Apple’s flagship iPad has received a much-needed modern design, with a larger screen and a range of new accessories, but also a steep price hike.
The 10th generation iPad starts at £499 ($449/A$749). Apple is still selling the older ninth-generation iPad for £369, while the similarly sized iPad Air costs £669 after a price hike due to poor exchange rates.
The price is certainly less tempting than previous models, but this is the first time Apple has updated the design of its affordable tablet in about seven years. It looks similar to the current iPad Air clone and inherits the sleek, flat body used by other iPad models since 2018.
Gone are the home buttons and large bezels, allowing a larger 10.9-inch screen to fit into a body the same size as its predecessor. Small and light enough to fit easily into a bag, it’s a great improvement.
It has stereo speakers when held in landscape, perfect for watching movies. There is a modern USB-C port for charging and connecting peripherals. The automatic panning and scanning webcam has been moved to the top edge when held in landscape for the first time on an iPad, which is much better positioned for video calls. Gone is the 3.5mm headphone jack, 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 as good, with slightly poorer colors and no anti-reflective coating, making it difficult to see in direct sunlight.
Oddly enough, the new iPad doesn’t share the same accessories as its predecessor or the iPad Air and Pros. It supports the first-generation Apple Pencil stylus, not the second-generation used by other iPads. It has a new smart connector on one end that connects to the new Magic Keyboard Folio rather than Apple’s other keyboards.
Screen: 10.9 inch 2360×1640 Liquid Retina Display (264ppi)
Processor: Apple A14
RAM: 4 GB
Storage: 64 or 256 GB
Operating system: iPadOS 16.1
Camera: 12 MP rear, 12 MP selfie
The connection: Wifi 6 (5G optional), Bluetooth 5.2, USB-C, Touch ID, Smart Connector
Dimensions: 248.6 x 179.5 x 7 mm
Weight: 477g (5G version: 481g)
A14 chip with a good 10 hour battery life
Internally, the new iPad is identical to the 2020 iPad Air. It has Apple’s A14 chip, 4GB of RAM, and either 64GB or 256GB of storage. So it’s got a two-year-old chip, but it’s powerful enough to handle anything iPad can do, from playing the latest games and watching videos to browsing, office tasks, and even photo editing. Apps like Affinity Photo.
The battery lasts for 10 hours, and can be used for general light browsing and video viewing. I could use it as a laptop replacement and reliably handle more than eight hours of work, similar to other iPad models. Doing so is a bit cramped on a 10.9-inch screen.
Apple doesn’t provide an expected life expectancy for the battery, but it should last more than 500 full charge cycles and can be replaced with at least 80% of its original capacity for £129. The tablet is generally repairable, with an out-of-warranty service cost of £329, including the screen.
The tablet contains recycled aluminum, copper, gold, tin, plastic and rare earth elements. In its report, Apple breaks down the tablet’s environmental impact and offers exchange and free recycling schemes, including non-Apple products.
The iPad ships with iPadOS 16.1, the new software for Apple’s tablets, and is available on many other models. It offers many of the features added to the iPhone with iOS 16, including the ability to automatically crop objects from photos, which is pretty cool.
But the base iPad model lacks some of the advanced features in iPadOS 16.1 designed to turn a tablet into a PC, including the iPad Pro line and the new Stage Manager window multitasking system limited to the M1 iPad. Air.
For tablet-type things that most people might use an iPad for, it makes no difference. Based on Apple’s past experience, you can expect up to eight years of software.
The price is
The 10th generation iPad starts at £499 ($449/$749) with 64GB of storage. 5G-capable models cost an extra £179 ($150/A$250).
In comparison, the ninth-generation iPad costs £369, the iPad mini £569, the iPad Air £669, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 £249 and the Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus £180.
The 10th generation iPad is a great tablet, but a bit pricey for it, especially in the UK.
Finally, it brings Apple’s low-end tablet to another line with its modern design. It’s responsive, durable, and well made. It’s great for video calls, watching videos, browsing, emailing, shopping, and more. And it has access to more apps and services – more than competing Android tablets.
But the best part of £500 is hard to recommend wholeheartedly. Shop around and you’ll find the 2021 iPad for around £330 – still a reasonable price for a good tablet, especially in this economy, and it’s the best version for just watching videos, using apps or playing games. Those looking for a more capable machine would do well to buy the iPad Air with the M1 chip, which you can find for under £600.
This new iPad falls somewhere in the middle – a great tablet should cost closer to £400. Maybe you should look for a sale.
Advantages: modern design, good performance, good battery life, good screen, stereo speakers, USB-C, iPadOS with long support, lots of apps, recycled aluminum, great webcam.
Disadvantages: expensive, no multi-user support, relatively small storage in the original model, no way to add more, screen gap, incompatible with accessories made for other iPad models.