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Review: The new $ 329 iPad is an incredible value for anyone who wants a good mobile PC


I’ve been using Apple’s “pro” iPad since it was first introduced. It was an obvious game for someone like me who used an iPad in a professional context before it was cool. Apple has also given the iPad Pro cool new features exclusively for the past six years, leaving the ordinary iPad in the dust. But recently, Apple has started showing readiness to share its best new features with the iPad, iPad Air and iPad mini. I’ve been rocking Apple’s new 9th generation iPad for the past few days and I’m amazed to say it’s fantastic and the first to have everything I need.

The new iPad as I will call it later in this post is on the surface, just another specification for the old key design for the home iPad. But it’s much more than that and there are so many improvements that it’s the only iPad I would currently recommend to anyone.

I like the iPad Pro, it has a beautiful edge-to-edge ProMotion screen and an M1 chip inside. But I quickly learned that none of these things are even remotely necessary for a great iPad experience. The iPad Air has similar performance as the new iPad, but with a Liquid Retina display from edge to edge. It’s also compatible with the Apple Pencil 2 and Magic Keyboard, but they’re just “nice to have.” The new iPad mini is not a product I would recommend to someone who is specifically looking for an iPad, especially if the goal is to get the job done. It’s for a very niche audience of people who want a small computer that fits in a jacket pocket and that feels like a 21st century mole diary.

Black + silver = kiss of the cook

So if we throw that out, why do I love the new iPad? Let’s start with the design. It basically looks like every other iPad from the 2014 iPad Air 2. But if you opt for the silver model, you get a brand new two-tone look that Apple hasn’t offered since the fourth generation iPad. It has a black front frame and a silver rear chassis. It looks really nice and honest, it looks better than any iPad with a home button ever made. The space gray model looks exactly the same as any other space gray iPad, so I would recommend keeping it away if you care about the feel of your device and it looks “new”.

A13 screams

The new iPad has a really fast chip, in fact, it is the first and only iPad to have an A13 Bionic processor. Apple shipped the A13 only to the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone SE, opting instead to give the iPad Pro an A12Z processor. I immediately noticed that the A13 makes the new iPad feel just as fast as the iPad Air or even the iPad mini. I know there are many nuances to consider, but in everyday standard use I don’t feel any difference.

I don’t play a lot of intense games on my iPads, instead I stick to simple games. I love puzzles and simulators and both categories are not played differently here than on more expensive iPads. I’ve played a bunch of Townscapers on my iPad and it works spectacularly well. The neural engine in the A13 makes the new iPad scream, that’s the best thing about this particular chip upgrade. It’s fast and makes multitasking feel as fluid as on an iPad Air. It’s a great experience and everyone, even the most intense iPad users would be happy with it. I had previously spent some time with the 7th generation iPad and was constantly finding it dropping frames and slowing down in places other iPads wouldn’t. That’s no longer a problem with the $ 329 iPad.

If you have last year’s 8th generation iPad with the A12 chip, you’re still in good shape. But the evolution from A12 to A13 has been huge and you can feel improvements in performance across the board. This was especially the case when Apple introduced the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro.

Central stage

If you want an iPad for video calling, don’t buy an iPad Air. Buy a new iPad. It has one of Apple’s best new features: the Center Stage. The central stage uses a new wide-angle front camera and adjusts the field of view to properly display you and anyone else at the end of the conversation. The camera is also significantly better as it now has 12 megapixels instead of the 1.2 megapixel camera. It’s one of the best front-facing cameras Apple has ever shipped in its product.

Much improved screen

The screen on the new iPad is still 10.2 inches. It is a great size and the screen is just enough for the job to be done efficiently without feeling cramped. It’s also not much smaller than the 10.9-inch and 11-inch iPad Air and iPad Pro. Apple didn’t change the screen resolution at all, but it introduced one of its best screen features: True Tone.

With True Tone on the new iPad, the screen adjusts the color temperature based on ambient lighting. When you are in a warmer space, the screen turns yellow. When you are in a bright white space, the screen becomes bluer. Apple’s technology here is amazing and anyone who has used True Tone knows it’s something you can’t live without once you use it.

Apple has also added sRGB color to the new iPad, improving color reproduction. But it’s not such a big improvement year after year that you’ll notice.

Lots more storage space, same great price

One of the best aspects of the new iPad are the storage configurations. Apple has doubled the storage configurations on the new iPad, but has kept the same prices. The new iPad starts with 64GB of storage at the same price of $ 329. That base model is great value, but the new 256GB option is amazing value. Apple used to offer only 128GB maximum on the iPad, but 256GB is good at the computer level.

