses the best balance of value, performance, and features, and is the best deal for most people at $329.

The $329 2020 10.2-inch iPad is the most affordable model, and it the best option for those picking up their first iPad, or if it's time to upgrade from an aging iPad or iPad Mini.

The 2,160 x 1,620-pixel resolution on the 10.2-inch model is sharp and clear. The A12 processor is still perfectly capable for most apps and tasks, the battery life is long, and you can buy things on iPad with Apple Pay, thanks to the Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

Best of all, this iPad supports the first-generation Apple Pencil, an incredible stylus with virtually no lag. You will have to pay $100 extra for the Pencil, but if you like to take notes or draw on your iPad, it is well worth it. Naturally, any Bluetooth keyboard also works with the iPad, so if you want to use it as a quasi-laptop, you can pick up a great keyboard.

You simply can't beat those specs at that price point. Comparable Android tablets cost hundreds of dollars more, and the iPad still has a better app library and accessory support.

The aluminum build looks and feels premium. Both iPads are quite light, too, so you can happily binge-watch Netflix in bed or take them with you. Tech nerds will say the iPads have a boring old design, but it's tried and true. Plus, the aluminum build is durable.

Pros: Incredible price for an iPad, slick aluminum design, Touch ID for security and Apple Pay, gorgeous screen, supports the Apple Pencil

Cons: None for the price

The best mid-range iPad

The 2020 iPad Air brings power and a premium updated design and features for $600

The latest iPad Air got big updates when it was launched in September 2020, like an all-screen design with sharper edges that's similar to the iPad Pro's look, the powerful A14 chip that powers the iPhone 11 series, USB-C for faster charging and connecting to computers, and a Touch ID sensor on the power button on the top edge. 

The tablet also supports the second-generation Apple Pencil, which is widely considered the best stylus for drawing on a tablet, and it has a sharp 10.9-inch Liquid Retina True Tone screen with a resolution of 2,360 × 1,640 pixels.

The 2020 iPad Air also supports Apple's Smart Keyboard Folio and the Magic Keyboard that includes a trackpad for mouse control. Support for the Magic Keyboard, in particular, brings the 2020 iPad Air closer than ever to the iPad Pro's high level of functionality, making the 2020 iPad Air a less expensive alternative to the iPad Pro. 

You can buy the iPad Air with either 64GB or 256GB of storage, and it comes in five color options: Silver, Space Gray, Green, Sky Blue, or Rose Gold. You can also choose either a Wi-Fi-only connection or a combination of cellular and Wi-Fi connections.

Pros: Updated design, nice sharp screen, works with the Pencil, new processor, mouse support, close to iPad Pro functionality and power while costing less

Cons: Price is creeping up

The best small iPad

The 2019 iPad Mini is essentially the smaller version of the 10.2-inch iPad, and it's the best option if you prefer a smaller tablet.

The 2019 iPad Mini is Apple's smallest tablet with a 7.9-inch display. It may not have the newer iPad-Pro style design, but it has all the latest specs we wanted in this update.

It's powered by the same powerful A12 chip from the 2020 iPad, and it supports the first-generation Apple Pencil. We're thrilled Apple gave the Mini Pencil support, as it's the best stylus we've ever used, and it makes the Mini a great tablet for note taking or drawing.

The Mini's True Tone, 7.9-inch screen has a sharp 2,048 x 1,536 pixel resolution, too, so you can really enjoy watching videos, reading, and creating on the screen.

You can choose between 64GB or 256GB of storage and three color options: Silver, Space Gray, or Gold). If you want to keep the price down, you can get the Wi-Fi-only version, but there is also a Mini with both cellular and Wi-Fi connections.

Pros: Compact, affordable, new processor, sharp screen, works with the Pencil

Cons: Older design with bigger bezels, more expensive than larger 10.2-inch 2020 iPad

The best iPad Pro

Apple's 2020 iPad Pro comes in 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes with hardware inside that is so high-end these tablets can surpass some laptops.

The latest 2020 iPad Pro tablet has slim bezels, a stunning sharp screen in two sizes, an incredibly powerful processor, and tons of great accessories to go with it, including the Apple Pencil and the Magic Keyboard with a trackpad.

