So many iPads... which one to buy?

Thursday, 26 December 2013 - 6:36pm IST | Agency: dna webdesk

It seems to be the season of choice for iOS device users. After having to choose between five iPhone models, they now have as many iPad models to choose from. Which one works best for you? We attempt to find out.

They have a saying in India that when God gives you something, He does so by the sackful (Bhagwan jab deta hai toh chhappar phaad ke deeta hai), and well, those who like all things Apple in India must be thinking that the Almighty has been in a generous mood of late. After being restricted to having to choose from a handful of iPhones, they had a whole five to choose from this year, and find themselves with a similar problem of aplenty with the iPad as well. At the time of writing, you could walk into a store and take your pick of now fewer than five pads - the new iPad Air, the iPad mini with retina display, the iPad (4th generation), the iPad mini, and the iPad 2, spread across a price band of Rs 21,900 to Rs 35,900. Puzzled as to which one to pick? Here is our take on which one works best for whom:

iPad Air
Rs 35,900 onwards

The flagship of the iPad line at the moment, the Air is pretty much the benchmark for all tablets in the looks and performance department. It is incredibly thin at 7.5mm and at 469 grammes, is very light for its size. But of course, the real magic in the device comes from the powerful A7 processor which is built on the 64-bit architecture that made the iPhone 5s turn in a sensational performance. The 9.7 inch display remains a 2048 x 1536 retina affair, but is brighter than before, while the camera megapixel count stays at five, but image quality is significantly better than any iPad in the past. And of course, the number of apps to make the most of those boosted specs is rising even as we write. All of this at the same staggering ten hour battery life. It’s pretty much the tablet to buy if you have no financial restrictions, we think.

Grab it if: You want the best tablet in the market. Period.

iPad with retina display (4th generation)
Rs 31,900 onwards

Until a few months ago the most recent iPad on the Apple tablet block, the fourth-generation iPad finds itself in the rather odd position of being shunted out officially even though it is still available - shades of the iPhone 5. It would, however, be utterly naive to think it is without value - retailers are selling it at prices close to Rs 27,500 and at that price, it definitely is a very good deal, as it still has enough muscle to run most iOS apps and games and packs in a very good camera, and has a display of similar resolution as that of the Air. And oh yes, it still looks very good indeed.

Grab it if: You want something bigger than the iPad mini  with retina display, but without compromising too much on performance, and feel that the iPad Air is out of financial reach.

iPad mini with retina display
Rs 28,900 onwards

People were expecting an iPad mini with a retina display since March 2013, so not too many were too surprised when it was finally unveiled later in the year. What, however, surprised a lot of people was the fact that in terms of spec power, the iPad mini with retina display pretty much went toe to toe with the Air. It has a display of similar 2048 x 1536 resolution, a similar A7 processor and on paper, a similar camera too. All this in a smaller, more compact frame, and at a significantly lower price tag than the Air. Of course, some will claim that the smaller 7.9-inch display does not deliver the "real" iPad experience, but those who feel more at home with smaller tablets or just prefer using tablets with one hand will find this inch-perfect.

Grab it if: You want iPad Air like performance, but at a lower price, with a more compact form factor thrown in.

iPad 2
Rs 28,900 onwards

Officially, this is the more affordable iPad, and do not get too stunned by the price - we have seen retailers selling it at sub-Rs 25,000 price tags. Although its dual core processor, basic camera and 1024 X 768 processor might seem archaic by the standards set by the Air, it remains a very handy device for those looking mainly for Web-oriented tasks like browsing, social networking and keeping tabs on the news. While it will stumble if you push it into HD gaming territory, it will still run Angry Birds and Cut The Rope just fine. Pretty much the basic iPad as of now. The fact that it still looks and works better than most Android tablets tells you a whole lot about the difference between the iPad and other tablets, though.

Grab it if: You want a 10-inch tablet for around Rs 25,000.

iPad mini
Rs 21,900 onwards

It created a stir when it was unveiled last year, and was seen as Apple's salvo against the smaller Android tablet crowd. In specs, it was more iPad 2 than the iPad with retina display (4th generation), but a bright display and Apple's design wizardry made thousands line up to grab this tablet. And it’s the design that still makes it stand out in the tablet crowd - at 7.2mm; it still remains the thinnest iPad ever. Again, we would not recommend playing high-end stuff like Infinity Blade or trying to edit HD videos on it, but if you want a smaller tablet that handles mail, browsing, social networks and casual games well enough, and are not willing to bust a bank for it, this is perhaps your best option. We actually think it makes more sense than the iPad 2, thanks to its looks and the very handy 5.0-megapixel shooter.

Grab it if: You want a 7-8 inch tablet that looks good, works well, has a good camera, and doesn’t burn a hole in your pockets!

We hope that you would find this guide useful as & when you are out hunting your own ‘Apple’. Do let us know in comments if there is something more that we can help you with.

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