This story is part of Black Friday 2019, our roundup of the best deals on today’s tech.
Want to save on an iPad? Of course you do. But which iPad? This tablet line has gotten larger as time has gone on, which can make it confusing to decide on which one to buy. But there’s good news for any potential iPad shopper this Black Friday The iPad discounts are many, and all of the options are pretty amazing. It’s just a matter of how much you’d like to pay.
Unlike last year, Apple hasn’t released a new version of the top-end iPad Pro. But the recent 10.2-inch budget-line iPad is better than ever. Or should you get the Mini? Or, the iPad Air?
Let’s dive in. (By the way, here’s the proper etiquette for buying tech gifts in general, and here’s what to consider when buying smart home gifts.)
Tech News: iPad 10.2-inch (2019): The best for most
The 10.2-inch model is CNET’s Editors’ Choice for a reason: Even though it has an older A10 processor, it works perfectly well with the latest iPadOS, has a slightly bigger screen, supports the Apple Pencil, and now works with Apple’s older Smart Connector keyboard accessories. It’s already on sale, too. I’d consider the 128GB model, though, over the 32GB, especially if you’re planning on downloading movies. The ideal size I would have recommended would have been 64GB… which, of course, Apple doesn’t sell.
There are several sales on this model, and probably more to come. Amazon is offering about $49 off both storage sizes of the iPad, plus an extra $30 with “no rush shipping,” meaning either $280 or $250 for the 32GB version. (I’d recommend the 128GB version, though).
Best Buy is offering the iPad for $250, but you need to sign up for a free Best Buy reward program membership.
Tech News: iPad (2018): Almost the same as the 10.2-inch iPad
You could save even more by getting last year’s model of the entry-level iPad, which has the same A10 processor (and also supports Apple Pencil). Amazon’s deal on the LTE, 128GB version is down to $429 ($130 off), which is the most affordable way to an LTE iPad…but do you really need LTE? (I’d say no.)
Tech News: iPad Air (2019): Step up from basic
The difference between the entry-level 10.2-inch iPad and the iPad Air released this year is basically a better A12 processor, and a slightly bigger screen (10.5 inches). It’s also a bit thinner. Anyone who wants a bit more graphics oomph for photo or video work could consider this a way to split the difference between the basic iPad and the iPad Pro. You’ll find it for $469, a discount of $30, at B&H electronics.
Tech News: The 2017 iPad Pro is like the 2019 iPad Air, with a couple of extras
Save yourself the headache and know that the 2019 10.5-inch iPad Air is a slightly more budget version of the 2017 10.5-inch iPad Pro. The Pro from 2017 has a faster-scrolling 120Hz display, better quad speakers and slightly different cameras. If you can somehow get it for less than the Air above, it’s well worth it! The 2017 iPad Pro’s on sale below, but at a higher cost than the iPad Air.
Tech News: iPad Pro (2018): The fanciest option, but…
For the right price, last year’s iPad Pro is still a great pick. Its A12X processor is extremely powerful, it has Face ID (which is great on an iPad), supports newer Pencil accessories that stick to the side to charge, its optional keyboard case is great (and expensive), and it supports USB-C. Amazon has the 11-inch 64GB Pro for $150 off, but even then it’s still $649. (Other storage sizes are available at less impressive discounts.)
Tech News: iPad Mini (2019): Not a bad travel proposition
The smaller 7.9-inch iPad was upgraded this year with an A12 processor and Pencil support, and it’s a great smaller tablet. It’s normally too expensive to justify over the entry iPad, but Black Friday sale deals could make it a tempting travel gadget. It’s not so great for typing, though, and the $15 off deal below isn’t very much off the regular price.
Tech News: Consider at least 64GB of storage
Some of the basic iPads start with just 32GB, which doesn’t cut it. Some models start with 64GB, which is acceptable. If you’re downloading movies for trips or plan on putting lots of games onboard, consider 128GB. I wouldn’t consider 256GB and up unless you’re a video editor.
Tech News: For kids, Fire tablets or Chromebooks are worth considering
Amazon’s always-crazy-low tablet sales on Fire tablets are tempting if you have Amazon Prime or live in Amazon’s ecosystem. As ultra-budget tablets for videos and games, they’re totally fine.
Chromebooks are excellent choices as secure kid-friendly laptop alternatives, or for anyone who might want a laptop-type browser without a full computer price.
Tech News: iPad at any price?
If you’re treating yourself, last year’s iPad Pro is a stellar laptop alternative, pro