10.9-inch iPad review roundup: Strange compromises, oddly placed in Apple's lineup

in iPad edited October 2022
Reviews are in for the new 10.9-inch iPad, with it being called a great tablet with multiple compromises that place it in a weird spot in the lineup.

Apple's 10.9-inch iPad has mixed initial reviews
Apple's 10.9-inch iPad has mixed initial reviews

Apple announced the 10.9-inch iPad via a press release on October 18. It is seen as a curious addition to Apple's lineup and the initial reviews reflect that sentiment.

The Verge says the new iPad is stuck in the middle with an older processor and updated design. At its core, the iPad is an excellent tablet with fast performance and reliable battery life.

The higher price coupled with less-than-premium features places the 10.9-inch iPad in a weird spot. It isn't quite a laptop replacement -- it is a basic iPad for doing basic things.

The accessory story adds to the confusion with an expensive Magic Keyboard Folio and confounding Apple Pencil support. Customers may be better off finding a discounted iPad Air instead.

The $9 Apple Pencil adapter adds another step to charging and pairing the accessory
The $9 Apple Pencil adapter adds another step to charging and pairing the accessory

Engadget says the redesigned iPad is mostly worth the higher price. However there are compromises including accessory support and display technology.

The difference in display technology between the iPad Air and the 10.9-inch iPad is less than ever, but it is still noticeable. It is easy to miss the 120Hz refresh rate of iPad Pros or the laminated display on more premium models.

The A14 is performant and apps open without slowdowns, even when swiping through a library of RAW photos in Lightroom. The most notable performance metric is the iPad's ability to keep apps running in the background is reduced compared to other iPads with better processors.

The price hike isn't great news, but spending the extra $120 is worth it and most people will prefer it to the $600 iPad Air.

YouTube Personality iJustine performed an unboxing of all the new iPad colors and some accessories. The colors of the iPads and cases pop compared to other Apple products.

The color-matched cases feature slightly more saturated colors than the iPad's aluminum finish. Pairing an Apple Pencil using the new $9 adapter is a simple process, though it is an extra step.

CNET says that the 10.9-inch iPad isn't the iPad for everyone even though it should be. Apple's iPad lineup has plenty of options, but the perfect combination of features doesn't exist.

This updated iPad has nearly everything you could want with USB-C, a landscape FaceTime camera, and a bigger, better display. However, the Apple Pencil requires a weird USB dongle and the price has gone up.

The landscape selfie camera is "perfect." This feature alone makes this the preferred iPad to use over others.

The Apple Pencil situation is bad enough that artists should skip this model. The necessity of the adapter is questionable since other iPads use Apple Pencil 2, and users aren't going to want to remember another adapter for travel.
Blue, pink, yellow and silver color options
Blue, pink, yellow and silver color options

Wired says the 10.9-inch iPad used to be the basic and affordable, but now it is anything but. The higher price, Apple Pencil situation, and lack of display lamination make this product difficult to justify over the previous generation.

At first glance, it is easy to become enamored with the 10th-generation iPad thanks to its array of candy colors and modern design. But it doesn't take long for that bubble to burst once you take into account the price of the tablet and accessories.

The $120 higher starting price for only 64GB of storage, the $250 too-expensive keyboard, and $100 outdated Apple Pencil adds up fast. There are better price points with better experiences above and below this product that makes this one less worth it. Though, the 10.9-inch is still a great tablet.

Tom's Guide calls the 10th gen iPad amazing and awkward. It delivers almost everything you could want in a modern tablet with a larger display, faster A14 Bionic processor, and USB-C.

There are a few things that make this tablet less than perfect like the first-generation Apple Pencil support and subpar rear camera. The landscape-oriented selfie camera is appreciated and makes it a better tablet for video calling.

Apple Pencil support is easily the biggest frustration with the new iPad. There's nowhere to house the Pencil when it isn't being used, and in order to use it, you need a separate USB-C to Lightning port adapter.

Overall, the new iPad is one of the best tablets, but not the best tablet for most people thanks to the higher price and Apple Pencil blunder.

The 10.9-inch iPad is available for pre-order now and initial shipments begin on October 26. It starts at $449 for the base model with 64GB and goes up to $599 for 256GB of storage.

Read on AppleInsider


  • Reply 1 of 1
    Another compromise is that the USB-C port is the slow USB 2.0 (480Mbps) and not the USB 3.1 Gen 2 (up to 10Gbps) that is on the latest iPad Air.

    I wonder which spec Apple will include with iPhones when they switch them to USB-C?
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