If your dad dabbles in the visual arts, perhaps he’d like to take up digital drawing. After all, almost everything has gone virtual now. For that, he will need a powerful tablet and a stylus. The best tablet right now is the iPad Pro, and it’s currently on sale at Amazon ahead of Father’s Day. Pair it up with the Apple Pencil 1st Generation (also on sale for $94) and your dad’s all set to create digital masterpieces. If the iPad Pro’s $949 price tag is a tad too much, you can opt for iPad 10.2 instead for just $279. Order today to make sure that the package arrives before the big day.
– $94, was $99
The first Apple Pencil helped propel the popularity of the digital stylus into the mainstream market, becoming the preferred device of doodlers, note-takers, and creatives alike. Although it has been eclipsed by the more convenient Apple Pencil 2, it remains a fantastic product worth getting. Besides, the second iteration of the Apple Pencil is only compatible with the latest 11- and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, while the original works with the sixth-generation iPad, the iPad Mini 5, the iPad Air 3, and the latest iPad 10.2-inch. Right now, you can get it at Amazon for the affordable price of $94 upon checkout instead of the usual $99.
The Apple Pencil first-generation measures 6.875 inches long and weighs a measly 0.64 ounces. It’s a white plastic cylinder with a matte gray plastic nib that screws off in case it needs to be replaced, with a removable rear cap that houses the Lightning jack underneath it. The box includes the Pencil itself, an adapter that lets you charge it from a standard Lightning cable (or directly through your iPad if you want), and a replacement tip.
For the Pencil to work, it needs to be paired first with a compatible iPad. Thankfully, that’s very easy to do. Just plug the Pencil briefly into the iPad’s Lightning port and it should be able to work immediately. Unfortunately, this stylus has no battery-life indicators. This information will be displayed only on your iPad’s screen. Charging the Pencil on the bottom of your iPad is very awkward as well since it sticks out at a right angle. You also need to be careful where you place the cap as there’s no way to store it. Apple has fixed this issue with the Apple Pencil 2, which magnetically attaches to the iPad Pro while it charges. But, as mentioned earlier, it only works with the very expensive iPad Pro.
The Pencil is capable of producing incredibly fine lines with pressure-based variations. The side of the tip creates wider strokes, which is great for shading, and the tip can also offer a fine point when you need it. What’s more, it’s pretty much compatible with every major creative and note-taking app for the iPad, including Procreate, Evernote, and Sketches.
The Apple Pencil first-gen remains one of the most precise and accurate tablet styluses available, a no-brainer purchase for digital artists who own an iPad. Get it for $94 at Amazon today.
– $279, was $329
The standard iPad is a great product, even though its bezels are still obscenely large (slimming them down would have made it look a bit more contemporary), but this tablet now boasts a bigger 10.2-inch screen compared to the previous model’s 9.7-inch display. In comparison, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S6’s trimmed bezels look fetchingly modern, and so do those of the iPad Pro. None of this means that the iPad feels cheap, though. It has a nice substantial weight to it, plus it sports a 100% recycled aluminum enclosure, which is good for the environment. Instead of Face ID, which remains exclusive to the iPad Pro and the latest iPhones, you get Touch ID, although that’s not exactly a deal-breaker for most users. What sets this apart from the older iPad 9.7 is support for the Smart Connector so you can use it with Apple’s Smart Keyboard (sold separately).
As mentioned earlier, this device offers a slight increase in screen size. The LCD panel’s pixel density is the same as the previous model at 264 pixels per inch, although it looks sharp, and is colorful and very bright. And thankfully the headphone jack has not been removed, unlike the iPad Pro. You don’t have to go hunting for a 3.5mm-to-Lightning jack once your Bluetooth headphones lose power.
