Best Cheap iPad iMore 2021
Selecting an iPad that's right for you can fast become a frustrating process. Throw in a small budget and making a decision can become even harder. The 2019 iPad is currently our favorite budget tablet from Apple, but we've gathered other noteworthy models to help you choose the one that fits your needs best.
Best Overall: iPad (2019)
For the first time, Apple's flagship tablet doesn't feature a display size of 9.7-inches across. Instead, the seventh-generation iPad is the first with a 10.2-inch display. Like its predecessor, this model is an awesome choice for anyone looking for a great tablet on a budget.
When looking at the latest iPad, it's important to note that many of the features on the more expensive iPad Air 3 are also available here. The similarities include the same 8-megapixel back camera with f/2.4 aperture and 1080p HD video recording with slo-mo video support for 720p at 240 frames per second (FPS). Both models also include Apple's second-generation Touch ID fingerprint sensor built into the Home button. Battery life is also similar; up to 10 hours of surfing the web and watching a video.
Despite these similarities, there are also reasons not to select the less expensive model. These include settling for a slower chip and having less available storage.
- Excellent price
- Apple Pencil support
- New display size
- Limited storage options
- Internals are aging
An all-new display
You'll love this new iPad, which comes with a new display size for the first time.
Runner-up: iPad Air (2019)
The 10.5-inch third-generation iPad Air arrived just a few months before our No. 1 pick. It's a better tablet, but it will set you back more.
The iPad Air is a great budget tablet for students or other workers because it has a few updated or better parts than our overall pick, which should keep it up-to-date longer. If these differences don't interest you, by all means, stick with the iPad and save yourself some cash.
With the iPad Air 3, you get a larger and better display, a newer chip, and more available storage. Unlike the current iPad, the iPad Air has a fully laminated display with anti-reflective coating. It also includes a wide-color (P3), True Tone display, and better front-facing camera.
For these extras, you'll pay around $130 more at each price point. Again, you'll need to decide whether the difference is worth it.
- Better storage and internals
- Slightly larger display
- Screen with anti-reflective coating
- No Face ID
- Pricey compared to iPad
There's something in the Air
Apple's newest iPad Air is a step up from the current iPad, but only if you actually want the extra features.
Best for Portability: iPad mini (2019)
On the day Apple revealed the third-generation iPad Air, it also introduced the first new iPad mini since 2015. Weighing just 0.68 pounds, the iPad mini (2019), includes nearly everything you can find on the latest iPad Air, but in a smaller body. The 7.9-inch tablet has the same A12 chip for better performance, a True Tone display, first-generation Apple Pencil support, and also comes in 64GB and 256GB storage capacities. The only thing it's missing is a Smart Connector.
Don't confuse a smaller screen size with spending less, however. We've included the iPad mini on this list for one simple reason; if you're looking for a 7.9-inch iPad, it's the only game in town. Expect to pay around $100 less than the equivalent iPad Air (2019) and $70 more than the iPad (2018).
- Much like the iPad Air (2019), but with a smaller display
- Easier to carry than other models
- Storage up to 256GB
- Pricey for its size
- No Smart Connector support
Best for Portability
The small one
When convenience and portability matter, consider the 7.9-inch iPad mini (2019).
If you're in the market for an iPad on a budget, you'll quickly notice there's a small selection from which to choose. Our favorite inexpensive model, the iPad (2019), is a terrific choice for anyone looking for an entry-level tablet for less. The iPad offers a 10.2-inch display, Apple Pencil support, and Touch ID.
The 2019 iPad is noted for having many of the same features as the iPad Air, including an 8-megapixel back camera, 1080p HD video recording, and more. However, it's available for much less. Happy iPad shopping!
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Bryan M. Wolfe is a dad who loves technology, especially anything new from Apple. Penn State (go Nittany Lions) graduate here, also a huge fan of the New England Patriots. Thanks for reading. @bryanmwolfe
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