The Best iPad Models to Buy in 2023 - IGN (2024)

Whether you’re picking one up for the first time, or you’re looking to replace an older model, the Apple iPad is the best-selling tablet in the world — thanks to its clean design; wide range of iPad games and apps available from the Apple App Store; premium materials like aluminum, glass, and even gold; and its speedy and smooth user experience.

One of the best things about the iPad is there are only a few models made for all sorts of people and different use cases. However, while there are just a few, it still may be difficult to choose the best one for you. We rounded up all of the current iPad models and compared each one to highlight their strengths and weaknesses for different users.

From the Mini to the Pro (and even an Android alternative), here are the best iPads to buy in 2023. You can also check out our guide to iPad deals for a list of available discounts.

TL;DR – These are the best Apple iPad models to buy

Apple iPad Air (5th Gen)

Best Overall

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iPad Air 5

64GB model with 10.9-inch display.

Armed with the powerful Apple M1 chip, our best overall pick is the iPad Air (fifth generation) because it’s the ideal tablet for casual and professional use, alike. It’s firmly in the mid-range in the iPad family, while it’s designed to give users something for everybody — from watching videos, listening to music, drawing with the Apple Pencil (sold separately), and getting some work done with the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio or Apple Magic Keyboard with trackpad attachments (both sold separately too).

The iPad Air — which starts at $599 — features an impressive 10.9-inch Liquid Retina (LCD) display for high quality picture quality, a long battery life of up to 10 hours per charge, and a brilliant camera system with 12-megapixel rear and 12-megapixel ultrawide front-facing shooters. It can even capture video in a glorious 4K resolution.

Apple iPad Mini (6th Gen)

Best for Reading and Portability

The Best iPad Models to Buy in 2023 - IGN (2)

iPad Mini

64GB version with 8.3-inch display.

If you want an iPad for reading e-books, comic books, magazines, or web articles, then the iPad Mini (sixth generation) is the one to pick. With the Apple App Store, the mini-tablet can download a wide range of reading apps, such as Apple Books, Amazon Kindle, comiXology, Libby, Scribd, and more. Its 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display and compact design make it a handheld option, which makes reading with one hand a joy — especially at just over half a pound in weight.

It’s also a zippy little iPad for other online activities, like watching YouTube or TikTok, while it’s compact enough to carry in a jacket pocket or in a purse. Meanwhile, the iPad Mini — which starts at $499 — is compatible with the Apple Pencil (second generation) for taking notes and sketching.

Apple iPad (9th Gen)

Best Budget iPad

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Apple iPad (9th Generation)

64GB model with a 10.2-inch display.

Looking for the overall best budget tablet available? Although it was released in 2021, iPad (ninth generation) is our budget pick — thanks to its very solid performance, crisp and clear 10.2-inch Retina (backlit) display, and low starting price of $329. In fact, you can find it for much cheaper because it’s always on sale at Amazon (sometimes it’s as low as $250 during Prime Day or Black Friday).

This iPad is currently running the latest version of iPadOS 16, which optimizes performance and speed — even though its processor is a few years old. While it doesn’t have the same bells and whistles as the iPad Air, iPad Mini, or iPad Pro like a fast processor, thinner bezels, or a more modern design, it’s a budget iPad that gets the same access to the same iPadOS and Apple App Store.

If you’re only planning on using it for consuming media, catching up on the news, playing iOS games, or reading e-books, the iPad (ninth generation) will just get the job done at an affordable price. It also makes for a great iPad for kids since it’s so inexpensive. Just wrap a durable iPad case around it to avoid damage.

Apple iPad (10th Gen)

Best for Video Calls

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iPad (10th Generation)

64GB model with a 10.9-inch display.

For video calls, the redesigned iPad (tenth generation) is the best pick because of its 12-megapixel front-facing camera that has been repositioned from the previous model. Instead of appearing at the top center in portrait mode, the camera is now located at the top center in landscape mode. This positioning is more natural for video calls, especially when docked with a keyboard attachment. It also has “Center Stage,” a new iPadOS feature that automatically puts you in the center of the frame during video calls — even if you’re moving around.

