Buying a tablet today can be a simple yet confusing task. Simple because there is essentially a single brand which rules the tablet market. Confusing because that brand has a number of tablets spread across a very wide price segment.
For those of you who are still wondering, we are talking about Apple and its iPads, which we think are the only tablets worth buying. While choosing an iPad was not such a difficult task about a month ago, the addition of two new devices in the family over the past few days has made it a little more complicated than that. Suddenly from having three devices to choose from, you have five.
Well, here is a simple buying guide to help you choose which iPad is the one for you.
iPad — for basic scribbles, browsing and binge-watching
Rs 28,000 onwards
If your budget is a little tight and you do not want to burn a deep hole in your pocket buying a tablet, then the basic iPad is just what you are looking for. The 9.7-inch tablet may look all small and weak in front of some of its more well-specced siblings but the basic iPad brings one of the most important aspects to the table: affordability, with a starting price of Rs. 28,000.
But the price is not all that there is to the iPad. The device comes with an A10 processor and that 9.7-inch display might not be True Tone but is still Retina. Not to forget that even though it is the most basic iPad, it comes with support for Apple Pencil (generation one) and can, of course, be paired with Bluetooth keyboards. So, if basic scribbling, binge-watching, and web browsing on a budget are what you are looking for then the iPad is the one you should select.
iPad Mini – for those wanting a “handy” iPad
Rs 34,990 onwards
If you are looking for something handy, something which can fit in one hand (well, almost) and something which is somewhere between a tablet and a smartphone, then the iPad Mini is the tablet for you. As the name suggests, iPad Mini is the mini-est of all iPads as it brings along a 7.9 inch True Tone display.
But the small display does not keep the Mini from going for the big innards. It comes with Apple’s A12 processor which is paired with 8 megapixel rear and 7-megapixel front camera, dual speakers and good battery life amongst other features.
One of the highlights of the iPad Mini is the support for the first generation Apple Pencil which makes it a compact (as compared to other iPads) yet powerful everyday scribbling device. The device comes with a starting price of Rs. 34,900, slightly above the basic model but well, those extra bucks get you that True Tone display and a faster processor.
iPad Air — powerful but a step below the Pro
Just like for the iPad Mini, Apple took some time before it updated the iPad Air and now that it is here, it has built a bridge between the high-end and the basic range of the iPads. Starting at Rs. 44,900, the iPad Air is extremely similar to the iPad Mini in terms of spec sheet.
The device is powered by Apple’s A12 processor paired with 8 megapixels rear camera and a 7 megapixel front camera and dual speakers but where it has a slight edge over the Mini — or a 2.6 inch edge to be precise — is that it comes with a 10.5 inch True Tone display as opposed to a 7.9 inch Mini.
It also comes with support for Apple Pencil (first generation) plus a support for Smart Keyboard which is not present in the iPads mentioned above. It is the perfect option for those who are looking for tablet-cum-notebook for basic day to day work, without getting into the dizzying price heights of the iPad Pro range.
iPad Pro (11 inch) — sheer portable power
Rs 71,900 onwards
Looking for a tablet which is just as powerful as a well-specced laptop but still do not want it to lose its tablet form factor? Well, then the iPad Pro (11 inches) is what you are looking for. Donning the best design, specs and features that an iPad can sport, the 11 inch iPad Pro is both powerful, yet very much a tablet.
The device is powered by Apple’s A12X processor which is the most powerful processor in the portfolio and as per the company’s claims, can even match up with the processing powers of the Intel Core i9 chipset. This is paired with 11-inch edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display with a 12-megapixel rear camera with True Depth camera system that enables FaceID and a 7-megapixel front camera and four speakers for better sound.
It comes with support for Apple Pencil (second generation), which means brand new wireless charging capabilities and no pairing problems plus support for an improved Smart Keyboard. Apple also added a USB Type C port, instead of a Lightning port to make matters more universal — battery life is still 10-12 hours! So, if you are looking for a device that can handle some heavy duty task and still be light and portable, then the 11-inch iPad Pro is the one to go for. Mind you, that price tag gets it right into notebook range.
iPad Pro (12.9 inch ) – the notebook challenger
Now imagine all of those same power-packed specs that the iPad Pro (11 inches) brings to the table but only with a bigger display. That would take the tablet matters right into the mainstream Notebook territory, won’t it? Well, the 12.9 inch iPad Pro, will give you just that.
But what makes it different from other high-end notebooks present at similar prices is that, ultimately, the device is not a notebook. It comes with a beautiful 12.9-inch Liquid Retina display which when coupled with a Smart Keyboard, turns into a full-fledged laptop. But without it, it still remains a very big and useful device with a delightful touchscreen, great sound, and one which is extremely portable as compared to a laptop.
The device is packed with all the high-end specs that the 11 inch iPad Pro boasts and brings a bit more display to the party. The price is bigger, but then so is the tablet. The notebook challenger this one definitely is. We would not recommend getting it without the smart keyboard!
Traveller’s Tip: The only area where we have found the iPad really lagging behind notebooks is in handling WordPress based blogs, as the platform does not have a good iPad app. Otherwise, the iPad remains an excellent notebook replacement for anyone on the move — the excellent battery life, great apps and super light and compact form factor make a big difference.