The new iPad 10.2, which Apple released this year, has upped its speed game without upping the prices, and that’s what most consumers looking for budget tabs are in search of. Thanks to the new A12 Bionic chipset from Apple, this new tab of theirs will offer users more and better performance for everything from editing photos to games to juggling several apps at the same time. This new Apple tab supports the Smart Keyboard feature, so it can double up as a mini laptop if you need it to. Oh, and its iPadOS 14 also allows you to do very many new things with the Apple Pencil, one of them being hand writing recognition in any text field. How cool, no?
The only downside about the iPad 10.2 is that it looks a lot like its iPad 7 cousin. This basically means that it has huge bezels around its display alongside an outdated Touch-ID button. And, even though the 1st-gen Apple Pencil is as versatile as it is, there’s no place on the device to store it. Other than that, it happens to be another outstanding Apple product.
DESIGN AND DISPLAY
This new iPad is still portable and light with a solid glass and aluminum overall design. However, the whole aesthetic kind of looks a tad bit outdated compared the iPad Air 4. Granted, the latter costs a lot more than the one we’re reviewing in this article, however, seeing a tab that has such big bezels these days feels a lot like a throwback. The iPad 10.2’s bezels are quite pronounced. When you hole the device vertically, its Touch-ID is underneath the display screen. It’s what you’ll use to enter passwords, Apple Pay and unlocking the device itself.
As expected, the company has continued using Lightning port features on this new device, meaning you won’t have access to a Type-C USB connection. However, there’s kind of a silver lining to all this, there’s a USB-C-to-Lightning adapter included in the package. So you’ll get faster charging compared to the 2019 model.
The display also looks like something you may have already seen before. This new Apple tab features a similar 10.2-inch Retina screen as with the generation that came before it. It offers up a brightness of about 500 nits with a resolution of 2160×1620-pixel. This panel is ideal for watching Netflix, scrolling through photographs and surfing the internet. On this tablet, the black and gold uniform Miguel, from Cobra Kai, wears really pops. However, it’s not as sharp as one would expect.
That being said, the one major downside in the display department is that this particular tab has more glare on the panel than the iPad Pro. Though, that’s not such a bad trade-off considering how reasonably priced this tab is. And, seeing that most lab tests put the panel at an average of around 485 nits, which is just slightly below what Apple claims it can provide, it should do more than enough. Furthermore, the display also has a 97% sRGB color gamut coverage, which is very similar to what you’ll find with Samsung’s S6 Lite tab. All in all, it has a pretty accurate screen.
iPad Pro 12.9
This iPad Pro looks almost the same as the one that was released before it. Yes, it’s even as big as the previous but that’s really not such a bad thing. This tab is almost all-display. It has rounded corners, an incredibly slim profile and very narrow bezels. What really differentiates it from its predecessor is all at the rear of the device. Behind it you’ll find a square camera on the left which has a LIDAR scanner inside it, and beneath it its dual-cameras. In fact, when you look at the tab closely, it sort of looks like the iPhone 11 Pro as well. When viewing the front via landscape mode, you can place the Apple Pencil on its magnetic strip. A single port can be found on the right of the device, which is the USB-C feature, and this is what you’ll use to plug in your accessories as well as for charging.
Just like the Pro that was released in 2018, this 12.9 features a TrueDepth cam which has the Face ID feature for quick unlocking of the device. It measures about 11.04x46x0.23-inches and weighs in at about 1.41 pounds. The Cellular models weigh slightly heavier though.
This iPad also uses a Liquid Retina display, which is no one’s complaining about seein as how these screens are some of the best there are around. It very colorful, incredibly bright and features ProMotion. The ProMotion technology helps it automatically adjust refresh rates. The cars on the “Hobbs and Shaw” trailer were exquisitely detailed. The display should give you brightness of around 558-nits, which is not only brighter than what you get with the iPad 10.9 we’re reviewing in this article, but also Microsoft’s Surface Pro X. It incredible 122$ sGRB color gamut coverage will also ensure you get many clear colors.
While Windows laptop devices that cost less than 400 bucks might sometimes struggle with certain tasks due to the Celeron processors that power them, this new Apple tab is silky smooth. This is in large part because it’s powered by the new A12 Bionic chipset. This new chipset promises a CPU performance that’s 40% faster and graphics that’s 2x faster than the previous generation iPad. The tab handle very well in all aspects. You can play fast paced racing games, such as Sayonara Wild Hearts, without worrying whether the tab can handle it. It won’t flinch even a little bit when you’re maneuvering your motorbike around the track picking up hearts along the way. Its A12 chip delivers brisk Mortal Kombat gameplay as well. It keeps with frantic taps and swipes as you attempt to beat your enemies to a pulp.
This new iPad also does incredibly well when it comes time to use the Pixelmator app to perform edits. It instantly responds to adjustments for saturation, contrast and brightness. You’ll also have a fun time applying Warp effects to pictures, and once gain this new tab makes changes on the go.
This iPad Pro features a powerful A12Z chip which features an 8-core CPU alongside an 8-core GPU (which is there to give a huge graphics performance boost). This chipset will ensure blistering quick real-time performances too. It’ll take you about half a minute or so to export a single 4K video to 1080p after you’ve applied a color filter. This A12Z chip also gives the tab more graphics muscle as well.
You can use the 1st-gen Apple Pencil on this tablet, and while it deliver good performances it can sometimes make things a little awkward. For starters, it has a cap that can get lost easily and, secondly, there’s no place to store on the device. Finally, the Apple Pencil needs to be plugged into the Lightning port and charged before you can use it, which isn’t exactly elegant so to speak. Although, at least it does perform flawlessly once it gets going, especially on an Apple tab that costs as much as this one does. If you’re not necessarily an artist, then you’ll most likely appreciate the new features the iPadOS 14 gives you access to, one of the best being Scribble. This feature allows user to write on any text field and have their words turned into text.