Aside from a repositioned front-facing camera, the iPad has an upgrade design that fits in with more modern models, like the iPad Mini and iPad Air. It has a faster A14 Bionic processor, while a slightly larger 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display — compared to the previous model’s A13 Bionic and 10.2-inch Retina display, respectively.

Additionally, the tenth generation has a heftier price tag starting at $449, which is $120 than the ninth generation’s base model.

Apple iPad Pro (6th Gen)

Best Premium iPad

The Best iPad Models to Buy in 2023 - IGN (5)

iPad Pro 12.9

Starting at $799, the iPad Pro (sixth generation) is the granddaddy of the iPad family lineup. It comes in two sizes: 11-inch Liquid Retina and 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR (miniLED Extreme Dynamic Range) displays. Both feature the same Apple M2 processor (the same process you’d find in the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini), up to 10 hours of battery life per charge, and a wide range of on-board storage options — 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB.

It’s designed for creatives like photographers or video editors and professionals like office workers or production managers, who want something powerful and fast, but in a portable mobile device. The iPad Pro excels at multitasking with its Stage Manager feature that allows you to group apps together, resize windows, and switch between app groups with ease.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8

Best iPad Alternative

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S8

Looking for an iPad alternative altogether? The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 is an excellent Android tablet that’s powerful, sharp, and speedy with a starting price of $700. The tablet features a large 11-inch LCD display with a wide 16:10 aspect ratio, a small bezel design, and a battery life that’s up to 13 hours per charge.

Meanwhile, with access to the Google Play Store and Samsung Galaxy Store for apps, it’s ideal for consuming media like watching videos, listening to music, playing games, and reading web articles, while it also has standout productivity features, like Samsung DeX — which turns the tablet into a desktop experience when plugged into a monitor via HDMI. The mobile device even comes with the Samsung S-Pen for taking notes and sketching.

In some ways, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 can be a laptop replacement altogether, especially when attached to a Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Keyboard Book Cover.

Want something bigger? The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ offers a larger 12.4-inch AMOLED display, while the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra features a gigantic 14.6-inch Super AMOLED display. The Android tablets have a starting price of $900 and $1,100, respectively.

What to Look for in an Apple iPad in 2023

Ever since it was introduced in 2010, the iPad originally served to fill in a digital gap. For some people, that in-between mobile device that’s more portable than a laptop, but more powerful than a smartphone, while for others, it can actually serve as a laptop replacement altogether.

If you’re looking to buy your first iPad, or you’re looking to upgrade from an older model, then we put this useful buyer’s guide on what to look for in an iPad in 2023, below:

Tablet Sizes Explained

Currently, there are six iPad models with five different screen sizes for various uses. The smallest in the family is the iPad Mini with a 8.3-inch Liquid Retina (LCD) display, which is ideal for reading e-books, magazines, comic books, web articles, and more. It’s also very portable, super lightweight at just 10 ounces (or 293 grams), and best for one-handed casual use.

For something bigger, both baseline iPad models, ninth and tenth generations, feature a 10.2-inch Retina (backlit) and a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina displays, respectively. Meanwhile, the iPad Air features a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display too, but it’s more powerful with the Apple M1 chip than both standard models — which feature the A13 and A14 Bionic chips, respectively.

In fact, under 11 inches in size is considered the “sweet spot” for iPad models because it's large enough to consume media, but compact enough for portability. These models are best for most people who want to watch videos, play games, and browse the web, while taking on lite-productivity tasks.

The largest iPad you can pick up is the iPad Pro, which comes in two models: The smaller 11-inch Liquid Retina display and the granddaddy 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR (miniLED Extreme Dynamic Range) display. Both Pro models feature the same Apple M2 processor, but the larger one has the sharper display for better and more colorful picture quality. The iPad Pro is best for creatives and professionals, who might want a laptop replacement.

Storage Capacity Differences

When it comes to on-board storage space, most iPad models start at 64GB and go all the way up to a whopping 2TB with the iPad Pro. For most people 64GB is plenty of space for apps, games, video downloads, and more.

