The first iPad was announced several years ago and tablets have become much more popular since. There may not be as much choice as smartphones when it comes to tablets, but there are still a number of decisions to be made if you're in the market for one.

If you are reading this feature it is likely you have already decided on the platform, disregarding Android and Windows for iOS, and you are now trying to figure out what size iPad is the right one for you and which one fits into how much you want to spend.

Apple offers a number of iPad options - iPad mini 4, new iPad 9.7, iPad Pro 9.7 and the iPad Pro 12.9. The tablets range from 7.9-inch displays to 12.9-inches in size. The iPad mini 2 and iPad Air 2 have been officially discontinued by Apple, but are still widely available, so we've included them all so you can see the differences between them and decide which is the right one for you and your budget.

The iPad mini 2 is for those who want a small Apple tablet but don't have the cash to splash on the newest model. If you are happy to sacrifice the latest specs and features, the iPad mini 2 gives you iOS on a budget. It has officially been discontinued by Apple as of March 2017, but it's still widely available.

The iPad mini 4 is for those who want a small Apple tablet with many of the latest specs and features. You'll need a little more cash for the iPad mini 4 but you get a few extra features, like Touch ID, and a more powerful device.

The iPad Air 2 has now been discontinued and replaced by the new iPad 9.7. About the only reason to buy the iPad Air 2 is if you can find it significantly cheaper than the new iPad. 

The new iPad 9.7 replaces the iPad Air 2, offering much the same design, but slightly uprated specs. It's launch price is cheaper too and it's cheaper than the iPad Pro, so if you want a big iPad but aren't fussed by the Pencil support, this is the model to pick.

The iPad Pro 9.7 is Apple's most powerful and feature-rich tablet yet. It is the iPad for those that want all the features of the larger iPad Pro but in a smaller and more compact format, along with some additional extras no other iPad offers.

The iPad Pro is the largest and most expensive iPad available, as well as one of the most powerful. It is for those that want to do more on their tablet than just watching movies and browsing the web, and for those that not only have the budget to warrant this model but also the desire for something bigger than the 9.7-inch model.

Apple1. iPad mini 2
  • Dimensions: 200 x 134.7 x 7.5mm, 331g
  • Display: 7.9-inches, 2048 x 1536 (326ppi) 
  • Storage: 32GB (Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi & Cellular)
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours
  • Colours: Silver, Space Grey
  • Price: Buy it from £264 on Amazon UK, or $249 on Amazon US

The iPad mini 2 is the cheapest way to get your hands on an Apple tablet as it is now a few years old and has been succeeded by the iPad mini 4. It is the smallest iPad available, though not the slimmest or lightest. The iPad mini 2 was discontinued in March 2017, but it's still widely available.

The iPad mini 2 comes in silver and space grey colour options so you miss out on the gold option and there are also a couple of other things lacking, such as Touch ID and Apple Pay, as well as an anti-reflective coating on the display. There is also no slo-mo video capability or burst mode.

The A7 chip and M7 motion coprocessor sit under the hood and you'll find a 1.2-megapixel front camera, coupled with a 5-megapixel rear camera, the latter of which is a slight downgrade from the iPad mini 4.

Apple2. iPad mini 4
  • Dimensions: 203.2 x 134.8 x 6.1mm, 298.8g
  • Display: 7.9-inches, 2048 x 1536 (326ppi)
  • Storage: 128GB (Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi & Cellular)
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours
  • Colours: Silver, Space Grey, Gold
  • Price (RRP): From £419 to £549, buy it from £342 on Amazon UK, or $408 on Amazon US

The iPad mini 4 is the newer and more expensive addition to the small iPad club. It is ever so slightly larger than the iPad mini 2, but it is slimmer and lighter and although it has the same size and resolution display, you get the addition of a fully laminated screen and an anti-reflective coating.

There is a newer, faster chip powering the iPad mini 4 with the A8 processor and M8 motion coprocessor on board, as well as the addition of an 128GB storage option and gold finish. Officially, Apple only offers 128GB storage now, although older models are available at lower storage levels.

In terms of other extras, Touch ID is included on the iPad mini 4, as is Apple Pay compatibility, burst mode and slo-mo video. The only other difference to the older iPad mini 2 is the bump to an 8-megapixel rear camera.

