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Which iPad should you buy: Black Friday 2018 Edition

Apple's latest iPad Pro models are here. However, this does not mean that you should decide if you buy an Apple tablet at Christmas time. There are currently five iPads to choose from: the entry-level 9.7-inch iPad or the brand-new iPad Pro (in two sizes) are the topline options, but the 2017 iPad Pro and the aging iPad Mini 4 are still there.

The big turn in the decision is the upcoming Black Friday sales which include some notable iPad discounts . In this sense, let's think about what to do if you think of an iPad right now.

First: Do you want a tablet or a laptop?

You know that the iPad ecosystem offers tons of fantastic apps with generally great performance and iPads are really mobile. But none of them has made the leap to a mini-MacBook. Restrictions on iOS mean that only two apps can be used at the same time. No iPad can be used with a mouse or a trackpad. iPads can do a whole range of tasks and could be the everyday computer for watching videos, surfing the web, social media and e-mail. However, you can not replace the full flexibility of your Mac or Windows PC. If you need a touch-screen tablet that functions as a conventional computer, get Microsoft Surface Pro 6 or Surface Go or similar.

Do you still want an iPad? Alright, let us break your choices.

(CNET may receive a revenue share from the sale of the products featured on this page.)


It does: 2018 iPad.

Sarah Tew / CNET

By far the best value: 9.7-inch iPad (2018)

The spring-appearing 9.7-inch iPad that was released in the spring is now confusing as an "iPad" Refers to the outstanding pressure-sensitive pen and has an A10 processor from 2016, which is sufficient for most requirements. It can handle multitasking and has a lot of great accessories, including Bluetooth keyboard case. Better yet, it's available for as little as $ 250 ($ 80 off the usual list price). It's still the best choice for the average person, especially since the new iPad Pro costs more than twice even with the minimal configuration.

Best bet: offers 128GB of storage space, which is $ 100 more, but far better than the smallest 32GB in the base model. (You'll also need to provide $ 70 for the Logitech Crayon or $ 100 for the first-generation Apple Pencil if you want to practice your artistic skills.)

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The Great iPad Debate


If you have the money and want to test the future: 2018 iPad Pro

The latest Face ID-equipped iPad Pro models feature crazy speed, many screens with small apertures and support enhanced Apple Pencil magnetically loading from the side of the tablet. However, the iPad Pro is more expensive and climbs well over $ 1,000 if you buy the new Pencil, a keyboard case and 256GB of memory. I would recommend this more than 64 GB if you are serious about being a daily computer. 128 GB would be an ideal memory size, but Apple does not offer this configuration in the iPad Pro. It's the best iPad, but the limited use of USB-C and the lack of truly optimized apps that make the most of its new processor means you may want to wait a bit, unless you absolutely wanted an iPad Pro and An iPad knows what its limits are. Artists looking for serious image processing work best. (And remember, the cheaper iPad mentioned above can use the older pencil pen.)

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Watch this:

iPad Pro: Is It a Computer Now?


The Big Reasons to Choose Pro:

  • The Pro's display features a 120 Hz display that provides smoother scrolling and pencil precision. The display is also more seamlessly connected to the glass, which makes working with the pen easier. (Most are subtle differences.)
  • The new iPad has smaller apertures and fits more in the screen.
  • Better quad speakers and stereo sound compared to the tougher entry-level iPad speakers.
  • New pencil charges The A12X processor is much faster.
  • The cameras are improved (they shoot 4K videos and also show the portrait mode for the front orientation) iPhone XR).
  • USB-C can be connected to a variety of accessories and chargers (but not all)
  • A side Smart Connector allows you to connect your Apple Smart Keyboard Cover without the need for Bluetooth or a separate recharge.
  • Face ID

Big reasons against pro-pros:

  • Expensive
  • No headphone jack
  • iOS 12 is not exploiting its potential and USB-C is not as flexible as you think
  • not really for being a laptop (no trackpad / mouse support)
  • Needs Burning New Pencil

See 11-inch iPad Pro at Target
See 12.9-inch iPad Pro at Target [19659044] 020-ipad-per-2018-size comparison "data-original =" https: // cnet2. cbsistatic.com/img/2l2T_9Az5qAZYvdjUQLNEFnOLtE=/2018/10/30/47b67763-a4ff-4507-b0cf-d8b62ce63de9/020-ipad-pro-2018-size-comparison.jpg[19659043erstellt020-ipadpro-pro–Vergleich”/>

The decision between 12.9 (left) and 11 (right) mainly refers to portability and price.

Sarah Tew / CNET

12.9 or 11?

The two new iPad Pros are available in two sizes that are more similar than a year ago. The 12.9-inch model is smaller with the screen of the same size. The 11-inch case has roughly the same dimensions as last year's 10.5-inch Pro, but adds more screen to the body. The 12.9 feels to me still a little too big and is also more expensive. I think the 11-inch version is a better choice for most people, but obviously it's a personal preference. (We've only tested the 12.9-inch iPad Pro so far, but Apple has seen the 11-inch version.)

