Best iPads in Australia
Our team of discerning handheld device experts tap the top 6 iPads in Australia for a variety of uses and budgets.
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The best iPads in Australia
- Best iPad overall: Apple iPad (10.2-inch, 32GB, 2020)
- Best cheap iPad: Apple iPad mini 4 (128GB, Wi-Fi + Cellular, Space Grey)
- Best iPad for portability: Apple iPad Mini 5 (64GB, Wi-Fi, Space Grey)
- Best iPad for professionals: Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch Wi-Fi + Cellular 128GB – Space Grey
- Best iPad competitor: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ 5G 256GB, Silver
- Best non-iPad tablet: Renaisser Stylus Pen for iPad
How very far we've come since the late tech guru Steve Jobs strode on stage and unveiled the first Apple iPad. Way back in those first-generation days of 2010, we can vividly recall the awe we felt towards a svelte, stylishly designed product that was clearly the harbinger of a new breed of handheld devices.
What we understood then was this: a tablet computer such as this could easily upend the netbook market and rule as king if marketed right. And, of course, it most certainly was. Today, the term iPad is so popular it's basically become interchangeable with "tablets". As of September 2020, Apple has shifted more than 500 million of them.
Now that time has moved on into the eighth generation of these devices, one does not simply walk into a store, slap money down and ask for "one iPad please". There's an iPad family now. Branches and lineage. At the time of writing, the most recent iPad models are the eighth-generation iPad, the fifth-generation iPad mini, the fourth-generation iPad Air and the second-generation 11-inch and fourth-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
At the most basic of levels, every iPad will offer the minimum following experience. Your average iPad is a versatile handheld companion that can perform Internet functions such as web browsing and emailing. You'll also get a camera array of some description that will facilitate the taking of photos, shooting of video and the making of face-to-face conference calls. Lastly, an iPad is basically an entertainment-providing rectangle of joy thanks to the ability to play music and download additional apps. These might deliver you games, GPS navigation, social networking, reference, etc.
Hardware-wise, you get a fairly standard user interface that mimics the feel of an iPhone, made navigable via a multi-touch screen and built-in virtual keyboard. Likewise, all iPads offer Wi-Fi connectivity and some more expensive variants bolster that to include cellular data as well.
Beyond all of the above, the innards of every iPad will be different from one another. Sometimes marginally better and worth the extra price. Other times not so much. Stick with us now as we skirt the latter and recommend you the former.
How did we pick this list?
Our editorial team selected the products on this list based on extensive research, real customer reviews and personal experience. For each category, we carefully selected parameters based on our research and identified the products with the highest review score within those parameters.
Best iPad overall: Apple iPad (10.2-inch, 32GB, 2020)
Why we chose it
If you want something that performs within a sensible price range, you should skip right to the Apple iPad (10.2-inch, 2020), a product with a 4.9 out of 5 rating from more than 7,000 Amazon reviews. As far as Apple-branded handheld devices go, and for the asking price, it represents a great value proposition.
At a purely cosmetic glance, you'd be forgiven for thinking that not a lot changed between this model and its predecessor. That said, there are some outstanding improvements here in the form of better screen sensitivity for Apple Pencil use, superior battery life, a faster charger and a sizeable upgrade in overall performance. The extra grunt is courtesy of an A12 Bionic chip as opposed to last season's A10 Fusion.
There are certainly more powerful and expensive iPads in the family, but we think what's here strikes the perfect balance of affordability and power. This 2020 edition is more than up to the task if you're merely after low-level streaming content consumption, general creative/editing work and simple, non-taxing multitasking.
What won't you be getting compared to the Pro, the next step up in evolution? For starters, the hyper-connected video bloggers among you will be stuck with only a forward-facing, 1.2-megapixel camera here. That's going to be a pain for those of you living in these video conference-heavy, COVID-19 lockdown times. There's also the disappointing matter of this version of iPad only supporting a 60Hz refresh rate screen as opposed to the Pro's eyeball-dazzling 120Hz.
