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.
Best iPad 2018
- Reviewed on: 12 January 18
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.
- Reviewed on: 10 January 18
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.
- Reviewed on: 12 January 18
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.
- Reviewed on: 20 April 18
If you're a schools buyer, or just fancy a cheapish tablet that runs iOS and runs it well, this is an excellent deal. It's cheaper than last year's model (if you live in the UK, or are an education buyer, or particularly if both apply), which was already at the bargain end of Apple's range, and you get Apple Pencil support, a faster new processor and - again, if you're in education - a tasty iCloud storage deal that makes up for the lack of a 256GB or higher option.
Apple Pencil support itself becomes more appealing thanks to the iWork updates, with Pages' Smart Annotation a particular highlight.
For pickier and richer buyers, we would not recommend this device, mainly because the budget still doesn't stretch to a laminated screen, but this didn't put people off in 2017 and we don't suppose it will put people off now. And ultimately this is a fantastic deal for a decent (albeit flawed) tablet.
Read our Apple iPad 9.7in (2018) review.