Best iPad 2018

Apple currently sells four iPads, in four different sizes (defined by the diagonal measurement of their screen): the 7.9in iPad mini 4, the 9.7in iPad, the iPad Pro 10.5in and the iPad Pro 12.9in. With size such a defining feature, the first thing to do when planning a purchase is to visit an Apple store or reputable retailer, get a feel for the products and see which size is right for you. Or, if this is not possible, cut out cardboard models in the correct dimensions and do your best to imagine what they’d be like to carry around and use.

But there’s much more to it than that. Of the devices mentioned above, two are Pro models, which mean they are far more powerful and compatible with the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard accessories; the other two are less capable of running the most demanding apps (although you won’t notice a difference on most day-to-day activities) but are correspondingly cheaper.

In our ranked roundup we examine the pros and cons of each current iPad model. For a more in-depth examination, however, take a look at our iPad buying guide 2018.

Note: The new iPad for 2018 is currently a preview but we’ll have a full review very soon.

If and when you’re ready to make a decision, you can buy the iPads direct from Apple, or check out our roundup of the best iPad deals. And each of the individual descriptions includes a buy now link.

Best iPad 2018

1. 10.5-inch iPad Pro

The 10.5-inch iPad Pro looks great, squeezing a larger screen into a chassis that’s the same size as its 9.7-inch predecessor (albeit largely retaining the classic but well-worn design that Apple has been selling since 2013); the specs on offer are fantastic too, and its performance in our speed and graphics tests is phenomenal. And it’s as good for photography as the iPhone 7.

If you can afford that punishingly high price tag – which realistically is the only thing stopping us from giving it five stars out of five – then this is about as good as tablets get.

Read our 10.5-inch iPad Pro review.

2. Apple iPad mini 4

Best iPad 2018

It might be pretty old now and perhaps too small for some these days (with the 5.8in iPhone X), but the iPad mini 4 remains a decent tablet. Apple’s pint-sized slate looks gorgeous, is a breeze to use and leaves little to be desired.

The real issue in 2018 is that you can get a full-sized iPad for less, although you do get 128GB of storage as standard with the iPad mini 4 which could swing it.

Read our Apple iPad mini 4 review.

3. iPad Pro 12.9in

Best iPad 2018

My gut feeling is that the iPad Pro will become the device it aspires to be when iOS 11 rolls into town. For now, it remains a beautifully designed compromise, meaning it still represents the 2-in-1 market’s struggle to define itself.

The large size won’t suit everyone, but there’s a smaller size available. Even for casual users there is attraction in the large display and video playback; Apple has managed to evolve iOS just enough for it not to always feel like a ridiculously large iPhone. Yet the ‘pro’ aspects of the Smart Keyboard and Pencil are, frankly, essential to the full enjoyment of the iPad.

You need both, but the curse of this product is that you don’t necessarily need any of it in the first place. For those that do, the iPad Pro comes highly recommended. For everyone else, can you afford the luxury?

Read our iPad Pro 12.9in review.

4. Apple iPad 9.7in (2018)

Best iPad 2018

  • Reviewed on: 9 April 18

Note that this entry is a preview but we will have a full review of the new iPad very soon and it could well jump to the top of this chart.

The iPad 9.7 for 2018 might be aimed at education but it looks like it will make a brilliant tablet for just about anyone.

With its affordable price, Apple Pencil support and reasonable set of specs.

Stay tuned for our final verdict soon.

Read our Apple iPad 9.7in (2018) review.

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