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Buying an IPad Pro 2018 in 2022: Is it Worth It?

If you’re shopping for an iPad on a budget, there’s a question that’s likely to surface at some point in your research. What about the iPad Pro 2018? Advertised as the best ever tablet, with graphics performance 1000 times faster than the first-generation iPad and an eight-core processor faster than 92% of PCs sold at the time, it was priced at $999 - $2869, depending on specs. The 11-inch model, a slightly more modest affair (if only in display size) had a price tag of $799-$1,700.  Four years later, you may be able to pick one up an 11 inch 2018 iPad Pro for $500 on eBay, or a little cheaper if you get a deal. The question: is it a worthy purchase, or are you better off spending your bucks on a new model of the basic iPad ($479 today)— or holding off till you can save enough for Apple’s newest flagship?

The iPad Pro 2018 was a revolutionary device, and if you bought one when they came on sale you should still be enjoying fast processing speeds, a pretty great display, and decent battery time. The 2018 model seems to be as future proof as tablets get, and even the newer Magic Keyboard, with all its fun features, is backward compatible with the 2018 pro model. 

But if you’re making a purchase now, is it worth it? Let’s compare some stats and get a real, concrete view of what changed between 2018 and 2021 and whether the four-year-old model is still worth buying in 2022. 

IPad Pro 2018 vs 2021: A Closer Look

For the sake of simplicity, let’s focus here on the smaller 11 inch iPad Pro. The minimal configuration in 2018 was 64 GB, but in 2021 there was nothing below 128 GB. Both years the lowest-priced configuration included WiFi but no SIM capabilities. Apple sells the 2021 model today for $799; the same price it placed on the 2018 model back in the day.

 

IPad Pro 2018 11-inch

IPad Pro 2021 11-inch

Screen Resolution

1668 x 2388 pixels

1668 x 2388 pixels

Display

Liquid Retina IPS LCD, 120Hz

Liquid Retina IPS LCD 120 Hz

Processor

Apple A12X Bionic (7 nm)

M1

Ram

4 GB- 6 GB

8 GB-16 GB

iOs

Up to iPadOS 15.3

Up to iPadOS 15.3

Primary Camera

12 MP, Quad-LED dual-tone flash, HDR

12 MP, Quad-LED dual-tone flash, HDR, TOF 3D LiDAR scanner (depth)

 

New features of the 2021 iPad Pro include a new USB 4/Thunderbolt port, 5G wireless connectivity, and, most notably, Apple’s M1 processor.  While the processor is faster and games run cooler on the 2021 iPad, this is not a difference you’re likely to notice in casual use. The increase in ram, on the other hand, may be more of a game-changer: you’ll be able to keep more tabs open, for instance, and your device will be less likely to refresh on you when you’re in the middle of multi-tasking. 

The camera did see some upgrades in the three years between 2018 and 2021, but nothing that will rock your boat if you’re not into videography, AR, or other serious photography. 

IPad Pro 2018 or 2021: Which is the Smarter Purchase

If you’re deciding whether to shell out the big bucks for the newest model on the Apple page or haunt Ebay for a cheaper option, this analysis can help you make your decision. But no one can tell you which one you should buy. Ultimately, that depends on your specific needs, your budget, and how long you expect to wait before the next upgrade. 

If you’re a gamer, you may want to go with the 2021 version if only for the M1 chip that promises faster processing speeds. Sure, the iPad Pro 2018 is fast, but the iPad Pro 2021 is faster. When you’re in the middle of some intense action and the final score depends on your quick reactions, that extra fast processing speed can really make a difference. 

If you’re into artificial reality, the 2021 is definitely the better deal.  In 2020 Apple added a dual-camera system with built-in LiDAR, aka 3D scanning, which takes the AR experience to a new level. 

If you’re a student looking for a powerhouse to take along to class, the iPad Pro 2018 may be the smarter choice. You’ll have complete versatility, and all the capability you’ll ever need. If there’s one 2021 feature that may make you regret your older model, it could be the lack of a USB 4 port (thunderbolt). This port definitely makes it easier to connect generic devices and can reach speeds of 40Gbps. That said, you probably don’t need it, and the 2018 model’s USB-C is not by any means outdated yet. If you’ve got a Magic Keyboard, you’ve even got two.

So go with your gut, and get the device that speaks to you. It may be 2018’s flagship, that the masses lined up in front of Apple stores to buy. It may be last year’s model, or maybe you’ll even decide to wait for what Apple brings out next. Either way, there’s one more decision you have to make. 

Best Case for iPad Pro 11 Inch 2018

How are you going to protect your new iPad? If an iPad Pro 11 inch 2018 is still worth buying, it’s also worth protecting. Unlike older iPad models, you can still buy a premium case for iPad Pro 11 inch 2018. 

One good option is the Zugucase; a full protection case that also functions as an adjustable magnetic stand with 8 different angles. It’s not the prettiest thing on the market, but it does its job and it does that well. 

Auto sleep/wake functionality? Check. Air vents to keep the iPad cool? Check. Wireless pencil charging capability? Check check.  The Zugu Case for IPad Pro 11 inch 2018 comes in 5 colors, and honestly, we think it looks pretty smart. Not glass and aluminum smart, maybe but dark, classy, and no-holds barred. Check it out today, before you lose the link.