Memory: 64 GB too little, 256 GB may be too much

The choice of proper memory can be annoying. The 64 GB base model of the iPad Pro is "adequate" for everyday use. However, remembering to do video or advanced photo editing is probably a limiting factor … and iPads have no upgradable memory and can not. "Do not use external drives (yet) 128GB would be nice, instead Apple offers 64, 256, 512 and 1TB levels, 256 is the best place to land, only choose more if you're sure you're a pro and for some reason, need extra space.

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Accessories: Save Space for a Keyboard (and possibly a Pen)

Apple's new pencil design upgrade is the nicest thing about the new iPads and is not included. It's an additional $ 129, barely cheap. Actually, only artists and artistically aspiring users should think about it, but you'll probably look to see if you're buying a pro. The same goes for the keyboard options: Apple's decent Smart Keyboard Folio is one of the few new accessories that uses the new Pro's magnetic Smart Connector. But the case costs 180-200 dollars. (You can also pair a Bluetooth keyboard, but that would not be so easy). Also, the supplied USB-C charging cable in the iPad Pro box does not work for video output. You need a separate USB-C video output cable. Or you want a simple USB-C dongle for splitting into HDMI and USB options.

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The older 10.5-inch Pro (left) compared to the new 11-inch (right).

Sarah Tew / CNET

What about the 10.5-inch iPad Pro from last year

The 10.5-inch iPad Pro from 2017 is still being sold and is still strong. It has the same faster display technology with up to 120 Hz as the new iPad Pro. That being said, $ 650 for this model versus $ 799 for this year's 11-inch version does not seem to be enough discount for a device with an older processor and no such nice design and no USB-C support. The 256 GB step-up version costs the same $ 799 as the 64 GB new iPad Pro 11-inch. If there is a sale, however, this is tempting.

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The iPad Mini 4 feels too old to have a good value.

Sarah Tew / CNET

iPad Mini 4: Skip

The iPad Mini 4 is the last of the smaller iPad Mini models that Apple sells, and its tiny, Kindle-style design is tempting. However, the price and features make no sense: An older A8 processor temporarily holds it back and its price of $ 399 for 128GB of storage is above the retail price of the newer 128GB 9.7-inch iPad. Get this newer, larger entry-level iPad instead. Even if the Mini 4 goes on sale, there are two things to consider: It is likely that Apple could update the Mini next year, according to reports (and the larger iPad is better for children and, in our opinion, works better with keyboard cases. )

Cellular? I'd skip it if you do not need it

There's no doubt that using LTE on a tablet is great. I would not pay $ 130 (or $ 150 for the latest iPad professionals) for the opportunity to pay an additional monthly fee for it. Instead, you can easily connect your phone for free. Professionals consider it when someone else pays the bill or when it's your main device. Up to you. I've equipped the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with cellphone on the go, and it was quick and easy to set up. I loved the convenience. I did not love the price.

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Amazon Fire HD 8: a fraction of the price of an iPad it is for Children good.

Sarah Tew / CNET

For Kids: Also Consider a Fire Tablet (or Chromebook)

The iPad is a great family choice and a lovely gift for kids. It is still very expensive. Amazon's Fire tablets are ridiculously affordable and are great for reading, watching movies, playing games and lots of things – especially the Fire HD 8 . They're not as good as iPads, especially not for things like writing or creating art, but you can get a Fire tablet for only $ 30 during this Black Friday week . To be clear, do not buy them until the sale starts on Thursday, November 22nd.

See Fire HD 8 at Amazon

Kid-optimized versions cost a little more. And at least Amazon has pretty robust parental controls for children's accounts, even more so than Apple. In our review of last year's Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet, we noted that there is a one-year subscription to Free Time Unlimited, a "Netflix-like subscription service with child-friendly e-books, videos and games." Year it is $ 3 a month, but offers a lot of child-friendly content.

See Fire HD 8 Kids Edition at Amazon

Chromebooks are not the same as tablets, but at $ 300 or less are a great choice for kids who want to use a laptop at home (and some, like the Asus Chromebook Flip , may well turn into tablet-like devices.)

See Asus Chromebook Flip at Amazon


For most people looking for a simple iPad: get the 9.7-inch model from 2018.

Best iPad for Kids? If iOS compatibility is a must, get the 9.7-inch model from 2018 (or the 2017 model). Otherwise, opt for the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition (for younger kids) or for a Chromebook (for older kids).

Best iPad for every price? The 11-inch new iPad Pro is very beautiful and portable than the reduced 12.9-inch. If you pay so much for an iPad, consider the 256 GB model (but I wish it was 128 GB, which would be the ideal size).

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