The best iPad: every iPad Apple currently sells, ranked

Which iPad is the right iPad for you?

TODO alt text

Well what a year it's been for iPads, with Apple refreshing pretty much the entire line during 2018 – we've had a new entry-level iPad, and two new iPad Pros, and that makes the process of choosing which iPad is the right tablet for you just a little more complicated.

We're here to help though: Apple still sells five different iPad models on its website, and we're going to pick out the differences between them as well as the similarities. Make sure you're not spending your money on iPad features and specs you don't actually need.

11-inch iPad Pro 2018 best iPad

11-inch iPad Pro 2018

1. 11-inch iPad Pro (2018)

The best of the iPads

Specifications
Weight: 468g
Dimensions: 247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9mm
OS: iOS 12
Screen size: 11 inches
Resolution: 1668 x 2388 pixels
CPU: Apple A12X Bionic
RAM: 4GB or 6GB
Storage: 64GB/256GB/512GB/1TB
Battery: 7812mAh
Rear camera: 12MP f/1.8
Front camera: 7MP f/2.2
Reasons to buy
+Incredible speed and performance+Redesigned form factor
Reasons to avoid
-Costs a lot of money

Want the very best iPad that money can buy? We reckon the 11-inch iPad Pro, refreshed and launched in 2018, is it. There's so much to like here, from the gorgeous 2,388 x 1,668 pixel resolution display, to the A12X Bionic chip and the outstanding speed it brings with it.

All the bells and whistles are thrown in, including upgraded audio, ProMotion and True Tone (for variable refresh rate and screen colour temperature respectively), and a rear 12MP camera with stabilisation. The latest iOS 12 software is on board as well, of course.

We also like the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard Folio accessories, improved for the 2018 iPad Pro refresh. So what's the downside? Well, it costs an awful lot of money – especially when you consider the basic iPad (see below) has a lot of the same functions and features.

12.9-inch iPad Pro 2018 best iPad

12.9-inch iPad Pro 2018

2. 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2018)

The best iPad for power users

Specifications
Weight: 631g
Dimensions: 280.6 x 214.9 x 5.9mm
OS: iOS 12
Screen size: 12.9 inches
Resolution: 2048 x 2732 pixels
CPU: Apple A12X Bionic
RAM: 4GB or 6GB
Storage: 64GB/256GB/512GB/1TB
Battery: 9720mAh
Rear camera: 12MP f/1.8
Front camera: 7MP f/2.2
Reasons to buy
+The most iPad you can get+Very fast, very well designed
Reasons to avoid
-The most expensive iPad

How can the ultimate in iPads be number two in our list? Simply because we think the 12.9-inch screen size is too much for most people – if you're using your iPad Pro on the couch or with one hand, then we reckon the 11-inch form factor is going to suit you better.

There's also the price to consider: this is even more expensive than the 11-inch model. Ramp up the specs to the max in terms of storage and cellular connectivity, and you're paying an eye-watering amount of cash for what is still just a tablet at the end of the day.

All that said, if you have the budget and you want to get the fastest, best designed, biggest iPad out there then this is it. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro runs a 2,732 x 2,048 pixel resolution display, with more RAM than the 11-inch model, and the same A12X Bionic processor.

9.7-inch iPad 2018 best iPad

9.7-inch iPad 2018

3. 9.7-inch iPad (2018)

The best iPad for most people

Specifications
Weight: 469g
Dimensions: 240 x 169.5 x 7.5mm
OS: iOS 12
Screen size: 9.7 inches
Resolution: 1536 x 2048 pixels
CPU: Apple A10 Fusion
RAM: 2GB
Storage: 32GB/128GB
Rear camera: 8MP f/2.4
Front camera: 1.2MP f/2.2
Reasons to buy
+Good value for money+Now with Apple Pencil support
Reasons to avoid
-Uses the older Touch ID tech

Buying an iPad right now puts you in an interesting position because here we have the entry-level 9.7-inch iPad – newly refreshed for 2018 – which does everything the iPad Pro does, pretty much, for less than half the price. So why wouldn't you buy this model?

Well, there's no Face ID, so Touch ID and the associated bezels are still in evidence. Apple Pencil support is included, but there's no official Apple keyboard, so you need to take the third-party route. And the screen isn't quite as big, or advanced in terms of its technology.

You've also got the less powerful (but still very fast) A10 Fusion processor inside. These don't seem like terrible trade-offs for all the money you save – and considering it still runs iOS 12 just about as well as the iPad Pros, we think it's the best option for most people.

10.5-inch iPad Pro 2017 best iPad

10.5-inch iPad Pro 2017

4. 10.5-inch iPad Pro (2017)

The best iPad on a budget

Specifications
Weight: 469g
Dimensions: 250.6 x 174.1 x 6.1mm
OS: iOS 12
Screen size: 10.5 inches
Resolution: 1668 x 2224 pixels
CPU: Apple A10X Fusion
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64GB/256GB/512GB
Battery: 8134mAh
Rear camera: 12MP f/1.8
Front camera: 7MP f/2.2
Reasons to buy
+Comes packed with power+Advanced display technologies
Reasons to avoid
-Stuck with the older design

Remember when Apple refreshed the iPad Pro line in 2017? The updated 10.5-inch model it debuted then is still around and still on sale direct from Apple, so it gives you a cheaper Pro option if you don't want to splash out on the most powerful iPad Pros from 2018.

You still get plenty of power with the A10X Fusion chip, and the 2,224 x 1,668 pixel resolution screen offers a wide colour gamut, variable refresh rates (ProMotion) and brightness and colour temperature that adjusts based on the ambient light (True Tone).

There's no getting away from the fact that you're also using the previous generation iPad Pro design though, Touch ID, bezels, home button and all – it's just not as stylish or as powerful as the new iPad Pros. That said, it may well appeal to a certain group of users.

7.9-inch iPad mini 4 2015 best iPad

7.9-inch iPad mini 4 2015

5. 7.9-inch iPad Mini 4 (2015)

The best iPad a long time ago

Specifications
Weight: 299g
Dimensions: 203.2 x 134.8 x 6.1mm
OS: iOS 12
Screen size: 7.9 inches
Resolution: 1536 x 2048 pixels
CPU: Apple A8
RAM: 2GB
Storage: 16GB/32GB/64GB/128GB
Battery: 5124mAh
Rear camera: 8MP f/2.4
Front camera: 1.2MP f/2.2
Reasons to buy
+Dinky, compact form factor+Still runs the latest iOS 12
Reasons to avoid
-Really starting to really get old

Yes you read that right: the iPad Mini 4 launched in 2015, so it's a miracle Apple is still keeping it around. The price hasn't dropped much in that time, and an iPad Mini 5 is apparently on the way, so we really wouldn't recommending buying this right now.

There's nothing particularly bad about the iPad Mini 4, it's just that it's starting to show its age. You can't use the Apple Pencil with it, the cameras top out at 8MP photos and 1080p videos, and the Apple A8 chip inside the slate was launched back in September of 2014.

You get 128GB of storage and an Apple A8 chip under the hood, and the tablet will run iOS 12 too. We actually like this compact 7.9-inch form factor a lot, but don't pull the trigger on this at the moment – wait for the upgraded version to appear in the next few months.