Upgrades justify the $120 price increase

iPad (10th generation).

Sophie Pitt

AppleThe new iPad hits store shelves on Wednesday. I’ve been testing it for several days, and if you’re looking for an entry-level iPad, I think it’s worth spending the extra $120 on this year’s version.

The launch of the 10th generation iPad comes at a crucial time for Apple: just before the all-important holiday shopping season. iPad sales fell 14% during Apple’s most recent holiday quarter and 2% during the company’s fiscal third quarter, which ended in July. Apple’s two latest iPad models, which also include the top-of-the-line Pro modelcould help boost tablet sales during the holidays.

This year’s iPad got a major overhaul with a faster processing chip, better camera, and other features. That’s a bit more expensive than last year’s iPad, starting at $449, compared to last year’s 9th-gen model, which starts at $329.

This comes with a caveat: if you already have an entry-level 2021 iPad, don’t bother buying this year’s model. The differences aren’t stark enough to warrant the upgrade.

Here’s what you need to know about Apple’s new entry-level iPad.

what is good

iPad (10th generation)

Sophie Pitt

Let’s start with the improved design. Apple’s new iPad has a 10.9-inch screen, slightly larger than the last generation’s 10.2-inch screen. It has flat edges and a more square look, similar to the high-end iPad Air or Pro. You can say goodbye to the home button at the bottom of the screen. Instead, there’s a fingerprint reader in the power button.

There are two other big upgrades: a new USB-C connector, instead of the Lightning connector, which means faster charging and transfer speeds for things like large video files.

One of the improvements I’m most excited about is the new front camera location. It’s now on the long side of the tablet, instead of the short side, which should help you look more camera-focused during video chats. It’s also more flattering.

When FaceTiming on my 2021 iPad, my eyes are constantly drawn to the side of the screen, rather than the person I’m talking to, because the camera seems to capture me from an odd angle. The iPad’s new front-facing camera location fixes that and makes it easier to focus on the person I’m trying to talk to.

The new iPad is powered by a slightly older A14 Bionic chip, but I noticed slightly faster performance and longer battery life compared to its predecessor. Switching between apps like Safari and Pinterest, for example, was smoother, and I was able to get through an entire day of streaming and web browsing before needing to charge overnight.

The screen was clear when I watched “Emily the Criminal” over the weekend. Image quality in car chase scenes was crisp, and colors were vivid, but not as bright as you’d get on one of Apple’s high-end iPads.

The new iPad’s camera is significantly better. The front selfie camera was clearer for video calls compared to last year’s iPad and my 2021 MacBook.

Front camera for iPad.

Sophie Pitt

The new colors are also exciting, and I have a feeling they’ll make this entry-level iPad more popular for the holiday season. This year’s range is available in blue, pink, silver and yellow.

The iPad I tested has 5G cellular technology, which costs an extra $150. If you commute or use your iPad on the go like me, it’s worth the extra cost since you can stream without being connected to Wi-Fi.

what’s wrong

The new iPad requires a $9 dongle if you want to use the Apple Pencil.

Sophie Pitt

One thing about the new iPad is that it does not support the latest second generation Apple Pencil. It only works with the first-generation Apple Pencil, which is seven years old and not as comfortable to use. Adding insult to injury, since the iPad now has a USB-C port instead of a Lightning connector, the old Apple Pencil requires a $9 dongle to use with this tablet.

Additionally, Apple is selling a new $249 Magic Keyboard Folio case that has a kickstand and a multi-touch trackpad, which is useful if you need to type emails or get some quick work done.

I don’t like this new Magic Keyboard Folio as much as the version that works with the iPad Pro because I often stream and keep my iPad on my lap, couch or bed and this case also doesn’t support the iPad Pro. iPad on soft surfaces. I found myself holding the iPad with one hand to hold it in place while watching shows.

iPad (10th generation)

Sophie Pitt

Should I buy it?

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