Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

5 tablets you should buy instead of the iPad (2022)

The yellow iPad (2022) lying face-down on a green bush.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Apple has finally released two new iPads this calendar year: the iPad Air (2024) and the iPad Pro (2024). However, the regular iPad hasn’t been updated since 2022. It’s not a bad tablet by any means, but with a little bit of research and know-how, you can find other tablets that might be a much better fit.

Here are the best iPad (2022) alternatives you can purchase now. A few might surprise you.

iPad Air (2024)

A person holding the Apple iPad Air (2024).
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Let’s begin with the most obvious alternative: the iPad Air (2024). The sixth-generation model is positioned between the iPad Pro series and the regular iPad. You can choose between an 11-inch and, for the first time, a 13-inch iPad Air.

For the sake of this discussion, it’s important to emphasize the distinctions between the 11-inch iPad Air and the 10.9-inch iPad (2022), of which there are several.

The M2 chip, a significant leap from the A14 Bionic chip in the previous model, powers the new iPad Air (2024). The M2 chip boasts an 8-core CPU, 9-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine — delivering enhanced power efficiency for a smoother tablet experience. That’s the same chip on the still-impressive iPad Pro (2022).

Additionally, unlike the iPad (2022), the iPad Air will support Apple Intelligence, the company’s new AI tools announced earlier this year. AI is a big deal and something to keep an eye on in the coming years.

The iPad Air (2024) features a slightly larger display and incorporates P3 wide color and anti-reflective coating. These enhancements result in a more vibrant and immersive viewing experience.

The Apple iPad Air (2024)'s screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

With the iPad Air (2024), you also gain support for the all-new Apple Pencil Pro, which has more features than the Apple Pencil (USB-C), the drawing tool that works with the current iPad.

Finally, the iPad Air now comes with more storage, which is great for creatives, gamers, and anyone needing ample tablet storage. You have your choice of 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or a whopping 1TB.

The 2024 iPad Air costs $250 more than the 2022 iPad, but its improved chip, Apple Intelligence support, and larger and better display justify the higher price. Besides, the iPad Air is two years newer than the iPad, which means it will support more versions of iPadOS in the coming years.

Finally, remember that there’s also a 13-inch iPad Air this time, which offers the same features as the 11-inch model but with a bigger display and battery.

iPad Pro (2024)

Side view of M4 iPad Pro
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

The iPad Pro (2024) is the best Apple iPad on the market and the best iPad ever created. It’s available in 11-inch and 13-inch varieties. The iPad Pro not only inherits all the features of the iPad Air (2024) but also boasts a range of remarkable upgrades, setting it apart as the top contender in the tablet market.

The iPad Pro (2024) kicks off its impressive upgrades with the exclusive Apple M4, a chip that currently has no match in the Mac lineup. This powerhouse chip delivers a 10-core CPU, a 10-core GPU, and a sophisticated 16-core Neutral Engine — setting a new benchmark in tablet performance.

The iPad Pro (2024) is the first tablet to feature an Ultra Retina XDR display. This display uses cutting-edge tandem OLED technology to provide incredible contrast, ProMotion, and True Tone. It also offers 1600 nits of peak HDR brightness and 1,000 nits of full-screen brightness, making using the iPad Pro (2024) in various light conditions easier.

Like the 2024 iPad Air, the 2024 iPad Pro also supports the Apple Pencil Pro. It features a new, more durable Magic Keyboard designed to mimic MacBook keyboards, offering a better typing experience while on the go. The iPad Pro (2024) is also the thinnest iPad Apple has created and one of the lightest.

Not surprisingly, the 2024 iPad Pro is significantly more expensive than the 2022 iPad, starting at a hefty $999. You’ll need to decide if the advanced features justify the higher cost. For some people, the iPad Pro may not be worth that much more money. But for others, it’ll be a no-brainer.

iPad (2021)

The iPad 2021 is a pretty great tablet for the budget concious.
Adam Doud / Digital Trends

The iPad Air (2024) and iPad Pro (2024) offer experiences that far exceed the iPad (2022). Now, let’s go in the opposite direction. Instead of buying the current iPad, you might want to consider going with the older model, the iPad (2021).

Apple no longer sells this aging tablet, but it is still available through third-party sellers. Across the board, you’ll get old features on the iPad (2021), such as an A13 Bionic chip, a smaller 10.2-inch display, an inferior rear camera, a Lightning connector versus a USB-C connector, and Touch ID in the Home bottom.

