iPad review: buying guide for all tablets from Apple – Basic, Mini, Air and Pro
Apple only expanded its tablet lineup with a new edition of the iPad Air in March 2022. The new iPad Air 2022 finally relies on the manufacturer’s powerful M1 chip and now offers significantly more performance. In October 2022, two new models followed: the entry-level iPad 10 tablet and the new iPad Pro with a faster M2 chip. For our big iPad test, we’ll provide you with a guide as buying advice. We tell you which iPad suits you best.
iPad test: 5 tablets from Apple represent the lineup for 2022
The decision has been made. You want to buy a new tablet from Apple in 2022, but don’t know which model to choose? In our iPad review, we compare all models with each other and tell you which iPad suits you best in the buying guide. Specifically, you can currently choose between the following iPads:
- iPad (10th generation)
- iPad Mini (6th generation)
- iPad Air 2022
- iPad Pro 11 inch (2022)
- iPad Pro 12.9 inches (2022)
Apple iPad (10th Generation) – The Basic Tablet
- Features: Cheapest iPad model, up to 256GB storage
- Suitable for: Tablet beginners, pupils and students
- Price: From 579.00 euros
The Apple iPad as a basic model was updated in October 2022 to the now 10th generation. Here, the model is aimed primarily at beginners and young people who want to get into the tablet portfolio of the company from Cupertino as inexpensively as possible.
However, as with most gadgets and devices, the price has increased significantly. While the basic features of the predecessor model cost around 380 Euros, the price of the new iPad has risen to at least 579 Euros.
The real innovations are limited. The manufacturer has mainly modernized the design. The look of the new Apple iPad 10 is very similar to the current iPad Air and also relies on flat edges and thinner screen borders.
The home button has been removed, and unlocking is now done via Touch ID on the side of the power button. Under the hood is the Apple A14 Bionic chip with a 6-core CPU, 4-core graphics unit and 16-core Neural Engine, which made its debut in the 12th iPhone generation in 2020.
For example, the display has grown. It now measures 10.9 inches (compared to 10.2 inches on the predecessor) and has a higher resolution of 2360 x 1640 pixels and 264 ppi. It is also a True Tone display that gets up to 500 nits bright. However, the refresh rate of 60 hertz is retained.
Compared to all other iPad models, the iPad (10th generation) uses the slowest chip. The manufacturer also does not provide details about the installed working memory and battery life. The internal memory is also comparatively low with only 64 GB in the basic features.
iPad finally with USB-C
New, however, is the USB-C port, which replaces the previous Lightning port and thus makes the iPad compatible with many power adapters and cables. There is another drawback in terms of operation: The basic model only supports the 1st generation Apple Pencil for input, and that only if you buy an additional dongle for 10 Euros.
Otherwise, the Apple iPad 10 also relies on new cameras. A 12 MP landscape ultra-wide-angle camera with a 122° field of view, an aperture of f/2.4 and Smart HDR 10, which allows 1080p HD video recording at 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, is installed on the front.
On the rear, a 12 MP wide-angle camera with ƒ/1.8 aperture, 5x digital zoom and autofocus comes into play, recording videos at a maximum of 4K at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps. Apple is once again silent on the size and runtime of the battery, and iPad OS 16 is used as the operating system.
The 10th generation iPad will be offered either as a WLAN model or with WLAN and 5G modem, as well as with 64 GB or 256 GB of storage. However, the surcharges for the storage and the 5G modem are quite high at 200 euros each.
Summary of the Apple iPad (10th generation): Good, but too expensive
If you are looking for a cheap entry into Apple’s tablet world, you will still do quite well with the basic model. The installed chip is fast enough to handle everyday tasks. Thus, users who mainly use the tablet for watching videos, taking (handwritten) notes or working can use it without hesitation.
However, the innovations of the 10th generation are limited, but the significantly higher price and the inconvenient Apple Pencil support are annoying. For beginners, schoolchildren or students who only do less computationally intensive tasks, it is worth taking a look at the over 200 euros cheaper predecessor model.
