iPad 2018 9.7-inch Review

What is the iPad 2018 of 9.7 inches?

The new iPad 2018 is the cheapest tablet in the Apple range, and looks like any other iPad of the last five years.

It should be boring. But is not.

Contains the powerful A10 Fusion processor, costs only £ 319 / $ 329 (for the 32GB entry-level model with Wi-Fi) and is compatible with Apple Pencil. This is an iPad Pro mini in all but name, but it is half the price of the iPad Pro of 10.5 inches.

Also, forget about cheap laptops; Apple is launching the iPad 2018 as the future of computer science in the classroom and there is certainly some truth in its claim.

The updated processor means you will see a significant improvement over any iPad prior to the iPad Air 2. If you are moving an old iPad that is slow and does not last long with a load, then this is the time to update without breaking the Bank.

The new iPad is thin, lightweight and has a crisp, powerful 9.7-inch screen that's perfect for watching videos in bed or on the go. The battery life is solid and offers between 10 and 11 hours of screen time. Playing games reduces this a bit, while only doing low intensity things like surfing the web and sending emails, the results last even longer.

As a casual tablet, the new iPad is the best you can get for the price. As a complete laptop replacement, things are not that simple, but the iPad is still a solid case by itself.

Related: Best tablets

iPad 2018 – Design and display [19659002] If you've seen an iPad at some point in recent years, the 2018 model will not surprise you at all.

There's the solid metal chassis, a thick bezel around the screen and an appropriate start button with Touch ID. It is thin, light and excellent to hold.

The 9.7-inch IPS screen is not on par with the iPad Pro, but it's still ideal for anything other than more detailed design or photo and video editing work. It is not as rich in color as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 with OLED packaging, but the colors are accurate and the dark levels are decent for an LCD screen. The only drawback is that it is quite reflective and easily smears with the marks of the fingers.

The stereo speakers are fine for watching videos, but they are not a patch on the iPad Pro's quad speaker array. They lack bass and depth to listen to music.

Data transfer and charging are handled through a Lightning port and there is still a 3.5mm headphone jack, something that has disappeared from recent iPhones.  iPad 2018 9.7-inch

The screen now also supports the sensitive Apple Pencil pressure, and that means you can have great precision when drawing. You can also sketch, take notes, mark documents or photos and use it as a mouse pointer.

It's fast, simple and a really useful tool that is not yet found on many laptops. Those hybrid laptops that do support a stylus, such as Microsoft Surface Pro, are rarely cheap. The only direct tablet competitor is the £ 500 Galaxy Tab S3 that comes with an S Pen in the case. At £ 89, the Apple Pencil adds a load of useful features to the new iPad and still keeps the price well below the Samsung account.

  9.7 inches iPad 2018 Apple Pencil

I'm not an artist. Apologies to Matt Groening …

Therefore, the only thing missing when we compare this iPad with the iPad Pro 10.5 inches is the smart keyboard connector. If the iPad wants to be a realistic alternative to a laptop, then it needs a keyboard. Writing is still a key part of being productive in the office or classroom, and that will not change soon. Then the lack of keyboard connector is a big problem, right?

I do not believe it

I've been happily using an iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard since the iPad 3 was launched six years ago. Of course there is a slight delay compared to a keyboard connected through the smart connector, but it is still quite useful.

There are dozens of Bluetooth keyboard cases that vary in quality and price, and these make the iPad a solid tool for writing emails, essays or just having some "civilized discussions" on the forums. A screen keyboard simply does not pirate it.

 Keyboard 9.7 inches iPad 2018 The quality of the keyboard makes the difference. Some cheap keyboards do not feel good; others add too much bulk. Soon we will review some options, but I have been testing this new iPad with an old Bluetooth Typo keyboard designed for the iPad Air. It fits (only), so if you have an old keyboard case, you may be able to use it again.

Please note that iPad Air 2 cases do not fit. That tablet was paper thin.

iPad 2018: iOS 11 software and multitasking

The iPad was paralyzed for years by iOS. Apple's operating system favored smaller screen devices for a long time. iOS 9 brought multitasking with split view, which was crucial, but it was not until iOS 11, at the end of 2017, that the iPad received the love it deserved.

