Apple iPad review
Apple’s most popular iPad is back with new features, more power, and a price that may surprise you.
The new £349 tablet has just arrived in UK stores and although the iconic design still looks very much the same, there’s plenty of techie treats that make it a device worth a place in your bag.
One of the biggest upgrades tucked inside the aluminium case is the A10 Fusion chip, which brings some added oomph to this entry-level device.
Although it’s nowhere near as powerful as the blisteringly-fast A12 brains found in Apple’s most expensive iPads, this processor still offers a slick experience and it’s unlikely that the average user will ever discover any apps or games that it can’t deal with.
In fact, we’ve been using this iPad instead of our trusty laptop and it’s coped remarkably well with all of our web browsing, writing, and photo editing all performed without a hint of a stutter.
What makes it possible to use the new entry-level iPad as a replacement is the addition of the Smart Connector on the back, something that Apple originally designed for its iPad Pro series, that means it’s compatible with the Smart Keyboard case. This protects your iPad when it’s stored in your backpack, but also flips-out into a full QWERTY keyboard.
This uses the same Butterfly mechanism you’ll find on the latest MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models, which takes a little getting used to as there’s not all that much travel for the individual keys. There’s also no backlighting to the keys, so you’ll need to disturb your neighbour by turning on the spotlight above your seat when working on your next flight.
However, Apple has made the Smart Keyboard spill-proof, which is a huge bonus when working on-the-go.
The addition of the Smart Keyboard – a feature that would’ve meant coughing-up for the £479 iPad Air last year – is a brilliant move from Apple and it makes this new device much more than just a screen to play apps and watch movies on.
Apple iPad 2019 has plenty of power under its aluminium shell
Talking of the screen, you’ll find things have been boosted in this department with the new iPad getting a 10.2-inch Retina Display, compared to the ever-so-slightly 9.7-inch screen last time around. As you’d expect from Apple, things look bright, sharp and packed with colour on the LCD. There’s no question you’ll enjoy bingeing on boxsets or playing some titles on Apple Arcade.
One thing that’s worth noting is that you won’t get Apple’s anti-reflective coating or True Tone technology with this iPad and that’s a shame. We love the colour-changing True Tone tech as it makes long periods of screen time feel far less painful on your eyes. You also won’t get the 120Hz super smooth ProMotion technology you’ll find in the pricier Pro range.
If you want this option, you’ll need to splash out around £150 more on the iPad Air, or £420 extra for the iPad Pro series.
Just like last year, the iPad is fully compatible with Apple Pencil. That means you can now draw, scribble, and annotate to your hearts’ content without using your fingers.
It will cost you £89 extra for this Apple Pencil but it’s probably worth the price if you feel you’ll get the benefit of this precision accessory.
The new iPad has a very familiar design
Away from the hardware, it’s worth mentioning that out of the box you now get full access to Apple’s new iPadOS. This includes a customisable home screen that lets you pin widgets to the side of the array of apps, as well as better multitasking, and an improved file management system. All iPads are now able to save documents to an external USB drive as well as iCloud and rival cloud services, like DropBox.
At under £350, the new iPad is certainly good value for money but it does lack some extras that you’ll find on its more expensive siblings.
As we mentioned earlier, there’s no True Tone or anti-reflective display and you can only buy it with a maximum of 128GB of storage which won’t suit those who want to keep endless movies, apps and photos.
The Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard are both now compatible with this device
The more premium iPad range also includes the faster A12 range of processors and the Pro models ditch the Touch ID fingerprint scanner for Face ID facial unlock technology. Those models also benefit from the hysterical AniMoji and MeMoji features, which let you animate three-dimensional animals and a Pixar-like representation of yourself, to send to friends and family in iMessage and other chat apps.
The costlier iPad Pro tablets also have thinner bezels, which certainly gives it a much more modern and appealing look. However, those tablets cost hundreds of pounds more than this latest update and that’s what makes this new iPad seem so appealing.
If you want an iPad Air you’ll pay at least £479 and opt for the basic iPad Pro and you’ll be left facing a bill of over £769.
The only thing you do need to be aware of with when it comes to cost is that the new iPad doesn’t come bundled with the Keyboard case (£159) and Pencil (£89). Add those to your basket and thing do start mounting up.
- FOR • Great price • Plenty of power • Keyboard and Pencil support make it far more versatile • Access to thousands of amazing tablet apps
- AGAINST • Familiar design has some pretty chunky bezels • No True Tone display
The iPad remains the best tablet in town and this new iterative update to the best-selling Apple slate makes owning one much more affordable.
At under £350 this is great value for money and don’t think that cheaper price means you’ll compromise on features as it is more than capable of powering you through your daily digital life.
This affordable tablet gets more power from its A10 Fusion chip and there’s a slightly bigger 10.2-inch Retina Display which makes your nightly binge on Netflix a more enjoyable experience.
Although there are better iPads available in the Apple Store, this latest model is incredibly good value for money, and the fact you can now add that Smart Keyboard case makes it even more versatile.
For all the positives, it’s a shame the design hasn’t been updated and the lack of large storage options could be a concern for those who don’t like storing all of their photos in the cloud.
But, if you want a new iPad and don’t fancy spending a small fortune, there’s lots to love about this much more affordable tablet.