Eagle-eyed iPad users will see the screen size is up from 9.7-inches to 10.2-inches. But how much difference does that make and, if you already own an iPad, is it worth upgrading? We've been using the new entry-level iPad since the launch to find out.
Where does the new iPad fit into the range?
A half inch here and there, the diagonal measure of the older iPad, the current default, and the latest Air isn't dramatic – but more impactful than it reads. It's worth noting that the Air costs considerably more, as it comes with that slightly bigger screen, plus a faster processor and more storage space. The iPad mini, by comparison, sits right at the bottom of the stack, as it's less capable in terms of performance.
In summary, then, the 2019 iPad is best seen as the entry-level model. It offers a big screen, but not the performance capabilities of higher-grade iPad models, including the Air and the even more advanced iPad Pro range.
Same design, bigger screen
- 10.2-inch Retina display (2160 x 1620 resolution; 264ppi)
- Size & Weight: 250.6 x 174.1 x 7.5mm / 483g
- Made with 100 per cent recycled aluminium
- Touch ID fingerprint sensor Home button
- Finishes: Silver, Space Grey, Gold
The iPad design is iconic, therefore its design hasn't changed drastically despite the expanded screen real-estate. It still features a Touch ID Home button in the bottom bezel and the same speaker design, meaning those bezels remain fairly large – but they're practical for holding onto. It is now made with 100 per cent recycled aluminium though, which is an eco boost.
The larger screen inevitably means the 2019 iPad is slightly bigger and heavier than the previous 9.7-inch model. On the upside this size adjustment now means you get the option of using the (optional) Smart Keyboard that's available for the iPad Air, which in turn delivers a more laptop-sized typing experience if you want it. That's potentially transformative for the new iPad.
The screen itself offers slightly more resolution than the earlier iPad models, but the difference in size means the resolution is roughly the same. It's a little reflective, but that resolution means everything looks sharp at a comfortable hold's distance. Against the pricier (and slightly larger) Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 the iPad is a little less resolute, but you won't notice.
The most obvious difference between this and the iPad Pro's display – apart from the Apple Pencil support – is the True Tone technology on the Pro, which adjusts the white balance based on ambient lighting conditions. This is now the only iPad not to offer this technology, though, and given it's a standard on most Apple devices now we're somewhat surprised it's missing here. Another notably omission is the lack of an anti-reflective coating, which will affect viewing if you're planning on using the iPad outside.
Accessories include Apple Pencil
- Smart Connector for accessories
- Supports Apple Pencil (1st Gen)
- Smart Keyboard support
As with other iPad modelss, including the Air and the Pro, the iPad 10.2-inch will feature support for the first-generation Apple Pencil and the company's Smart Keyboard (that's already available with the iPad Air) thanks to the Smart Connector on the back. It's this connector that's the only real change to the design.
Although the first gen-model, the Pencil is responsive and easy to use, helped by software speed gains within iPadOS 13, and would-be artists will enjoy the sensitivity of the optional accessory when used with apps like Adobe Fr and Procreate. Note, the second-gen Pencil isn't compatible, as this is the one designed to magnetically connect to the newer generation iPad Pro models only.
iPadOS 13 brings new features
- New software features with iPadOS 13
The new iPad comes with iPadOS 13, which brings a number of new features including much greater multi-tasking functionality, allowing you to run apps side-by-side, as well as better file management and improved support for the Apple Pencil. Rather than go into ultra deep-dive mode here, check out our feature below which brings all the tips and trinkets that this new operating system brings.
- Read our full breakdown of iPadOS 13
Power & Performance
- A10 Fusion processor
- 32GB and 128GB storage sizes
- 8-megapixel camera on rear, FaceTime HD camera on front
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac / Wi-Fi + Cellular model offers 4G
The 2019 iPad gets a processor bump compared to previous versions, meaning the company's A10 Fusion chip is at its core (rather than the previously used A10 processor). The chip, which first appeared back in 2016 in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, means the new model won't be anywhere nearly as powerful as the iPad Pro range, but it does deliver enough power to get most of the things iPad that mainstream users will want.
We've had no issues running a multitude of apps. Big games do take a little longer to load than we would like, having become accustomed to the speed of the iPad Pro and iPhone 11 models, but it's by no means slow or sluggish.
If you're buying this iPad to watch Netflix, surf the web, maybe do some drawing – you'll need to buy an Apple Pencil, but of course – and general low-resource tasks like writing emails or documents then it'll be more than capable. If you're into heavy video/photo editing, or gaming with all the special graphics features switched on, then you might experience some longer-than-you-want load or render times.
With its slightly larger screen and the introduction of the new iPadOS 13 operating system, the 2019 iPad is the safe, familiar and affordable iPad option.
It's not the most advanced iPad going by any means though. Using a series of older technologies – as already tried and proven in other devices like the iPhone 7 or the current iPad Pro range – Apple's offering here is one that's solid, but not best-of-best any more.
For many that means this iPad companion will be the perfect media consumption, casual app machine or sketching pad. There's still no better entry-level tablet around.
This article was originally published on 10 September 2019 and has been updated to reflect its full review status
Apple iPad Air
The 2019 iPad Air is basically an iPad Pro in all but name. In fact, take it back a couple of years, and the smaller iPad Pro was pretty much this tablet. So if you can live without the FaceID, uniform bezels and Type-C port offered by the current Pro, then this 10.5-inch iPad Air is a compelling offering. Especially considering its sub-£500 price point.
Apple iPad mini (2019)
The iPad mini is a huge leap in terms of performance over its predecessor and last year's 9.7-inch iPad, too. If you want a more compact iPad, there's little we can say against it.