  Persistent base iPad 2018

The dock is great for accessing the most used applications

iOS 11 introduced a new interface for the iPad, with a permanent base for the most used applications, as well as an application switcher adequate and a renovated Control Center. Pencil functionality also increased, so you can now write and draw online in Mail and Notes. Better yet, the iPad can now recognize your writing, so you can search for keywords in your written notes.

  9.7-inch iPad 2018

The new Control Center is customizable

These are the changes that really make the difference to see the iPad as a true replacement for laptop and a productivity workhorse.

Then there are the pages, the numbers and Keynote. These are Apple's ideas about Microsoft Office, except that they are free. They are unquestionably more powerful than Google's free cloud applications, but if, like me, you're hooked to Google, then they're also available, just like Microsoft Office.

iPad 2018 – Performance and features

Apple continues to promote the iPad 2018 as more powerful than most laptops. How can it be true? How can a device that weighs a few hundred grams and only measure 7.5 mm compete with integral laptops?

Well, if you've spent almost £ 1000 on a laptop recently, then you should not worry, you have not. has been assaulted It will be more powerful and can do more things than the iPad.

The truth is that it is very difficult to compare the performance between a laptop that runs macOS, Chrome or Windows and an iPad. There are some reference tests, like Geekbench 4, that work on all platforms and give an indication of comparative performance.

The iPad 2018 looks great using Geekbench criteria, thanks to its A10 Fusion processor and 2 GB of RAM that powers the lightest operating system. The performance of a single core is a particular highlight. This is important, since most applications still use only one kernel at a time.

I compared it here to last year's iPad, the iPad Pro with A10X processor and the Intel i3, i5 and i7 processors for 2016 packaged in most laptops costing between £ 400 and £ 700.

Geekbench 4 Single [19659045] Difference in performance
iPad 2018 3525 N / A
iPad 2017 2523 40%
iPad Pro 3908 – 10%
i3-7100U 2855 23%
i5-7200U 3288 7%
i7-7500U 3926 -10% [19659061] Geekbench shows that the A10 significantly outperforms the i3 and the i5 slightly when it comes to the performance of a single core. In multicore, where both cores are used, Intel manages to recover some ground.

Geekbench 4 Multi Difference in performance
iPad 2018 5972 N / A
iPad 2017 [19659050] 4380 36%
iPad Pro 9305 -36%
i3-7100U 5501 9%
i5-7200U 6378 -6%
i7-7500U 7594 -21%

Cross-platform benchmarking is a difficult measure and should not be relied upon alone. A more useful way to evaluate performance is to use a laptop with a similar price to do the same things: edit images and videos, perform various tasks and play games, for example.

Here, once again, the iPad appears with the smell of roses. Hardware and applications are so well optimized for iOS that even very intensive tasks, such as image editing and video, run faster than they would on a Windows 300-400 GBP laptop. A Chromebook will not be complete, but that's more because Chrome apps are still lacking compared to the richness of Apple's app store.

Editing an undesirable image of everyone's favorite redhead is instant on the iPad using the Apple Pencil and the Pixelmator app. A 2014 MacBook Air with an Intel Core i7 and 8GB of RAM has a delay of several seconds using Photoshop for the same task. The results are also better on the iPad.

  Pixelmator iPad 2018 Ed Sheeran

The editing of an unwanted person from a photo with Pixelmator is instantaneous and the result was after only one pass. Only a small strange duplication in the lower right that needs correction

These tests are not for pleasure. I am not using the same software, but I am looking for the same final result. The Full HD video editing on iMovie is just as cunning and faster than on the old MacBook as well.

So, when it comes to doing things, the new iPad can compete clearly. When it comes to replacing a full laptop with Windows, things become more complex.

Advanced users will lose the multitasking capabilities of a suitable PC. Dragging several windows and having many things open on a screen can be very useful. So, it's a bigger screen and a keyboard. Regardless of how much sharper the 9.7-inch screen is compared to a laptop with a similar price, the keyboard case is small and a little narrow for my hands.

