The new 2018 iPad arrived yesterday, with much fanfare from Apple. It's $329 in the U.S. ($299 for schools), and adds a faster A10 processor and compatibility with the Pencil stylus. Other than that, though, it's pretty much identical to the 2017 iPad, which previously sold for the same price.
If that's still too expensive for you -- and if you have no interest in spending another $100 on a fancy stylus -- I have good news: That 2017 iPad and the older, smaller iPad Mini 4 are already seeing discounts. Here's what you need to know:
Again, the new model replaces this doppelganger from last year. But you can still find plenty of them on store shelves, and the discounts have already begun. Best Buy is selling this model -- today only -- for $250, which matches its best price during last year's Black Friday holiday sales. If you don't need Pencil support -- and you're OK with an iPhone 6S-era processor -- that's a pretty great deal.
>> See the 2017 iPad at Best Buy: $249 for 32GB, today only (but expect similar discounts elsewhere)
iPad Mini 4
Frankly, we were a bit surprised that the iPad Mini 4 -- first released back in 2015 -- was still available in the wake of the new 2018 iPad, which is larger, faster and cheaper. But if you prefer the smaller screen -- 7.9-inch versus 9.7-inch -- this model gets you 4 times the storage, since it's only available in a 128GB configuration. It also has a fully laminated display with an antireflective coating, two niceties not present on the 2017 or 2018 entry-level iPads, presumably to cut costs.
>> See the iPad Mini 4 at Best Buy: $299 for 128GB (duration of sale unknown)
Amazon Fire tablets
If $250 to $300 is still too rich for your blood, remember Amazon's Fire tablets. The app selection isn't as robust as that on iOS, but if you're just looking for the basics, these models -- all of which got nice spec bumps in 2017 -- still offer the best bang for the buck in the product genre.
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Hands-on with Apple's new iPad: The new $329 iPad adds support for the Pencil stylus