Apple4. iPad Air 2
  • Dimensions: 240 x 169.5 x 6.1mm, 437g
  • Display: 9.7-inches, 2048 x 1536 (264ppi)
  • Storage: 32GB, 128GB (Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi & Cellular)
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours
  • Colours: Silver, Space Grey, Gold
  • Price: Buy it from £378 on Amazon UK, or $419 on Amazon US

The iPad Air 2 has now been discontinued, replaced with the cheaper and slightly more powerful new iPad 9.7. There is still stock of the iPad Air around, but check the prices carefully - the new iPad might be the cheaper option.

A faster A8X and M8 motion coprocessor sits under the hood than the smaller iPad mini 4, but you get the same colour options as the iPad mini 4, as well as the same cameras and features.

Touch ID, Apple Pay, burst mode, slo-mo video and the fully laminated display with anti-reflective coating are all therefore present on the iPad Air 2, but you miss out on Apple Pencil compatibility, a True Tone display, higher resolution cameras and stereo speakers, all of which are found on the newer 9.7-inch iPad Pro model

Applenew-ipad
  • Dimensions: 240 x 169.5 x 7.5mm, 469g
  • Display: 9.7-inches, 2048 x 1536 (264ppi)
  • Storage: 32GB, 128GB (Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi & Cellular)
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours
  • Colours: Silver, Space Grey, Gold
  • Price (RRP): From £339 to £559

The new iPad replaces the iPad Air 2 and is simply called iPad. It sticks to much the same design as the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Pro, although it's slightly thicker and that's probably down to the fact that it doesn't have a fully laminated display and it doesn't offer the anti-reflective coating. This probably also accounts for the lower pricing than the old iPad Air 2.

It offers the same display size and resolution, however, but also steps up to the A9 chip, giving a speed boost over the iPad Air 2, but still a step below the iPad Pro models.

The new Apple iPad's biggest selling point might be its pricing however: at £339 for the Wi-Fi 32GB model, it's now the cheapest iPad model that Apple offers. It goes on sale on 24 March 2017. We'll bring you a full review once it goes on sale.

AppleIpad Pro 9.7
  • Dimensions: 240 x 169.5 x 6.1mm, 437g
  • Display: 9.7-inches, 2048 x 1536 (264ppi), True Tone
  • Storage: 32GB, 128GB, 256GB (Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi & Cellular)
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours
  • Colours: Silver, Space Grey, Gold, Rose Gold
  • Price (RRP): From £549 to £849, buy it from £529 on Amazon UK, or $510 on Amazon US

The iPad Pro 9.7 is exactly the same size as the iPad Air 2 and it offers the same size display and resolution too, meaning the same pixel density. It does add a couple of new technologies to the mix however, including a True Tone and wide colour gamut display, as well as Apple Pencil compatibility.

The iPad Pro 9.7 takes its design cues from the larger iPad Pro, meaning you'll get the Smart Connector and four-speaker setup with this device. It also adds the option of a rose gold finish and a 256GB storage option.

As you might expect, the iPad Pro 9.7 has the latest A9X processor under its hood like the larger iPad Pro, but it also significantly improves the camera experience compared to the iPad Air 2 with a 12-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front camera, both of which offer flash.

Apple5. iPad Pro
  • Dimensions: 305.7 x 220.6 x 6.9mm, 713g
  • Display: 12.9-inches, 2732 x 2048 (264ppi)
  • Storage: 32GB, 128GB, 256GB (Wi-Fi) or 128GB, 256GB (Wi-Fi & Cellular)
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours
  • Colours: Silver, Space Grey, Gold
  • Price (RRP): From £729 to £1029, buy it from £662 on Amazon UK, or $624 on Amazon US

The iPad Pro marked a new tablet territory for Apple with its 12.9-inch display. It will be far too big for some but for others, it will be the tablet they were waiting for.

The display technology is the same as the iPad mini 4 and iPad Air 2 meaning it doesn't offer the True Tone and wide colour gamut screen of the iPad Pro 9.7. You'll also find the same cameras and other features such as Touch ID and Apple Pay compatibility as the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 so it also misses out on the higher resolution cameras found in the iPad Pro 9.7.

The iPad Pro has a faster processor than all the other iPads available, except its newer, smaller brother, with the A9X and M9 combination under the hood. It is also compatible with the Apple Pencil and it will offer a range of software features, including Adobe, that the other iPads, again except the newer, smaller model, don't.