Honestly, those aren't huge downsides in the grand scheme of things. Especially if you're a less-than-cutting-edge Apple enthusiast who wants to economically upgrade to a new device that's a little svelter and a lot more satisfying to use.
Best cheap iPad: Apple iPad mini 4 (128GB, Wi-Fi + Cellular, Space Grey)
Why we chose it
Apple's iPad Mini 4 (128GB) is our current pick if you want to keep your purchasing decision cheerfully cheap. That's mostly due to its 4.7 out of 5 rating from 734 Amazon reviews. Apple aficionados will know this particular model to be the first major redesign of the popular iPad Mini line of products. Fortunately, it was a cosmetic makeover that came with a slew of other performance benefits, too.
In terms of hardware boosts, the Mini 4 comes with an impressive 1GB RAM upgrade over its diminutive forebears. This, along with a beefier dual-core A8 Processor allows it to do some fancier tricks, like offering support for macOS Catalina Sidecar, ARKit app functionality and Memoji stickers. Running counter to the concept of being Mini, this model increased in footprint by becoming slightly wider and taller. Sadly that didn't precipitate into a larger screen as well.
In terms of software, this model was the first in the Mini family to be shipped with iOS 9 installed (and later this was upgraded further to 9.1). Along with some much-appreciated bug fixes, those version increments delivered benefits like Picture in Picture multitasking, along with the always handy Split View and Slide Over functions. It's also worth mentioning that you'll be getting Haptic Touch support and external USB drive functionality (via a separately sold peripheral).
Bolstering an already long list of positives is a Touch ID sensor that enables the use of Apple Pay, an anti-reflective Retina Display, a lighter battery that still outputs the same life and a thoroughly decent 8-megapixel camera. In short, literally, the Apple Mini 4 is a small, tidy package that delivers big things for a modest outlay.
Best iPad for portability: Apple iPad Mini 5 (64GB, Wi-Fi, Space Grey)
Why we chose it
If you need a constant and reliable travel companion for your on-the-go antics, the Apple iPad Mini 5 (64GB, Wi-Fi, Space Grey) comes with a 4.8 out of 5 rating from more than 5,000 Amazon reviews. On the one hand, what's on offer here is a considerable leg-up in grunt over the Mini 4. On the other, the more cosmetically minded users among you may be less impressed with Apple's decision to stick with a somewhat dated, chunkier approach to screen bezel design.
While we're getting downsides out of the way early, it's also disappointing that Apple decided to go with a Lightning port over a USB-C connection (that said, we do appreciate the headphone jack remaining). There's also the sweet and sour proposition of the cameras – the front was upgraded to 1080p (7MP) while the rear didn't also receive a bump upwards into a 4K-capable one.
All the bad news ends there, as the Mini 5's internals become quite a bit more impressive than its predecessor. For starters, we're talking about a 66% higher clock speed that makes this roughly three times faster than last season's model, all thanks to a six-core 2.49GHz processor.
The evolutionary leap in screen quality is immediately apparent as well. Apple opted to upgrade this line with the fandangle True Tone technology. In layman's terms, the device recognises when you transition into different environments and will use an ambient light reading to adapt the intensity and colour of your LCD screen. Basically, you're kept in the most optimal viewing sweet spot, which is truly an indispensable feature when you're out and about.
Best iPad for professionals: Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch Wi-Fi + Cellular 128GB – Space Grey
Why we chose it
The Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch Wi-Fi + Cellular 128GB comes with 4.7 out of 5 rating from 23 Amazon reviews and is, quite frankly, the no-nonsense option for a discerning iPad power user. Quick word of warning: though its striking outer appearance may seem to be indistinguishable from the generation previous, this is a Pro that hides considerable upgrades within.
To begin with, we've now leapt to an octa-core A12Z processor, plus an impressive camera array consisting of a 10MP ultra-wide, a 12MP wide and even an augmented reality delivering LiDAR scanner to boot. Though this is the base storage model (with other options running right up into terabyte territory) this 128GB option receives the same boost to 6GB RAM that's enjoyed by its more expensive brethren.
