IPad purchasing advice: how to choose the right product

  • The most important facts in brief
  • Apple iPads are high-quality, high-performance tablets. The operating system is the intuitive iPadOS.
  • The uses of iPads range from a portable video player to a notebook replacement to a workstation for video editing.
  • New generations are released regularly with improvements in screen size, performance and functionality.
  • It makes particular sense to use iPads in combination with iPhones, iMacs and MacBooks or even additional iPads.
  • Security and data protection are also very important to Apple. This is ensured by security chips and modern technologies with fingerprint and facial recognition.

The iPad as master of its class

Apple iPads are regularly awarded top marks in tablet tests. Yet they are extremely expensive compared to most alternatives. But behind the popularity of the iPad is by no means blind brand loyalty to Apple. With high-quality hardware and an excellent operating system, there are many arguments in favour of choosing this tablet.

With iPadOS, Apple has adapted its iOS 2019 operating system to the iPad. It was specifically tailored to the four iPad models. Apple adapted the interface better to the large screen and operation with the Apple Pencil was also optimised. In addition, hard drives, USB sticks and computer mice can now be connected.

In contrast to Google’s Android, iOS and iPadOS are only used on a few devices that Apple develops itself. Google, on the other hand, has to ensure compatibility with hundreds of smartphones and tablets from various manufacturers – a decisive advantage of iOS and iPadOS over Android.


Apple also relies on its own developments for its hardware. Apple’s latest processors, especially the A12Z chip, are particularly powerful. Apple also maintains high quality standards and takes care of the environment during production. For example, the manufacturer uses recycled plastic in the production of the iPad Pro and does not use mercury, PVC or arsenic.

Apple iPads are high-quality, high-performance tablets. They use software that fits like a tailor-made suit. But you as a consumer can also tailor your iPad to your own needs.

What iPads are available?

Whether you want to replace a bulky laptop with your iPad or are looking for an e-reader with a colour display, there is a model for every need among the iPad, iPad mini, iPad Air and iPad Pro models.

What iPads are available?
A comparison of the different iPads. From left to right: The iPad Pro in two different sizes, the iPad Air, the eighth-generation iPad and the iPad mini.

Apple iPad

The Apple iPad provides the most affordable entry into Apple’s tablet series. The screen resolution of the 10.2-inch screen has doubled in comparison to the first iPad from 2010, because Apple itself relies on a high-resolution Retina display for the iPad. Front and rear cameras have 8.0 megapixels on the back and 1.2 megapixels on the front of average quality. Apple saves costs with the built-in processor: The A10 Fusion chip was used for the first time in the iPhone 7 and is correspondingly old. However, the performance and battery are sufficient for surfing the internet and watching films for ten hours. Together with the compatibility with the Apple Pencil and the comparatively affordable price, the iPad is very well suited for pupils and students.

Apple iPad mini

With its 7.9-inch screen, the iPad mini is the smallest iPad. Thus, the display is not much bigger than the screen of the iPhone 11 Pro Max with a diagonal of 6.5 inches. Since Apple installs a Retina screen with high resolution in the iPad mini, the display is particularly sharp. With a weight of only 300 grams and a battery life of around ten hours, the lightweight is ideally suited for e-books and for taking with you. The latest generation of iPad mini is also compatible with the Apple Pencil. Since Apple relies on a fast A12 Bionic processor, the iPad Mini offers sufficient power reserves for graphically demanding and performance-challenging apps. Although it is the smallest model, it is priced between the iPad and the iPad Air.

Apple iPad Air

The Apple iPad Air looks very similar to the standard iPad. Length and width are identical for both models, but the iPad Air has a slightly larger 10.5-inch screen. The picture quality is particularly sharp thanks to the Retina display. The powerful A12 Bionic processor offers more power reserves compared to the iPad. The Bionic processor is thus better suited for demanding apps. The camera on the back is identical to the standard iPad, the camera on the front offers a significant upgrade with a resolution of seven megapixels. Here, too, Apple specifies a battery life of ten hours.

Apple iPad Air

Apple iPad Pro

The Apple iPad Pro offers the largest screen, the best performance and the most modern design. The latest generation from March 2020 offers a Liquid Retina display that is brighter than the screens of the other iPads. In addition, Apple is using a 3D depth camera called LiDAR scanner for the first time in this generation. This improves the display of augmented reality and virtual reality applications. The combination of two cameras ensures the focal length range from ultra-wide angle to wide angle known from the iPhone 11. The performance of the iPad Pro exceeds that of all other iPads thanks to the enhanced A12Z processor. The iPad Pro also stands out visually with its narrow screen edges. This eliminates the Home button and the operation is done via gestures. Apple also uses Face ID facial recognition in the iPad Pro. Apple offers a Smart Cover keyboard with the latest iPad, which you can use to turn the iPad Pro into a practical notebook replacement.

Apple iPad Pro
The benchmark test shows the single-core performance of the different iPad models.
The benchmark test shows the single-core performance of the different iPad models.

What should be considered when buying an iPad?

Tablets like the Apple iPad are particularly handy and powerful devices in which notebook components have been built in. One important difference to conventional laptops is that the components cannot be adapted afterwards. When buying, the display dimensions, the size of the internal memory and the wireless standard are the most important factors. For many consumers, the colour design also plays a role.

