Just last month, Apple unveiled its newest iPad Pro model, which features a new and improved screen as well as a faster processor. Upgrades are par for course with any Apple product, but even with those innovations, they usually aren't leaps and bounds better than last year's model … or the year before that.
iPads keep getting better, but the world's most popular tablet has a host of varieties dating back the past few years, almost all still more than enough device for anyone on the hunt for a reliable tablet. And buyers end up paying a fraction of the new price, to boot.
Right now, you can score a certified refurbished and pre-owned iPad, iPad Air, iPad Mini, or iPad Pro, all at costs well below their usual retail price.
The original flavor iPad is still the gold standard for modern tablets. And whether you look to an 8th gen iPad ($379.99; originally $429) that rolled off the factory line last year or reach back to an iPad 2 minted back in 2011, users will still get a tablet steeped in all the solid performance and stylish flair of a handheld Apple product.
From the iPad 2's dual-core A5 processor all the way up through the A12 Bionic Chip giving the 8th gen iPad its brilliantly fast "console-level" processor performance, each offers enough power to multitask effortlessly. Meanwhile, you'll find tablet cameras have improved slightly as well, ranging from a 5MP rear-facing cam in the iPad 2, iPad 4 ($134.99; originally $199), and iPad 5 ($289.99; originally $299), up to an 8MP version in the 5th ($270; originally $399), 7th, and 8th gen models.
Shoppers can also choose between 16GB or 32GB of storage with these perfect entry-level tablets, each guaranteed to arrive in perfect working order with a charging cable and nothing more than slight blemishes or light scratches.
Apple iPad 7th Gen, 10.2", 32GB – Space Gray (Refurbished: WiFi + 4G Unlocked) Bundle – $379.99; originally $559
While most of these refurbished models are Wi-Fi only, the 7th gen iPad crafted in 2019 also comes with cellular connectivity, ready to be added on to any full 4G service plan for complete on-the-go functionality. Each model also has Bluetooth connectivity with about 10 hours of battery life on a single charge.
Apple iPad Air, 16GB – Space Gray (Grade B Refurbished: Wi-Fi Only) Bundle – $169.99; originally $499
The iPad Air is a little bit thinner and lighter than an iPad classic version, but it also comes with a little more processor power than its older brother as well. Whether you go with a 2013 iPad Air or a 2014 iPad Air 2 ($220; originally $499), each is run by an Apple A7 or A8 processor respectively for downloading your favorite apps, browsing and streaming from the web, and securely saving pictures and files.
Speaking of space, that's generally your biggest decision to make among these iPad Air varieties, ranging from a baseline 16GB of storage room up to the positively spacious 128GB models. Those versions also feature 4G compatibility with both AT&T ($239; originally $399) and Verizon ($239; originally $399) service networks, making them super easy to get added to your data plans immediately and pressed into service. Not to mention, you can choose between a sleek silver ($289; originally $339) or a luxe space gray ($299.99; originally $399) to suit your style.
The iPad Mini instantly makes users think it's … well, tiny. And while this tablet can fit in your hand a bit easier with the slightly smaller 7.9-inch screen size, don't let that more diminutive size fool you into thinking it's lesser tech.
Produced between 2012 and 2015, these first four iPad Mini models were — and are — some formidable tools for almost any handheld business you need to be completed. Again, cameras range from 5MP rear cams in the Mini, Mini 2 ($174.99; originally $300), and Mini 3 ($249.99; originally $300), up to 8MP in the Mini 4 ($355; originally $499). That version also features 1080p video capture, face detection, video stabilization, tap to focus, and all kinds of advanced recording features.
Again, storage size will likely be your decision-maker among these varieties, from the efficient 16GB of the Mini and Mini 2 up to the more expansive storage abilities of the 64GB Mini 3 or the wide-ranging 128GB Mini 4.
Finally, the iPad Pro packs in every feature and ability Apple can stuff into a tablet — and these 2015 and 2016 vintage Pros are still formidable even by 2021 standards. Crafted for heavy tablet users, from graphic designers and artists to intensive video streamers, these Pros feature either a dual-core 2.26GHz processor or Apple's sporty A9X chip, both more than ready to handle tasks that most tablet users would just leave to their desktops.
While the standard 9.7-inch screen comes with 128GB of storage, true artists might just want to step up to the Pro with a positively ginormous 12.9-inch display. The screen is so big, it'll feel like holding a display monitor in your hands, even though the entire tablet only weighs about 1.5 lbs. For those who need to sweat over every visual detail or for users who want an expanded canvas for watching videos that don't force you to squint, this might be the model to try.
Prices subject to change.