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(Pocket-lint) - 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 are reading this, it's likely you have already decided on Apple, 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 ranging from 7.9-inch displays to 12.9-inches in size. There are also some older models, which although discontinued by Apple, are still available elsewhere, usually at good prices.

Here we are comparing all the five iPads offered by Apple, but you can head to our Apple hub to read our separate, more in depth features on how the latest iPads compare to their predecessors if you weighing up a decision between old and new.

Quick summary

iPad mini (2021) is basically a mini version of the iPad Air (2022) - whilst also adding a number of upgrades when it comes to hardware, including processor and front camera. It is compatible with the second generation of Apple Pencil, like the iPad Air (2022). 

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iPad (9th generation) offers much the same design as its predecessor. It has support for Apple Pencil, Apple's Smart Keyboard and it is significantly cheaper than the iPad Pro models, as well as cheaper than the iPad Air. It's the entry-level iPad.

iPad (10th generation) has a processor bump compared to the iPad (9th generation), as well as the same design as the iPad Air, ditching the home button and moving Touch ID into the power button. It remains only compatible with the first generation Apple Pencil, though it has USB-C and a repositioned front camera.

iPad Air (2022) opts for Touch ID over Face ID but within the power button at the top like the iPad mini and iPad (10th generation), offering a design in line with the more expensive Pro models. It has an M1 chip under its hood and 5G, plus it is compatible with the second generation Apple Pencil, like the iPad Pro models.

iPad Pro 11 (2022) is one of the most powerful iPads available. It comes with super-slim bezels, Face ID and excellent specs including Apple's M2 processor and 5G. It offers support for the second-gen Apple Pencil and it offers all the latest features in a more compact format than the 12.9 model.

iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) is the most expensive iPad available, as well as the most powerful alongside the 11-inch model. Launched in October 2022, these are for those that want to treat their tablet more like a computer. It offers the same hardware as the 11-inch model but in a larger size and with a higher price tag.

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Apple iPad mini (2021)

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  • Dimensions: 195.4 x 134.8 x 6.3mm, 293g
  • Display: 8.3-inches, 2266 x 1488 (326ppi), True Tone
  • Storage: 64GB, 256GB (Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi & Cellular)
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours
  • Colours: Space Grey, Pink, Purple, Starlight

The Apple iPad mini 6 features a complete redesign compared to its predecessor, matching that of the iPad Air (2022) - a little further down this list - with uniform bezels around the display, flat edges and Touch ID placed in the power button at the top.

There are numerous hardware upgrades over the iPad mini 5 too, with the iPad mini 6 running on the A15 Bionic chip, which is a step up from the iPad (9th gen) that runs on the A13, though a step down from the iPad Air (2022).

Like the iPad Air, the iPad mini 6 offers True Tone technology and it also offers Apple Pencil compatibility -  and unlike the iPad mini 5 it's second gen like the Air rather first gen. It also has the sharpest display of all the iPads available with a 326ppi pixel density.

Compared to the older iPad mini 5, the iPad mini 6 has an upgraded front camera, moving from 7-megapixels to 12-megapixels, which is the same as the iPad Air (2022) and iPad Pro (2021) and delivers the Center Stage feature. It has up to 256GB of storage like the iPad 9th gen, but it is charged via USB Type-C instead of Lightning. There are also 5G capabilities. 

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Apple iPad (9th generation)

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  • Dimensions: 250.6 x 174.1 x 7.5mm, 487g
  • Display: 10.2 inches, 2160 x 1620 (264ppi), True Tone
  • Storage: 64GB, 256GB (Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi & Cellular)
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours
  • Colours: Silver, Space Grey

The 2021 standard iPad sticks to much the same design as its predecessor with a larger 10.2-inch display compared to the iPad 9.7. It's been succeeded by the 10th generation model - which has a larger screen again - but it remains in the line up as the entry-point to iPad. Touch ID is on board in the home button below the screen, as it was on the 8th generation model, and there is no fully laminated display or anti-reflective coating like the iPad Air - further down this list - though it does add True Tone technology.

The processor sees a bump to the A13 Bionic chip compared to the A12 in the 2020 model, and there is support for Apple's Smart Keyboard, like the iPad Air. It is compatible with the first generation of Apple Pencil too, as the older model was, though colour options have reduced to only Silver and Space Grey, ditching the gold.

There is an 8-megapixel rear camera and 12-megapixel ultra wide-angle front snapper on this iPad, with the latter allowing for the Center Stage feature first introduced on the iPad Pro (2021). Despite offering Center Stage and a True Tone display though, a few features from the iPad Pro models are still lacking (as you would expect), such as ProMotion and the speed increase you'll get from the Pro models and the iPad Air, but the iPad 2021 is a lot cheaper than the Pro models and the Air.

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Apple iPad (10th generation)

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  • Dimensions: 248.6 x 179.5 x 7mm, 477g
  • Display: 10.9-inches, 2360 x 1640 (264ppi), True Tone
  • Storage: 64GB, 256GB (Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi & Cellular)
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours
  • Colours: Silver, Blue, Pink, Yellow

The Apple iPad (10th generation) offers a complete redesign compared to the entry-level 9th generation model and its predecessor. Now, almost identical to the iPad Air, the iPad (10th generation) has Touch ID built into the power button at the top of the display, allowing for uniformed bezels around the screen and a larger display within a very similar footprint to the 2021 model.

