Best iPad 2018

Which iPad should I buy? We round up your options and offer straightforward buying advice to help you answer that question.

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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.

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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 more powerful and have a wide array of additional features, such as True Tone screens (which adjust colour balance to compensate for ambient lighting). The 9.7in iPad has a slightly slower processor (A10 to their A10 X) and doesn't get True Tone. And the mini 4 is stuck on the old A8 processor, which is starting to feel a bit slow, and doesn't support the Apple Pencil as the other three do.

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.

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. Apple iPad 9.7-inch (2018)

  • Rating:
  • Reviewed on: 23 April 18
  • RRP: £319 (32GB), £409 (128GB), £449 (32GB, LTE), £539 (128GB, LTE), plus education discount available, $329 (32GB), $429 (128GB), $459 (32GB, LTE), $559 (128GB, LTE), plus education discount available
  • Buy from Amazon

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 9.7-inch (2018) review.

2. 10.5-inch iPad Pro

  • Rating:
  • Reviewed on: 12 January 18
  • RRP: £619 (WiFi, 64GB); £709 (WiFi, 256GB); £889 (WiFi, 512GB); £749 (cellular, 64GB); £839 (cellular, 256GB); £1,019 (cellular, 512GB), $649 (WiFi, 64GB); $749 (WiFi, 256GB); $949 (WiFi, 512GB); $779 (cellular, 64GB); $879 (cellular, 256GB); $1,079 (cellular, 512GB)
  • Buy from Amazon

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.

3. iPad Pro 12.9in

  • Rating:
  • Reviewed on: 5 June 18
  • RRP: From £769, From $799
  • Buy from Amazon

The larger iPad Pro won't suit everyone: cheaper and more portable options are likely to be a better fit for the average buyer. But the large display is an appealing, comfortably laptop-replacing option for games, work and video playback, and it's wonderfully powerful. It's a dream to fire up Netflix on, and with the right keyboard is great to word process with.

Without doubt it's too expensive for most casual consumers. But it could be ideal for digital illustrators and aspiring creative professionals with deep pockets who want a second device. It's an extravagance, certainly, but if you can afford it, tablets don't get much better than this.

Read our iPad Pro 12.9in review.

4. Apple iPad mini 4

  • Rating:
  • Reviewed on: 10 January 18
  • RRP: From £419, $399
  • Buy from Amazon

The mini 4 is pretty old now and perhaps too small for some these days (particularly with smartphones, led by the 5.8in iPhone X, encroaching on its territory). Still, Apple's pint-sized slate looks gorgeous and is a breeze to use.

We find the A8 processor, which lies two generations behind the A10 on the 2018 iPad and A10X chips on the Pros, too old and slow for our tastes. And 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.

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