Smartphones, Tablets & Wearables

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. For our big iPad test, we 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 (9th generation)
  • iPad Mini (6th generation)
  • iPad Air 2022
  • iPad Pro 11 inch (2021)
  • iPad Pro 12.9 inches (2021)

Apple iPad (9th Generation) – The Basic Tablet

  • Features: Cheapest iPad model, up to 256GB storage
  • Suitable for: Tablet beginners, pupils and students
  • Price: From 349.00 euros

The Apple iPad as a basic model is available since September 2021 in the now 9th generation. 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.

The features of the basic iPad are absolutely impressive considering the price. Apple equips the tablet with a 10.2-inch IPS Retina display with a resolution of 2,160 x 1,620 pixels and a brightness of 500 nits. Thanks to True Tone technology, the display also offers natural colors. Regardless of the environment.

However, you have to accept some limitations compared to the current iPad models. For example, the 9th generation iPad uses the A13 Bionic chip, which was introduced with the iPhone 11. It is still fast, but cannot keep up with the A15 or the current high-end M1 chip.

It is supported by 3 gigabytes of working memory. The internal storage of 64 GB in the standard configuration is also quite tight. However, the iPad is also available with 256 GB of storage. You can also choose between a pure Wi-Fi tablet or an LTE variant. The base model, like all other iPads, uses the current iPad OS for its operating system. It is still fast enough to cover most application areas without any problems.

iPad review: The basic model of the 9th generation
The Apple iPad (9th generation) attracts with a low entry price. (Image: Apple)

However, when it comes to the design with rather wide display edges, the basic iPad is no longer quite up to date. Moreover, the model only supports the 1st generation of the Apple Pencil stylus. Compared to the other models with USB-C, the Lightning port, which is also used by the iPhones, is still used here.

In terms of cameras, the base iPad relies on a rear-facing camera with 8 megapixels (f/2.4 aperture), while the 12-megapixel front-facing camera also supports the “Center Stage” follow mode. Those who also want to use the iPad as a laptop replacement can only use the Smart Keyboard in the base model. Apple’s excellent Magic Keyboard, on the other hand, cannot be used.

Summary of the Apple iPad (9th generation)

If you are looking for an inexpensive entry into Apple’s tablet world, you will still do quite well with the base model. The installed chip is fast enough to handle everyday tasks. Thus, anyone who uses the tablet for watching videos, taking (handwritten) notes or working can use it without hesitation.

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: From 529.00 Euro

The new iPad Mini was launched at the same time as the basic 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.

iPad Mini (6th generation)
Small giant: The compact size makes the iPad Mini unique. (Image: Apple)

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 makes the iPad Mini a reliable and fast tablet even when editing videos or playing current games.

Other advantages over the base model: The iPad Mini relies on a USB-C 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).

iPad Mini 2021 graphic
The Mini might be the most interesting model for those with small hands. (Image: Apple)

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).

Apple iPad Air 5 Features
The iPad Air (2022) offers many new features. (Image: Apple)

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 should 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.

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 799.00 euros (11 inches) / From 1,070.85 euros (12.9 inches)

The current iPad Pro (from the model year 2021) comes in two display sizes. With 11 inches screen diagonal and with 12.9 inches. Sheer size aside, there are a few points where the 12.9-inch model comes out on top.

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 for the larger model. In a direct comparison of both Pro models, the larger variant is brighter, offers richer colors and an impressive contrast ratio.

iPad Pro 2021 as a notebook
The iPad Pro can replace a notebook under certain circumstances. (Image: Apple)

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. This can save a lot of battery in the long run.

The same M1 chip that is also used in the current iPad Air 2022 is at work inside. However, there are differences in the cameras and the USB-C port. Both Pro models feature an additional rear-facing camera (ultra-wide-angle: 10 MP, f/2.4 aperture and 125° field of view).

The USB-C port also supports Thunderbolt 4 and thus data rates of up to 40 Gbps. Thus, it is four times faster than the port of the Air model, 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 in practice than the touch counterpart.

iPad Pro 2021 Thunderbolt
Advantage iPad Pro: The USB-C port supports Thunderbolt 4 and is thus 4 times as fast as that of the iPad Air.

Those who also need more storage space should (or must) also reach 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 the storage space compared to all other iPad models.

Summary of the iPad Pro

Those who are looking for that little bit more or want to use their iPad as a real notebook replacement will be excellently served with both current iPad Pro variants. While its chip is on the same level as that of the iPad Air, there is a four times faster USB-C port, a second camera (including LiDAR sensor), a 120 Hz display, four instead of two speakers, and sometimes significantly more storage.

Since the iPad Pro 11-inch model has currently already dropped considerably in price, the additional price compared to the iPad Air 2022 is worth it for most users. Especially if you need more than the minimum 64 GB of storage.

iPad test: Strike now or wait with the purchase?

The probability that Apple will introduce new iPad models in the fall of 2022 is quite high. Currently, we assume that we will see a new edition of the basic iPad this year, as well as one (or two) new iPad Pro variants.

However, nobody knows what these will look like and what improvements you can expect – with the possible exception of Apple. However, you can assume that any new editions will be significantly more expensive, while the prices of the current iPad Pro variants are currently in a nosedive. So if you want to buy a tablet, you better strike now. The M1 chips, as well as the A15 in the current iPad Mini, offer more than enough performance for the coming years.

However, if you want to get the most out of your tablet, it might be worth waiting for the iPad Pro 2022. But then you might not even have to buy it, should the subscription model actually come true.

Because this is where Apple could potentially go with the M1 Pro or M1 Max, which is making a splash in the current MacBook Pro models. However, these potential upgrades are only of interest to a very specific clientele at best. A direct comparison of the current iPad models therefore sometimes reveals enormous differences. However, you certainly won’t go wrong with buying a tablet from Apple.

Apple iPad Pro (11", Wi-Fi, 128 GB) - Space Grau
This product is currently unavailable.

Simon Lüthje

I am co-founder of this blog and am very interested in everything that has to do with technology, but I also like to play games. I was born in Hamburg, but now I live in Bad Segeberg.

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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. For our big iPad test, we provide you with a guide as buying advice. We tell you which iPad … (Weiterlesen...)

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