If you want a more modern-looking tablet, try Apple’s new iPad Air. It brings many of the same features from the pricier iPad Pro, like slim bezels, no home button, USB-C for charging, and support for the second-generation Apple Pencil ($125 at Amazon), which magnetically attaches to the slate and wirelessly recharges while stuck there. The Air also adds similar performance, thanks to the latest A14 Bionic chip inside (the same processor in the iPhone 12). That makes it powerful enough to pull off anything, even bulky video- and photo-editing tasks. There’s no Face ID, but Touch ID is integrated into the power button—a first for Apple.
The 10.9-inch LCD screen gives you a slightly larger canvas to work off of compared to the iPad above, and the laminated display offers a more natural drawing experience because there’s less distance between the glass and pixels. There are some complaints about the screen’s backlight bleeding in from the edges of the screen, which is noticeable when watching movies, and it’s something WIRED writer Lauren Goode encountered in her review unit.
★ The ultimate iPad: The 12.9-inch 2021 iPad Pro ($1,099) is more expensive, but if you want to splurge, it’s more feature-rich than the Air. We haven’t tested it yet, but based on the 2020 iPad Pro, the large screen makes it a great canvas for drawing. It has new Mini-LED backlighting technology that outputs a brighter display with better contrast, and the M1 chip delivers more power. You also get a 120-Hz screen refresh rate, two more speakers, 5G, Thunderbolt support, Face ID, Portrait mode selfies, and Animoji/Memoji. There’s also an 11-inch model that’s cheaper but similar (it doesn’t use Mini-LEDs).