Best iPad for students 2021 | iMore

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Best on a budget: ipad 8th-generation (2020)

If you’re on a tight budget, then you can’t beat the regular iPad 8th-generation. It has a beautiful 10.2-inch Retina display that should be plenty big for reading and marking up your digital textbooks, annotating documents, and sketching diagrams. While it won’t work with the newer second-generation Apple Pencil, it does work with the first-generation Apple Pencil just fine. The 8th-generation iPad also has the Smart Connector, so it will work with accessories like Apple’s Smart Keyboard, which is still a great productivity booster.

Of course, with the 8th-generation iPad being the most inexpensive iPad to choose from, you do have to compromise on some features. It still uses the older A12 Bionic chip, which is about two generations behind, but it should still be plenty fast for school work. It also only comes in either 32GB or 128GB storage capacities, so you may need to be more diligent with data management, but this should be fine if you lean more towards cloud storage anyway. You’ll also still have the Home button, so there will be larger bezels on the display, but the 10.2-inch size should still be plenty to work with.

If you are fine with the compromises, then the 8th-generation iPad is an excellent iPad for students.

Best power: ipad pro (2021)

If you have the money to spare, then you can’t go wrong with the iPad Pro (2021). It comes in both 11-inch and 12.9-inch varieties, so you can pick whichever size suits you the best. For example, if you want the power but in a more portable package, the 11-inch size is what you want. But if you want an iPad that replaces an actual laptop computer, then the 12.9-inch is the way to go. However, keep in mind that the 11-inch still uses the Liquid Retina display from last year, while the 12.9-inch has the new Liquid Retina XDR display, which is better for showcasing high dynamic range (HDR) content and more vibrant colors.

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The iPad Pro (2021) also features a bezel-less design (goodbye Home button!), so it makes the most of the screen size you choose. It utilizes Face ID for biometrics, and it has the latest M1 chip from Apple. This means you get a total of eight cores — four for performance and four for energy efficiency. You also get 8GB of RAM with the 128/256/512GB models, or 16GB of RAM with the 1TB or 2TB version.

The rear cameras (Wide and Ultra Wide) are a whopping 12MP, so you can take the best photos of documents, presentations, and other school necessities. There is also a 12MP TrueDepth camera on the front, so you can chat with schoolmates and brainstorm for group projects. The TrueDepth camera also has a feature called Center Stage, which allows the camera to follow you and always have the focus on you, even if you are moving around the frame.

Another main differentiator between the iPad Pro and the other iPads we’ve mentioned is the fact that the iPad Pro (2021) is the only other model (along with the iPad Air 4) that works with the second-generation Apple Pencil. So if you prefer the new Apple Pencil design (flat sides) and features, you will need an iPad Pro to use it. And of course, there is the Smart Connector for accessories like the Smart Keyboard and Magic Keyboard.

The only real negative about the iPad Pro is that it isn’t cheap and may be out of range for most students. But if you can afford it, then it’s the best iPad to get for power and features. It also lacks the standard 3.5mm headphone jack.

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Study better with the best ipad for students

Even though Apple is currently selling four different iPad models right now, the iPad Air 4 is the best iPad for students, at least most of them. That’s because it packs in Pro-level features at a modest price that is within reach for plenty of students. Plus, it will run iPadOS 15 flawlessly.

The 10.9-inch screen gives plenty of space, you can go up to 256GB of storage, and it even has a Smart Connector and supports the second-generation Apple Pencil. And Apple’s A14 Bionic chip provides plenty of power for anything you need to do for school. And while the oleophobic coating on the screen helps keep it clean, you’ll still want the best iPad Air 4 screen protectors to keep it even more pristine and safe from damage.

Credits — the team that worked on this guide

Author:

Christine Romero-Chan has been using iPads since they first came out a decade ago. She knows the ins and outs of iOS and the hardware and can give the best iPad recommendation for everyone. You can follow her musings on Twitter and check out her photography on Instagram.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.

Best value: ipad mini 5

If you want to save a good chunk of change and don’t mind a smaller screen, then the iPad mini 5 is a fantastic option that’s even friendlier on the wallet. With the iPad mini 5, you’re getting pretty much the same specs as the iPad Air 3, but in a smaller package and sans Smart Connector.

The iPad mini 5 has a 7.9-inch Retina display with True Tone, utilizes Touch ID for biometrics and security, has the A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine, and comes 64GB or 256GB capacities. You can even use the first-generation Apple Pencil with it, just like the iPad Air 3 and iPad Pro lines, but it is missing the Smart Connector. This means you won’t be able to use accessories that require the Smart Connector, like Apple’s Smart Keyboard. But the iPad mini 5 can still make use of the best Bluetooth keyboards, so it’s not a big drawback at all. Plus, some could argue that there are quite a few Bluetooth keyboard options out there that are better than Apple’s Smart Keyboard anyways.

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Credits — the team that worked on this guide

Author:

Christine Romero-Chan has been using iPads since they first came out a decade ago. She knows the ins and outs of iOS and the hardware and can give the best iPad recommendation for everyone. You can follow her musings on Twitter and check out her photography on Instagram.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.

Ipad mini

Over a million ways
to use iPad mini.

iPad mini comes with powerful Apple-designed apps, like Photos, Maps, Messages, Apple News, Mail, and Safari. And with over a million iPad apps on the App Store, there’s an app for anything you want to do. Edit a video, check your social media, sketch an idea, and join a battle royale with friends.

Discover apps for iPad in the App Store

Study better with the best ipad for students

Even though Apple is currently selling four different iPad models right now, the iPad Air 4 is the best iPad for students, at least most of them. That’s because it packs in Pro-level features at a modest price that is within reach for plenty of students. Plus, it will run iPadOS 15 flawlessly.

The 10.9-inch screen gives plenty of space, you can go up to 256GB of storage, and it even has a Smart Connector and supports the second-generation Apple Pencil. And Apple’s A14 Bionic chip provides plenty of power for anything you need to do for school.

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