You can get it in 11- and 12.9-inch screen sizes to suit your preferences. The 12.9-inch screen is great for digital artists who need room to roam, but it's almost the size of a 13-inch laptop. The 11-inch model brings all the power, features, and functionality in a more compact form. Both iPad Pros have really high screen resolutions: 2,388-by-1,668 pixels (11-inch model) and 2,732-by-2,048 pixels (12.9-inch model).

Regardless of which model you buy, the iPad Pro is a powerhouse. The A12X Bionic processor is so high-powered it can surpass some laptops. Apple's entry-level model comes with 64GB of storage, but you can get up to 1TB if you want to spend a whole lot of money.

We recommend picking up the new Apple Pencil if you like to take notes or draw. It may cost $129.00, but it is worth it. The Apple Pencil is the best stylus I've ever used, and the new version even charges wirelessly and magnetically attaches to your iPad for easy storage.

Apple's Keyboard will also cost you a pretty penny, so we recommend going for a third-party case and keyboard.

There are three downsides to the iPad Pro, as we see it: It's expensive, it won't fully replace your laptop, and you have to pay extra for the keyboard and the stylus. Otherwise, it's a great tablet that's well worth the cost — if you have the money.

Pros: Gorgeous screens, new design with smaller bezels, excellent specs, high-end performance, Pencil is superb for drawing, two screen sizesm, mouse support

Cons: Very expensive, not a laptop replacement, accessories are extra

The best stylus

The first-generation Apple Pencil is the best for the 2020 10.2-inch and 2019 iPad Mini, while the second-generation stylus is ideal for the 2020 iPad Air and 2020 iPad Pro models.

Over the years, I've tested a lot of styluses from companies like Adonit, 53, Wacom, and more. None of those styluses can hold a candle to the Apple Pencil. Whether you buy the first-generation Pencil or the second, you're getting a stylus that was made by Apple in tandem with the iPad.

As such, the Pencil works with the iPads' screens in special ways that no other stylus can. The result is improved pressure sensitivity and an impressively low level of latency. You won't even notice a lag because it's imperceptible. When you use an Apple Pencil, you actually feel like you're using a normal graphite pencil.

There are a few differences between the first- and second-generation Pencils: the second-gen model has wireless charging and magnetically attaches to the side of the iPad. The first-gen Pencil charges with a lightning port on the end and doesn't attach to your iPad. It's also a bit cheaper.

As far as compatibility, the first-gen Apple Pencil is for the older iPad models, as well as the 2020 10.2-inch iPad and the 2019 iPad Mini. The second-gen Apple Pencil and supports newer and higher-end iPads, including most iPad Pros and the 2020 iPad Air.

Choose whichever makes the most sense to you, but the second-gen Pencil's easier charging method and magnetic attraction to the iPad make it a winner in our book.

Pros: It works with even the cheapest 10.2-inch iPad, lack of latency, pressure sensitivity, made for the iPad's screen, easy to charge, comfortable to hold

Cons: A tad pricey

The best keyboard for your iPad

The Logitech K780 works with any device, connects wirelessly, and offers a full-sized keyboard with satisfying keys for typing.

The Logitech K780 is the best Bluetooth keyboard for just about any device, including the iPad. Sure, it's not a keyboard case, so it won't protect your iPad and provide a keyboard, but that means you get a full-sized keyboard with a number pad and satisfying keys that have good travel.

The K780 supports connections to multiple devices, so you can use it with your iPad, phone, and computer if you want. The circular keys are comfortable to type on because they are full size. Logitech also incorporated a tablet and phone stand into the keyboard's design, so it's easy to prop your iPad up without needing to buy a separate stand or case.

The only downsides here are that it needs AAA batteries to run and it's not the most portable keyboard you can buy. If you want a more portable option, the foldable iClever Ultra Slim 3 Keyboard folds up to one-third of its size and can be used in both wireless and wired modes.

Pros: Nice design, comfortable, two-year battery life

Cons: Needs AAA batteries

Subscribe to our newsletter.

You can purchase syndication rights to this story here.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected]

Signup Today: Free Daily Newsletter from Business Insider Intelligence

Source: Read Full Article