Apple iPad Mini (6th generation) – The little all-rounder
- Features: Compact size, faster chip, higher compatibility
- Suitable for: Tablet beginners, people with smaller hands, students and professionals
- Price: € 652.65 *
The new iPad Mini was launched at the same time as the basic 9th generation model. In comparison, however, our iPad test shows that the small model has undergone a complete redesign and now comes with a much more modern look.
The biggest feature of the Mini, as the name suggests, is its compact size. Unlike the other Apple tablets, the iPad Mini’s display is only 8.3 inches. Thanks to its dimensions of 195.4 x 134.8 x 6.3 millimeters (height x width x depth), the tablet can also be used comfortably in smaller hands. Accordingly, the weight of less than 300 grams is also significantly lower.
Compared to the cheaper basic iPad, the Mini is also technically ahead in many areas. The built-in Liquid Retina display with IPS technology has an impressive resolution of 2,226 x 1,488 pixels and naturally also supports True Tone. Just like the basic model, the refresh rate is 60 Hz.
The Apple A15 Bionic is the same chip that is used in the current iPhone 13 series. Specifically, 6 CPU cores and 5 GPU cores are available for graphics calculations, which also makes the iPad Mini a reliable and fast tablet for editing videos or playing current games.
The iPad Mini also relies on a USB-C port, so Apple finally says goodbye to the Lightning port. The newer and improved Apple Pencil 2 can be used. The cameras are also much better (12 MP wide-angle camera, f/1.8 aperture at the back, 12 MP ultra-wide-angle camera, f/2.4 aperture at the front).
Thanks to the USB-C port with a speed of 5 gigabits per second, external displays or hard drives can also be connected to the iPad Mini, for example. This can be a decisive advantage for business users in particular. As with the basic model, Apple equips the mini tablet with 64 GB or 256 GB of storage space and offers a WiFi variant as well as an LTE model.
Summary of the iPad Mini (6th generation)
If the other iPad models are too big for you, the Mini is a powerful and compact tablet that can be conveniently taken anywhere. Thanks to USB-C, external devices can be connected quickly and easily, while handwritten text input is possible with the Apple Pencil 2.
iPad review: Apple iPad Air 2022 as a price-performance tip
- Features: Fast chip (M1), fast USB-C port, extensive compatibility
- Suitable for: Anyone who needs a bigger and faster iPad
- Price: From 759.00 euros
The latest iPad in the bunch is the updated Air model, which has just undergone a redesign in March 2022. But not only visually shows the Air general overhaul. It also catches up with the current Pro model in terms of performance. This is due to the built-in Apple M1-ARM chip, which is also used in MacBooks, for example. It is currently one of the fastest chips available for tablets and notebooks.
The display of the iPad Air 2022 uses a 10.9-inch panel with a resolution of 2,360 x 1,640 pixels and a brightness of 500 nits. Like the Mini, the Air also relies on USB Type-C. The connection is twice as fast here with a speed of up to 10 Gbit/s (USB 3.1 Gen 2).
The Air shares front and rear cameras with the Mini. The storage configuration with 64 GB or 256 GB of internal storage also turns out to be the same. Unlocking is done via Touch ID, just like in the basic iPad and iPad Mini. That is, with the help of a fingerprint sensor.
Another advantage in the iPad test of the Air model is its compatibility. Especially those who want to use the tablet as a notebook replacement will be interested in the use of the Apple Magic Keyboard. It is also possible to connect external displays via USB-C, which can display images in 6K resolution with up to 60 Hz.
Summary of the iPad Air 2022
Apple’s fast M1 chip, faster USB-C port, and extensive compatibility make the iPad Air 2022 a successful update to the manufacturer’s tablet portfolio. If the iPad Mini is too small for you and the base iPad isn’t fast enough, the current Air could be just what you’ve been looking for.
- More on this: iPad Air 2022 vs iPad Pro: comparing the tablets
Apple iPad Pro 11 inch / 12.9 inch – The high-end tablets
- Features: Best displays, best speakers, Thunderbolt 4, more cameras, more storage
- Suitable for: Tablet professionals and business users
- Price: From 1,049.00 euros (11 inches) / From 1,449.00 euros (12.9 inches)
Also just updated and improved in terms of performance, the top model in the form of the iPad Pro. But here too, as with the basic tablet, the prices have risen significantly. Apple charges 300 to 400 Euros more than for the predecessors this year. In return, however, there is also significantly improved technology.
