6 reasons why the iPad is still the best Apple Arcade device

Apple Arcade, the new gaming subscription service, is now available on the iPhone, the iPad, the Apple TV, and the Mac. After playing Apple Arcade across all those devices, the iPad currently offers the ideal blend of performance, optimization, comfort, ease of use, and general gameplay experience.

That may change in the future—hopefully sooner than later—with more games and optimization. But right now, if you consistently want to get the most out of Arcade, reach for Apple’s tablet. Here’s why.

The displays are large enough to enjoy the games

Latter-day iPhones are capable of running every Apple Arcade game, but let’s be real: They’re phones. In the optimal case of the iPhone 11 Pro Max, you’re still playing on a screen that’s only 6.2 inches wide by 3.06 inches high (horizontally), and if you’re not playing with a controller, your fingers end up blocking a good chunk of that real estate. And if you are playing with a controller, you’ll end up looking at the tiny screen from at least a couple of feet away.

The Apple TV 4K is probably the best device for comfort, and an iMac wouldn’t be far behind. But as we’ll see, there are optimization issues with both.

iPad screens, though, are large enough to minimize the issues associated with playing with your fingers, and if you play with a controller, they provide a comfortable viewing area. Even the iPad mini has a display size of 8 inches by 5.3 inches, and while that’s not huge, the extra width makes far easier to enjoy—and see—the action compared to playing with an iPhone.

iPads support all the games

If you simply want to be sure you can play all the things when new Apple Arcade games come out, you can’t go wrong with an iPad. The iPhone gets the same games the iPad does (so far), but right now there are gaps in the libraries for both the Apple TV and Mac. That’s unlikely to change, as some games like Patterned are simply better suited to touchscreen devices.

And at the moment, at least, you can typically fit the entirety of Apple Arcade on any iPad thanks to the games’ relatively small file sizes, so you’ll never want for digital entertainment on, say, flights without Wi-Fi.

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iPads are portable

Along those lines, iPads may have larger screens than the iPhone, but they’re still pleasantly portable. Apple’s tablets are only about as thick as a legal pad, and if you use a case like Apple’s Smart Folio, your bag should still have plenty of room left over. 

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