Best Black Friday 2019 iPad deals still available: Massive discount on $230 10.2-inch iPad - CNET

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Picking an iPad this year may feel crazy, but there's a logic to it.Sarah Tew/CNET This story is part of Black Friday 2019, our roundup of the best deals on today's tech.

So you want to grab one of Apple's iPads and you want to save some cash in the process? Well, of course you do. But which iPad is the one for you? The size of Apple's tablet range can make it difficult to work out which model is the best one for you to go for. But there's good news for shoppers -- Black Friday may technically be over, but the deals are still going strong with Cyber Monday around the corner. The iPad discounts are many, and all of the options are amazing. It's just a matter of how much you'd like to pay.

Unlike last year, Apple hasn't released a new version of the top-end iPad Pro. But the recent 10.2-inch budget-line iPad is better than ever. Or should you get the Mini? Or, the iPad Air?

Let's dive in. (By the way, here's the proper etiquette for buying tech gifts in general, and here's what to consider when buying smart home gifts.)

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The 10.2-inch iPad is totally fine.Sarah Tew/CNET

iPad 10.2-inch (2019): The best for most

The 10.2-inch model is CNET's Editors' Choice for a reason: Even though it has an older A10 processor, it works perfectly well with the latest iPadOS, has a slightly bigger screen, supports the Apple Pencil, and now works with Apple's older Smart Connector keyboard accessories. It's already on sale, too. I'd consider the 128GB model, though, over the 32GB, especially if you're planning on downloading movies. The ideal size I would have recommended would have been 64GB... which, of course, Apple doesn't sell.

There have been several sales on this model, and there are probably more to come, but Target is ahead of the pack at the moment with the 32GB model for $230 and the 128GB model for $330.

See at Target

iPad (2018): Almost the same as the 10.2-inch iPad

You could save even more by getting last year's model of the entry-level iPad, which has the same A10 processor (and also supports Apple Pencil). Amazon's deal on the LTE, 128GB version is down to $429 ($130 off), which is the most affordable way to an LTE iPad... but do you really need LTE? (I'd say no.)

See at Amazon

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The iPad Air (left) versus the 10.2-inch iPad (right). The Air has better specs and a slightly thinner body.Sarah Tew/CNET

iPad Air (2019): Step up from basic 

The difference between the entry-level 10.2-inch iPad and the iPad Air released this year is basically a better A12 processor, and a slightly bigger screen (10.5 inches). It's also a bit thinner. Anyone who wants a bit more graphics oomph for photo or video work could consider this a way to split the difference between the basic iPad and the iPad Pro. You'll find it for $469, a discount of $30, at B&H electronics.

See at B&H Photo

The 2017 iPad Pro is like the 2019 iPad Air, with a couple of extras

Save yourself the headache and know that the 2019 10.5-inch iPad Air is a slightly more budget version of the 2017 10.5-inch iPad Pro. The Pro from 2017 has a faster-scrolling 120Hz display, better quad speakers and slightly different cameras. If you can somehow get it for less than the Air above, it's well worth it! The 2017 iPad Pro's on sale below, but at a higher cost than the iPad Air.

See at Walmart (Update: Out of stock)

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Note: Pencil and keyboard case sold separately.Sarah Tew/CNET

iPad Pro (2018): The fanciest option, but...

For the right price, last year's iPad Pro is still a great pick. Its A12X processor is extremely powerful, it has Face ID (which is great on an iPad), supports newer Pencil accessories that stick to the side to charge, its optional keyboard case is great (and expensive), and it supports USB-C. Amazon is currently out of the 11-inch 256GB Pro for $150 off, but has discounts on other storage sizes. (64GB is sold out at time of writing.)

See at Amazon

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The iPad Mini's smaller size and upgraded specs are unique.Angela Lang/CNET

iPad Mini (2019): Not a bad travel proposition

The smaller 7.9-inch iPad was upgraded this year with an A12 processor and Pencil support, and it's a great smaller tablet. It's normally too expensive to justify over the entry iPad, but Black Friday sale deals could make it a tempting travel gadget. It's not so great for typing, though, and the $15 off deal below isn't very much off the regular price.

See at Amazon

Consider at least 64GB of storage

Some of the basic iPads start with just 32GB, which doesn't cut it. Some models start with 64GB, which is acceptable. If you're downloading movies for trips or plan on putting lots of games onboard, consider 128GB. I wouldn't consider 256GB and up unless you're a video editor.

For kids, Fire tablets or Chromebooks are worth considering

Amazon's always-crazy-low tablet sales on Fire tablets are tempting if you have Amazon Prime or live in Amazon's ecosystem. As ultra-budget tablets for videos and games, they're totally fine. 

Chromebooks are excellent choices as secure kid-friendly laptop alternatives, or for anyone who might want a laptop-type browser without a full computer price. 

iPad at any price?

If you're treating yourself, last year's iPad Pro is a stellar laptop alternative, provided you can live in Apple's controlled iOS world (iPadOS, the name of the iPad-focused iOS 13 update this year, does have a far better browser, improved Pencil support and file access). Apple might update the iPad Pro as early as spring next year, though, so maybe you should also consider getting an IOU.

Cellular? Skip it

The extra $129 for an LTE antenna (and the cost per month of a cellular plan on the iPad) aren't worth it, unless you're dying to use LTE on a tablet or have someone who's footing the bill. Tether with your phone instead.

Save some money for dongles and Pencils and things

Your purchase, sadly, doesn't end with just the iPad. You'll want a case for that delicate tablet, and probably one of Apple's Pencil styluses (the old one for most iPads, and the new one for the 2018 iPad Pro). A keyboard case is useful, and costs extra too. If you get the USB-C iPad Pro, you're also going to want a few dongles (like one for a headphone jack). 

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The 54 best Black Friday deals still available (just updated)

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