Looking to buy a new iPad

Well, it’s time to replace my iPad mini. Nothing wrong with it, except that it’s old and won’t take the latest iPadOS.
I really like the form factor of the mini, but it seems that the Air or even the classic will give me better bang for my buck. With that said, I’m not a heavy iPad user. I mainly use it to test stuff for work. Though with the pencil, there’s a chance I could use it for more.

Anyone have any ideas?

The cheapest option you can get. Whatever you choose is going to suffer the same fate as your Mini… in about 4 years it too will still work but won’t take whatever the current iOS is. Based on that, it’s not an investment, so don’t treat it like one. Treat it like a tool that gets a job done, and buy only the amount of tool you actually need.

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It depends on the size you want, are you happy with the form factor of the mini? Is it too small?

I have an Air and my wife has the mini, the mini is more handy and usable on the move, the Air is bigger and easier to read, but heavier to hold upright over long periods of time than the mini, then you have the Pros.

The base iPad currently has a better front camera set-up for Facetime, Zoom etc. as the camera is on the long side of the device, so can be easily used in landscape mode, all other models still have it on the short side, so looks odd in landscape mode.

The base iPad also still uses the old Pencil 1, so the benefits of the updated Pencil are lost, and you’ll need a dongle to charge it, as the Pencil 1 is Lightning and all iPads are now USB-C. That said, the Pencil 1 is cheaper than the 2, so if you are only experimenting it would be a cheaper way to go, but might leave you frustrated at not having a better processor and the more advanced pencil in the long run.

But it has the weakest processor, so the others will probably be supported for longer or get new features - you need an Air or Pro with an M1 or M2 chip, for example, to get the new Stage Manager multi-tasking features. If they aren’t something that interests you, the plain iPad would be fine.

At the end of the day, it comes down to what you will use it for and what you are comfortable holding. If it is going to be used on your lap most of the time, any size will do, although the Pros are probably a bit on the awkwardly large size for that. If you are going to be holding it up in front of you most of the time, the mini is probably the better option.

If you are using it a lot for video conferencing and don’t need the extra power, the base iPad has the best camera layout, but for most other things it lags behind.

Of the bigger iPads, the Air is probably still the sweet spot, modern hardware, without the Pro price tag.

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I bought my current iPad mini 4 (refurbished) back in 2016. I’ve been very happy with the mini form factor. The only issue I see is that when it comes to longevity is that the mini 6 was a 2021 release and has an A15 versus the Air for $100 more with a M1.

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If size isn’t the driving factor, the Air is probably the sweet spot, on performance, longevity and price.

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