Strangely, the iPad 10.2 didn’t get a processor upgrade, unlike the rest of the iPad lineup, which now boasts the A12 Bionic chipset. However, this tablet’s A10 Fusion processor still packs plenty of power. Multitasking with several apps open won’t be an issue, and navigating the new iPadOS is buttery smooth. The previous iPads ran with just a slightly altered version of the iOS, but the iPadOS is an entirely different beast. You have the ability to use multiple apps in the Slide Over menu, a revamped home screen layout that includes the Today View widgets, desktop-grade Safari, and multi-window apps. You can now even use Split View on the same app, like having two Google Docs open side by side.
The first-gen Apple Pencil is compatible with this iPad, and it remains an excellent and responsive tool. There’s still no way of storing it, though, unlike the second-gen Apple Pencil which magnetically attaches to the iPad Pro, and it’s still in danger of snapping in half every time you charge it through the Lightning port. Finally, the battery life was pretty good. You’ll be able to use the iPad for a maximum of three days with intermittent use, or a full workday if you’re going to use it as your primary device.
Despite its shortcomings, the iPad 10.2 is the best tablet that you can buy on a limited budget. It is powerful, has a fantastic operating system, and serves up solid battery life. You can get it with 32GB of memory at Amazon for just $279 instead of $329, a cool $50 worth of savings. What’s more, you can get an additional $50 off instantly upon approval for the Amazon Rewards Visa Card, bringing the price even lower to $229.
— $949, was $985
If you’re looking for something powerful to replace your laptop with, take a look at the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, our choice for the best tablet of 2019. It’s on sale on Amazon for $949 instead of $985 – that’s a cool $36 worth of savings. And if you order via the Amazon Rewards Visa Card and get approval, you’d get an additional $50 off instantly, bringing the price lower to $935.
The iPad Pro keeps up with the current design trend seen in most electronic devices, the iPad Pro’s bezels are slim and symmetrical. Although it feels massive, it is lightweight enough to use with one hand (well, almost). Just like the iPhone X, the home button is now missing. Unlocking the screen is done through Face ID, and you have to navigate the interface by swiping and gestures. In portrait orientation, you’ll find the power button and the volume rocker on the right edge. Unfortunately, just like the latest iPhone, this one, too, doesn’t have an audio jack.
Its 12.9-inch Retina LED display has a 2,388 x 1,668-pixel resolution and is breathtaking. Images look super sharp, colors are vibrant, and it gets plenty bright even when outdoors. The blacks aren’t as deep as the OLED display on the iPhone XS, but it’s still stunningly gorgeous. It supports HDR content and has a 120hz screen refresh rate, so watching videos and working on this tablet is an absolute blast. Battery life is one of its strong suits as well. On a single charge, the iPad Pro can easily last the whole day with normal usage.
The iPad Pro is a workhorse of a portable device. It is powered by the powerful A12X Bionic processor. Playing graphically demanding iPad Pro games was fast and fluid in our experience with the device, and Apple even claims the chip can process graphical input better than the Xbox One. Multi-tasking also wasn’t an issue, as the iPad Pro can deftly handle heavy programs like Photoshop with relative ease. While you might still want a desktop or laptop to run other programs, the iPad Pro is the best for professionals compared to the iPad Mini, iPad, and iPad Air.
Probably the biggest draw for the iPad Pro is its exclusive compatibility with the 2nd-gen Apple Pencil. The other iPads only support the 1st-gen Apple Pencil, which you have to plug into the Lighting port to charge and which is always in danger of snapping in half. The Apple Pencil 2, on the other hand, can be charged wirelessly and magnetically attaches onto the frame of the iPad Pro.
Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.
- Amazon discounts latest iPad 10.2, iPad Air, iPad Pro for 4th of July
- These are the best cheap iPad deals for August 2020
- Amazon discounts iPad 10.2, iPad Air, and iPad Pro just in time for Father’s Day
- Apple iPad 10.2 and iPad Air in the bargain bin (again) at Amazon
- Apple iPad Mini and iPad 10.2 still on sale from only $280