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iPad 2019 review

The iPad 2019 is a feature-packed entry-level iPad at a budget price point.

iPad 10.2 (2019) review
(Image: © Apple)

Our Verdict

The iPad 2019 (or 10.2 model) is still the best budget tablet on the market, especially if you're locked into the Apple ecosystem. It offers excellent performance and classic styling, even if it is starting to feel a little dated.

For

  • Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard support
  • Great performance and solid multitasking with iPadOS
  • Fantastic value for money

Against

  • Incremental upgrades from the previous model
  • Lacking 12W charger
  • Dated design

The iPad 2019 is a classic. For those of us looking to snag one of the best tablets, it’s hard to argue with the promise of an iPad - the name that became synonymous with tablets and certainly kick-started their popularity. However, Apple’s range of tablets has started to diversify over the past five years, leading to Mini, Air and Pro variants which will appeal to different users depending on their use case. 

The iPad we’re looking at today is the seventh-generation 2019 iPad, with no suffix attached. It’s the cheapest of the range and subsequently the most popular. If you're looking for a more premium product, check out our iPad Pro review to see what we thought of the top-end model.

But is the iPad 2019 still the best one to purchase if you’re looking for an entry-level tablet?  And how does it stack up to other budget tablets like the Amazon Fire 10 HD?

iPad 2019 review: Design 

  • Bump in screen size from 9.7” to 10.2”
  • Dated bezel and button design

The iPad boasts a crisp 10.2” Retina display, which is a little smaller than the iPad Air’s 10.5" display and much bigger than the iPad Mini’s 7.9" screen. It’s great to look at from many angles and adds some extra viewing real estate from the previous 9.7” iteration. The iPad screens all utilize the same technology except for the iPad Pro, which uses Apple’s Liquid Retina technology. It’s sharper than the iPad but the difference won’t be stark, and you’d be doubling your budget - but that’s more about the technology under the hood that makes the Pro perform better.                                       

This particular iPad arrives with a Space Grey, Silver, or Gold finish with a noticeable colored trim. The device weighs about a pound so it’s light and easy to transport, though it still offers the old-school front panel design with a sizable bezel and button, unlike the iPhone XS or the iPad Pro

iPad 10.2 2019

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple’s most recent products offer a wider screen and minimalist design that, most importantly, does away with Touch ID, replacing it with Face ID and gesture input. This iPad is still ‘Apple’ sleek but it looks like an older revision and is no longer in line with the design of the company's most recent products.

iPad 2019 review: Performance

  • Reliable performance under duress
  • Extra 1 GB of RAM will aid performance

If you’re looking to experience augmented reality or play games on this iPad via Apple Arcade, you won’t run into any trouble with performance - the experience should be smooth regardless of the title, even when switching between multiple apps and testing its technical limits.

The chip that powers the seventh-generation iPad is the A10 Fusion, a certified trooper which has been in circulation since 2016. It’s powerful enough to provide smooth performance across the board, but it’s a fairly incremental upgrade over its predecessors and can’t compete with the more advanced A12 chips in the iPad roster. 

iPad 10.2 2019

(Image credit: Apple)

The extra gigabyte of RAM will be a boon to your productivity too, but the difference in performance from the previous 9.7 model should be fairly negligible.  It also offers an 8MP rear-facing camera, but if you’re buying an iPad for the photo quality, your priorities are in the wrong place! Stick to the best smartphones or even better, the best DSLR camera!

iPad 2019 review: Battery Life 

  • Excellent 10-hour battery life 
  • Comes with a slow charger

The 2019 iPad has the same strong battery life as its predecessor, offering around 10 hours of use under the usual duress from the average user. This is comparable to its predecessor the 9.7 model, though in this case, that’s not a complaint! What this means is that the device could last for days if you’re not using it for work or glued to it for leisure. 

iPad 10.2 2019

(Image credit: Apple)

Unfortunately, it comes with a pointlessly slow 12W charger, a relic from a bygone era. If you’re going to pick this iPad, invest in something with a stronger wattage to fast-charge the device and avoid any potential anguish. You can pick up a better charger on Amazon or buy directly from Apple, though you will pay a premium. 

iPad 2019 review: Price/Value for money 

  • Brilliant on a budget for the $329 base model
  • iPad Pro offers better functionality 

You can upgrade the storage on the iPad from 32 GB up to 128 GB for $429 and add cellular support on top of that, totting up the price to $559. This could be useful if you want to carry more files or edit photos and videos on the go, but consider the benefits of iCloud if you’re not a power user - you probably won’t need much more than 32 GB unless you like to keep everything installed. 

At $329 for the base model, the iPad is a considerable bargain for portable performance and is more than capable of handling the multitasking developments that have arrived via iPad OS. This means you can (with some caveats) turn it into a makeshift laptop that can manage files and browse like a desktop when paired with the full-size Smart Keyboard or Apple Pencil, depending on your use case. However, it’s worth researching what apps you will need to make the jump and whether they have native iPad support first, as there are still some frustrating omissions. 

iPad 10.2 2019

(Image credit: Apple)

There’s also the added benefit of being able to pass the device to your kids to keep them entertained with YouTube, a streaming service or a game when you’re finished using it. The iPad has robust parental controls so you can ensure their safety whilst browsing.

Should you buy the iPad 2019?

It’s hard to argue with the benefits of owning an iPad 2019 if you’re in the market for a tablet, especially when you consider the number of features it offers, the intuitive nature of the upgraded operating system and the standard of performance across the board. If you have ambitions to turn your tablet into your portable computer, and can't afford one of the best laptops, then you may want to look for something more substantial like the iPad Pro, but this budget option will give you everything you need and more at an alluring price point. Just make sure you buy a better charger!