The following technical terms play a role in buying an iPad:

  • Processor (CPU): The heart of a computer with a calculating unit.
  • Random access memory (RAM): memory that contains the currently executed programmes or parts of programmes
  • LTE: Radio standard for the mobile phone network that enables fast Internet connections.
  • Pixel/megapixel: Single point on a display or pixel on a camera sensor
  • Internal memory: “Hard disk” on which photos, videos and other files are stored.
  • Wi-Fi / WLAN: Radio standard for home networks

Display size

Choosing the right display size is very easy with Apple products. The screens of most iPad models are minimally larger than a DIN A5 sheet of paper. The iPad mini is a bit smaller with its 7.9-inch display. In contrast, the iPad Pro is available in a 12.9-inch variant, which brings it close to the screen size of the MacBook Air. For the notebook, Apple uses a 13.3-inch display.

Internal storage

The iPad Pro offers the largest possible internal storage, which can be optionally configured with one terabyte of memory. If you want to edit films, store lots of pictures or use many apps on your iPad Pro, you should buy the largest memory configuration.

The iPad provides the smallest memory of 32 gigabytes. The biggest disadvantage is that the memory cannot be increased later. Although it is possible to connect external storage media to the iPad, no apps or even the operating system can be stored on them. So if you want to store a lot of files and apps, you should opt for storage space of at least 64 or 128 gigabytes.

LTE or WLAN: Which function makes more sense?

If you want to use the internet on the go, you should go for the LTE function; if you are only online at home, a WLAN interface is sufficient. In addition to the ability to connect to mobile networks on the go, only iPad models with LTE offer a GPS module. Other iPads also allow location detection, but this is less precise via Bluetooth and WLAN network.

ModelleSIMApple SIM (integrated)nanoSIM
iPad Air
iPad mini
iPad Pro
The different SIM variants of the iPads (the latest generation in each case).

An interesting feature of all new iPads is the possibility of using eSIM cards. For Germany, Apple is tendering the eSIMs of the mobile network operators O2, Telekom, Truphone and Vodafone as partners. If you use a mobile phone contract from another provider, you can also book a second nanoSIM card as an alternative.

Advantages of an eSIM
eSIM cards are integrated via a module inside the tablet. They are activated via QR codes. This is easier to set up than having to select or cut SIM cards. The modules are space-saving, leaving more room for other hardware.

Colour variant

The choice of colour has no effect on the technical features of your Apple iPad. Regularly, iPads are available in the colour variants “Space Grey“, “Silver” and “Gold“, but other colours are also available. The gold colour variant is not available for the iPad Pro.

Colour variant

While iPhones are often available in a dark red Product Red edition, this colour variant is not available for the iPad. Apple uses sales from the Product Red programme to support programmes against HIV and AIDS in Africa. When buying an iPad, this is only possible by purchasing Product Red cases for the iPad Air, iPad Pro and iPad models.

Which accessories are worthwhile?

Since iPads are very expensive, you should always protect your tablet with a case. In bags and backpacks, the large display in particular is unprotected; scratches or breaks can be the result. Cases such as the Apple Smart Cover or the Apple Pencil offer functions that optimise the ease of use of the iPad. Other useful extras include a warranty extension, mobile phone insurance and an iCloud upgrade.

Protective cases and the Apple Smart Cover

Customised cases are available for every iPad. Apple’s own iPad cases are particularly high-quality and fit perfectly. The Smart Cover adheres magnetically to the iPad and folds over the display in three sections for protection. By folding it over, Apple’s Smart Cover turns into a stand that angles the Apple iPad. There are also battery cases that not only protect your iPad but also charge it.

Covers with built-in keyboard

Together with the latest iPad Pro, Apple introduced its Magic Keyboard. This case offers an integrated, illuminated keyboard, a touch pad and aligns the iPad Pro to match the user’s viewing angle. The multifunctional protective case is available for the iPad Pro in both sizes and is priced between 300 and 400 euros.

Covers with built-in keyboard

As an alternative without a touchpad, Apple offers the cheaper Smart Cover Folio for the iPad Pro, which protects both the front and the back of the tablet. The Smart Cover, which is also available for the standard iPad in addition to the iPad Pro, is priced below the Smart Cover Folio. Keyboard covers for the iPad mini have so far only been sold by third-party manufacturers.

Apple Pencil

The Apple Pencil is recommended for precise screen input. The stylus works with the screens of all current Apple iPads. The precision of the stylus is so high that iPads are suitable for drawings, professional CAD tasks and image editing. The Apple Pencil responds to changes in pressure and tilt angle. What’s more, the Apple Pencil 2 even adheres magnetically to the iPad Pro and charges wirelessly.

Warranty extensions and insurance

According to the Consumer Protection Act, Apple guarantees every iPad for two years. This includes a right to repair or replacement in the event of defective goods or products that do not comply with the purchase contract. In addition to this standard warranty, Apple provides a one-year extended warranty with the purchase of any of its products.

At no extra cost, Apple customers are entitled to repair or replacement if a problem arises. To do so, the device must either be sent in by post or taken to an authorised dealer. With AppleCare+, this warranty can be extended to two years at the time of purchase. In addition, an express replacement service and coverage for two accidental damages are included. Many German insurers offer iPad insurance for additional claims.

Apple iCloud upgrade

Apple iCloud is a useful upgrade for any Apple device. Apple’s cloud storage provides five gigabytes of space for photos, contacts and data as standard. The storage can be expanded to up to two terabytes for monthly costs between one and ten euros. The iCloud works across devices and allows you to connect multiple Apple devices. Photos that you take with your iPhone can be viewed or edited on the iPad when the internet connection is active.