The iPad 10th-generation or the iPad 2022 now looks more like an iPad Air and an iPad Pro. Apple has dropped the thick chin and forehead for equal-sized bezels on all sides. The refreshed design is sleek and modern. Furthermore, under the hood, this device is powered by the Apple A14 Bionic chip. This makes it a capable tablet that can outperform even the mid-range and flagship Android tablets in the market.
A Definitive Review of the iPad 10th Generation: Reasons Why You Should and Should Not Buy
Pros of the iPad 10th Generation
1. Better and Above Mid-Range Performance
It is important to note that this tablet is considered the entry-level device in the entire iPad lineup. The iPad Air and the iPad Pro, as well as the iPad Mini, are powerful tablets equipped with the most latest Apple Silicon. These devices can outperform the 10th-generation iPad in benchmark and real-world tests. Nevertheless, when compared to other entry-level and mid-range tablets running on Android, the entry-level iPad is a more capable device in terms of processing speed and capabilities.
The A14 Bionic chip powers this device. It is a system-on-a-chip based on the 5nm process technology. The chip specifically has a 6-core CPU, a 4-core integrated GPU, and a 16-core Neural Engine for artificial intelligence and machine learning acceleration. The A14 is the same chip used in the iPhone 12 lineup and it has 12 percent better CPU and about 15 percent better GPU performances than the Apple A13 chip.
It is also worth mentioning that the performance of the iPad 10th-generation is better than the first-generation and second-generation iPad Pro and might be somewhat comparable to the third-generation and fourth-generation of the iPad Pro in the general processing department. This comes from the fact that the A14 Bionic chip is based on a better process technology that makes it a more advanced and newer-generation system-on-a-chip than the A9X and A10X Bionic chips of older iPad Pro generations.
Nevertheless, considering the technical specifications and capabilities of its chip, this device is a capable tablet that can run most apps or handle average to above-average tasks with zero to minimal performance issues. It is an ideal office productivity tool and can also be used for editing photos and videos. This tablet can also handle all moderate-level and even the most demanding or graphics-intensive games in the App Store.
2. First-Gen Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard Folio
Another advantage of the iPad 10th generation or the 2022 iPad is that it is compatible with Apple Pencil 1 and Apple Pencil USB-C and it can also be attached with a new and dedicated Magic Keyboard Folio. The Apple Pencil can be used for taking down notes and digital sketching or painting while the Magic Keyboard Folio provides a laptop-like experience.
The two accessories transform this tablet into a productivity tool without needing to purchase the more expensive iPad Pro or iPad Air. Improvements in the iPadOS such as the split screen feature, side-by-side apps, and app overlay provide decent multitasking capabilities. Accessories from third parties are also available at more affordable price points.
3. Modern Design Elements and Considerations
Remember that this entry-level iPad 2022 has a refreshed look. The bezels are thinner on all sides for an almost all-screen look that frames the IPS-based 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display. It looks more current than the outdated design of the 9th-generation iPad. The overall look and feel are arguably similar to the iPad Pro and iPad Air. This device also comes in four color variants. These are Blue, Pink, Silver, and Yellow variants.
It is also interesting to note that this is the first iPad to demonstrate a new placement for the front camera. The 12MP ultra-wide front-facing camera has moved from the upper-center position when handled in portrait mode to the upper-center position in landscape mode. This enables a better video calling or video conferencing experience. Take note that the older placement has been criticized for its awkward camera angle.
The sides and back of the device are also flat. There are no rounded edges except for the rounded corners. The home button is no longer existing and the Apple Touch ID is now integrated into the power button. It is important to highlight the fact that the Liquid Retina display is larger than the previous generations of the entry-level iPad. This is an interesting improvement considering that this device is slimmer and about 10 grams lighter.
Another interesting design consideration is the inclusion of a USB-C port that replaces the Lightning port. This port is used for charging and wired data transfer or for attaching an SD card dongle and HDMI porting. There is also the addition of a Smart Connector on the side for interfacing with accessories like the Magic Keyboard Folio. There are also four speakers. Each side on landscape orientation has a pair of speakers.
Cons of the iPad 10th Generation
1. Higher Price Tag and Expensive Accessories
A notable disadvantage of the iPad 10th generation is its price. It is more than USD 100.00 more expensive than the introductory price of the 9th-generaton iPad. Take note that the base model of the previous generation with 64GB of storage was introduced with a retail price of USD 329.00 and this device can still be purchased from Apple and other retailers for around USD 250.00. The 65GB base model of the iPad 2022 retails for USD 449.00
Models with higher storage specifications or cellular variants are more expensive. The 64GB variant with Wi-Fi and cellular features is priced at USD 599.00. Those who want a device with a higher storage at 256GB would need to add at least USD 100.00 and those who prefer a higher storage with cellular connectivity should be prepared to shell out about USD 750.00. Several third-party retailers provide considerable discounts.
The cost of the entire device with a full productivity setup increases further. The 1st-generation Apple Pencil is an expensive accessory at around USD 75.00 while the Magic Keyboard Folio has a price tag of around USD 249.00. It is still worth mentioning that there are third-party retailers that also offer discounts for these accessories. There are also alternative accessories or non-Apple-branded accessories from third-party manufacturers.
Nevertheless, considering the aforementioned prices, the iPad 10th generation is still an expensive product for what is supposed to be considered an entry-level tablet from Apple. This base price tag is within the territories of mid-range and even some flagship Android tablets. Transforming this device into a productivity tool increases its overall cost of ownership because relevant accessories from Apple are expensive by default.
2. Mid-Tier but Unimpressive Liquid Retina Display
Apple has been using the “Retina” branding on its display-equipped devices such as the MacBook Pro, the iPhone, and the iPad to inform the consumers that the specific display screens are packed with dense pixels in a given area that renders individual pixels unnoticeable at a distance of at least a foot and beyond.
The 10th-generation of the entry-level iPad also has a decent Retina screen but its overall qualities remain subpar with the screens used in the iPad Pro and the iPad Air. It lacks the p3 color gamut for providing extra depth of color. There is also no anti-reflective coating which limits its use under bright conditions. The display is also not laminated to the outer glass.
3. Notable Software and Hardware Limitations
This device ships with iPadOS 16.1 and it will support iPadOS 17 and other versions in the future for the next four to five years. The dedicated tablet operating system from Apple is packed with numerous features that expand the use cases of iPad devices. However, in an entry-level iPad, some of these features are unavailable. One of these features is the Stage Manager. This feature available in the iPad Pro and iPad Air allows a user to work on multiple apps and spaces at once similar to the multitasking feature of the macOS.
Other newer iPadOS features that are absent in the iPad 2022 are the Live Text feature which allows selecting and interacting with texts in images and the Reference Mode feature which enables compatible iPad devices to be used as a color-accurate reference display. The entry-level iPad also does not support the graphics application programming interface or API called Metal 3 that is used in gaming and other graphics-demanding apps.
Hardware limitations explain this notable disadvantage of the iPad 10th generation. The A14 Bionic chip lacks the processing power from higher CPU and GPU cores and higher RAM capacity to handle tasks that require more resources. Observers have explained that Apple was intentional when it underpowered the iPad 2022. It needed to cut costs to make its pricing suitable to its entry-level designation. The company also does not want to overpower this device to avoid cannibalizing the markets for the iPad Pro and iPad Air.
The low storage configuration of the base model on top of its high price tag can also be a dealbreaker. 65GB is not much for above-average users. The fact that storage is not expandable also limits the practical uses of this device. Take note that high-performance mobile games like FPSs or MMORPGs can take at least 1GB of storage space. The limited storage capacity would also run out when the device is used for video editing.