The best cheap iPad deals in 2018

Considering taking the plunge and buying an iPad for the first time, or upgrading your existing model? If so, and you're looking for a cheap iPad deal, you’ve come to the right place. While Apple itself rarely takes much, if anything, off its flagship iPad models, you never know your luck, especially with Black Friday just around the corner. There are brilliant bargains to be had right now from retailers – and we've got the best iPad deals right here. 

Which iPad deal should you choose?

This year has been huge for the iPad in more ways than one. The new iPad Pro has had a complete redesign, ditching the Home button completely and drastically shrinking the bezels around the sides. It now has a USB-C port rather than the old Lightning connector, so it can be hooked up to external displays. There’s a brand new version of Apple’s Pencil stylus to go with it. And with the latest A12X Bionic processor, it can deliver computing performance that rivals desktop PCs.

But the regular, more affordable iPad has had an update this year that also makes it seriously brilliant for graphic designers. It also supports the Apple Pencil, bringing the wide range of stylus-driven iPad graphical and illustration apps to a much wider audience, including the forthcoming update to Adobe Photoshop, which is shaping up to be a potential tablet-sized replacement for the desktop version.

Whether you’re considering the most powerful iPad Pro, or if the regular iPad will be sufficient for you, you’ll find the iPad is a brilliant tool for graphic design. And we’ve scoured the web for the best iPad prices anywhere. 

And if you're in the market for more creative hardware generally, don't miss the following articles: Best cheap laptop deals, best monitors for creatives, the best Wacom tablet deals, and 6 smartphone deals for designers

Read on for the best iPad deals to be had right now...

01. New iPad Pro 11 (2018) deals

ipad Pro 2018

Thankfully, the smaller of this year’s iPad Pro is the one that will make a slightly smaller dent, rather than a massive crater, in your wallet. Priced only marginally higher than last year’s model, you get all the technical benefits of the 12.9-inch model - second-generation Pencil 2 support, USB-C connectivity with support for peripherals including external displays up to 5K resolution, and of course the near edge-to-edge design.

It’s similarly powered by an A12X Bionic processor, with performance that makes this iPad every bit as capable as a laptop, and will chew through demanding design apps with ease. It has also had a big graphics bump over the previous iPad’s A10X chip.

And it's brilliant for graphic design, with the ever-accurate Pencil accessory now in its second generation, able to clip to the side of the iPad magnetically and recharging completely wirelessly off the iPad’s battery.

02. iPad (2018) deals

ipad 2018

The regular iPad has fewer features than the iPad Pro from either this year or last. It uses an older processor, less memory, wider bezels and a less fancy display. But crucially, it now supports Apple Pencil (first generation) and costs significantly less than the iPad Pro. Squeezing into a wider range of budgets, it’s a much more affordable choice for a design tablet with fully baked stylus support, without compromising on interactivity.

It uses the A10 Fusion processor, a chip which might be a few generations old, but is still no slouch at all, and is capable of running all current iOS apps with slick, fluid performance.

With excellent all-round performance and Pencil support, most designers will be best off with this model, as it’s especially good value for money.

03. New iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) deals

New iPad Pro 12.9

The slimmer bezels surrounding the newly designed larger sized iPad Pro gives you a massive among of space to work on your visual creation. But with a light and portable build and support for USB-C, the iPad Pro is basically like a giant glass slate that’s just right for turning your ideas into reality, with all the touch and stylus interactivity of iOS.

But the new iPad Pro isn’t just about aesthetics. Inside it has an A12X Bionic processor, a chip that is right up there in benchmarks against desktop Intel processors in PCs and Macs, with more GPU performance, 4GB of memory and up to 1TB of internal storage.

We think the larger iPad is the all-round best iPad for graphic designers. But unfortunately, along with the increase in specs and new features, the new iPad Pro has seen a big bump in pricing, which accelerates rapidly with additional storage. It's totally worth it if you can afford it, though.

04. iPad Pro (2017) deals

iPad Pro (2017)

We’ve gushed about the new 2018 iPad Pro, but last year’s model was fantastic too. It’s still available from Apple and outpaces the 2018 iPad with the beefier A10X, which has more graphics cores and better multi tasking performance.

Although the iPad Pro can no longer claim exclusive Pencil support, since the cheaper 2018 iPad now offers that feature, there are a few technical areas where the older iPad Pro has an edge. This includes a fully laminated screen with a 120hz refresh rate, for extra smooth performance.

But that said, while some of the deals you can find on the older iPad Pro model might be tempting, at Apple’s official pricing the newer 11-inch 2018 iPad Pro is only £140 more. Given the improvements in this year’s model, we’d recommend stumping up the extra cash to go with the newer iPad Pro.

05. iPad Mini 4 (2015) deals 

iPad Mini 4

It’s not hard to see the allure of iPad mini’s awesome portability, but unfortunately it hasn’t been updated for a few years. Unlike every other iPad now sold by Apple, the mini does not work with a stylus. Its Apple A8 processor is four generations behind the most recent iPad Pro, and therefore, it’s a poor investment. It will really show the strain when apps naturally become bigger and more demanding on the mini’s old hardware, unlike the more up-to-date models which will continue to run smoothly.

That’s why it’s last on our list. It’s certainly not a great choice for graphic designers, and although you can find some great deals if you shop around, it costs more direct from Apple than the more modern and better performing regular 2018 iPad.

If this disappoints you, fret not. Rumours suggest a new iPad mini is coming next year, and although we know very little about it yet, it’s hard to think Apple wouldn’t bestow upon it a serious speed boost, stylus support and a few extras – which is perhaps all the more reason the current mini is the least worthy iPad in the lineup.

Ok, that's a lot to take in. Need a recap? Here are the very best iPad deals we brought you today... 

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