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Budget iPad

For Those Looking For a Budget iPad, the Choice Isn't So Simple

August 8, 2017

If you’re in the market for a budget iPad, there’s a lot more choices out there than Apple would have you believe. That’s a good thing if you’re willing to uncover all of your options.

Over the weekend, my brother wanted to know which 9.7-inch iPad he should buy his 10-year-old son for his birthday. The tablet would replace my nephew’s first-generation iPad mini which has seen better days.

Without hesitation, I told my brother he should buy the 2017 budget iPad, which launched in the spring. After all, all you had to do is visit Apple to realize the choice was a no-brainer.

Choices, Choices?

9.7-inch iPad Pro

9.7-inch iPad Pro

One visit to Best Buy’s iPad department made us both realize the choice wasn’t so simple.

Yes, the 2017 iPad is the only current 9.7-inch tablet Apple sells. Resellers such as Best Buy, however, still offer older models, including the 9.7-inch iPad Pro (2016) and iPad Air 2 (2014).

Why should you even consider buying an older iPad model? Price, of course.

The 128GB 2017 iPad (Wi-Fi only) is priced at $429 and includes the A9 processor and M9 coprocessor.

By contrast, Best Buy currently offers the 128GB 9.7-inch iPad Pro (originally priced at $749) for $499. This tablet, retired in March, provides an A9X processor and M9 processor. ( offers a similar deal.)

Another option: A 128GB Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad Air 2 for $329 with a two-year contract. This tablet includes the A8X processor and M8 coprocessor.

Decisions, Decisions

My brother ultimately decided to buy my nephew a 128GB 2017 iPad in space gray. In the end, he concluded the extra $70 for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro wasn’t worth it, despite offering Apple Pencil support and a slightly better processor. However, this was a decision made for a 10-year-old child. Depending on your situation, the choice might have been different.

However, remember, this was a decision made for a 10-year-old. If I were in the market for a 9.7-inch tablet, Best Buy’s current promotion on the iPad Pro would be one worth considering.

The Bottom Line

My advice: If you’re in the market for a 9.7-inch iPad, extend your shopping beyond Apple. You might be surprised, as this example shows.

Which choice would have you made? Let us know below.