There's still no fully laminated display or anti-reflective coating like the iPad Air, but the iPad (10th generation) does feature True Tone technology whilst also making a move to USB-C and upgrading the chip under its hood to the A15 Bionic. The colour options are more striking too than the 9th generation, with brighter and bolder options.

Though still compatible with only the first generation Apple Pencil - you need an adpater to charge now - the iPad (10th generation) does reposition the front camera to the right edge when being held vertically. Aside from that, it doesn't have all the technology of the iPad Air, or the iPad Pro models, but with up to 256GB of storage, 5G capabilities if you want them and a great new design, it's a solid option in the iPad portfolio.

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Apple iPad Air (2022)

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  • Dimensions: 247.6 x 178.5 x 6.1mm, 461g
  • Display: 10.9-inches, 2360 x 1640 (264ppi), True Tone
  • Storage: 64GB, 256GB (Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi & Cellular)
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours
  • Colours: Space Grey, Starlight, Pink, Purple, Blue

The Apple iPad Air (5th generation) sits in between the iPad Pro 11 and the cheaper iPad (10th generation). The design is the same as its predecessor, which sees Touch ID placed within the power button at the top and uniform bezels around the display, like the iPad mini (2021) and the iPad (10th generation).

There's an M1 chip under the hood, which is a huge power boost over its predecessor that puts it in line with the 2021 iPad Pro models, and the iPad Air comes with both Apple Pencil (second gen) and Apple Smart Keyboard support too. The iPad Air's display has an anti-reflective coating and a wider colour gamut than the standard iPad (9th generation) and iPad (10th generation), though it misses out on the ProMotion technology found in the Pro models, as well some other features like the option of more RAM and the Apple Pencil hover feature.

There is a 12-megapixel rear camera like the iPad Pro, though it doesn't have the secondary Ultra-Wide lens that the Pro has. You'll find a 12-megapixel front camera too though, which is a bump from its predecessor, allowing for support of some features like Centre Stage.

There are two speakers like the iPad (9th gen) rather than four like the iPad Pro models, and the iPad Air (2022) has USB Type-C for charging like the iPad mini 6. Like the iPad Pro models, iPad mini and iPad (10th generation), the iPad Air (2022) offers 5G capabilities.

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Apple iPad Pro 11 (2022)

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  • Dimensions: 247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9mm, 466g
  • Display: 11-inches, 2388 x 1668 (264ppi), True Tone, ProMotion
  • Storage: 64GB (2018), 128GB (2020), 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB (Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi & Cellular)
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours
  • Colours: Silver, Space Grey

The iPad Pro 11 succeeded the iPad Pro 10.5 with a completely new design in 2018 and was refreshed in 2020, in 2021 and again in 2022. It ditches Touch ID for Face ID and squares off the aluminium edges for a more refined design, like the iPad Air and iPad mini.

Apple included the M2 processor in the iPad Pro 11, which is the same as what you'll find in the new MacBook Air, so it's pretty powerful and a step up from the M1 chip found in the 2021 iPad Pro models. It also comes in a choice of 8GB or 16GB of RAM and a 2TB storage option, and the Wi-Fi and Cellular models have 5G connectivity. The front camera on the iPad Pro 11 is the same as its predecessor, with the Center Stage that sees the camera track and follow you around the room, among other things.

There is a feature called Apple Pencil hover on the 2022 model though, along with support for Wi-Fi 6E. Like the iPad Air (2022), this tablet is compatible with the second-generation of the Apple Pencil, which attaches magnetically and charges wirelessly. There is also Thunderbolt/USB 4 for the iPad Pro, allowing for faster data transfer.

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Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2022)

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  • Dimensions: 280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4mm, 682g
  • Display: 12.9-inches, 2732 x 2048 (264ppi), True Tone
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB (Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi & Cellular)
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours
  • Colours: Silver, Space Grey

In 2018, the iPad Pro 12.9 delivered a complete design overhaul with slimmer bezels, no Touch ID home button and flatter edges. This new design allowed the 12.9 model to reduce in size compared to the old 12.9 model, despite offering the same size display and the 2022 model continues with this design, as did the 2021 model, though it added an XDR display last year which continues on the latest model.

The 2022 iPad Pro 12.9-inch offers an M2 processor - like the 11-inch model and the latest MacBook Air - and it also comes with a new feature called Apple Pencil hover and suport for Wi-Fi 6E. The same front camera from the 2021 model is on board, along with up to 2TB of storage, a choice of 8GB or 16GB of RAM, Thunderbolt/USB 4 for charging in and out, and 5G capabilities in the Wi-Fi and Cellular models. The rear camera remains the same as the 2021 model and Face ID is on board again too.

The iPad Pro 12.9 is compatible with the second-generation Apple Pencil which attaches magnetically to the iPad Pro 12.9 and charges wirelessly when attached. Like the Magic Keyboard, it's still sold separately though, making this one pricey tablet.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle.