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Apple iPad (10th Generation) review: Apple’s entry-level tablet gets a modern facelift for a steep price

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The front and back of the 10th generation iPad.The 2022 iPad is and excellent tablet, but the higher price makes it a tough sell.

Antonio Villas-Boas/Insider

  • The 10th-generation iPad is a complete redesign from last year’s model.
  • It has a bigger display, faster processor, a USB-C port, and it’s better for video calls.
  • But it’s $120 more expensive than previous entry-level iPads, making it hard to recommend.

There’s a lot to like about the 2022 Apple iPad: The larger 10.9-inch display and long-awaited design upgrades, the new color options, the new placement of the front-facing camera, the USB-C port, and support for the new Magic Keyboard Folio that includes a trackpad. 

But modernizing the base-model iPad comes at the expense of affordability.

Starting at $450, the 10th-generation iPad is $120 more than the previous model, the ninth-generation iPad, which Apple is still selling for $329. As there’s little to suggest that the 10th-generation iPad provides an experience that justifies its $120 price hike, the question becomes whether you’re willing to pay more for an updated design, a newer processor, and more color options. 

Some people will justify the 10th-gen iPad’s $120 premium if its upgrades accommodate their priorities. But for anyone looking for an inexpensive tablet, the ninth-generation iPad is still plenty capable for most people.

What works

  • Modernized design
  • Larger screen without increasing overall size
  • Relocated FaceTime camera 
  • USB-C port 
  • Fun color options

What needs work 

  • Significant price increase over previous model
  • Clunky and confusing Apple Pencil support 
  • No more headphone jack 
  • Spendy accessories

The redesign brings the base iPad up to speed with the rest of Apple’s modern lineup

Apple’s 10th-gen iPad with the home screen showing.The 2022 iPad is a big leap forward in design.

Antonio Villas-Boas/Insider

From a design standpoint, the 2022 iPad is a culmination of design elements we’ve seen on other iPad Pro and Air models. There’s no more Home button, and Touch ID has moved to the power button. The display’s corners are round, bezels are smaller and uniform around the display, and the edges are flat. Gone is the Lightning port in favor of USB-C charging.

All told, the 10th-generation iPad is nearly indistinguishable from the 2022 iPad Air and iPad Pro models. In hand, the 10th-gen iPad feels identical to the iPad Air, just slightly thicker. Following in the footsteps of the Air, the 10th-gen iPad is also available in new color options, including silver, blue, pink, and yellow.

The 10th-gen iPad’s design with squared edges rather than rounded ones.The 10th-gen iPad has a larger, more vivid display.

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While the 10th-gen iPad is about the same size as the previous model in every aspect, it has a larger screen. The display has increased from 10.2 inches to 10.9 inches, which is not a dramatic change (the difference in screen resolution is miniscule), but still impactful. The extra real estate, especially in a familiar device size, is easy to like for everyday tablet tasks, like watching videos, running apps, playing games, or scrolling through the web. 

The 10th-gen iPad’s modernization also includes dual speakers in landscape mode for stereo audio, which make for a subtly nicer audio experience for watching videos compared to the 9th-gen iPad’s mono audio. At the same time, Apple removed the headphone jack. If you’re a wired headphone holdout, you’ll need to pay up for a USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter.

The 10th-gen iPad’s USB-C charging port.The 10th-gen iPad has a USB-C charging port instead of a Lightning port.

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The USB-C port means you can charge the 10th-gen iPad with the same charger and cable as USB-C Apple laptops. It’s one step closer to parity within Apple’s still-fragmented ecosystem — you still need a Lightning cable for other Apple devices, like iPhones and AirPods.

The inclusion of USB-C allows for fast charging and support for USB-C accessories, but the 10th-gen iPad has slower data transfer speeds than the iPad Air and Pro — something to consider if you plan on transferring large files to and from the iPad. It shouldn’t be an issue for iPad buyers looking for a tablet to watch videos or play games.

A faster processor for all the power you need for apps and games

The 10th-gen iPad is equipped with Apple’s A14 Bionic processor, the same as the iPhone 12 series and the 2020 fourth-generation iPad Air. No big surprises here: The 2022 iPad is very fast, with apps and games running smoothly. 

