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10 of the best free apps for your iPad

A tablet is only as good as its apps, and fortunately, the iPad has plenty of them. It doesn't matter if you have a full-size iPad or its cute baby brother iPad mini; there are thousands upon thousands of apps at your disposal that will keep you entertained or handling business when you're away from your work PC.

However, many of those apps will cost you, and even if it's just a couple of pounds here or there, outfitting your new tablet with software can definitely add up. And, if you’ve just shelled out hundreds of pounds on your iPad (or if you are just not feeling flush), you may not be willing to spend money on yet another app.

Fortunately, a good portion of the App Store is populated with free iPad apps. That said, there are many "freemium" iPad apps which are free to download but then demand that you open your wallet to remove a few ducats to do anything useful with them.

However, we’ve made sure that the software featured in this 10 best free iPad apps roundup are all legitimately free apps with no strings attached or hidden costs.

So, are you ready to check out the best free iPad apps?

Then read on for our pick of 10 top notch apps – and leave a comment below if you feel that our selections are dead-on, or indeed if you think we've overlooked a potentially worthy candidate. Incidentally, to download any app in this article, simply click on the title to link through to iTunes.

Dropbox (free)

If you're looking for an infinitely simple way to keep files in sync between your iPad, desktop, and phone, Dropbox for iPad is a must. It's simple to use, free, and offers offline file access. It's an excellent all-round app.

Facebook (free)

Facebook took its sweet time bringing a dedicated iPad app to market, but since its release, the app has blossomed into a full-featured service. Facebook for iPad is a solid app, though it needs just a few more refinements to meet all iPad users' needs.

Flipboard (free)

Flipboard offers iPad users an entirely original alternative to browsing the web for news – its magazine-style layouts and breathtaking use of photos and white space show the way forward for digital media.

Google Earth (free)

Travelling is expensive. The free Google Earth app most certainly is not. By keying in a location such as "Coney Island" or "London," you can zip to the other side of the globe in mere seconds to check out satellite and aerial imagery. Geo-located Wikipedia articles add insight to your journey.

Hipmunk Flight & Hotel Search (free)

Hipmunk Flight Search delivers what's great about the meta-search site (real-world priorities) in a simple, free, well-designed app for the iPad. Its innovative flight visualisation highlights factors beyond price, such as flight durations, stopovers, and the potential "agony" level.

IMDb (free)

Utilising an image-driven interface featuring movie trailers, popular actors, and a list of current cinema releases, the IMDb iPad app is a must-have for movie buffs who want the latest Hollywood news.

Snapseed (free)

When you think about editing photos, you probably think Photoshop, and Adobe does offer a great version of Photoshop for the iPad. But I think you will be better served – and find a more enjoyable experience – with Snapseed for the iPad. The app offers slick integration with Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter, and it also makes posting photos online easy. And Snapseed's filters and effects put Instagram's to shame.

StumbleUpon (free)

Tired of visiting the same old online destinations? The beautifully revamped StumbleUpon app lets you Sam Beckett your way across the web, leaping from article of interest to article of interest. You can also check out the specific links that have been submitted by fellow Stumblers who you can follow if you aren't in the mood for randomness.

SugarSync (free)

If you use SugarSync's excellent cloud-based file syncing service, adding the SugarSync iPad app to your tablet is a no-brainer. It could use a search tool, but SugarSync for iPad remains a great file syncing choice for anyone who wants simple setup, a preserved folder structure, and an intelligent interface.

TED (free)

TED's official iPad app brings more than 900 TEDTalk videos (featuring education radicals, tech geniuses, medical mavericks, business gurus, music legends, and more) to Apple's slate. Not only can you stream videos over 3G or Wi-Fi, but you can download them to your iPad for offline playback.