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iPad 9.7 (2017) review

Cheaper and better than an iPad Air 2

Editor's Choice

The new iPad looks to be the tablet to buy in 2017, and shows that Apple’s iPad range are still the slates to beat. It offers everything you’ll need for watching media, and costs less than the iPad Air 2 did when it was on sale.

This iPad isn’t as appropriate for professional use as the iPad Pro range, but the build and specs add up to a great all-round package.

With a beautiful and easy-to-hold design, a great-looking display and some powerful internals, it’s hard to find a tablet that offers as much as the iPad for such a low price.

Who’s this for?

If you’ve never owned a tablet before, the new iPad would be the perfect place to start. Quite simply, if you’re not using it for productivity tasks, everything you could want in a tablet is here.

If your tablet is a few years old and needs upgrading, the new iPad would also be a great option.

Don’t buy this if you are looking for a productivity product though. For that you’ll want an iPad Pro, plus accessories, or perhaps a laptop. This iPad doesn’t have a strong enough processor to handle those kinds of intensive tasks, and the accessories you’ll need for the new iPad aren’t as good as the accessories for the iPad Pro.

Should you buy it?

The new iPad is far better than the iPad Air 2 – which was itself a fantastic tablet – and will offer you everything you need from a media device that you can use on the sofa.

If you have an iPad Air 2, iPad Pro or a recent iPad Mini, it’s not worth upgrading to the new iPad. It doesn’t offer anything radically different to those devices, so it’s probably worth waiting for a more significant upgrade.

The new iPad is, however, better than almost every Android tablet on the market right now, and with its low price it’s a great choice for anyone looking to buy a new tablet.

Competition

Don't think the new iPad is made for you? Here are a few other options you should take a look at.

iPad Pro 9.7

Like the design and size of the iPad, but need something with slightly more professional credentials? The iPad Pro 9.7 will be right up your street. It has Apple’s Pro connector, so you can use it with a smart keyboard, and there’s also the Apple Pencil stylus.

If you’re going to be taking notes or drawing, the iPad Pro 9.7 is probably a better setup for you than the new iPad. There’s also a 256GB version of this iPad, but it’ll be more expensive than the new iPad.

Read the iPad Pro 9.7 review

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

Think an Android tablet may be your best bet? The best one on the market right now is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3. This offers top-of-the range-spec – you’ll be able to watch HDR video on this screen – as well as compatibility with a collection of accessories that make this a great choice for professionals.

Again, though, the Galaxy Tab S3 is going to be more expensive than the new iPad, and you may want to go for the Apple option here purely as it’s cheaper than Samsung’s latest.

Read the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 review

iPad Mini 4

This is the option to go for if you’re liking the Apple ethos, but want something a little bit smaller. The iPad Mini 4 is the best miniature tablet Apple has ever created, and offers you most of the same features as the new iPad, but with a 7.9-inch screen.

That’s still high-resolution though, and actually offers you a slightly crisper picture than the new iPad. It’s quite small though, so certainly isn’t the go-to device for everyone.

Read the iPad Mini 4 review

James Peckham
James Peckham

James is Managing Editor for Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.