Compare it to a Chromebook and the iPad will do better. The application ecosystem is much richer to begin with. The screen is also sharper than any you find on a 400-pound laptop powered by Google.

  Chromebook Asus Flip C100PA

One thing that is missing is a touch screen. A touchpad is an excellent way to navigate on a laptop, so on the iPad you will need to use your fingers and the screen or pick up the Apple Pencil for better accuracy. You get used to the lack of a cursor, but it's still not up to par with the use of a touchpad.

So here's the problem. The iPad works as a laptop replacement if buys a decent keyboard sleeve to combine it. That raises the price to around £ 400 for the entry-level model. I would also prefer a larger keyboard and touchpad in the long term, simply because I write a lot.

However, size is a benefit when it comes to children. When the keyboard of an iPad can be restrictive for an adult, it is ideal for smaller fingers, and also light enough for children to carry. The courtship of schools and educational establishments of Apple really makes a lot of sense.

The iPad 2018 comes in 32GB versions (for £ 319 / $ 329) and 128GB (for £ 409 / $ 439), with no subsequent expansion option, so choose wisely. You can also get the 4G version for an extra £ 130 – a high bonus.

iPad 2018 – Camera

The 8-megapixel camera on the back takes acceptable photos in good light, but it's the best advertising average. The photos are flat and may be overexposed. In low light conditions, they end up full of noise. I expected this to improve with respect to the previous model, but the narrow opening of f / 2.4 remains and simply does not cut it anymore. You can get better photos of some £ 150 phones.

  9.7-inch iPad 2018

However, you get Live Photos, which makes a mini movie of each image, and the camera shoots Full HD Video. It is perfectly suited for school projects, but you will not want to use it to capture fond memories.

The camera is not there to make snaps. Apple is investing in augmented reality, but the iPad is not the best showcase for ARkit. It's hard to find surfaces where you can & # 39; project & # 39; and, when he does, he can be nervous and make him lose focus. AR is still a trick on the iPad, but it will keep the kids happy for a moment.

If Apple really takes AR seriously, it needs a 3D sensor or two cameras on the back of the iPad to make the experience more absorbent and more immersive.

The iPad 2018 also comes with a 1.2 megapixel Facetime HD camera, which works well for video calling.

iPad 2018 – Battery Life

The 9.7-inch iPad has the same duration as previous models. That means it's solid, but it does not reach the dizzying heights of newer ultrabooks, like the new Dell XPS 13 with its enormous 20-hour battery life. Of course, the prices of that impressive laptop start at £ 1249.

The iPad 2018 offers about 11 hours of screen with 50% brightness, which is more than enough for everyone, except for the busiest days. One hour of 3D game reduces it by 9%, while one hour of Netflix in real time through Wi-Fi reduces it by 7%. Surfing the web uses approximately the same amount of juice as the transmission.

Playing a repeated video until the battery ran out gave me just 11 hours, which is identical to last year's model. If you use the iPad for a few hours a day, you can spend the whole week without having to charge it.

The iPad is bright in standby mode, losing only 1-2% per day, but the charge still takes a long time. Using the power adapter in the box gives you 25% after one hour, and fully charges in four hours.

Why buy the iPad 2018?

There are two main reasons to buy the new 9.7-inch iPad. The first is because you already have an iPad that you love, but it is old and tired. If that is the case, then you will not be disappointed by this revitalized model.

The second reason is because you are considering buying a cheap laptop and you think that the iPad could be a better option.

If you need lots of physical connectivity such as SD card readers, HDMI outputs and USB ports, then the iPad will not work for you. However, if you want an elegant device that is so comfortable for you to transmit movies, since you are editing photos and videos, as well as being an economic graphic tablet, then it is a great bet. However, do not forget that you will need a case with keyboard and Apple pencil to make the most of it. I would budget an extra £ 150 for both.

It also makes more sense than the iPad mini 4, unless it's fully configured on a small tablet. It is much more powerful and has a larger screen, but it only costs £ 10 / $ 30 extra for the corresponding 128 GB model.

Read next: Best laptops

Verdict

The new iPad is an iPad Pro on a budget. It gets many of the same features for a fraction of the price, and that makes it hugely compelling.