Which are the best iPads for elementary and high school students? We’ve tested all of Apple’s tablets, and here are our current recommendations.
In today’s digital age, the excuse “My hamster ate my homework” won’t work anymore, especially if you’ve saved it digitally on the iPad and in the iCloud. Unless your fluffy pet has a taste for aluminum and electronic components.
For Apple fans who are still in school and wondering which iPad is right for their daily studies, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we recommend you the best iPads for young students and children, and we’ll reveal the respective pros and cons of each device. You will find both affordable options and a premium tablet where you won’t have to compromise much.
Best iPads for Students and Children: An Overview
- Most Affordable Entry-level iPad: Apple iPad 9 (on Amazon*). The price-performance champion in our list of the best iPads for students is undoubtedly the iPad 9. The base version of the tablet with 64GB of internal storage and Wi-Fi is now available for around 360 euros and is almost similar in terms of hardware power than the current iPad 10. The iPad 9 is powered by Apple’s in-house A13 processor, which still offers better performance than most tablets in the Android and Windows lineup. The iPad 9’s display has a resolution of 1620 x 2160 pixels and a 60Hz refresh rate. It’s unfortunate that the screen is not laminated. On the positive side, the device features a fingerprint scanner that allows you to unlock the tablet, among other things. Thanks to its good hardware performance, lightweight design, and excellent software, the iPad 9 is an ideal and reliable companion for school.
- Powerful Tablet for School: Apple iPad 10 (on Amazon*). The iPad 10 is even more powerful than its predecessor and looks a bit sleeker, but the differences are relatively small. However, for these slight improvements, you’ll have to spend almost 200 euros more compared to the iPad 9. One issue shared by the current iPad 10 and the iPad 9 is the non-laminated screen, which creates a visible gap between the touchscreen and the IPS panel. This can feel a bit unintuitive when drawing and writing, as it may seem like you’re not directly touching the display. However, this is not as problematic as it sounds, and most users are unlikely to notice it in their daily use. Overall, the iPad 10 is more of a model update than a groundbreaking innovation compared to its predecessor.
- Best iPad Pro Alternative: Apple iPad Air (on Amazon*). For students with a bit more budget who want a premium tablet and need strong hardware for resource-intensive apps, we recommend the iPad Air. It offers slightly less power than the iPad Pro but looks great and feels premium. It supports the Apple Pencil 2 and an optional keyboard cover. To compare, the iPad 9 and 10 only support the Apple Pencil 1, which can only be charged via the Lightning port and not via induction on the side of the iPad. The 10.86-inch screen of the iPad Air is pleasantly bright and, like the iPad 10 and 9, has a 60Hz refresh rate. If you want 120Hz, you’ll need to opt for the significantly more expensive iPad Pro. Thanks to its slim design, light weight, and excellent hardware performance, the iPad Air is the perfect premium companion for school.
- Best 8-Inch Tablet: Apple iPad Mini (on Amazon*). Students who prioritize portability will love the iPad Mini. It features a sleek 8-inch display and offers enough processing power even for the most demanding apps. This tablet can be easily tucked into a larger jacket pocket and still provides a beautiful display for note-taking, drawing, and reading. The so-called “jelly effect” of the display can be slightly annoying, but this criticism only matters if you’re particularly sensitive. Most users are unlikely to notice any significant issues when working with the iPad mini. Overall, the iPad mini offers a great package, especially if you appreciate the compact dimensions of the tablet.
The Best iPads for Young Students: All the Details
Let’s now look at the best iPads for students in detail. We have linked our reviews for each iPad to give you a detailed overview about their performance, battery and other features.
Best Price-Performance Ratio: Apple iPad 9
The iPad 9 may not be Apple’s current flagship model, but it’s available in the base version with 64GB of internal storage and Wi-Fi for only around 360 euros. It offers slightly less power than the iPad 10 but still outperforms most Android tablets by a wide margin.
Apple’s entry-level tablet, the iPad 9, comes with a Lightning port for charging and also supports the Apple Pencil 1. The tablet is expected to receive iPadOS updates for around seven years, which is standard for Apple devices.
The display has a resolution of 1620 x 2160 pixels, a 60Hz refresh rate, and a peak brightness of 500 nits. Unfortunately, like the iPad 10, the display of the iPad 9 is not laminated, creating a visible gap between the touchscreen and the IPS panel. This can feel a bit uncomfortable when drawing and writing, as it may seem like you’re not directly touching the display. However, in reality, it’s not as bad as it sounds, and most users may not even notice it in their daily use.
Thanks to the Apple A13 processor, 3GB of RAM, and 64GB/256GB of internal storage, the iPad 9’s hardware performance is quite impressive and outpaces most Android and Windows tablets. This allows you to use heavy apps in your school routine without limitations.
Apple also offers the iPad 9 in an LTE version, so you can stay connected even on the school campus without Wi-Fi or a hotspot.
The quality of the two speakers is good, although there is no true stereo separation since the speaker slots are on the same side. Nevertheless, the iPad 9’s audio quality is commendable.
In our battery test, the iPad 9 lasted for only 6 hours, during which we played an HD YouTube video in a loop. One commendable feature is the reliable fingerprint scanner of the iPad 9.
If you would like to pair a protective case with this tablet, we recommend the NLR Kids Eva Protective Case, as it is super durable and comes with a kickstand, making it quite practical.
Overall, the iPad 9 offers an excellent price-performance ratio, great performance, and a well-rounded package, making it a reliable companion for your school days.
