Safe, solid, dependable: the 10.2-inch iPad gets an upgrade

Review: It may not be the most exciting ipad, but it is still the best value

The ninth generation iPad: less flash, more substance.

Product name: Apple iPad (9th generation)

Price: €399.0

Where to buy:


Fri, Sep 24, 2021, 11:23


The new iPad Mini may have been the big attention grabber from Apple’s California Streaming event, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the updated version of the standard iPad. At €399, it is incredibly good value and gives you all the advantages you’d expect from an iPad: a great display that is small enough to be portable yet big enough to watch video comfortably.

It looks largely similar to the iPads that have come before it, but there are some important upgrades. The chip, for the example, is the A13 Bionic, which is a decent upgrade over the A12, as you’d imagine. It also has an upgraded neural engine and improved graphics performance.

That’s not all though. Like the new Mini, the ninth-generation iPad has a vastly improved front-facing camera, upgrading it to a 12 megapixel ultrawide lens. That means you get Centre Stage, Apple’s video conferencing feature that keeps you in shot as you move. Will it change your life immeasurably? No – but it will make the remaining video calls you have to do for work that bit easier.

The base storage has also been improved, with the smallest capacity now 64GB, and the 256GB version starting from €599. For most people, the 64GB will offer enough capacity for the apps and files you need; unlike the iPhone, you aren’t likely to be taking lots of photos and videos on the iPad that will quickly eat into your storage. You can still shoot high-definition video but there is no 4K option for the 8 megapixel rear-facing camera.

Why should you buy it instead of the Mini? If you need a larger screen but don’t have the funds for the iPad Air, the 10.2-inch screen on the ninth generation iPad will fit the bill nicely. It is also compatible with the smart keyboards, unlike the new Mini.

The first-generation Apple Pencil is an added extra but it is cheaper than the second-generation one, and can be charged independently of the iPad when you use the included adapter.

The good

This is exactly what you’d expect from Apple’s iPad: a good screen, decent battery at 10 hours (approximately) and an upgraded chip that makes everything run that bit smoother. At just less than €400, it’s also far easier on your wallet.

That 10.2-inch screen may not be “edge to edge” but not everyone wants to see the back of the home button either. Plus, this iPad includes a headphone jack, one of the few Apple devices to retain it.

The not so good

The Mini may cost more for a smaller device, but it also has a number of features that the base iPad doesn’t get. For example, 4K video capture and Smart HDR 3 for photos. Will you miss it? Probably not, as the camera and video capabilities on the iPad are good enough for most situations. What you might miss, if you opt for the cellular version, is the 5G connection. The 10.2-inch iPad is 4G only.

The rest

The smart keyboard support will be welcome for some, meaning the new iPad will still work with older keyboard cases. The bigger storage is also welcome.

The verdict

It may not be the most exciting of the new releases, but the 10.2-inch iPad is probably still the best value.