Preparing for student life can be both exhilarating and stressful. To make things easier for you, it’s good to know that you have the right technological equipment to help you follow your lessons, take notes, but also relax with streaming and games.  

The iPad has evolved in recent years and can now easily replace a laptop, thanks in particular to its compatibility with accessories like the Magic Keyboard and the Apple Pencil, which makes it one of the most versatile devices.   

It can be difficult to choose because Apple currently offers a wide range of iterations with prices that vary a lot and different features.  

Before you decide, be aware that you can take advantage of a discount on a new product from the Apple brand via the Apple Store Education . 

Also, if you’re a student and buy an iPad (or Mac) from Apple, you can get gift cards during the Back to School event .

Following our comparison, find our Frequently Asked Questions , it can help you choose your iPad.

The best iPads for students  

10.2-inch iPad (9th generation, 2021) – The most affordable

  • Most
    • FaceTime with Center Frame
    • Compatible with any Bluetooth keyboard
    • His price
  • The lessers
    • 64 GB storage
  • From $329

The 10.2-inch iPad (9th Gen) is definitely the more affordable solution, especially considering the student discounts, and that’s despite having suffered a price increase worldwide.  

Although it is the cheapest iPad, it offers great performance and lots of features. Apple had upgraded the device in 2021, adding the powerful A13 that previously powered the iPhone 11 lineup, and making significant improvements to the front camera, which now has an ultra-wide lens with the support for the Centered frame function.   

It’s capable of running Microsoft Office apps for iPad, and Apple offers various productivity apps that make it easy to take notes and work on projects. 

Add to that a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and you have a very practical “laptop” that should meet all your needs. Support for the Apple Pencil (gen 1) lets you annotate documents, sketch and, of course, handwrite.   

The 10.2-inch iPad is a great choice if your requirements aren’t too high. It will easily adapt to your student life, but beware the basic model only has 64 GB of storage, which, at present, is little. Therefore, we recommend that you opt for the 256 GB version, which will be more practical but although more expensive. 

iPad mini (6th generation, 2021) – The most portable

  • Most
    • Design compact
    • A15 Bionic chip
  • The lessers
    • Unsuitable size in certain situations
  • From $499
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If the most important factor for you is portability then the iPad mini is one to consider.  

Updated in September 2021 with an A15 Bionic chip and an all-new design, it’s the smallest and lightest iPad in the catalog. It weighs 293g, compared to 487g for the 10.2-inch iPad and 461g for the Air. Of course, this featherweight is due to the reduced size of the iPad itself, thanks to the 8.3-inch screen and the fact that Apple removed the Home button and moved Touch ID to the button. supply located on the upper edge. The result is a compact and powerful device that doesn’t seem too small.  

We think this screen size is perfect for reading books or taking notes (especially with an Apple Pencil); so it could be ideal if that’s how you plan to use your iPad.  

And don’t let the small size fool you: the mini features an A15 Bionic chip, the same as the iPhone 13 Pro Max, so there’s no shortage of power. Connectivity is also top-notch, with support for the latest Wi-Fi 6 and LTE 5G networks, depending on the model chosen.   

The front camera is an Ultra-Wide lens, so it can follow you and keep you in the center of the frame during video calls thanks to Center Stage, while the 12MP Wide camera on the back can capture great photos and videos that could be used in presentations or for media-based assignments.  

iPad (10th generation, 2022) – The most versatile

  • Most
    • Air-like design
    • 10.9 inch screen
    • Landscape mode camera
    • A14 Bionic chip
  • The lessers
    • Price
    • 64 GB base storage
    • Requires dongle to power Apple Pencil Gen 1
  • From $449

The newest addition to the bunch is the 10.9-inch iPad (10th generation) , which takes the same design approach from the iPad mini and iPad Air. That means there’s no traditional Home button, instead there’s a Touch ID sensor built into the power button on the top edge. This leaves room for a larger screen than its predecessor. 

This new iteration features a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display which, like all other devices, is non-laminated. Therefore, there is a slight air gap between the glass and the digitizer below. You probably won’t notice it, but if you’re planning on using the Apple Pencil to take notes, then you might experience slight lags in tracking.  

