Apple’s base model, the iPad, gets a much-needed modern overhaul with a bigger screen and a bunch of new accessories, but also a nasty price hike.
The 10th generation iPad costs from £499 ($449 / A$749). Apple is still selling the older ninth-generation iPad for £369, while the similarly sized iPad Air costs £669 after price increases due to weak exchange rates.
The price is certainly less attractive than the previous models, but this is the first time in about seven years that Apple has renewed the design of its low-end tablet. It looks like a clone of the current iPad Air and inherits the sleeker, flatter body used by other iPad models since 2018.
The home button and large bezels are gone, allowing a larger 10.9-inch screen to fit in a body roughly the same size as its predecessor. Small and light enough to slip easily into a bag, it’s a nice improvement.
It has stereo speakers when held in landscape mode, which is great for watching movies. There’s a modern USB-C port for charging and connecting peripherals. The auto-panning webcam has been moved to the top edge when first held in landscape mode on an iPad, which is much better positioned for video calls. The 3.5mm headphone jack is gone, which means you’ll need a USB-C adapter if you want to use wired headphones, so that’s not good news.
Compared to the iPad Air, the screen isn’t quite as good, with slightly lower color representation and no anti-reflective coating, making it harder to see in direct sunlight.
Curiously, the new iPad doesn’t share all the same accessories as its predecessor or the iPad Air and Pros. It supports the first generation Apple Pencil, not the second generation used by other iPads. It has a new Smart Connector on one edge, which connects to a new Magic Keyboard Folio, not any of Apple’s other keyboards.
Filter: 10.9-inch 2360×1640 (264ppi) Liquid Retina display
Processor: Apple A14
Storage: 64 or 256 GB
Operating system: iPadOS 16.1
Camera: 12MP rear, 12MP selfie
Connectivity: Wifi 6 (5G optional), Bluetooth 5.2, USB-C, Touch ID, Smart Connect
Dimensions: 248.6 x 179.5 x 7mm
Lester: 477g (5G version: 481g)
A14 chip with good battery life of 10 hours
Inside, the new iPad is essentially the same as the 2020 iPad Air. It features Apple’s A14 chip, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB or 256GB of storage. That means it’s got a two-year-old chip, but it’s easily powerful enough to handle anything you might want to do with an iPad like this, from the latest games and watching videos to browsing, office tasks. and even image editing in apps like Affinity Photo.
The battery lasts a good 10 hours of general light usage for browsing and watching videos. I could reliably complete over eight hours of work using it as a laptop replacement, which is similar to other iPad models. That’s a little cramped on the 10.9-inch screen though.
Apple doesn’t provide an expected lifespan for the battery, but it should last over 500 full charge cycles from at least 80 per cent of its original capacity and can be replaced for £129. The tablet is usually repairable, with out-of-warranty service costing £329 including the screen.
The tablet contains recycled aluminum, copper, gold, tin, plastic and rare earths. Apple breaks down the tablet’s environmental impact in its report and offers free take-back and recycling programs, including for non-Apple products.
The iPad comes with iPadOS 16.1, which is Apple’s newest software for its tablets and is available on most other models. It has many features added to the iPhone with iOS 16, including the ability to automatically cut out objects from images, which is very cool.
But the base model iPad misses out on some of the more advanced features of iPadOS 16.1 designed to turn the tablet into a computer replacement, including the new Stage Manager window multitasking system, which is limited to the iPad Pro range and the iPad M1. Air.
For tablet-type things that most people will probably use the iPad for, it won’t make a difference. You can expect up to eight years of software support, based on Apple’s track record.
The 10th generation iPad starts at £499 ($449 / A$749) with 64GB of storage. 5G-enabled models cost an additional £179 ($150/A$250).
For comparison, the ninth generation iPad costs £369, the iPad mini costs £569, the iPad Air costs £669, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 costs £249 and the Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus costs £180.
The 10th generation iPad is a great tablet, but a little overpriced for what it is, especially in the UK.
It finally brings Apple’s low-end tablet up to speed with the rest of the range, with a more modern design. It is responsive, lasts long and is well made. It’s great for video calling, watching videos, browsing, emailing, shopping, and more. And it has access to a wealth of apps and services – more than competing Android tablets.
But it’s hard to unreservedly recommend for the better part of £500. Shop around and you’ll find the 2021 iPad for around £330 – a more reasonable price for a tablet that’s still good, especially in this economy, making it the best version for just watching videos, using apps or gaming. games. Those looking for a more capable machine would be better off picking up the iPad Air with M1 chip, which can be found for under £600.
That leaves the new iPad caught in the middle – a great tablet that really must cost over £400. Maybe one to watch in sales.
Advantages: more modern design, good performance, good battery life, good screen, stereo speakers, USB-C, iPadOS with long battery life, lots of apps, recycled aluminum, excellent webcam.
The inconvenients: expensive, no multi-user support, relatively small storage on starter model with no ability to add more, screen gap, not compatible with case accessories designed for other iPad models.
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