The ultimate iPad setup for every budget this Black Friday

iPad 12.9
(Image credit: Future/ iMore)

The iPad is one of the most versatile tech products on the planet. The best tablets on the market now have Apple silicon inside, adding even more power to an already seamless experience. With the ability to quickly swap between a handheld device and a full desktop setup, an iPad can be a serious alternative to a laptop. Whether it’s browsing the web, writing documents, making music, or editing photos, there’s an iPad and accessories for you. 

With Black Friday in full flow, here are three different solutions at different budgets to fulfill your computing needs with an iPad.

The high-end option

If you’re looking for the absolute best iPad setup to use at home and on the go, then there aren’t many better options than the selection on offer here. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro has Apple’s M2 chip, and with 256GB storage, you’ll have enough storage space to store all your favorite apps and most important documents. The Magic Keyboard is the best iPad keyboard and trackpad case on the market, and combined with the Apple Pencil 2, it’s the perfect on-the-go iPad accessory. When you’re at home, this high-end setup option gives you an incredible 5K image on Apple’s Studio Display and the fantastic Keychron Q1 Pro mechanical keyboard alongside Apple’s Magic Trackpad.

The mid-range option

If a slightly more portable option is up your street, the 11-inch iPad Pro benefits from the same M2 chip as its larger sibling. We’ve also selected the same Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil 2 as the more expensive option above. When you’re working at home, the Keychron V1 is one of the best budget mechanical keyboards available today, and the iconic Logitech MX Master 2S is considered one of the best mice of all time. The mid-range setup is completed with an LG UltraFine 4K display, which connects to your iPad via Anker’s 11-in-1 Dock.

The budget option

If you’re looking for a complete iPad setup for under $1000, the M1 iPad Air is a brilliant option, as you get the same chip as Apple’s M1 MacBook Air in a smaller form factor. The Logitech Folio Touch is a lovely fabric case housing a keyboard and trackpad for the times you want to work on the go. The KXT Stylus Pen has over 8000 reviews on Amazon and provides a similar experience to Apple’s first-party solution for less. The Logitech MK470 bundle gives you a slim keyboard and mouse to use with the Luckyfive 4K UHD monitor connected to your iPad with Anker’s 5-in-1 dock — this is everything you could ever need for an iPad desktop and on-the-go solution.

Options compared

The best thing about creating your own iPad setup is that you can pick and mix every element to create an alternative to a Mac that fits your needs.

iPads

iPad Pro 12.9-inch | $1199$1139 at Best Buy

iPad Pro 12.9-inch | $1199 $1139 at Best Buy

The massive 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the pick of the bunch, with a large price tag to match. For the 256GB model, you get $60 off at Best Buy. You could buy the 11-inch model, but you’re getting that enormous 12.9-inch, 120Hz ProMotion display here to make for a more laptop-like experience.

iPad Pro 11-inch | $899 $849 at Best Buy

iPad Pro 11-inch | $899 $849 at Best Buy

The iPad Pro 11-inch is the most powerful of the ‘standard’ sized iPads, and it comes with boatloads of power on tap. There’s the M2 chip at its core, a 120Hz screen, and a more impressive camera too.

Price check: $899 at Target | OUT OF STOCK at Amazon

iPad Air | $599$499 at Amazon

iPad Air | $599 $499 at Amazon

The iPad Air is the best iPad under $500, with the M1 chip from the iPad Pro to keep it super up-to-date and smooth. It’s not the cheapest, but it performs better than any of the cheaper models and comes in some very classy colors. At $100 off, it's a great price, so if you've been wanting to buy one as a holiday gift, the time is now.

Price check: $499 at Best Buy | $499 at Target

Monitors

Apple Studio Display | $1,599$1,519 at B&H Photo

Apple Studio Display | $1,599 $1,519 at B&H Photo

This is a rare discount on one of the best MacBook monitors. It’s not 4K, with a panel that has Apple’s preferred 5K resolution, but it clicks into your USB-C-equipped MacBook with a single cable and then pumps out some of the best-looking content you’ve ever seen. This discount might not seem like much, but it’s a massive saving for the rarely-reduced Studio Display.

LG UltraFine UHD 27-Inch 4K UHD | $379 $269 at Amazon

LG UltraFine UHD 27-Inch 4K UHD | $379 $269 at Amazon

The LG UltraFine used to be a staple in Apple stores around the world, and at its current price offers potent HDR performance and great USB-C connectivity. 

luckyfive 27'' UHD | $189 $151 at Amazon

luckyfive 27'' UHD | $189 $151 at Amazon

Only at Amazon, you can buy a 4K monitor from luckyfive for just $151 in the Black Friday sale. With a 60Hz refresh rate it's pretty barebones, but 4K resolution for sub $200 is not to be sniffed at. 