The A14 Bionic processor offers a small-yet-typical performance boost over the A13 Bionic processor in the ninth-gen iPad, but don’t count that towards the 10th-gen iPad’s $120 premium — iPads have been getting processor upgrades with every new generation without a price hike.

As for battery life, the 10th-gen iPad offers five and a half hours of constant video streaming at maximum brightness, which is consistent with Apple’s 10 to 11-inch iPads of late.

No support for the second-generation Apple pencil is painfully baffling 

The 1st-gen Apple Pencil being charged with the adapter.The 10th-gen iPad is only compatible with with the first-gen Apple Pencil, which needs an adapter to charge.

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Let’s get this out of the way: The 10th-gen iPad doesn’t work with the second-generation Apple Pencil. It only supports the first-gen Apple Pencil.  

The problem is the 10th-gen iPad has a USB-C port, which means there’s no Lightning port to plug the Pencil in for charging. Instead, you now have to connect the Pencil to a $9 USB-C adapter (the adapter comes with any newly purchased first-gen Apple Pencils), plug that to a USB-C cable, and then connect it to the iPad. 

If you already own a first-gen Apple Pencil, the only other alternative is to charge it via an iPhone’s Lightning port. Needless to say, it’s a clunky experience.  

It’s all doable, but adapters are an inelegant solution that are begging to become lost, especially one as small as the first-gen Apple Pencil adapter. Still, it’s actually slightly less clumsy than the original charging design, where the Apple Pencil comically stick out of an iPad.

Ideally, the 10th-gen iPad would support the second-gen Apple Pencil, which charges wirelessly on the edge of the iPad. But one of the 10th-gen iPad’s best aspects may have gotten in the way, which I get to below. 

A more convenient FaceTime camera makes a big difference

The 10th-gen iPad’s FaceTime camera.The 10th-gen iPad’s FaceTime camera is on the top edge of the iPad, like you’d find on a laptop.

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Among the improvements, Apple fixed what has been the most annoying feature in the era of video calls: The front-facing camera has moved from Portrait to Landscape position, meaning the camera is now centered above the screen when using the tablet like a laptop. 

This is a huge improvement that makes the 10th-gen iPad a better option for video calls than any other iPad, past or current. You’ll now appear to look straight ahead rather than streaming the left side of your face to whoever you’re calling.

Apple Pencil users, however, may have the FaceTime camera’s new placement to blame for the absence of second-gen Apple Pencil support. The FaceTime camera placement is exactly where the charging magnets for the second-gen Apple Pencil are found on other iPads. Apple may have sacrificed second-gen Apple Pencil support for a better video calling experience.

While the front-facing camera benefits from being relocated, the rear-mounted camera sees a hardware upgrade from eight megapixels to 12 megapixels. Photos are sharper, but let’s be honest, the iPad is a backup camera if your iPhone isn’t nearby, at best. Still, that extra sharpness is welcome. 

Should you buy it?

The rear of the 10th-gen iPad in the silver color option.The 10th-gen iPad’s price is a downer when the ninth-gen iPad is still available for and is just as good.

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Despite its positives and the fact that it’s an exceptional tablet, the 10th-gen iPad’s $450 price tag makes it a hard tablet to recommend when the ninth-gen iPad for $330 is still in the lineup. 

And $450 is just the starting price for the 64GB model — it’s $600 for the next 256GB storage upgrade option. Add in accessories: $250 for the Magic Keyboard Folio, a couple of dongles here and there, and the cellular option if you need it, and you have to wonder where the line is for Apple’s “entry-level” iPad. 

Affordability and value made the ninth-gen iPad a no-brainer for people looking for an inexpensive tablet that “does it all.” But the 10th-gen iPad’s price, as well as the convoluted Apple Pencil charging experience, is a downer. Apple Pencil users should outright skip the 10th-gen iPad and look at the ninth-gen iPad instead, or the 2022 iPad Air that supports the second-gen Apple Pencil. 

To justify its price, the 10th-gen iPad can be seen as a more premium version of the 9th-gen iPad. It’s up to you, your budget, and your priorities to say whether its modern design, larger screen, better FaceTime camera placement, and USB-C port are worth the extra $120 over the 9th-gen iPad.

Read the original article on Business Insider