However, if you plan on taking a lot of high-resolution photos and videos, then you might want to consider getting a higher capacity iPad. For creatives and professionals, it’s best to pick up a model with at least 1TB of storage — especially for photographers or video editors. Additionally, if you want more than 2TB of storage, then you have to connect an external hard drive to the iPad via its USB-C port.

Peripherals to Consider

Speaking of which, all iPad models (except the ninth generation iPad, which still uses the old fashioned Lightning port) have a USB-C at the bottom for charging and peripherals, including external hard drives. However, it’s best to connect solid-state hard drives since they don’t require much power from the iPad itself to operate. Since iPadOS has the Files app built-in, you can easily access files from within the iPad or an external hard drive.

Meanwhile, Bluetooth is still the best way to connect other peripherals — like the Apple Pencil, Apple Smart Keyboard Folio, Apple Magic Keyboard, Apple AirPods, even an Xbox or PS5 gaming controller, and more — to the iPad wirelessly. Just make sure the peripheral you’d like to connect is compatible with the iPad.

For example: The ninth and tenth generations of the iPad are only compatible with the first generation Apple Pencil, while all other iPad models are compatible with the second generation Apple Pencil. But, you’ll need a $9-USB-C-to-Apple Pencil Adapter to charge and pair with the tenth generation iPad since it uses USB-C instead of a Lightning port.


There are two versions for each iPad model: Wi-Fi-only and Wi-Fi + cellular. The first version can only connect to the internet via Wi-Fi, so it’s best to use at home, at the office, or just about anywhere with a steady Wi-Fi connection like a coffee shop or airport.

The second can connect to Wi-Fi, but it can also connect via 4G LTE mobile data like an Apple iPhone. This means you’ll have to get a mobile data plan from a cellular carrier like T-Mobile or AT&T, if you want to connect to the internet without a Wi-Fi connection. These models also have GPS, so they’re ideal to use as an entertainment display in a car.

Of course, Wi-Fi + cellular versions are more expensive than Wi-Fi-only iPad models because there are more antennas and sensors inside.

Price Comparison

As for price, the iPad starts at $329 for the ninth generation model. In fact, you can pick up this model for as low as $250 during big shopping events like Amazon Prime Day or Black Friday. This model is the more-bang-for-the-buck pick, if you want an iPad for just consuming media and lite-mobile gaming.

At the high end, a maxed out iPad Pro can go for upwards of $2,399. This is an iPad Pro with all the bells and whistles, such as a 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display, 2TB of storage space, and Wi-Fi + cellular connectivity. If you want the best of the best, this iPad Pro is for you.

Overall, the iPad is one of the best and most useful Apple devices. It’s made for all sorts of people who are looking for ways to consume media and get some work done on-the-go without a cumbersome laptop. For most people, the iPad Air is the best choice — thanks to its clean design, fast processor, lightweight build, and sleek display. However, the second runner-up is the iPad (ninth generation). It’s the budget pick that doesn’t skimp on speed and picture clarity at an affordable price.

Rudie Obias is a tech freelance writer and editor who is also interested in cinema, pop culture, music, the NBA, and science fiction. His work can be found at Fandom, TV Guide, Metacritic, Yahoo!, Mashable, Mental Floss, and of course, IGN. Follow him @RudieObias on Twitter & IG.

The Best iPad Models to Buy in 2023 - IGN (2024)


What generation is iPad on 2023? ›

Right now Apple offers the iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad mini, ninth generation iPad and 10th generation iPad. Apple did not release a new iPad in 2023, and iPad sales were down 3% from Apple's fiscal 2022 to fiscal 2023.

Which iPad is long lasting? ›

A newer iPad Pro, which has more storage and features, will likely last longer than an older or lower-end model. How you use it and what you use it for. If you use your iPad every day and play video games or work with graphic design programs, it'll wear out more quickly. How frequently you maintain it.

