In the latest Apple iPad, there are two changes to be noted. You can connect it to Apple’s smart keyboard with a large screen and smart connector.
These changes are not what keep it as the de facto tablet that most people should buy. The result is a nice and intuitive iPadOS that makes the iPad of the 7th generation not merely a fantastic tablet, but also a highly productive machine that does not break the budget.
Smart Keyboard, Design
Well, the iPad is like an iPad. The look is not far from the original model which came 2011. This is the cheapest slate for Apple and still functional. But it would still have been a bit more contemporary to slim down the bezels around the screen. See what Samsung did for its 400 dollars Galaxy Tab S5e. It looks affordable and lovely.
Apple has a modern, beautiful tablet, called the 2018 iPad Pro, but several hundred dollars have to be shelled for it. For the rest of its tablets, the company should have started changing its design and that does not only cover the new 10.2-inch iPad, but also the iPad Mini and iPad Air 2019.
All that does not mean that the iPad is cheap. Not with its aluminum enclosure that is 100% recycled. It has a significant weight, nice and is over 330 dollars.
The iPad Air has nearly the same body as the 10.2-inch iPad. Look at the dimensions and you will see exactly the same length and width. The only difference is thickness and weight, with the Air being little lighter and thinner. Apple decided to maintain its bezels on the iPad’s sides, although using the same body. Disgraceful.
You still have a Touch ID instead of a Face ID, available only on the iPad Pro 2018. It would have been unreasonable to add it to this iPad because of the new iPad Air and iPad Mini. After using Face ID on Apple’s latest phones and iPad Pro, it feels slower to unlock my thumb on the screen than to just look up the tablet to unlock it.
The most noticeable addition is support for the Smart Connector, which lies in portrait orientation on the left edge of the tablet.
The other important change is to increase the size of the screen from 9.7 cm to 10.2 cm. You won’t see a big difference between the iPad last year and this year’s model. I value a bigger multitasking screen.
It is a LCD panel with a resolution of 2,160x 1,620, slightly greater than the iPad 2018. The pixel density is however at 264 pixels per inch despite of the bump in the screen size. Screen is colorful, looks sharp and it’s very bright. It was used outside in a café, and it was not a problem for the iPad that is up to 500 nits of brightness. I’ve even seen a number of “Breaking Bad” episodes on Netflix. It was a perfect experience.
There is a headphone jack, which I would think was a “pro” feature, which is not available in iPad Pro. I had never to hunt for a lightning jack 3.5 mm like I did for the IPad Pro when my Bluetooth earbuds were out of juice.
Cameras & Apple Pencil
Pencil support on the iPad last year was introduced by Apple and improved here. You can’t use the Apple Pencil of the second generation, and so the first-generation is stuck with you. In my daily use, or drawing with Pencil, I have not seen a dramatic difference, but it is always an excellent and responsive tool.
An 8-megapixel camera is on the rear, taking decent pictures in the daytime and poor pictures at night. Use your smartphone seriously to take pictures. I would like Apple to improve the front camera I use much more in tablets, but I have only a 1.2-megapixel camera. A Zoom video call that I made for a conference was very grainy and not the best quality.
The iPad was able to last three intermittent days when I wrote, browse social media and the Internet, and played a few games for three to four hours per day. If you use it continuously as your primary device, a full working day without problem should be completed, but probably not much more.
The iPad lasted 4 hours 35 minutes in our standard YouTube video playback test, in which we played a 1080p video with maximum brightness. In this test, the Galaxy Tab S6 took 11 hours to drain its battery. However, it is not an important measure of real use, and for most people the life of the tablet battery should not present many problems.
Although Apple’s newest iPhone 11 Pro range has improved charging speeds by including a fast charger, this is not the situation here. The iPad from 20 percent to 91 percent took me more than three hours and that would have been too long. If I’m in a hurry, it’s worse because I need the most energy I can get. It just slowly get charged.
For the 32 GB and the Wi-Fi model, the iPad is $330. There is a 128 GB option and this is the best way to go if you don’t plan to buy iCloud storage. You can also buy a Wi-Fi and Cellular model for $459 if you want constant connectivity without having to tether your phone. However, you must pay a monthly data fee.
It’s now available from Apple and major retailers in gray, silver and gold. Apple TV+ included in your purchase will also be available for one year.
Apple provides a standard limited guarantee protecting the tablet against manufacturer defects for one year from the purchase date.
The iPad is an outstanding alternative as an affordable tablet. It’s powerful, has a great OS and serves great battery life. But one thing to be noted, instead of the expensive Smart Keyboard of Apple, go for a third party keyboard.