Also Read: Apple iPad 9 Review
iPad 10: A Great All-Rounder for School
If you’re willing to spend around 200 euros extra and want something sleeker and more powerful than the iPad 9, we recommend the iPad 10. It also supports the Apple Pencil 1, which is great for quick notes and drawing, and it offers a keyboard cover.
The stylus and the cover are well-matched and of high quality. However, it’s not ideal that you need an adapter for the iPad 10 since the device itself has a USB-C port while the Apple Pencil 1 uses a Lightning port. It would have been better if the iPad 10 were directly compatible with the Apple Pencil 2, but the latter is only compatible with the current models of the iPad mini, iPad Air, and iPad Pro. Aside from the need for an adapter, this isn’t a significant issue since both stylus work well with pressure sensitivity and tilt recognition. The Apple Pencil 1 lacks the tap feature, and you can’t charge it via induction.
In terms of hardware performance, the iPad 10 competes at the top of the tablet market. According to Geekbench 5 test results, the iPad 10 outperforms the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 series in terms of performance. Students who use resource-intensive apps like Adobe Photoshop or play demanding games will get a lot of performance for a relatively “small” price with the iPad 10.
The design of the iPad 10 is fine, but there are sleeker tablets with thinner display borders on the market. Additionally, the iPad 10’s display is not laminated, similar to the iPad 9. This can create a feeling that the screen isn’t being touched directly when drawing or writing with the Apple Pencil. However, as mentioned earlier, this is not a big issue in everyday use and is unlikely to bother most users.
For a protective case, we recommend the JETech model*. It features a child-friendly grip with an anti-slip texture, making it easy to carry the iPad and allowing it to stand on the table, for example, to enjoy a movie without having to hold the tablet.
Notable features of the iPad 10 include its strong performance, impeccable build quality, and good cameras. Apple offers the iPad 10 in versions with 64GB and 256GB of internal storage, as well as an optional 5G connectivity. If you plan to download many apps and use the iPad daily, we recommend choosing the larger storage option, as 64GB can quickly become insufficient.
Also Read: Apple iPad 10 Review
Apple iPad Air: A Premium Offering for Students
Students who are looking for a premium tablet or have their eye on the iPad Pro but have budget constraints should definitely consider the iPad Air. The iPad Air supports Apple Pencil 2, offers two high-quality keyboard options, and boasts strong performance.
The iPad Air is slightly more affordable than the iPad Pro and still features the impressive M1 chip, which is also used in MacBook models. The base configuration with 64GB and Wi-Fi is currently available for 709 euros on Amazon. Thanks to this in-house chip, it outperforms any Android tablet available on the market. This means you can use the tablet not only for professional video editing or high-resolution image editing but also to play the latest games at the high-end graphics settings.
The iPad Air has a premium design, is lightweight (461g), and compact enough for school use. It also comes in a variety of colors, including Blue, Pink, Polar Star, Space Gray, Starlight, and Purple in the 5th generation. The cameras are also excellent, and the tablet features a sleek 10.86-inch LCD display with a 60Hz refresh rate and up-to-date software.
Unfortunately, the base version of the iPad Air only offers 64GB of storage, which may be insufficient for students who want to install many storage-hungry apps on their tablets. It’s also unfortunate that there is no 128GB version available; you can only choose between 64GB and 256GB, with the larger storage option being about 200 euros more expensive. Therefore, you should carefully consider how much storage you need before making a decision.
For the iPad Air, we also recommend the JETech Kids Case*. It’s available in green with a blue handle, gray with a black handle, green with a blue handle, pink with a blue handle, and pink with a purple handle. Thanks to the kickstand, the iPad Air can easily be placed on the table for hands-free viewing, such as watching YouTube videos.
Overall, the iPad Air is the premium choice for school. Thanks to its solid performance, stylish display, and seamless keyboard and stylus support.
Also Read: iPad Air Review
iPad Mini: High Portability Meets Strong Performance
If you prefer a more compact option, the iPad Mini is definitely worth considering. It is currently available in the base version with 64GB and Wi-Fi for around 620 euros and is the most powerful 8-inch tablet on the market.
Thanks to its compact dimensions, it’s ideal for carrying to school without compromising on performance. The tablet boasts a high-quality metal body and weighs only 297g. This makes it comfortable to hold even when taking notes or drawing.
The iPad Mini features a fingerprint scanner, stereo speakers, cameras, and a USB-C port, which we appreciate. Like the iPad Air, the iPad Mini also supports the Apple Pencil 2.
Under the hood, it runs on the Apple A15 processor, which provides enough processing power to outperform most premium Android or Windows tablets. Although it falls behind the iPad Air with the M1 chip in terms of performance, it is sufficient for virtually any application. Whether you’re editing videos, retouching images, gaming intensively, or using other resource-intensive apps, the iPad Mini is unlikely to encounter hardware limitations.
The display is also good, reaching up to 500 nits of brightness, ensuring that you can see the tablet’s content even when outdoors on the school grounds. The only minor annoyance is the “jelly effect” of the screen. This means that during scrolling, the entire screen content is not uniformly shifted, resulting in occasional misalignment. However, most users are unlikely to notice this issue, especially in everyday use.
To protect your iPad Mini, we recommend the Timecity case*. It is shockproof, very durable, and features a kickstand for easy table placement. Additionally, it has a handy hand strap on the back.
If you value high portability and excellent hardware performance, the iPad Mini is the right choice for you. This tablet ranks among the best 8-inch devices currently available. Thanks to its compact dimensions, it can easily be stowed in a school bag.
Also Read: Apple iPad Mini Review
* Please note that the Amazon links provided are for reference and may not be up-to-date. Prices and availability may vary.
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