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

The iPad Pro screen is brighter and shows all content more smoothly, thanks to ProMotion technology. This technology gives the iPad a high refresh rate. If the iPad Air runs at 60Hz, the iPad Pro runs at 120Hz. This means that every movement, or movement through the system, will feel much more fluid.

What's the difference between an iPad and iPad Air? ›

Both iPads work as well as each other for simple tasks like web browsing, video streaming, or running casual apps. Even a graphics-heavy game like "Call of Duty: Mobile" runs well on the standard iPad. The iPad Air's superior processor becomes more useful for demanding workloads, like photo or video editing.

Is iPad 6th gen better than 9th gen? ›

The 9th generation iPad features a bigger screen, an improved processor, more internal storage, and a better front-facing camera.

Is 64 GB enough for an iPad? ›

A: The 64GB iPad storage capacity best fits casual users who primarily stream media, have a modest number of apps installed, capture some photos/video, and use their iPad for general productivity tasks or light creative work.

Is iPad 9th gen worth it? ›

The 9th-generation iPad has the same processor as the iPhone 11 does, so it's not the most up-to-date tablet Apple sells, but it's still fast enough for all but the most demanding tasks. (If you plan on creating high-res images and videos, you'd probably want an iPad Pro anyway.)

How long do iPads last? ›

iPads generally have a lifespan of about 5 years. Keep your software as up-to-date as possible. Plan to replace your tablet every 3 years. Reference Table 1 below to determine if your iPad is still supported.

How often should you buy a new iPad? ›

you can usually keep a new iPad for at least 5 years. after that, you won't be able to get OS updates and you may notice that its gotten a bit slow or the battery wears out quickly. Eventually, you also won't be compatible with certain apps.

Which iPad models no longer update? ›

Two iPads will no longer get Apple software updates: the iPad mini 4 and iPad Air 2. To check your iPad's model number go to Settings > General > About > Model Name.

What are disadvantages of iPad Air? ›

Cons of the iPad Air:
  • More expensive: The iPad Air is more expensive than the iPad Mini.
  • Heavier: The iPad Air is heavier than the iPad Mini, which makes it less portable.
  • Not as compact: The iPad Air is not as compact as the iPad Mini, which makes it less convenient to carry around.
Jul 29, 2023

Is iPad Air more expensive than pro? ›

The iPad Air is less costly, but you miss out on some tangible benefits of the iPad Pro line, which include a processor bump to the latest Apple M2 processors and Face ID. Read on for full details, from design and display to processor power (and what that really means) on how the iPad Air compares to the iPad Pro.

Why is it called iPad Air? ›

When Apple released the iPad Air, the change in name from simply "iPad" to "iPad Air" signified a change in philosophy at Apple, which was to break the iPad lineup into models with different size and power capabilities. Those models are the iPad, iPad Air, iPad Mini, and iPad Pro.

Is iPad 7th gen better than 9th gen? ›

A few key differences between these two models are the display, processor, internal storage, and front-facing camera. The 9th gen iPad features a 10.2” Retina display with True Tone, an Apple A13 Bionic chip, up to 256GB of storage, and a 12MP ultra-wide front camera with Center Stage.

Is iPad 6th gen better than 7th gen? ›

The major upgrade on an Ipad 7th generation is the screen size. 7th gen iPads sport a 10.2" (2160x1620) display, 6th gen iPads are 9.7” (2048 x 1536). It's bigger! The iPad 7th generation also has more RAM – 3GB, as opposed to 2GB on a 6th generation.

Is 5th gen iPad better than 4th gen? ›

Performance. The most notable improvement in the iPad Air 5th Gen over the 4th Gen is the chipset. Apple replaced the A14 Bionic chip found in the 4th Gen CPU with its M1 chip, which puts it on the level with the iPad Pro and even MacBooks.

Is 8th gen iPad better than 6th? ›

The 8th generation iPad features a bigger screen and a newer processor, but overall, the 6th gen and 8th gen iPads have quite a bit in common. The iPad (8th gen) features a 10.2” display with an Apple A12 Bionic chip, and the iPad (6th gen) features a 9.7” display with an Apple A10 Fusion chip.

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