iPad 10th Generation long-term review: Mega upgrade but commands a steep price

2023 was a weird year for Apple. We saw the launch of the iPhone 15 series, the Apple M3 chip, and new MacBooks. There was even a new iMac! However, one Apple product did not get any love – the iPad. The iPad 10th Generation was the last time we saw any major updates come to the iPad, but it seems to have kept the cash registers flowing for the Cupertino-based tech giant, so much so that Apple did not mind not introducing a new iPad in the whole of 2023. But that doesn’t mean that buying the iPad 10th Generation is a bad bet, not by a long shot. It is, for all intents and purposes, one of the most sensible iPads to consider, especially now that Apple sells it at Rs. 5000 cheaper than its launch price in India.

But are all the upgrades noteworthy enough for you to shell your hard-earned money on it amidst cutthroat competition from the likes of the OnePlus Pad and Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE in the long run? After spending a considerable amount of time with the iPad 10th Generation, here are my thoughts.

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The good

The 10th Generation does not have killer looks by any means, although it is a breath of fresh air compared to the iPad 9th Generation. And what it does have is a chic design that is sure to stand the test of time. It borrows its looks from the iPad Air 5th Generation, with much slimmer bezels and a side-mounted Touch ID sensor that works flawlessly. This means the ancient home button which has become synonymous with Apple products is no more! But, good riddance, if only a couple of years too late. The display real estate has also increased from 10.2 inches to 10.9 inches, but more about that later.

Even though it has been out for a year now, the iPad 10th Generation is more than capable enough to carry out all your tasks. It is powered by the A14 Bionic SoC that also powers the iPhone 12, and like the smartphone, the iPad breezes through everyday tasks including binge-watching shows, occasional doodling and note-taking using Apple Pencil USB-C, and surfing the web. Although it is not as powerful as the M1 iPad Pro, you won’t be able to tell the difference on most occasions. Even though it is not a gaming-oriented device, the iPad 10th Generation still managed to hold up its own when playing Genshin Impact. The animations were fluid even when taking on a hoard of enemies, although an occasional frame drop here and there was evident. But nothing major.

The front 12MP camera on the iPad 10th Generation now displays in landscape orientation which is a much-needed welcome. It (finally) makes you appear at the center, not off-axis. Although it isn’t a class-leading camera, it is more than good enough for FaceTime and WhatsApp video calls and has been a great companion since I’ve gotten my hands on it.

Another area where the iPad 10th Generation impressed me was when it comes to audio performance. There’s a stereo speaker setup here that is loud enough and produces good-quality audio at the same time. Thus, it is perfect for those movie nights when you don’t want to switch on your TV.

Battery life is another strong suit of the iPad 10th Generation. I’ve been using it for around 1-2 hours on a daily basis, and it easily lasts for 2-3 days on a single charge on most occasions, if not more. The addition of USB Type-C is also welcome, although it was about time.

The bad

Now here is where things get complicated. While I appreciate the narrow bezels and the larger 10.9-inch display on the iPad 10th Generation, the lack of an OLED panel is really felt here. Although Apple makes the best LCD panels hands down, it still isn’t at par with the colour accuracy offered by OLEDs. Moreover, the display features a meagre 500 nits of peak brightness, meaning watching stuff on the iPad in your garden under direct sunlight is not easy on most occasions.

The fancy Stage Manager also doesn’t make it to the base iPad which is a bummer. That means you won’t be able to multitask by putting your secondary app on the side of the display.

Another area where the iPad 10th Generation falls short is the rear camera. Under perfect conditions, it manages to capture details nicely. But conditions are rarely perfect. On most occasions, it is average at best. When captured indoors, images often have some amount of grainy texture, something which is not expected from a company that makes the best smartphone camera systems in the market.

Verdict

Should you go for the iPad 10th Generation? Yes and no. Yes, because it features a powerful chipset that breezes through everyday tasks. It also has a chic design that looks classy and is a breath of fresh air with narrow bezels and no home button. The stereo setup is perfect for those movie nights. The battery life is great, and you won’t need to worry about plugging it in if you’re a light user.

No, because the rear camera is decent under perfect conditions, but struggles elsewhere. While the LCD display is the best compared to other LCD tablets in the market, it can’t hold a candle against OLED displays. Oh, and viewing it in the Sun can be problematic due to low peak brightness. And if you’re someone who loves to multitask, you’ll be missing out on the amazing Stage Manager feature as well.

That being said, the 10th Generation iPad is a great step up from the outdated iPad 9th Generation. With narrow bezels, USB Type-C, powerful processor, and long battery life, it offers a great starting point for first-time iPad buyers who do not want to shell out the premium that is demanded by the iPad Pro.

Product Name

Apple iPad 10th Generation

Specifications

  • Display

    10.9-inch, IPS LCD

  • Processor

    A14 Bionic

  • Rear Camera

    12MP

  • Front Camera

    12MP

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