Apple iPad 10.2in (2019) full review

Apple’s launched a new iPad. The new 10.2in model replaces the 9.7in model introduced in March 2018, so you’d expect it to offer superior specs right? Wrong! There’s little to differentiate the two iPads, aside from the bigger screen on the newer model, and the higher price (at least if you are in the UK).

Price and availability

We'll start off with that price. The older 9.7in iPad (reviewed here) started at £319 in the UK and $329 in the US. The new 10.2in iPad still costs $329 in the US, which is great if you live there, but in the UK it's now £40 more at £349.

Now, we understand that now and then Apple adjusts prices for inflation and other reasons, but that 9.4% increase in price closes the gap with the iPad mini and iPad Air, which are better iPads in so many ways and now won't cost you that much more.

The price change in the UK really does have the effect of positioning the iPad very differently in comparison to its siblings.

Of course, elsewhere the iPad will still stand out as the cheapest iPad. But it should be the cheapest iPad given that the specs are identical to the 9.7in iPad from March 2018 - in fact that processor is from 2016. But we'll get on to that later.

As for availability, you can pre-order a 10.2in iPad on Apple's website here, but it won't go on sale until the 30 September.

The 9.7in iPad is no longer on sale officially, but we expect that Apple will continue to sell it on its Refurbished Store, and it's likely you could pick up a good deal on the 128GB version - which would be a much better purchase than the 32GB entry-level 10.2in model. Indeed, Apple has a 128GB iPad 9.7in on sale for £349 right now, and a 32GB version for £269 details here.

Design and build

The design is the one difference between the iPad 9.7in from 2018 and the 10.2in iPad for 2019, but beyond the fact that the 10.2in model is physically larger, there isn't really any other difference.

Those who were hoping that the new 10.2in iPad would have reduced bezels for a larger screen within a more compact body will be disappointed.

Here's how the dimensions compare:

10.2in iPad: 250.6mm x 174.1mm x 7.5mm, 483g

9.7in iPad: 240mm x 169.5mm x 7.5mm, 469g

10.5in iPad Air: 250.6mm x 174.1mm x 6.1mm, 456g

We included the iPad Air (review here) above because it demonstrates what could have been if the bezels on the iPad had been reduced. The two iPad have the same dimensions but the Air has a larger screen.

New iPad 2019

Features and specs

In terms of the features, there is very little to differentiate the 2018 iPad from the 2019 iPad. The colour options are the same, the storage options are the same, both have a lightning port for charging, a fingerprint scanner, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Both have the same A10 Fusion processor (which actually first appeared in the iPhone 7 in 2016).

The only difference here is compatibility with Apple's Smart Keyboard thanks to the integrated Smart Connector. But this doesn't mean you couldn't use a keyboard with the older iPad - you could just use any Bluetooth keyboard, and that is still the case.

iPad Smart Keyboard

Here’s how the specs compare

  iPad 10.2in (2019)
iPad 9.7in (2018)
iOS iPadOS 13 iOS 12, will run iPadOS 13
Colours Space Grey, Silver, Gold Space Grey, Silver, Gold
Display 10.2in Retina Display (2160 x 1620, 264ppi) LED 9.7in Retina Display (2048 x 1536, x264ppi) LED
Processor Apple A10 Fusion Apple A10 Fusion
Storage 32GB/128GB 32GB/128GB
Rear camera 8Mp rear-facing camera, f/2.4, Live Photos, no flash, no OIS, Panorama mode up to 43Mp, 1080p HD video, slo-mo video at 720p and 120 fps 8Mp rear-facing camera, f/2.4, Live Photos, no flash, no OIS, Panorama mode up to 43Mp, 1080p HD video, slo-mo video at 720p and 120 fps
Front camera 1.2Mp front-facing camera, Live Photos, Retina Flash, 720p HD video 1.2Mp front-facing camera, Live Photos, Retina Flash, 720p HD video
Ports Lightning charging port, 3.5mm headphone jack Lightning charging port, 3.5mm headphone jack
Security Fingerprint scanner Fingerprint scanner
Wireless Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi 5 802.11ac Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi 5 802.11ac
LTE Gigabit-class LTE (up to 27 bands) LTE (22 bands)
Apple Pay (NFC) Yes Yes
Support for Apple Pencil (1st Gen), Smart Keyboard Apple Pencil (1st Gen)
Dimensions 250.6mm x 174.1mm x 7.5mm 240mm x 169.5mm x 7.5mm
Weight 483g 469g
SIM
nano-SIM, eSIM nano-SIM, Apple SIM
Buy link Order Now No longer sold
Price From £349/$329 From £319/$329

Verdict

There's not a lot to differentiate the 10.2in iPad from its year-older predecessor which is disappointing. Recently Apple's taken to launching 'new' products that actually have the same specs, or very similar specs to the predecessor (see the MacBook Air 2019). In the case of the iPad 10.2in our criticism isn't just that the processor is the same as that in the previous generation, but that the A10 Fusion dates back to 2016 which is a long time in tech terms.

If we thought that the biggest problem with the 9.7in iPad was the fact that it was too small then maybe we'd be more excited about the new size, but we don't think that bigger really is better. Apple began it's introduction of the iPad by saying that the iPad was currently it's most popular iPad. Maybe that was because 9.7in was the perfect size.

Incidentally, there's a very good reason why 9.7in is better than 10.2in when it comes to tablets. If you are planning on using Microsoft Office, there's a free version for tablets that are smaller than 10.1in.

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