Should you buy a 5th-generation iPad in 2020?

iPad 2017
iPad 2017 (Image credit: iMore)

Should you buy a 5th-generation iPad in 2020?

Best answer: No, you shouldn't. Not only is the fifth-generation iPad only available refurbished, but it also uses the old, now-underpowered A9 system-on-a-chip. The current seventh-generation 2019 iPad is a much better choice.Get this iPad: iPad (2019) (From $279 at Amazon)Get it at Apple: iPad (2019) (From $329 at Apple)

The fifth-generation iPad is underpowered by today's standards

When it debuted in 2017, the entry-level iPad wasn't a powerhouse, but it was a decent choice for anyone that needed a low-cost tablet. But it's powered by the A9 system-on-a-chip, which is almost five years old at this point. It may run iPadOS 13, but features like multitasking aren't going to work as well as they do on newer iPads.

The fifth-generation iPad just isn't worth the effort or money in 2020.

There's also the lack of accessory support. The 2017 iPad doesn't support the Apple Pencil or Smart Keyboard, both of which are supported by the 2019 iPad. It also features a 9.7-inch display, compared to the 10.2-inch one found in the current iPad.

Then there's the matter of actually finding one. Apple discontinued the fifth-generation iPad when it debuted the sixth-generation model in 2018, and now the only place to find the 2017 version is renewed through third-party sellers. What's more, those sellers are still charging for the refreshed iPad as though it was new, even though they acknowledge it as refurbished.

The seventh-generation 2019 iPad is a much better choice

The 2019 iPad is a superior tablet to the 2017 model in every conceivable way. Not only does it have a bigger 10.2-inch display, but it also does so in a frame that much bigger than the fifth-generation model.

The 2019 iPad is a superior tablet in every way.

The 2019 iPad also does support Apple's Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil accessories. This makes it a better tool for productivity. It's also powered by the Apple A10 system-on-a-chip. It uses the variant originally found in the iPhone 7 Plus, which means that it has 3GB of RAM, giving it more headroom for things like multitasking. This is an improvement over the 2GB of RAM found in the fifth-generation iPad's A9 chip.

There's also the matter that the seventh-generation iPad is just over six months old, where the fifth-generation model is now over three years. And you can even get the current iPad at a discount that brings it well under some prices at which the 2017 iPad is available.

The 2019 iPad is a more versatile, powerful, and impressive device than the 2017 model, and it's the place where you should put your money.

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.