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The best iPads for college students

The best iPads for college students can be used for many different tasks by students. For example, you can use them as graphic design tablets, animation tablets, or even note-taking devices.

This is made possible by their unique specifications and features. Below are the best options you can buy as a college student.

The iPad Pro takes the spot for the best overall pick. However, it is their most expensive iPad and may not be available to everyone. 

For this reason, we have included other options based on value, budget, and portability. Below is a list of the best iPads for college.

What are the best iPads for college students?

  1. iPad Pro: The Best iPad for College Students Overall
  2. iPad Air: Best iPads for college students Runner-Up
  3. iPad (10th generation): Best Value iPad for College Students
  4. iPad mini (6th generation, 2021): Most portable iPad
  5. iPad 10.2 inches (9th generation, 2021): Best Budget iPad for College Students

iPad Pro: The Best iPads for College Students Overall

  1. Screen Size: 12.9-inch
  2. Resolution: 2732 x 2048 pixels
  3. Processor: Apple M2
  4. RAM: 8 GB to 16 GB
  5. Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB
  6. Colors: silver, space gray
  7. Cameras: 12 MP wide, 10 MP ultrawide rear
  8. Front Camera: 12 MP True Depth FaceTime front
  9. Weight: 1.5 pounds.
  10. Connections: USB-C Thunderbolt/USB-4
  11. Battery life: 10 hours

If you are a content creator or artist and need a powerful iPad for your work, the iPad Pro is the best pick. Whether you need a gaming device or an iPad for animation, the Apple M2 processor and 8 to 16 GB of RAM will run smoothly without lags.

It features a large 12.9-inch screen with a 2732 x 2048 pixel resolution and is crisp and clear, displaying your work in rich, vivid colors. 

The screen features 1600 nits of brightness, which allows it to be easily used in both low and high light conditions. Additionally, you will have a 120 Hz refresh rate that makes your screen fast and responsive.

Overall, the tablet’s 10-hour battery life is reliable and usable for up to a full day of working time. This long battery life, slim and sleek design, and lightweight build make this tablet easy to carry around.

If you like using your iPad as a laptop, the iPad Pro is compatible with an Apple Magic keyboard that will turn your iPad into a laptop-like gadget. You have to buy the pencil and magic keyboard separately, as they do not come with the iPad.


  • Large screen size with high resolution
  • Good cameras
  • Long battery life
  • Lightweight build
  • Works with Magic Keyboard
  • Works with Apple Pencil 2


  • Expensive
  • Accessories bought separately

iPad Air: Best iPads for college students Runner-Up

  1. Screen size: 10.9-inch
  2. 2360-by-1640-pixel resolution
  3. Processor: M1 Chip
  • RAM: 8 GB RAM
  1. Weight: 1.02 pounds
  2. Front camera: 12MP Ultrawide
  3. Wi-Fi version: WiFi 6

iPad Air is the second-best option. It is slightly cheaper than the iPad Pro but still packs powerful specifications for professional tasks.

It comes with a large 10.9-inch screen with a 2360×1640 pixel resolution and a unique liquid Retina display, just like the iPad Pro.

It will refresh at a slower rate at 60 Hz, but it is still fast and good for gaming and drawing

For processing power, you will have a powerful M1 chip and 8 GB of RAM. This is slightly slower than the M2 chip but is still powerful enough for any task. 

Basically, the iPad Air will be slightly slower, but it can do anything the iPad Pro can do.


  • Affordable Price
  • Powerful M1 processor
  • Quick USB connectivity
  • Large screen and resolution


  • Storage is not expandable
  • The pen comes separately

iPad (10th generation): Best Value iPads for college students

  • Size: 10.9-inch
  • Resolution: 2360 × 1640 px
  • Processor: A14 Bionic Chip
  • Weight: 1.05 pounds
  • Front Camera: 12 MP ultrawide
  • Wi-Fi Version: Wi-Fi 6

The iPad (10th generation) is an equally sized 10.9-inch iPad that will provide the best value for college students. It features the same resolution as the iPad Air and 500 nits of maximum brightness.

It can be easily viewed in both bright and low-light conditions. The iPad (10th generation) has a weaker processor compared to the M2 and M1 on the iPad Pro and iPad Air, respectively. 

It features an A14 Bionic Chip, which is slower but still faster than most other tablets in the industry. You will not experience any lags, even when gaming.

Just like the more expensive iPads, the iPad (10th generation) is compatible with Magic Keyboard Folio but uses the first-generation Apple Pencil instead of Apple Pencil 2.

You have to buy these accessories separately, which adds to the price range. For connectivity, you will use the more common USB-C instead of a lightning port, which is complicated.


  • Affordable Price
  • Easily portable
  • Many color variations
  • Compatible with Magic Keyboard Folio and Apple Pencil 1
  • Bright screen at 500 nits


  • Apple Pencil 2 is not compatible
  • Accessories come separately.
  • Non-expandable storage

iPad Mini (6th Gen, 2021): Best Portable iPads for college Students

  • Screen Size: 8.3″ 
  • Resolution: 2266 x 1488 pixels 
  • Multi-Touch screen
  • Liquid Retina Display
  • Processor: Apple A15 Bionic Chip
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Storage Space: 64 GB 
  • Cameras: 12 MP Wide Camera
  • Connectivity: USB Type-C, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 

iPad Mini (6th generation, 2021) is the most portable iPad on this list. You can fit it in your college bag or pocket as you go from lecture to lecture. It comes with a small 8.3-inch screen with a 2266 x 1488 resolution.

This compact size will be portable without compromising image quality. However, for artists and graphic designers, the screen will be too small and congested, resulting in a poor experience.

For reading and writing tasks, this size and resolution are perfect. Cameras stand out if you need a tablet for taking photos or web conferencing. 

You will have a perfect 12 MP wide front and rear camera. It would have been better if they used an ultrawide camera instead, just like the more expensive iPad Air and iPad Pro

Although the Apple A15 Bionic Chip is good enough for most tasks, the low 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage space highly limit some tasks, like video editing, that require 8 GB and above.


  • Long battery life
  • Impressive resolution on the screen
  • Good cameras
  • Powerful processor


  • Low RAM
  • Small size
  • Low storage
iPads for college students

The best iPads for college students in 2024


  1. <strong>Should students buy an iPad or a laptop?</strong>

    iPads provide better flexibility and more powerful specifications than standard laptops. For example, 4K video recording, good cameras, and powerful processing. They also work with keyboards and touchpads to be used as perfect laptop alternatives.

  2. <strong>What is the best iPad for students?</strong>

    The iPad Pro is the best iPad for students. It comes with either a 12.9 or 11-inch screen and an M2 processor chip.