Other benefits that may entice a graphic-designing professional: support for the Magic Keyboard, mice, Apple Pencil and other artiste-enabling pointer devices. Said accessories will need to interface with the new USB-C standard port and it's worth mentioning this model is supported by a variety of stands and cases that can make graphic designing with a handheld pain-free and viable in terms of ergonomics.
Some reviewers noted a bit of a design flaw here and it's one that this writer agrees with (being an owner of this unit himself). More often than not, professionals will be using this iPad docked in a landscape format, which doesn't gel well with the camera positioning. You'll need to de-dock for a video conference call or get one heck of a crick in the neck. Not a huge deal that will affect every user, but certainly something worth considering.
Beyond that minor peccadillo, professionals should find this Pro still talks the talk and walks the walk in terms of power, performance and creativity-enhancing peripherals support.
Best non-iPad tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ 5G 256GB, Silver
Why we chose it
If you're okay with running astray from Apple, we'd recommend the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ 5G 256G, a device with a 4.6 out of 5 rating from 19 Amazon reviews. In the decades since Apple made its industry-changing tablet debut, competitors to the iPad have been steadily closing the gap considerably in terms of price, performance and features. The Galaxy Tab S7+ is, in many ways but not all, within striking distance of the best Apple can offer.
Anybody who has been tracking the Tab lineage up until this point won't be overly wowed by this seventh generation of cosmetics. What's here more or less maintains the external status quo of the S6+, just at a larger 12.4-inch screen size that may be ensconced in one of three new colour shell variants (Mystic Bronze, Mystic Crush Silver and Mystic Black). Have no fear, as all of Samsung's evolutionary efforts have been focused under the hood.
Turn on the S7+ and you'll be greeted with an eyeball-searing "Super AMOLED" screen that delivers an impressive 2,800 x 1,752 resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. Practically everything you throw at it will run at a more than decent clip, too, thanks to a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ system on a chip. Gamers and graphic-designing types will also appreciate the extra polygonal grunt provided by an Adreno 650 GPU.
The good news continues in terms of battery and storage. Getting the S7+ back to full juice is a short order thanks to 45W fast charging and a long-lasting 10,090mAh Li-Ion battery. Data hoarders should know that we've selected the middle capacity variant here – a 512GB version exists or simply expand your own horizons with a 1TB microSD. Likewise, you can up your 6GB base RAM to 8GB.
Throw in the lightning-fast 5G connectivity with an impressive 13MP/5MP dual rear camera array and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ becomes an alluring Apple sea change indeed.
Best iPad accessory: Renaisser Stylus Pen for iPad
Why we chose it
Creative types looking to elevate their art to the next level had best check out the Renaisser Stylus Pen for iPad, an unofficial accessory that has a 4.2 out of 5 rating from 667 Amazon reviews. Though the first and second generation Apple Pens are widely praised as the go-to accessory for doodlers and hardcore designers alike, Renaisser manages to deliver similar standard results with better compatibility across the Apple device family.
More specifically, this stylus pen boasts full functionality with Apple iPad 7th Gen (10.2"), iPad Mini 5th Gen, iPad Air 3rd Gen and iPad Pro 2018/2020 (11"/12.9"). That device friendliness is bolstered with a long-lasting Lithium-ion battery and an 8.9mm width that makes it basically identical to the feel of an Apple Pencil. This stylus is, by overwhelming account, an ergonomically designed artistic tool that weighs a paltry and perfectly balanced 12 grams.
Even better, unsightly and annoying-to-fix digital smudges can be flat-out avoided with Palm Rejection Technology. In essence, this wizardry will allow you to freely rest your mitt on your iPad when writing or sketching and it won't be registered as a mark on your work. In fact, from this cramp-avoiding position of support, you can continue to scratch out perfectly accurate notes or precise, smooth and continuous brush strokes.
Last but not least, the Renaisser provides full peace of mind for those of you who are deathly afraid of screen scratches. This stylus comes with a unique tip of flexible material design which will result in very light friction. Many reviewers have said the tactile experience here is quite akin to working on good old-fashioned paper.
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