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Apple iPad (2020) review: A solid entry-level tablet

By Kenny Yeo - 26 Sep 2020

Performance and conclusion

Performance analysis

Unsurprisingly, the new 8th-generation iPad handily outperformed its predecessor across all benchmarks. On Geekbench 5, single-core performance was about 45% greater while multi-core performance saw an increase of a whopping 89%. On 3DMark, scores were up by over 23%. And on AnTuTu, which measures combined CPU and GPU performance, numbers were up by a staggering 223%. More impressive perhaps is that this new iPad, despite its two-year processor, was still competitive against some of the latest Android hardware.

 

Battery life

Our standard battery test for mobile phones has the following parameters:

  • Looping a 720p video with screen brightness and volume at 100%
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on
  • Constant data streaming through email

Battery life was pretty remarkable considering the new iPad has a more powerful processor but the same battery capacity. It clocked 357 minutes or 5 hours and 57 minutes which is nearly 50 minutes more than last year's iPad. This is a testament to the efficiency of the A12 Bionic processor. However, it's not comparable at all to Samsung's new Galaxy Tab S7+, which managed just 30 minutes short of 10 hours. That's impressive even if it has a larger battery.

 

The bare necessities

The new iPad might be basic but it's a solid tablet.

The new 8th generation iPad doesn’t illicit desire the same way the iPad Pro or the upcoming new iPad Air does, but it’s more than enough tablet for most people. It has a nice display, good performance, robust pencil and keyboard support, and all of the functionality enabled by iPadOS 14. Just about anything you can and want to do with Apple’s pricer iPads, you can do the same and for less on this entry-level iPad. For readers who need to replace their ageing iPad or tablet, the choice is clear.

Still, I must warn readers not to be fooled by that starting price. S$499 gets you just 32GB, which, in all likelihood, is not going to be enough especially if you are an avid gamer. Some games take up over 3GB. Going up to 128GB bumps the price up to S$649 – a 30% increase. Cellular connectivity is another S$200 extra. Add accessories and you are looking at a bill that’s close to a grand. Apple doesn’t really do cheap.

8th-generation iPad prices
Storage Wi-Fi Wi-Fi + Cellular
32GB S$499 S$699
128GB S$649 S$849


At this point, you might be tempted by cheap Android alternatives. And certainly, there is no shortage of options there. But none come close to matching this iPad’s level of build, refinement, and performance. To match this iPad, you'd have to be prepared to cough up more for a higher-end tablet from Huawei or Samsung. And with Google just about given up on tablets, the app ecosystem for Android tablets just isn’t as robust.

So yes, this new iPad is probably not as cheap as Apple would have liked you to believe, but at least it’s a really solid tablet. And besides, no one ever said a good tablet was cheap to begin with.

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8.0
  • Design 7
  • Features 8.5
  • User-Friendliness 9
  • Performance 8.5
  • Value 7.5
The Good
Good performance
Great display
Adequate battery life
Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard support
Added functionality thanks to iPadOS 14
The Bad
Starting to look dated
Speakers only on one side in landscape
32GB in the base model is stingy
Accesories sold separately and pricey
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