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IPad 2021 review

IPad 2021 review: new on the inside, but the same on the outside


Double storage
A13 Bionic chip
Centered Framing and Live Text


Obsolete design
Lightning port only
The rear camera needs an update

In the world of consumer technology, we often come across cosmetic updates that, with greater or lesser success, “camouflage” a reiteration of products that must be released with a new label or year. It is not just that “the market rules,” since, in reality, the one that rules is the calendar, especially when it comes to the last four months, the last call for everything that wants to be labeled as 2021.

The case of the new iPad – the ninth generation of Apple’s best-selling tablet model – asks us to bet on what we do not see with the naked eye. And the thing is that the 2021 model not only looks too similar to the one from the previous year: they are identical, the same, even in the smallest details. Absolutely everything new that this new iPad brings comes under the shell.

Good idea? In principle, yes, of course. An internal update will always be better than a purely external one. But in the case that summons us here, I could not help but have a strange feeling when having both models in my hands. Could it be that Apple has an excess of iPad chassis in its warehouses that it must get rid of? With the new iPad mini, the iPad is clearly out of date in design in the Apple family of tablets: it is the old brother and the ugliest. But of course, its price and new internal updates make it more attractive than it appears at first glance.

Everything that makes this iPad new comes under the lid. The powerful A13 Bionic chip provides even higher performance, more functionality, and better battery consumption. It’s still the cheapest of Apple’s family of tablets, and you can take it home in its most basic version for $ 329, the same entry price as the eighth-generation iPad 2020. Like that, the screen is a 10.2-inch Retina, now with True Tone.

The 12 MP ultra-wide-angle front camera is also the same, although this time it benefits from Centered Framing, a feature that was previously only available on the iPad Pro, and that this 2021 comes to the iPad and the mini.

The iPad’s 15 operating system makes everything easier, but also the one that brings twice the storage capacity compared to the previous generation is very worth mentioning, especially when we talk about a tablet that does not have a MicroSD slot.

Like the 2020 model, the new iPad is compatible with the first-generation Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil, which feels quite “stale” after using the second-generation with the iPad mini. Pairing it with the iPad via the Lightning port is like traveling five years back in time. There is a $ 30 difference between one model and another, but even if you buy the second-generation Pencil, you will not be able to use it on the iPad.

Of the Smart Keyboard, I will only mention that I have never met anyone who likes it. It’s thick, sometimes cumbersome to fold, and it tends to come off the iPad too easily over time. Something tells us that it will be the last Apple tablet to carry it, so we leave it here.

The chip is everything.

The new iPad comes equipped with the powerful A13 Bionic chip, which offers 20 percent more performance than the previous generation. Is 20 percent a lot, a little, or nothing? We will say that it shows a bit, although nothing spectacular, since the processing speed of the iPad 2020 was already good. Apple told us in the presentation that this is up to three times faster than the best-selling Chromebook, and up to six times faster than the best-selling Android tablet, more than enough speed to run advanced apps and games on a tablet that – no, Let’s forget – it’s fairly competitively priced.

The A13 Bionic chip’s Neural Engine also powers next-generation machine learning capabilities like Live Text, which comes with iPadOS 15 and uses the device’s smart technology to recognize text in photos and give users options. We liked this feature on the iPad mini, and we appreciate it here too.

The Centered Framing experience on iPad Pro is now available thanks to the 12MP ultra-wide front camera and Neural Engine, making video calls Pro-level. If you move, Centered Framing sets the camera to auto and follow you. If someone else enters the scene, the camera detects them and subtly zooms out to include her in the conversation. FaceTime and third-party video calling apps benefit from this tool when we still do most of our meetings online.

Display and storage

The screen neither increases nor decreases its size, although it now includes True Tone. It is a new and improved ambient light sensor that allows you to adjust the color temperature according to the light of the place where the device is used. Images look a bit more natural and give users a more engaging viewing experience in any ambient lighting. No, it is not a spectacular update, but never forget that the price is the same as the previous one, that it did not have it.

Perhaps the great improvement over the 2020 model is its “cellar.” The new iPad comes with 64GB of initial storage capacity, double the previous generation. This is something that those who use their iPad to play games will appreciate since there is no possibility of increasing the storage via MicroSD. For the rest, there is the 256 GB option if you need even more space.

Updated operating system

As we said, everything new in the iPad 2021 must be found inside. The iPad’s 15 system offers new features that promise to increase productivity and make this tablet as versatile as the more expensive models.

For example, the multitasking function is even more intuitive, making it easier to access functionalities such as Split View and Slide Over and making them more powerful and easier to use. Annotations are now possible system-wide with Quick Note, offering new ways to collaborate and organize using the keyboard, Apple Pencil, or even your finger.

The Translate app comes to the iPad with new features to make conversations simpler and more natural, including Machine Translation and face-to-face viewing. It is paid, yes ($ 10 a month).

Another feature we like is Live Text, which uses the device’s smart technology to recognize text in a photo and give users options. It’s not just for translation: a storefront photo could show a phone number and give you the option to call. Thus, devices are becoming more and more intelligent, perhaps not at the rate we would have liked, but they are advancing.

Without being spectacular, the internal updates to the new ninth-generation iPad are welcome, mainly because the price is the same. Apple adds more power, storage, and features, for the same $ 329 upfront that you had to pay exactly a year ago.

It works well when you play games, have teleconferences, draw, or watch your favorite series in streaming. Don’t ask for the computing power of an iPad Pro, the versatility of the Air, or the maneuverability of the mini. This is Apple’s entry-level tablet, with a more than acceptable price.

Looking at the four models of the tablet, something tells us that this will be the last time an Apple iPad has the home button under the screen, and the curved edges are sure to be left behind. The Lightning port, at the moment, only lives in this model – the other three iPads come with USB-C -, so, likely, it will also disappear, at least from the iPad.

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