Which iPad to choose in 2022? Our comparison

In 2010, Apple entered the tablet market with the iPad. Today, the brand offers four different models. Which one to choose ? What is the difference between an iPad and an iPad Air? Is the iPad Pro the best? Numerama offers you a comparison.

The iPad buying guide in a nutshell:

In the tablet market, there is Apple and the others. The iPad accounts for more than half of sales worldwide, proof of its dominance over the competition. In 12 years, Apple has succeeded in creating a category of products recognized worldwide and, each year, improves it with new products and software updates (iPadOS, the operating system for iPads, is widely superior to Android on tablets. The next version will also bring support for multi-windowing).

Faced with the proliferation of references, choosing your iPad can however turn into a headache. In this article, we present the specificities of the four iPads available on the market. We also offer a guide for iPhones.

The iPad Air has long been the go-to iPad. When Apple relaunched it in 2019, however, we wondered where it would fit between a simple, affordable iPad and a high-featured iPad Pro. The division of the range was clarified with the launch of the iPad Air 4 (2020) which takes up the design of the iPad Pro without Face ID technology (replaced by Touch ID, cleverly integrated into the ignition button). The iPad Air 5 (2022) has improved everything, with optional 5G and the M1 chip for Macs. It retains the same 10.9-inch LCD technology screen.

For a reasonable price (especially when compared to the iPad Pro), the iPad Air offers a high-quality experience that could be called high-end. Between its powerful M1 processor engraved in 5 nanometers, its USB Type-C port and its compatibility with “Pro” accessories such as the Apple Pencil and Apple keyboards, it is a versatile tablet ready for the coming.

Who is the iPad Air 2022 for? For those who want a great tablet, but don’t need the expensive features of the iPad Pro (LiDAR, Face ID, better photo sensors). It’s a modern iPad packed full of the latest technology, which should delight geeks and others.

iPad 2020 and Smart Keyboard // Source: Maxime Claudel for Numerama

Renewal alert:
Apple is rumored to introduce a new, more powerful iPad in September or October, with a new design, a USB-C port, and a similar price. The iPad 9 is no longer really recommended.

For a long time, the iPad was that overpriced product that only a handful of users could afford. Today, Apple has expanded its range enough to appeal to a wider audience. The iPad is aimed at those who have a more limited budget thanks to its entry-level version sold for less than 400 euros. At this price, we have a rather classic proposal with an old-fashioned home button, a Lightning port and compatibility with previous generation accessories (Apple Pencil Gen 1, Smart Keyboard…). Its A13 Bionic chip and its 10.2-inch Retina screen, almost edge to edge, however, give it excellent qualities.

Who is the iPad (2020) for? For those who want a powerful and versatile tablet without breaking the bank. The iPad is the benchmark consumer tablet. It is intended for both students and grandparents, not to mention families who want to share a tablet in the living room. Of course, we recommend that you wait for the iPad 2022.

iPad Pro 2021 // Source: Louise Audry for Numerama

Renewal alert:
Apple is rumored to introduce a new iPad Pro in September or October with the M2 chip from the latest MacBook Air. It is therefore recommended not to rush its purchase.

The iPad Pro is Apple’s most premium tablet. Equipped with the same M1 processor as the MacBooks, the iPad Pro offers power that no user can really exploit. Equipped with exclusive features (120 Hz refresh rate, front camera that follows you during video calls, Thunderbolt/USB-C port, LiDAR sensor for augmented reality, etc.) and compatible with many accessories (Apple Pencil, Magic Keyboard, etc.) ), the iPad Pro is above all a demonstration of technology. Few products are as complete on the market.

The iPad Pro is also the only Apple tablet available in two formats. The classic model has a diagonal of 11 inches, the largest goes up to 12.9 inches, which can be very practical in the context of professional use. The XXL version of the iPad Pro also uses a mini-LED screen, which drastically improves its contrast ratio. So this is the best tablet for watching movies or gaming. Too bad the 11-inch model is content with a classic LCD screen (which makes us want to recommend the iPad Air if you don’t want the large model). Another complaint is its price. The 12.9-inch version costs more than 1000 euros, which is as much as a MacBook Air. Given the limitations of iPadOS, opting for the computer may be more profitable.

Who is the iPad Pro (2021) for? For those who have advanced tablet uses and therefore really need the best on a daily basis (or who simply want the best tablet). The 12.9-inch model is definitely worth it, the 11-inch one brings very little difference compared to the iPad Air. However, we recommend that you wait for his successor.

After years of abandonment, Apple resuscitated the iPad mini in 2021. Is it therefore an iPad capable of dethroning the others? Not really. While it is undeniably the cutest iPad, the iPad mini is not intended for all users. Its 8.3-inch screen will undoubtedly delight people who want to carry it around in a small bag, for professional use, for example. Let’s also cite the example of people who already have a computer and a smartphone at home and who want a small tablet for infrequent web consultations at home, without moving from the sofa. The others would do better to turn to the iPad or the iPad Air, at the best value for money in our opinion.

Who is the iPad mini for? The iPad mini is not a tablet for those who do not have another device at home. It is a terminal designed for ultramobility, which can also be used as a presentation tool in a professional setting. Its price does not make it an entry-level iPad.

How to choose the right iPad

An iPad, basically, what is it for?

At a time when smartphones are always bigger and more efficient, one might wonder if tablets still have any interest. The product is indeed positioned between a telephone (for the practical and mobile side) and the PC (for screen comfort). It is not fundamentally essential but it is a connected object that we love to have on hand, once we have tasted it. For entertainment, surfing the web or even consulting your photo gallery, an iPad offers the best possible ergonomics.

What is the difference between iPad, iPad Air and iPad Pro?

With their almost similar dimensions, the iPad (10.2 inches), iPad Air (10.9 inches) and iPad Pro (11 inches) look alike. The question obviously does not arise with the iPad mini (8.3 inches) and iPad Pro (12.9 inches), which we will choose for their sizes.

In the case of the classic iPad, the answer is obvious. This is a cheap tablet with an aged design, lighter performance and limited compatibility with accessories (Lightining, Apple Pencil Gen 1…). We will choose it if we have a small budget and small needs.

Between the iPad Air and the iPad Pro, it’s more complicated. Both tablets are very powerful and share many features (USB-C, Apple Pencil Gen 2, Smart Connector, 5G…). The iPad Pro stands out thanks to its Face ID facial recognition (it’s the Touch ID fingerprint on the iPad Air), its 120 Hz screen, its dual camera module with LiDAR and its best speakers.

Can an iPad replace my PC?

The question arises more and more as iPadOS gains features close to a PC operating system. But the answer is far from clear cut. For basic tasks (surfing the internet, placing orders, checking emails), an iPad will do the trick and even offer a better experience.

For professional use, the question is trickier and really depends on the nature of the job. Some professionals will appreciate the practicality of the touch screen, on which you can doodle with a stylus, while others will complain about the difficulty of displaying several windows. For some tasks, a computer is still more efficient. There is therefore no universal answer, simply on a case-by-case basis.

Should we take the 4G/5G option of the iPads?

An iPad, whatever it is, connects to the internet with Wi-Fi. The “Cellular” option, however, allows you to add a SIM in order to access the cellular network (up to 5G). This feature automatically increases the bill (over €100). It is aimed at those who travel often and do not always have a Wi-Fi connection available. Remember that it is otherwise always possible to use the cellular network of your phone – by activating connection sharing. Only problem? The battery of your smartphone will quickly be drained in this case.

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Source: Numerama by www.numerama.com.

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