iPad buyer’s guide 2018 – Which iPad is right for me?

Welcome to the 2018 iPad buyer’s guide! I put this little resource together to help shoppers make the best decisions when shopping for an iPad.  

What are my options?

As 2018 comes to an end, iPad shoppers have four options.

2018 iPad Line up
All the iPad option available

Every iPad comes in different colors, but which colors depend on which model you end up picking.  If color is the main thing you are looking for in an iPad, then your choice might be slightly limited.  

How do you use your iPad?

The iPad can be used for so many different things.  For some, it is a laptop replacement, a place where you can do all the work your laptops used to do.  If that’s the case, you’ll probably be more interested in buying an iPad Pro.  

If you mostly use an iPad for surfing the internet, watching videos, and reading you probably will not need as much power.  That means you can pick a cheaper version and still be plenty happy.

So the first thing you need to decide is how you’d like to use your iPad.  Defining how you will use it will help focus the buying process.  

LTE

Adding an LTE option is available on every model.  

If you choose to go with the LTE version, you will be able to access the internet where ever you can get cell phone service.  You generally will not have to worry about having a wifi signal since you can use the cell phone antennas to get internet access.  

But it comes with a price.

 The LTE versions of the iPad are more expensive (by at least $130), but you get the freedom to travel with your device and not worry about getting wifi.  

You’ll need to check with your provider to see how much it will be to access the LTE service as well.  The good thing about the iPad with LTE is that it’s not locked down by the carrier.  You can move around carriers, choosing 5 options with the included e-sim, and you can always put a nano-sim in the sim card slot, which will allow you to use any service you want, even over seas providers.

iPad Pro

The new iPad Pro 2018
The New iPad Pro

If you want the most out of your iPad, then the iPad Pro is the way to go.  This is one of the best iPads that I have ever used, but it is still limited by the operating system.  This means that it’s the same on all of the iPads, not just the pros.

Still, if you are planning on using your iPad as your main device, or if you plan to do lots of work on your iPad, or make videos, this is the iPad for you.  This iPad is almost as fast as Apple’s MacBook Pros.  It is the fastest iOS devices ever made.

It is also one of the slimmest devices, which makes it great for portability.  

2018 iPad Pro
the iPad Pro 2018

You have two screen size options with this pro, the 11-inch and the 12.9.  The 12.9 is giant, but because of the reduced size and weight from the previous years iPads, it is fully manageable to carry around.  Both screens go from edge-to-edge and have the full-color gamut.  It also has Pro-Motion, which makes the user interface of the iPad buttery smooth.  Once you use an iPad with ProMotion, it’s hard to go back to a normal screen. 

Apple has added FaceID and taken away the home button on these iPads.  New gestures like swiping up from the button have replaced the old standard button.  If you’ve used an iPhone X or newer, you’ll likely be used to the gestures.  If you’ve never used them before, it might take you a bit to grow accustomed, but it really is just as easy and offers more flexibility. 

Options

These new iPads only come in Silver and Space Gray.  The Space Gray is darker than most other versions (Space Gray is a very broad color it seems).   No matter what color you choose, the front will be black now.

Here’s how the prices of the iPad Pro break down:

64GB256GB512GB1TB
11 inch iPad Pro Wifi$799$949$1149$1549
11 inch iPad Pro Wifi + LTE$949$1099$1299$1699
12.9 iPad Pro Wifi$999$1149$1349$1749
12.9 iPad Pro Wifi + LTE$1149$1299$1499$1899

Who should get the iPad Pro

You should get the iPad Pro if you:

  • plan to encode video on your iPad
  • Want the most powerful tablet out there
  • want FaceID on your tablet
  • need the biggest screens
  • love technology.
  • do most of your work on an iPad already
  • plan on replacing your laptop
  • you need the most storage possible (1TB! That’s crazy)

Who should avoid the iPad Pro

Avoid the iPad Pro if you:

  • Own the previous generation iPad Pro already and are happy
  • Are trying to save money
  • Only surf the internet, read, or watch videos
  • Prefer TouchID
  • ike the Home Button

iPad Pro 10.5

In Apple fashion, when they announced the new iPad Pros, they kept the previous iPad Pro 10.5-inch around in the overseas.  While this iPad isn’t as fast as the newer iPad Pros, it is still plenty speedy.  

The 10.5-inch iPad Pro still has the thick bezels at the top and bottom of the screen and the Home Button with TouchID.  But the screen on this iPad is great.  It has the wide color gamut and ProMotion as well.  It’s buttery smooth just like the new iPad Pros

Apple’s iPad Pro 10.5
The iPad Pro 10.5 in all colors

It also still comes in multiple colors. In fact, if you want the rose gold color, this is your only option here.  

