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Best iPad 2022: Which Apple tablet should you choose?


Apple never stops (and never will stop) releasing new tablets. Find out which one's best for you

Choosing a tablet can be a tricky business. First of all, you have to decide between iOS or Android – if you're here, though, you've at least made up your mind on that count. But now it gets harder. Do you want the cheapest Apple iPad available? The largest? The newest? So many questions!

This list only includes current models that can be purchased brand new. If you don't find something you like here you can always head back in time to pick up a cheaper refurbished iPad – those models are often discontinued, and therefore can only be bought used.

Read on for our roundup of the best Apple iPads you can buy today.

Best iPad: At a glance

READ NEXT: The best Android, iOS and Windows tablets

The best Apple iPad to buy in 2022

1. Apple iPad (2021): The best standard iPad

Price when reviewed: £319 | Buy now from Amazon

The latest standard tablet from Apple's labs, the iPad 10.2in (9th-gen, 2021), is very much an iterative update but it's undeniably a welcome one and maintains its position as the best-value iPad out there. Physically, it's identical to the 8th-gen model from 2020, with the same design, dimensions and 10.2in 2,160 x 1,620 IPS touch display. But there is a small handful of updates that makes it upgrading, if not from last year's iPad, then definitely from the 2019 or 2018 models.

Not only has this generation of iPad moved from an A12 Bionic chip to the A13 Bionic (the same as inside the iPhone 11 Pro Max, no less), but it also packs a brand new ultrawide-angle FaceTime HD camera. This allows the iPad to take advantage of Apple's new Centre Stage feature, where the camera follow your face as you move around the room.

That's not all, however. Apple is also, at long last, bringing it's True Tone display tech to its cheapest iPad, ensuring a more comfortable viewing experience indoors especially, and - best of all - it's £10 cheaper than last year. 

Who is it for?

Unless you need an absolute powerhouse tablet or would prefer something a little smaller (like an Apple iPad mini), this is almost certainly the Apple iPad for you. It's a capable, lightweight all-rounder that's reasonably affordable and its A13 Bionic chip delivers exceptional performance. When combined with one of Apple's Smart Keyboards it's a viable laptop replacement, too.

Read our full Apple iPad 10.2in (2021) review for more details

2. Apple iPad Air 5 (2022): Almost an iPad Pro (and much cheaper)

Price when reviewed: £569 | Buy now from Amazon

The Apple iPad Air might not be an iPad Pro in name but it's almost as fast as one. Powered by Apple's revolutionary M1 processor, its performance is considerably quicker than the previous-gen model and matches the speeds of the latest iPad Pro 12.9in (2021). That's an incredible feat for a tablet that costs several hundred pounds less, and it makes it the most powerful iPad in pound-for-pound terms.

We're happy to go out on a limb and say that the iPad Air 5, like the pricier iPad Pro, is actually a viable 2-in-1 laptop replacement. Its CPU performance can handle any task that a similarly priced laptop could and, when combined with the Apple Pencil 2 and Magic Keyboard, it becomes a fully functioning - and incredibly slimline - workstation. The camera and display aren't as advanced as on the iPad Pro (2021), notably lacking the 120Hz refresh rate, but that's a fair trade when the Air is so much cheaper.

Who is it for?

For those who want the best balance of price and performance, the iPad Air 5 is clearly the iPad to choose right now. It doesn't have the same screen appeal as the iPad Pro, but it comes remarkably close considering how much cheaper it is. Battery life is almost on par with the iPad Pro, too, and display brightness and colour accuracy are as good as we've come to expect from an Apple device. If you don't mind using iPadOS instead of MacOS or Windows 10, then the iPad Air 5 could be your next laptop. 

Read our full Apple iPad Air 5 (2022) review for more details

3. 12.9in Apple iPad Pro 12.9in (2021): The best iPad for work 

Price when reviewed: £999 | Now £999 from John Lewis | Buy now from Amazon

The latest Apple 12.9in iPad Pro (2021) is the closest an iPad has ever come to being a serious laptop than ever before. It carries the same powerful M1 processor as Apple's current MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops and it costs as much as well. In some ways, however, it's a superior piece of hardware, especially when it comes to the display, which uses the same Mini-LED technology as LG's high-end QNED TVs.

This year's iPad Pro also has an ultrawide camera on the front that, in combination with a new feature called Centre Stage, is able to follow you around the room as you move around. Apple has also upgraded its USB-C port to support Thunderbolt 3 and there's 5G for those who spend the extra £150 to get built-in cellular connectivity and there's also a 2TB storage option as well, although that pushes the price way up to £2,000.

Who is it for?

Professionals who need powerhouse performance and the very best display performance for work and play. This iPad isn’t cheap, and you’ll have to pay at least £200 for keyboard to turn it into a true laptop replacement. But if you have the money then there’s no other iPad that can beat the latest 12.9in iPad Pro.

Read our full Apple iPad Pro 12.9in (2020) review for more details

4. Apple iPad mini (2021): The best iPad for travelling light

Price when reviewed: £479 | Buy now from John Lewis

Despite its popularity, the iPad mini hasn't enjoyed updates with as much regularit's as Apple's other tablets in recent times. With the 2021 model, however, Apple has given its smallest iPad a big overhaul, lavishing it with a completely new design, new internals and a whole load of new featres.

With its squared-off edges and slim bezels, it now looks a bit like a compact iPad Pro and it shares some of the premium iPad's features as well. Chief among these is support for the Apple Pencil 2, which can be recharged by attaching it magnetically to one of the iPad mini's edges. The front-facing camera also supports Apple's clever Center Stage tech, which sees enables it to track your face and keep it in frame while you're on video calls.

The iPad mini (2021)'s internals have also been updated and it's now powered by the same processor – the A15 Bionic – as found in Apple's iPhone 13 handsets.

Who is it for?

Anyone after a compact iPad for watching video content, playing games or sketching/taking notes on the move will want the iPad mini (2021). It's more expensive than the previous iteration but you won't find a better faster small tablet anywhere.

Read our full Apple iPad mini (2021) review for more details

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