That all said, the iPad (2021) may be better than the iPad (2022) because of its lower price. It is often available for under $250, making it a great budget-friendly option, as it is about $100 less than the iPad (2022).

We don’t recommend the iPad (2021) as a primary tablet, but it’s an excellent choice for iPad newcomers or as a secondary tablet in the household.

Amazon Fire Max 11

A person holding the Amazon Fire Max 11.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Our last two alternatives to the iPad (2022) belong to two other companies. The first is the Amazon Fire Max 11, an affordable Android tablet released in 2023.

The 11-inch tablet from Amazon is worth considering for several reasons, as long as you’re OK with using Fire OS 8 (built on Android) instead of iPadOS. It comes at a lower price than the 2021 and 2022 iPads, yet it offers a 2K display, an octa-core processor, 4GB of RAM, and Wi-Fi 6 for fast streaming. Additionally, it includes a fingerprint sensor for easy and secure unlocking and an 8MP rear camera.

Consider another critical factor: battery life. While each tablet mentioned earlier offers up to 10 hours between charges, this Amazon tablet offers 14 hours. Its price point makes it an excellent choice for kids, retirees, and anyone frequently on the go.

Our review praised the Amazon Fire 11 Max as “an excellent Android tablet you should consider purchasing.” In addition to the points mentioned earlier, the tablet is recognized for its excellent screen for video and terrific accessories such as a keyboard and kickstand case, which only increase its price to around what Apple charges for the iPad (2022) without either accessory.

Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Gen 2

Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Gen 2 Home screen with Precision Pen 3
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

If you’re an Android fan and want a more powerful alternative to the Amazon Fire Max 11 as a substitute for the iPad (2022), the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Gen 2 is a compelling choice. This 11.2-inch tablet, released around the same time as the iPad (2022), has seen a significant price drop, with some models now available for under $200.

For this, you’ll receive a 2.5K (2560 by 1536) OLED display, an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 processor, and up to 14 hours of battery life. The tablet also has a 13MP rear camera and 8MP front camera. It also offers a sleek dual-tone design with its aluminum body.

Like the Amazon Fire Max 11, the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Gen 2 is a less expensive iPad (2022) with better battery life and a slightly larger display. Though most models ship with Android 12, the Lenovo tablet supports Android 13 and Android 14.

Bryan M. Wolfe
Bryan M. Wolfe has over a decade of experience as a technology writer. He writes about mobile.
5 tablets you should buy instead of the iPad Air (2024)
Two iPad Air models showing the screens.

Apple finally released some new iPads this year after going over a year without any updates. The iPad Air got a big refresh, now with an M2 chip inside and a new size -- 13 inches -- to go along with the regular 11-inch size from before.

The new iPad Air starts at $599 for the 11-inch Wi-Fi base model and increases depending on the size and configuration you choose. If you want the new 13-inch model, be prepared to spend at least $799.

Read more
One missing feature has almost ruined the new iPad Air for me
A person holding the iPad Air M2.

I’m a few days into using the new 11-inch iPad Air (2024), and one single feature decision has annoyed me to the point where I’m questioning why it exists at all.

In Apple’s current iPad range, the iPad Pro (2024) is definitely the professional’s choice, while the regular iPad is the one for the bargain hunter. The iPad Air sits awkwardly in between them. While it seems to offer all the power and ability you could want without paying the iPad Pro’s high price, it doesn’t have the ProMotion 120Hz refresh rate screen — and that’s a serious drawback.

Read more
The one thing stopping me from buying a new iPad
Three 2021 iPads are stacked on a table.

Want an iPad? Apple wants you to be paying attention to the new iPad Pro -- and for good reason. It's the thinnest product Apple has ever created, which is impressive considering it packs in a laptop-level M4 processor, a gorgeous display, and a number of new software tricks. But the announcement concealed something far more important: the dustbinning of the 9th-gen iPad. The last of the "retro" iPad designs, the 9th-gen is now finally retired from the stage, and for me, it means this is my last chance to grab a quick and reasonable upgrade for my 7th-gen iPad.

I figured I could grab the 9th-gen for a decent discount now that it's on the way out -- and to Apple's credit, I absolutely could. But a realization began to sink in as I shopped, and I came away without making that final purchase.

Read more