Why the New iPad Is the Best Tablet for Most Consumers

Stefan Vazharov
·5 mins read
Photo credit: Apple
Photo credit: Apple

From Best Products

Announced at Apple’s Time Flies event alongside the iPad Air and a duo of new Apple Watch models, the eighth-generation iPad brings significant power upgrades to a beloved product, while retaining the same amazing $329 starting price tag.

Key Specs

• A12 Bionic chip with a Neural Engine
• 10.2-inch Retina display
• Up to 128 GB of storage
• Touch ID fingerprint sensor, stereo speakers, dual microphones
• FaceTime HD camera, 8 MP rear-facing camera
• Built-in Lightning and Smart Connectors
• Compatible with Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil (first-generation)

I got to spend almost a week with the latest Apple iPad, and while the newcomer has the same design as the seventh-generation, significant hardware updates make it a much faster, more powerful product. Read on below for our eighth-generation Apple iPad review, which touches on design, display, and performance.

Design

Familiar Look and Craftsmanship

  • The new iPad looks just like its predecessor

  • It has a Smart Connector for connecting to a keyboard cover

  • It’s the only big-screen iPad with a standard audio jack

The latest iPad looks identical to the seventh-generation model. It’s timelessly cool, and thanks to Apple’s iconic logo on its all-metal back, instantly recognizable. Once again, there are three colors to pick from: gold, silver, and space gray.

Photo credit: Apple
Photo credit: Apple

Once again, Apple has used eco-friendly materials in the making of the slate. My favorite bits include 100% recycled aluminum for its housing, arsenic-free display glass, and packaging crafted from recycled materials, among others.

As far as hardware goes, the new iPad has a reliable fingerprint sensor underneath its display in portrait mode and a built-in Smart Connector, which makes the device compatible with Apple’s Smart Keyboard cover, as well as this excellent option from Logitech that has backlit keys and a trackpad.

Curiously, the latest iPad is Apple’s only big-screen tablet with a standard audio jack on board. The awesome new iPad Air, like the latest iPad Pro and its predecessor, lacks the now old-school feature.

Display

An Ideal Canvas for the Apple Pencil

  • The iPad has the same screen as the previous generation

  • The Retina display is sharp, bright, and compatible with the Apple Pencil

  • It lacks True Tone tech

The 10.2-inch Retina display of the iPad is sharp, vibrant, and plenty big for multitasking. With a maximum brightness of 500 nits, you can rely on its visibility in bright spaces, including outdoors. I found the screen to be equally great for cranking out work and watching live soccer games.

Photo credit: Apple
Photo credit: Apple

As expected, the new entry-level iPad is compatible with the first-generation Apple Pencil. The optional accessory makes the tablet a mighty tool for creative work or taking notes, among countless other tasks. There are many high-quality apps that support the Apple Pencil, too.

Unlike the Retinas of pricier models, the screen of the latest iPad lacks True Tone tech, which adjusts the viewing experience depending on ambient lighting. I don’t think that this is a deal-breaker, especially considering how reasonably priced the product is.

Performance

A Long-Awaited Jump in Graphics and Processing Power

  • The A12 Bionic makes the iPad a must-have

  • The iPad has reliable stereo speakers and microphones

  • It has a Lightning connector for charging

Thanks to the A12 Bionic chip with a Neural Engine, the new iPad is not only the most powerful tablet in its price range, but one of the most powerful tablets out there. That’s hardly a surprise, because the chip has proven to be excellent in the iPhone XS, the iPhone XR, as well as the third-generation iPad Air and the iPad mini — two of our favorite tablets since their launch in 2019. Apple proudly and rightfully noted that it makes the iPad vastly more capable than countless Android tablets, Chromebooks, and PC laptops.

Photo credit: Apple
Photo credit: Apple

Compared to the A10 Fusion chip in last year’s iPad, the A12 Bionic brings a significant jump in CPU performance (up to 40%). Even more impressively, the new chip has twice the graphics power, making the new iPad ideal for demanding tasks such as editing media, gaming, augmented reality experiences, and creating digital art with the Apple Pencil.

The iPad performed flawlessly while I tested it. It even allowed me to leave a full-sized notebook at home and work from Central Park without making any sacrifices. My workflow includes a double-digit number of open browser tabs, editing images in Affinity Photo, and writing text with Outlook, Slack, Spotify, and Tweetbot open in the background.

Photo credit: Apple
Photo credit: Apple

According to Apple, the iPad can deliver up to 10 hours of video playback or web browsing between charges. It easily made it through a day of use. Unlike the USB-C-toting iPad Air replacement that also debuted at Apple's event, the eighth-generation iPad has a Lightning connector for charging.

Equipped with stereo speakers and dual microphones, the iPad delivered a dependable audio experience during my testing, including during Zoom calls. Its sonic capabilities are solid, but not as impressive as those of the pricier iPad Pro.

Wrap-Up

Adding the A12 Bionic chip has made the 10.2-inch iPad an even more appealing, more futureproof product. When paired with a keyboard cover, the slate is also a legit alternative to most mini laptops out there.

The power upgrades will help users enjoy iPadOS 14 and its immense multitasking capabilities to the fullest. Apple’s iPad platform has a host of new features, including customizable widgets, enhanced tools for the Apple Pencil, and an overwhelming selection of apps and games that are tailor-made for a big screen. It’s the main reason why you should consider any iPad over an Android or Chrome OS competitor.

Apple offers the iPad with 32 GB or 128 GB of storage and I highly recommend that you opt for the latter. It’s well worth the extra $100. Variants of the tablet with cellular network connectivity add another $130.

Shop Apple iPad

Read More:

Our Favorite iPad Accessories

How to Choose the Right iPad for Your Needs and Budget

Elevate Your iPad With One of These Top-Rated Stands

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