The selfie sensor is located on the longer end of the panel, so it offers a true centrally located landscape view. This 12MP ultra-wide-angle sensor has an f/2.4 aperture for a 122-degree view. It is also compatible with the Centered Frame feature which keeps you in the center of the frame, even if you move during FaceTime calls.  

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At the back, we find the 12 Mp f / 1.8 wide-angle lens seen on the iPad Air, enough to take great shots and shoot 4K videos at 60 frames per second.  

Under the hood, it has the A14 Bionic processor, which the iPhon 12s have too. The power is therefore more than enough for word processing, note taking, coding and running most other educational applications, not to mention games and entertainment. The base model has 64 GB, but there is also a 256 GB version. 

The switch from Lightning to USB-C also allows for various peripherals and powering an external display if you want the iPad to become a full-fledged computer.  

There are four colors to choose from (blue, yellow, silver, and pink), it’s compatible with the new Magic Keyboard Folio, or standard Bluetooth keyboards, and the Apple Pencil. On the other hand, to recharge the latter you will need to obtain an Apple adapter…  


iPad Air (2022) – The most powerful

  • Most
    • Bigger screen
    • Touch ID
    • Choice of colors
  • The lessers
    • 64 GB of storage
  • From $599

While the Pro line includes the most powerful iPads on the market, for the needs of a typical student, they’re overpriced. 

In our opinion, the iPad Air , which was last updated in March 2022, with its 10.9-inch screen, modern design, low weight (461 g), excellent cameras and extremely powerful, is an excellent compromise.   

It has many advantages. By design, you get a bigger screen and thinner edges, while the Home button is replaced by Touch ID, integrated into the power button on the side of the chassis. The choice of colors is vast, but the main feature of this 2022 model is the inclusion of the M1 processor, which powers the previous generation of iPad Pro, not to mention several of the Macs.

The camera is a 12MP wide-angle lens (as seen on the iPad Pro), which can shoot video up to 4K at 60 fps, and as on the other iPads on this list, the selfie sensor is a 12 Mp ultra wide-angle. 

Essentially, the iPad Air is an iPad Pro at a lower price. The only major feature it lacks is the 120Hz ProMotion display refresh rate, but is that really an issue for you?  

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Buying an iPad or a laptop?  

Before you jump into buying an iPad, first consider whether it’s right for you. As a student, you probably have a few requirements:

  • A more or less affordable price 
  • Great apps for note taking, lesson recording, and review. 
  • The weight  
  • Accessory support  
  • Video call quality   

Between a tablet or a laptop, which product would be the most suitable? If you’re leaning towards the latter then take a look at our guide to the best Macs for students .  

We think an iPad is a great choice though. It runs most applications you’ll find on a computer, including the Office suite consisting of Word and PowerPoint or their Apple equivalents. In some cases, an iPad is more powerful than a laptop thanks to the super fast processors used by Apple.  

Another advantage is that you can store all your books, courses on your iPad and take them everywhere with you. You can photograph the pages of library books and use optical character recognition to save text to your iPad. 

Plus, the iPad is much lighter than any laptop. Say goodbye to back pain from a heavy backpack!   

With 10 hours of battery life, enough for a day on campus, you won’t need to be near a power outlet to recharge your tablet before it dies.  

Finally, you can synchronize any Bluetooth keyboard, not to mention its compatibility with the Apple Pencil.   

Are iPads made for students? 

There are many other tablets, many of which are cheaper than the iPad, however there are several reasons why the latter is so popular:

  • App Store is full of great apps, ideal for students: note taking, text conversion, lecture recording, timetable management and video calls 
  • An ecosystem for supporting great accessories 
  • A stable iPadOS operating system 
  • Use as a second screen, provided you are on Big Sur or later. 

How to get a student discount

If you still think the cost of an iPad is a little too high for you, here’s some good news: you don’t have to pay full price.  

Apple offers a student discount through its Apple Education Store . Register by indicating your student status and your courses, prove your identity and you’re done.

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SAKHRI Mohamed

Founder & Editor

Passionate about the web, new technologies and IT, I share on tutorials, tips, advice, online tools and software for Windows, Mac and Linux. I'm the founder of this blog and I'm very interested in anything to do with technology, but I also love playing games. I was born in Constantine, but now I live in Algiers/Algeria

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