The current iPad Pro (from model year 2022) is available in two display sizes. With an 11-inch screen diagonal and with 12.9 inches. Apart from the sheer size, there are a few points where the 12.9-inch model has the edge.
For example, the display of the iPad Pro 11-inch is 600 nits bright, whereas that of the 12.9-inch model is up to 1,600 nits. Apple also uses a Liquid Retina XDR display with modern mini-LED technology in the larger model. In a direct comparison of both Pro models, the larger variant is brighter, offers richer colors and an impressive contrast ratio.
In addition, both iPad Pro tablets offer an advantage over their brethren in the base, mini and Air segments. Thanks to ProMotion technology, the refresh rate is a smooth 120 Hz. It is also adaptively reduced for static content or videos. In the long run, this can save a lot of battery.
The most important innovation of the 2022 model generation is the chip. Apple now uses the powerful M2 ARM processor, which premiered in June 2022 and is also used in some MacBooks.
iPad Pro 2022: Performance on par with a high-end notebook
The M2 offers an 8-core CPU – up to 15 percent faster than the M1 – with improvements in both performance and efficiency cores. A 10-core GPU with up to 35 percent faster graphics performance and a 16-core neural engine capable of performing 15.8 trillion calculations per second promise top-level performance.
There is also an advantage over Apple’s notebooks when it comes to wireless connectivity. That’s because the new iPad Pro, in both variants, relies on the modern Wi-Fi 6E standard for even faster and more stable connections.
Also new: A hover function for the 2nd generation Apple Pencil. The Apple Pencil is already recognized up to 12 millimeters above the display, so you can see a preview of your markup or input even before it is implemented on the display.
The USB-C port of the Apple iPad Pro also supports Thunderbolt 3 and thus data rates of up to 40 Gbps. This makes it four times faster than the Air model’s port, which looks the same at first glance. This makes the current Pro models in the iPad test an absolute all-rounder that even video editing professionals or professional photographers will get their money’s worth with.
Of course, the iPad Pro models are compatible with all accessories like the 2nd generation Apple Pencil or the Magic Keyboard. The tablets are also exclusively unlocked via Face ID, i.e. three-dimensional facial recognition, which works faster and more reliably than the touch counterpart in practice.
If you also need more storage space, you should (or must) go for the iPad Pro. Up to 2 TB of internal storage is available here. Moreover, the configurations start at 128 GB. Even the basic features offer twice as much storage space compared to all other iPad models.
However, Apple also charges a lot for the models. For the 12.9-inch tablet with 16 GB of RAM, WiFi and 5G modem with 2 terabytes of storage, you pay over 3,000 Euros! That’s another $300 or so more than is being called for the new MacBook Pro 13-inch with the same chip, RAM, and storage.
Conclusion on the iPad Pro 2022
If you’re looking for that little bit more or want to use your iPad as a true notebook replacement, both of the current iPad Pro variants will serve you extremely well. They use the most powerful chip Apple has ever manufactured, which is also used in the manufacturer’s high-end notebooks.
Thunderbolt, a second camera (including LiDAR sensor), a 120 Hz display, four particularly high-resolution speakers and up to 2 terabytes of storage make the Pro models real power tablets for the most demanding users.
iPad test: Strike now or wait with the purchase?
As with the iPhone 14 models, a clear trend is emerging with Apple iPad tablets. This is because prices are rising sharply in 2022. The new tablets will cost up to 400 euros more than their predecessors.
The iPad Pro in particular has also improved noticeably in terms of performance in its two variants, whereas we cannot currently recommend the iPad (10th generation) with the few innovations. Just like the iPhone 14 price, the tablets might be worth waiting for. In the course of time, the tablets should be offered much cheaper.
However, the iPad Mini with its compact form factor and the iPad Air 2022 as the clear price-performance winner remain particularly recommendable. Alternatively, you can also use the previous generation of the iPad in the 9th generation or the iPad Pro from the model year 2021 without hesitation in most cases. Their price-performance ratio is much more attractive, at least at the moment.
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