Keyboard cases

Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro 12.9-inch|$349$229 at Amazon

Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro 12.9-inch| $349 $229 at Amazon

The best keyboard case available for iPad Pro. With a huge $120 off, you get a trackpad, backlit keys, an extra USB-C port to charge or plug in an accessory, and an adjustable angle to ensure you can see that display properly.

Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro 11-inch and iPad Air |$299$179 at Amazon

Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro 11-inch and iPad Air | $299 $179 at Amazon

The smaller option for iPad Pro 11-inch and iPad Air. This smaller option has the same $120 discount with all the benefits of the larger model.

Logitech Folio Touch |$159$109 at Amazon

Logitech Folio Touch | $159 $109 at Amazon

A case, keyboard, and trackpad combo from Logitech for the iPad Air. It's cheaper than Apple's Magic Keyboard and gives you far more protection and a fabric finish.

Apple Pencils

Apple Pencil 2nd gen | $129$82 at Amazon

Apple Pencil 2nd gen | $129 $82 at Amazon

The Apple Pencil 2 is a marked improvement on the previous model. It can magnetically attach to an iPad Pro, iPad Air, and iPad mini. You can also double-tap the Pencil to summon the eraser, alongside support for 'Hover' on iPad Pro models. At $40 off, it's a great discount if you've been tempted by one.

KXT Stylus Pen | $20$15 at Amazon

KXT Stylus Pen | $20 $15 at Amazon

A budget option that mimics the Apple Pencil design and gives you a great stylus experience with palm rejection. For much less than the Apple Pencil 2, you don't get features like pressure sensitivity but it's still a useful tool for when you need to write or draw on the go. 

Keyboards

Keychron Q1 Pro Wireless Custom Mechanical Keyboard |$219$175 at Amazon

Keychron Q1 Pro Wireless Custom Mechanical Keyboard | $219 $175 at Amazon

The Keychron Q1 Pro is an epic 75% layout keyboard with an aluminum chassis, Bluetooth, hot-swappable keys, and Mac compatibility. This one is 20% off and now just $175 in Amazon's Black Friday sale. 

Keychron V1 wired mechanical keyboard|$89$60 at Amazon

Keychron V1 wired mechanical keyboard| $89 $60 at Amazon

This customizable keyboard is the perfect entry-level option where you can start replacing keycaps, switches, gaskets, plates, foam, and more to your heart's content.

Logitech MK470 keyboard + mouse combo|$50$37 at Amazon

Logitech MK470 keyboard + mouse combo| $50 $37 at Amazon

A very affordable keyboard and mouse combo from Logitech that is easy to throw in your bag or use at home. Logitech makes reliable products, but this keyboard and mouse require a dock with a USB-A.

Mice

Apple Magic Trackpad| $129$109.99 at Amazon

Apple Magic Trackpad| $129 $109.99 at Amazon

The Magic Mouse that ships as standard with most Apple desktops is great, but if you want a trackpad alternative, for your iPad, it's much cheaper to buy one on Black Friday. The white one is currently 15% off in the Black Friday sale at Amazon, now $109. 

Logitech MX Master 2S |$99$65 at Amazon

Logitech MX Master 2S | $99 $65 at Amazon

The Logitech MX Master 2S is no longer the newest mouse on the block, but it's features are still pretty special. Either way, this current price over at Amazon isn't the lowest it's ever been, but it's still a very good saving, and the cheapest you'll find it right now. 

Price check: B&H Photo not available | Best Buy not available

Docks

Anker USB-C 11-in-1 dock | $74.99$47.58 on Amazon

Anker USB-C 11-in-1 dock | $74.99 $47.58 on Amazon

Saving a whopping 37% this Black Friday, the Anker 11-in-1 dock is great if you plan on using your iPad with a bunch of ports. It's also great for plugging USB drives and SD cards to manage them within iPadOS. 

Anker USB-C 5-in-1 dock | $34.99$18 on Amazon

Anker USB-C 5-in-1 dock | $34.99 $18 on Amazon

For $18, this 5-in-1 dock gives you the extra ports you need to take your iPad experience to the next level. Fewer ports than the option above, but with access to an HDMI and multiple USB ports this should serve you well.

Black Friday
Save money with Black Friday sales

Grab bargains on Apple devices this Black Friday

If you're looking for the best Black Friday Apple deals as the annual sales season kicks off, we've got you covered. From now right through to Cyber Monday on November 27, we'll be serving up the best offers on iPhone, MacBook, Apple Watch, iPad, HomeKit smart home devices and more. Save a small fortune by checking back on our daily deals coverage.

John-Anthony Disotto
How To Editor

John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself.

Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings.

John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019. 

John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.

In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit.