Everything You Need To Know Before Buying an iPad

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Fancy a new tablet? An iPad may be your best bet, and it’s a great time to buy. Unlike the old days when a new tablet was an extremely pricey purchase, your options now extend from budget models to the most powerful mini computers in the world.

If you choose to buy a refurbished iPad – items which have been returned to the manufacturer, refurbished, tested and checked, and come with a 12-month eBay guarantee – you could save yourself up to 50% compared to buying new, too. 

And if you use this helpful guide, you'll download all the info you need to make the right choice and at a great price, as we’ve linked you through to refurbished products wherever we can.

There Are Three Kinds of iPad



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An iPad isn’t one thing: Far from it, in fact. There are three options available: The iPad mini, the iPad Air and the iPad Pro

Right now, Minis (which come with a smaller, 7.9-inch screen) and Airs (with a 9.7-inch screen) are the most affordable picks, and ideal for everyday use. Pro models – which also have a 9.7-inch screen – are the priciest choice, but that's because they have the latest, greatest tech on board. The iPad range now offers something for everyone, including budget-conscious buyers. 

What’s an iPad Pro?



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The newest addition to the iPad fraternity is the iPad Pro. But don't worry – they're not as serious as they might sound. 

As well as having the best cameras and fastest processors, iPad Pros support Apple’s wonderful Pencil – a stylus that lets you draw right on the screen, as if it was a notepad. There’s a giant 12.9-inch version of the Pro as well as the standard 9.7-inch one, which looks and feels much more like an iPad Air 2

What an Apple Pencil Can Do



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iPad Pro tablets don’t come bundled with the Apple Pencil as standard, but it’s a fantastic accessory, particularly for creative types. 

It feels incredibly natural and uses pressure sensitivity that lets apps react to how hard you press – and there are a whole army of great art apps to turn an iPad Pro into a top-class design and drawing tool. Favourites include Procreate and Adobe Photoshop Sketch, although you can also use Evernote if you don’t dream of being an artist. 

There Are Four Colours To Choose From



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iPads are available in four colours these days: Silver, grey, gold and pink. Or, to use Apple’s own spiel, 'Space Grey', 'Silver', 'Gold' and 'Rose Gold'. 

They all boast the same pristine anodised aluminium finish and cost the same, so just pick the one which most treats your eyeballs. If you’re buying a refurbished iPad, while most will be in perfect order, check the item description to see if it tells you anything about it's condition. Space Grey is the colour that shows up nicks or scratches the most, but a tiny nick is well worth saving up to 50% in our book. 

You Can Get One With a Data Connection



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Once you’ve chosen the model of iPad and its colour, you have to tackle whether to get Wi-Fi only or a 4G model, which lets you connect to the internet wherever you have signal coverage. 

A data SIM isn't included with the 4G version, so you have to get hold of one through a network. It’s just like the SIM that’s in your phone, except without the bundled calls and texts. Unless you’re out for a refurb deal on an older iPad – such as an original iPad Air or an iPad 4 – all models use nano SIMs

Storage Matters



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iPads don’t have slots for expandable memory: Never have, probably never will. So, picking the right storage option is very important. 

The smallest storage for  iPad mini and iPad Air 2, 16GB, can be eaten up very quickly if you like to play games, which can easily take up more than 1GB each. Buy a refurbished iPad and you can generally get the next level of storage for the same price, or less.

And if you're feeling flush? iPad Pros offer up to 256GB of storage... 

Larger iPads Are Laptop-Replacers



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iPad Air and Pro tablets could replace your laptop, if you're so inclined. Larger tablets give you that bit of extra space, making typing much more comfortable. After all, you don’t want to feel cramped while crafting your first bestseller. 

Apple makes official keyboard bases for the Pro models, but you can also get keyboards from trusted brands such as Logitech, while a few other tech veterans also produce great keyboards for iPad Air 2s and iPad minis. 

iPad Mini Is Tops for Commuters



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Bigger isn’t always better, so the iPad mini is the top pick if you’re mostly going to use your tablet on a crammed bus or train. 

If you can afford an iPad mini 3 (the Wi-Fi version is under 300g), it's perfect for one-handed use. The iPad mini 2 is a teeny bit heavier, but you’ll find some great refurb deals. It was the first mini to boast a Retina display, too.

An Office Suite Comes Included



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Want to use your iPad like a laptop? iPads now come loaded with Apple’s bespoke office suite, which includes Pages, Numbers and Keynote. That’s a word processor, spreadsheet app and presentation-maker, for the uninitiated. 

These are similar to the apps you get with a MacBook, but are pared down a tad so they work better on a tablet. If you’re used to Microsoft’s apps, there’s also OneNote compatibility. It’s free to download on the iPad, too. 

iPads Have a Worldwide Warranty



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Being a truly global gadget, one of the perks of buying an iPad is that you get a worldwide warranty. This is good news, as you’ll find a lot of devices online that originally come from the US or elsewhere. 

The main difference is the plug you get in the box, otherwise they are the exact same gadget you'd pick up on these shores. And don't forget, as a bonus, if you buy one refurbished on eBay you'll get a 12-month warranty from eBay, too.

You Can Use Your iPhone Apps and Games



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In the iTunes App Store, you’ll find certain apps and games that only work on an iPad. However, an iPad can also run any iPhone software

While an awful lot of iOS software is free these days, iPhone owners can reminisce by playing old favourites on the big screen. A lot of apps are 'Universal', too, meaning they are already optimised for the iPad’s larger display, so they won’t look stretched.

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