Apple sells four iPad models: the iPad Mini 4, the iPad, and two versions of the iPad Pro.
Unless you’re into the “mini” form factor though, most people will probably choose between the 9.7-inch iPad and the two iPad Pro models.
Here are eight reasons you should buy the most basic iPad instead of an iPad Pro.
1. Price is the most important consideration for many people — and the basic iPad looks highly appealing here.
The most basic iPad starts at roughly half the price of the most basic iPad Pro.
Here’s the breakdown:
• 9.7-inch iPad: $US329 to $US559
• 10.5-inch iPad Pro: $US649 to $US1,129
• 12.9-inch iPad Pro: $US799 to $US1,279
The higher-end iPad Pro models start getting into laptop territory, at least from a price perspective.
With that in mind, you’ll need to consider whether the advantages of the iPad Pro make sense for you.
2. The iPad Pro has new display technology, but the standard iPad display is still incredibly high quality.
One of the biggest difference between the basic iPad and iPad Pro is the display.
The iPad Pro models have Apple’s ProMotion technology, a 120 Hz refresh rate that makes everything from scrolling webpages to watching videos generally look smoother. When you’re using the Apple Pencil, that enhanced refresh rate also makes it feel as if you’re really writing on paper.
That said, the new 9.7-inch iPad still has the same Apple Pencil support, and everything looks great on that Retina display too. You might notice a difference if you’re holding the two iPads side by side, but you’re not missing much if your iPad doesn’t have ProMotion.
3. The only accessory the 9.7-inch iPad can’t connect with is Apple’s Smart Keyboard, but you’re not missing anything special there.
From an accessories standpoint, the most basic iPad can connect to almost everything the iPad Pro models can, thanks to the same Bluetooth and WiFi tech. It even supports Apple Pencil.
The only notable accessory that works only with the iPad Pro models and not the basic iPad is Apple’s Smart Keyboard.
The iPad Pro’s built-in Smart Connectors let the tablets pair to the Smart Keyboard automatically, allowing for seamless data and power transfer between the devices.
Still, the Smart Keyboard costs a whopping $US160 to start – $US170 for the 12.9-inch iPad – and there are plenty of other more affordable keyboard covers for iPad that perform similarly. I highly recommend Logitech’s Slim Folio for iPad.
4. The 9.7-inch iPad display is a classic for a reason: Bigger screens aren’t always better when it comes to tablets.
The very first iPad design, from 2010, had a 9.7-inch display.
Since then, Apple has kept that form factor and display size, though it has added plenty of other-size alternatives, like the iPad Mini and the iPad Pro.
Still, the 9.7-inch iPad seems to be the right iPad size for most people. Based on the reviews I’ve seen, including this recent one from my colleague Avery Hartmans, I believe Apple got it right the first time with the 9.7-inch display, in both its size and its portability.
Having tried both iPad Pro models, I like the 10.5-inch iPad Pro but found the 12.9-inch version too massive.
5. The iPad Pro models have better cameras — you can shoot videos in 4K and record in super slow motion in 240 frames per second. But how often are you going to be filming videos with an iPad?
You don’t need 4K quality for your home movies, and hopefully you’re not using your iPad to shoot videos in public. If you do that, please don’t. It’s embarrassing. Just use your phone instead.
6. The iPad Pro models have better FaceTime cameras, but you’re still getting HD quality on the most basic iPad.
The iPad Pro models can record video in 1080p HD, while the most basic iPad can record in 720p HD. Unless you’re filming yourself talking or you’re recording your FaceTime chats, 720p HD will be perfectly fine.
7. The basic 9.7-inch iPad and the 10.5-inch iPad Pro weigh the same, while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is heavier.
If you’re worried about missing out on the bigger screen, consider this: The iPad is meant to be held, and bigger displays tend to be heavier.
The 9.7-inch iPad and the 10.5-inch iPad Pro weigh the same, about one pound, but the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is considerably heavier, at about 1.5 pounds.
It may not seem like much, but the iPad is meant to be carried and held often, so the extra weight adds up.
8. No matter what you buy, you’re getting the same iOS experience. The iPad Pros don’t have any notable exclusive software features over the basic iPad.
The iPad and the iPad Pro both run iOS, meaning that no matter what you buy, you’re getting the same ecosystem, App Store, and updates straight from Apple.
Interestingly enough, there are no real notable iOS features exclusive to the iPad Pro, especially now that the basic iPad supports Apple Pencil.
The only difference is that the iPad Pro models can support multitasking for three apps simultaneously, whereas trying to do that on the basic iPad will cause the two split-screen apps to grey out.
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