The Best iPads for Sales Reps

Glen Coates
May 13, 2014

People often ask us for advice when choosing iPads for sales reps. At the time of writing, there are five generations of iPads out there, each with their own combinations of storage and network connectivity - that’s a lot to sift through!

We hope that the buyer’s guide below helps you zero in on the best iPads for your team.

iPads for Sales Reps: What Matters & What Doesn’t

Using an iPad for work is not the same as using one to watch movies or read the paper.

Here are the things that you want to focus on:

  • Connectivity: Whether you’re on the road or at a show, you don’t want to be a hunting for wifi at the nearest Starbucks or paying through the nose for the convention center wifi.  You want 3G or LTE on your iPad so you can always be connected and working with your customers and others on your team.
  • Speed: If you have a lot of customer or product data, the CPU in your iPad is going to be pushed to the limit as you search and navigate through it.  You want the fastest, most up-to-date model you can afford so that you can focus on selling and not be waiting for the screen to update.
  • Screen size: How much screen real-estate do you need? Are you willing to trade a smaller screen size for greater portability? Larger screens are more effective in visual product presentation situations, but the largest tablets can be heavy on the arm after hours standing holding one at a tradeshow booth.

There are some things that you don’t need to worry about:

  • Disk space: Unlike the iPad your kids watch movies on, using an iPad for business rarely requires much disk space.  Your entire customer list can probably fit into about as much space as a single MP3 song, so don’t waste money buying a model with tons of storage.

Ideal Picks

Bringing the advice above all together, the two best picks for an iPad that is going to help you close business are:

Both devices will give you a beautiful high-resolution Retina display, great connectivity when you’re on the road, and enough storage space to get done what you need to.  Your choice will boil down to whether you want the full-size screen of the iPad Air or are happier to take the lighter-weight iPad Mini (sometimes this feels a lot better after a long day of crushing your sales targets).

There is no way you are going to be caught short with one of these puppies.

Best on a Budget

If the price points above are a bit beyond your budget, there are other options that will serve you just fine unless you’re a top-end power user:

The original iPad Mini is still a great piece of kit and will get the job done unless you have a huge amount of data (read: hundreds of thousands of records) that is going to overwhelm an older device.

If you are super confident you don’t need an always-on internet connection, the $299 wifi-only model is a great deal at less than half the price of an iPad Air.

One Star, Would Not Do Again

There are a couple of iPads out there that you’re really going to want to avoid.  You don’t want to touch these lemons with a 10-ft pole.

  • Original iPad: No longer even sold by Apple, resist the temptation to pick one of these up second hand, because they can’t run iOS7, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system.  This will leave you high and dry as more and more apps require iOS7 to run.
  • iPad 2: Priced at only $100 less than the current (5th generation) iPad Air, there is just no way you could justify paying this price for an almost 3 year old device. Thanks, but no thanks, Apple.

Have your own thoughts on which iPads are best for order writing in the field? Let us know in the comments below!