Honestly, this is still a great iPad, and it’s plenty powerful for most people.

Price

The iPad Pro 10.5 only comes in one screen size, but it does come with multiple colors and three storage options.

64GB256GB512GB
iPad Pro 10.5 wifi$649$799$999
iPad Pro 10.5 wifi + LTE$779$929$1129

Who should get the iPad Pro 10.5

You should get the 10.5-inch iPad Pro if you:

  • Need a powerful tablet, but don’t want to spend the money for the new iPad Pros
  • Want Rose Gold
  • Want a powerful iPad with TouchID
  • Need more screen space than 9.7-inches

Who should avoid the iPad Pro 10.5

Avoid the iPad Pro 10.5 if you:

  • Don’t want a bigger iPad
  • Want the biggest screen possible
  • Will only use your iPad for web browsing, reading, and videos

Accessories

All of the iPad Pros have the ability to use a Smart Keyboard through the smart connector and the Apple Pencil (the 6th generation iPad can also use the Apple Pencil as well).  If you think that you will be drawing or typing, you will probably want to look at these iPads.

Of course, you can always buy a laptop case for any iPad and use Bluetooth, the smart keyboards that Apple makes are great at staying out of the way.  I have heard that the Brydge keyboards have been great as well, it makes the iPad more laptop-like.  These are things to consider as well.  

iPad – 6th generation

Earlier this year, iPad released the 6th generation iPad.  This is the iPad I think most people should start with.  It is a versatile tablet which is almost as speedy as the iPad Pro 10.5, and it can use the iPad Pencil.  

IPad 6
The iPad 6th generation

It comes in 3 colors Silver, Gold, and Space Gray – there’s no rose gold, but the gold color used seems to be an in between of the golds.  It also uses TouchID.  You do lose ProMotion and the higher color gamut on this iPad.  Apple also didn’t include the smart connector that the Pro devices have.  This isn’t a huge set back since not many devices use the smart connector.  But if you want a keyboard case, you’ll most likely have to now charge it and the iPad.  

So it has some compromises.  But honestly, this is the iPad most people should get.  

Price

The best thing about this iPad is that for as speedy as it is, it is really cheap.

32GB128GB
iPad wifi$329$429
iPad wifi + LTE$459$559

Who should get the iPad?

Get the iPad if you:

  • Want the cheapest iPad
  • Have never used an iPad before and want to see what it’s about
  • want a cheap iPad and want to use the Apple Pencil
  • need a smaller device for travel.

Who shouldn’t get the iPad?

Avoid the iPad if you:

  • Want power
  • Like bigger screens
  • Need more storage
  • Want to attach a keyboard you don’t want to charge.

iPad Mini

I’m going to sum the Mini up like this: Don’t buy it unless you just really need the smallest iPad possible.

The IPad Mini
The iPad Mini

When the Mini came out, it was pretty nifty.  It was a device that was smaller than the normal iPad but bigger than the iPhone.  Things have changed since then, and Apple has neglected the iPad Mini.

Inside the iPad Mini you get 1 choice of storage (128GB for $399 with wifi only, or $529 for LTE) and a four year old processor.  It does come in three colors: Gold, Silver, and Space Grey.  But, it hasn’t been updated in four years.  There are rumors that it might be updated soon, but I’m not sure how soon.

You can’t use the Apple Pencil on this iPad, nor does it have the smart connector for an attached keyboard.  You can still use a Bluetooth keyboard with it though.  

I wouldn’t get this iPad unless you just need something small, for reading or something.  Right now, it is too expensive to recommend over the iPad though.  You could actually save money by choosing the iPad 6th generation.  

Still, this is the best iPad in regards to portability.  

Wrap up

I hope this helps you make a choice.  What I usually do when someone asks me which to get is start with the iPad and go from there.  If they need more power and fancy things, go up.  If they want less… there’s not much else.  The iPad is cheap as it is.  

The iPad Pro is still the best device that I’ve bought this year though.  I love it, but I don’t think it’s for everyone.  Your usage may vary.  

Please feel free to send this iPad Buyer’s guide to your friends and family.  I hope it helps you make some choices coming up on the holidays.  Don’t forget to check out the iPhone’s Buyer’s guide as well if you’re looking for a new iPhone.

Check out the MacBook Buyers Guide

Get a new device? Check out our Gift Guide

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