For $ 479 you can get a 256GB iPad with Wi-Fi network. The iPad mini starts at $ 499 with 64GB of storage, and the iPad Air starts at the same 64GB for $ 599. So you can get 256GB of storage for less than the price of a basic iPad mini or iPad Air.

Mobile options are available, but I would stay away from them for now. Mobile iPads only have LTE, while iPad mini and iPad Pro have 5G. if you have a phone with LTE, just use an access point. If you have a 5G phone, you are in an even better position. Apple will eventually bring 5G to the base iPad. It is not clear whether the technology will be affordable enough to be put in the 10th generation iPad next year, but it will arrive in the end. Apple put a lot of eggs in the 5G basket.

iPadOS 15 feels the same

Using this new iPad seems almost identical to using an iPad Air or iPad Pro. Launches the same iPadOS 15 with enhancements for multiple tasks, quick notes, and home screen widgets. With this new iPad, you can do almost anything you can on the iPad Pro.

Multitasking is great on the new iPad. Moving apps to split view is fluid. The drag-and-drop is fast and the apps stay in the condition I left them in pretty well. The application switcher is not broken at all and I did not notice any dropped frames. In short, the new iPad works perfectly for multiple tasks.

What else is new

There are several other changes to this new iPad. First, Apple has actually removed one thing: GSM and Edge. Mobile models will not be able to connect to networks that use these protocols. For most people, this is not a big deal because neither is used anymore, but if you live in a country or area that uses them, it is important to know.

Apple has added a new video camera feature to the new iPad. Users can now shoot at 25 fps if they wish at 30 fps.

The Wi-Fi model of the new iPad actually weighs slightly less than last year’s iPad 8th generation. It’s a very marginal difference and you probably won’t notice it. But it’s a nice little component to the story of the new iPad. Ironically, the mobile models of the new iPad are heavier this year than last year.

Which is the same

A lot of it is still the same in the new iPad. The most obvious thing that is still the same is the Touch ID sensor built into the start button on the front. It’s fast and safe as always and I like it. Using the new iPad confirmed my suspicion that the home button Touch ID sensor is more accurate and reliable than the side-mounted iPad Air and iPad mini.

Apple has kept the Lightning connector on the new iPad. They say it’s to maintain compatibility with the plugins that organizations use with existing iPads, but I think it’s more than that. I’ve noticed that carrying a new iPad and iPhone and owning one lightning charger is infinitely better than having to carry a lightning charger and a USB-C charger wherever I go. The average iPad user doesn’t need USB-C and will more than likely be happy to be able to use the same charger as their iPhone. Lightning also means you can still use the original Apple Pencil. Apple’s second generation pen is better, but not so much better that this is a failure. The only real advantage of the second-generation Apple Pencil is that it stays on the sidelines.

The speakers on the new iPad are still stereo and mounted on the bottom. These are the worst speakers you can currently get on an iPad, but they are still very good. They’re not as loud or full as the iPad Air or iPad Pro, but you’ll be pleased with them.

The rear camera is still 8 megapixels and is pretty mediocre. It’s okay to take a quick video or take a photo on the go, but you don’t want to use this as your primary camera. I don’t know why anyone would want to use an iPad as their primary camera, but if you plan to do so, get an iPad Pro.

The new iPad still uses the original design of the smart connector, which means you can still use the Smart Keyboard. It’s still floppy and stupid when it’s closed, but it’s still a great keyboard on the go. I especially like to use it in cafes. And unlike the Smart Keyboard Folio and Magic Keyboard for iPad Air and iPad Pro, you can set the Smart Keyboard to work as a standard Smart Cover stand for watching movies. You can nicely put the keyboard behind the iPad. I thought I was going to miss the trackpad on the Magic Keyboard, but no. We’ve been through a decade without a trackpad on the iPad and I’m still perfectly comfortable using it without it.

Finally, yes, there is a headphone jack. I will never use it, but it is there and it is good that people who want an iPad with a headphone jack can still buy it.

Verdict

This is an iPad for purchase. Unless you absolutely don’t want USB-C or use Apple’s newer Apple Pencil and keyboards, there’s no reason to spend a huge premium to upgrade to a higher-end iPad. Apple has turned the basic $ 329 iPad into something that works for everyone. The changes they have made are in all the right places this year. It’s much faster, it’s better for remote work, it has a better entertainment screen, and yet it’s thin and light as always. It’s hard to surpass the value Apple has here. It is the best tablet for most people.

PS: If you are a student, you can get a new iPad for only $ 309, and if you buy a new iPad in bulk for schools and universities, you can get it for only $ 299.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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