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Apple iPad (10th gen) review: The best iPad for people who don't need the Apple Pencil

By Kenny Yeo - 25 Dec 2022

Performance, battery life, and conclusion

Performance analysis

Much has been talked about the prowess of Apple’s A-series chips but sometimes you need some context to fully appreciate just how incredible these chips are.

The new iPad is powered by the A14 Bionic chip, which made its debut in the iPhone 12 Series in 2020. It’s a two-year-old chip now and yet its performance remains impressive. Unsurprisingly, its benchmark numbers are appreciably better than last year’s iPad. CPU performance was around 20% better while graphics performance is up around 12%. Obviously, the iPad Air and iPad Pro with their M-series chips are significantly more powerful.

But perhaps what’s most interesting is how it continues to hold its own even against Samsung’s new Galaxy Z Fold4 5G which is powered by Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip. Against Qualcomm’s newest chip, the A14 Bionic racked up higher Geekbench 5 and JetStream 2 scores. That said, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 did turn the table when it came to graphics performance and was around 24% faster than the A14 Bionic on the 3DMark Wild Life benchmark. 

In the real world, the iPad feels every bit as snappy to use as you’d expect from a brand-new Apple device. It runs apps without a hitch, even intensive games like Asphalt 9: Legends and Genshin Impact - although it does take a little longer to load. Overall, it's remarkable that the iPad delivers competitive performance even with a two-year-old chip.

 

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

Battery life takes a hit because of the smaller battery. Compared to last year’s iPad, this year’s model lasted nearly an hour shorter. That’s the price to pay for a slightly more compact form factor. In the real world, the new iPad’s battery life is more reasonable. It does dip quickly if you turn up the screen brightness and rely heavily on cellular data, but even then, most users should get around six to seven hours of non-stop use easily. If you are like me and only pick up an iPad occasionally to use, it should be good for a couple of days before it requires a charge. 

 

Buying advice & conclusion

If you don't use the Apple Pencil often, this is the best iPad for most people.

The new iPad is mostly a fine tablet. The main problem is its clumsy integration with the Apple Pencil. I don’t think many will view it as a dealbreaker but for a company that prides itself on its tight integration of hardware and software, it’s somewhat amusing to see how its solution to ensure backward compatibility relies on a dongle and a separate cable. Users who would be using Apple Pencils regularly will probably be tempted by the pricier iPad Air (and its seamless integration with the 2nd-generation Apple Pencil) and I don’t blame them. 

This brings me to the matter of price and value. This new iPad is considerably more expensive than the model it replaces. Prices now start at S$679 for the Wi-Fi-only model with 64GB of storage and top out at S$1,139 for the model with cellular connectivity and a maximum of 256GB of storage. Compared to its predecessor, for the same amount of storage, the Wi-Fi-only models cost S$180 while the cellular models are S$210 more. Put another way, prices have gone up around 20% to 30%. Furthermore, accessories don't come cheap. The first-generation Apple Pencil is S$149 and the Magic KeyBoard Folio is S$379.

iPad 10th generation prices
Storage Wi-Fi Wi-Fi + Cellular
64GB S$679 S$909
256GB S$909 S$1,139

5th-generation iPad Air prices
Storage Wi-Fi Wi-Fi + Cellular
64GB S$879 S$1,099
256GB S$1,099 S$1,319


For most people who are only going to use their iPads to check emails, browse the web, and watch videos, spending nearly S$700 (excluding accessories) might be a tad hard to swallow particularly since there’s no shortage of cheap Android tablets that can arguably do the same. Where the iPad shines is its greater levels of performance and refinement. Is it worth the premium? Absolutely, particularly if you are already using other Apple devices and intend to keep the device around and use it for years to come. If you have a Mac, Universal Control is magic and Sidecar lets the iPad work as a second display.

Remember, accessories are pricey so only get what you need.

Some might be tempted to step up to the iPad Air, which costs about S$200 more for the same amount of storage. I think it’s only worth if you are going to use the Apple Pencil often and absolutely need the extra performance. Otherwise, the regular iPad now offers nearly the same experience as an iPad Air for quite a bit less. Remember, the iPad Air’s accessories cost more too.

Ultimately, I think this new iPad replaces the iPad Air as the best iPad for most people. It’s thin, light, well-made, has a nice display, decent battery life, proper stereo speakers, and good performance. For most people, this is all the tablet they’d ever need – as long as they don’t intend to use the Apple Pencil often.

 

You can order the new 10th-generation iPad from the Apple Online Store, AmazonLazada, and Shopee.

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8.5
  • Design 8.5
  • Features 8.5
  • User-Friendliness 9
  • Performance 9
  • Value 8
The Good
Good performance
Nice display
Thin and light form factor
Front-facing camera has been moved
USB-C, at last
Deep integration with Macs
The Bad
Clumsy Apple Pencil integration
Display capped at 60Hz
Price has gone up
Accessories sold separately and pricey
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