If you want to turn this new iPad into a mini laptop you can. All you need to do is fork out a little extra for Apple’s Smart keyboard. Yes, this keyboard will provide you with a fantastic typing experience, however, it can’t really do all the things the Magic Keyboard does for the iPad Pros and iPad Air. The membrane keys on this keyboard have a rubbery overall feel to them and they aren’t backlit. That being said, they’re still great for typing out notes, urls and messages. And while it can help you great deal when it comes to typing long reports, the lack of an in-built touchpad is still a major bummer.
The iPadOS 14, on the other hand, is simply a game-changer. This update will allow you to display bigger widgets on the left-side of the screen, and it makes it easier for you to add new ones as well. Though, Smart Stacks might just be the most interesting new feature of them all. It allows you to go through several different widgets within one window, like Weather, News and Podcasts.
In addition to all this, the company has redesigned several other applications to help make them have a more desktop feel. They’ve also added pull-down menus and sidebars. Voice Memos, Photos, Calendar, Notes, Files and Mail now all have sidebar functions. In Photos, for instance, there’s a sidebar function for Crop, Filter and Adjust on the left-side, and other interesting options to the right as well. This new operating system also does a much better job of just staying out of the users way, with its compact design-style for both Siri and Search. These notifications will not take over the entire screen anymore.
iPad Pro 12.9
This Apple Tab supports the new Magic Keyboard, which is an upgrade of the Smart Keyboard. Although, it also cost a lot more as well. With that said, while it can help make you feel like you’re suing a laptop, there a couple of asterisks that come with it. Aside from the Magic Keyboard being kind of on the expensive side of things, when it’s attached to the tab everything together will way nearly 3-pounds or so. The MacBook Air laptop is almost half a pound lighter than this. On the plus side, the Magic Keyboard has really clicky switches, which gives users better feedback than the Smart Keyboard does. The Magic Keyboard’s scissor-style technology is what you’ll find on the 2020 MacBook Air laptop
Its trackpad and cursor optimization settings allow users effortlessly swap application using three fingers. Okay, the trackpad is much smaller than what you’ll find on Apple MacBook laptops, but it’s all clickable. This is different from PC laptop touchpads. Though, the best thing about the Magic Keyboard is the floating design-style it uses. This makes the tab itself look like it’s somewhat floating over the keyboard.
This Apple tab features iPadOS 13.4 which has trackpad support. This operating system sports a redesigned cursor which looks circular on the display. This circular cursor changes shape according to what’s going down on the screen. For example, it completely disappears when you go over certain applications. When you look at images in the Photos app, it highlights the Share and Heart icons when the cursor goes over a pic.
This tab, just like the iPad 10.2, also has a LIDAR scanner, or the time-of-flight sensor, at the back. You can now take full advantage of those compelling Augmented Reality applications. When using AR apps, like IFEA Place, some devices will force you to have to scan certain surfaces before you can start using it. With the LIDAR scanner, AR placements are instantaneous. Playing Angry Birds has never been better because game boards will be displayed instantly. Furthermore, the iPad 21.9 one ups the 10.2 because this one uses the 2nd-generation Apple Pencil instead of the 1st. Charging the former is also simpler and easier, and you can also store in on the 12.9’s magnetic strip.
Apple claims that this device should be able to run for about 10 hours or so if being used to watch video and surf the internet. This will take a one hour dip to 9 if you get the cellular version which uses LTE. Though, you’ll realize it can last longer once it’s in your hands. It can run for up to almost 12 hours or so when used wisely over Wi-Fi. This is way better than what its predecessor was known to offer, which was about 11 hours. Another good thing, is that this time round there’s a Type-C USB power brick included in the package, though, it doesn’t offer the results one would expect. It takes almost half an hour just to get to 15%.
iPad Pro 12.9
Apple claims you can get 10-hours of runtime when you’re using the device just for wireless web surfing. In general, it has above-average everyday-use endurance. If after a full charge you start using it to check emails, stream videos, word process and take photos at 9am in the morning, then by 6pm the device’s battery should’ve drained to around 35%. This basically means that the charge can last you the whole day on a single full-charge. The only bummer in this department is that it has a rather short USB-C charging cable. One meter simply isn’t enough. It’s almost useless when being charged because the cord is too short for a dining table or desk.
The iPad 10.2 should really just be known as the new Apple iPad SE, and we’re not dissing it with that. We say this because, just like both the Apple Watch SE and the iPhone SE, this iPad seems to have a very simple goal. It want to give you all the important features at an affordable price. And the company has made sure it’s delivered on that. The A12 Bionic chip it uses gives you blistering performance for under 300 bucks. This helps make the device ideal for both play and work. But that’s not all. You can enjoy it for almost 12 hours straight once it has been fully charged. Okay, it doesn’t have a place to store the Apple Pencil, however, other than that this tab is one for the ages.
The Pro 12.9 tab is a one of a kind Apple tab. The fact that it has a real keyboard with a touchpad means it can now effectively compete with the Surface Pros. Not only that, it also has snappier performance capabilities as well as a longer battery life, and all this at a relatively affordable price. If you’re looking for an Apple tab that can double-up as laptop, then you’ll find that both in the iPad 10.2 as well as the 12.9. Not many Apple tabs can do this better than these two devices right here.
That being said, we still have to choose a victor, right? This isn’t an easy one, but because the 12.9 uses the 2nd-gen Pencil (and has a place to store it), uses the better smart keyboard and has a much larger screen, we just have to give it up to it. As much as they’re both really great devices, if you had to puck one then go the iPad 12.9 route.