Apple iPad (10th generation) review: Mixed emotions

Apple iPad (10th generation)

Apple’s 10th generation iPad features upgrades all across the board, with an inflated price tag to match. The new design matches Apple’s other tablets, and the Lightning port is a thing of the past, but odd decisions like slow data transfer and downright confusing accessory compatibility mean that it’s an easy tablet to enjoy but a tougher one to immediately recommend in a crowded iPad lineup.

The basic iPad is, perhaps, the most recognizable tablet ever made. It stayed the course over nine generations, clinging to top and bottom bezels and its Touch ID home button while the rest of the iPad lineup grew and evolved. Apple launched bigger options, smaller options, and plenty of faster options, yet the base tablet remained almost the same. Now, the Cupertino design team has come for the iPad that started it all. How much can it change in a single generation? Find out in our Apple iPad (10th generation) review.

About this Apple iPad (10th generation) review: I tested the Apple iPad (64GB) over a period of 10 days. It was running iPadOS 16. The unit was purchased by Android Authority for this review.

What you need to know about the Apple iPad (10th generation)

apple ipad home screen on table

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

  • Apple iPad (64GB, Wi-Fi): $449 / £499 / €579
  • Apple iPad (64GB, Cellular): $599 / £679 / €779
  • Apple iPad (256GB, Wi-Fi): $599 / £679 / €779
  • Apple iPad (256GB, Cellular): $749 / £859 / €979

Apple launched its latest iPad (10th generation) in the middle of October 2022. Instead of pairing it with the pomp and circumstance enjoyed by the iPhone 14 series and Apple Watch Series 8 just over a month earlier, the tablet arrived alongside a barely-refreshed iPad Pro with all the ceremony of a blog post. While the announcement itself was as low-key as can be, the design changes for the latest iPad are anything but.

For starters, the iPad (10th generation) looks nothing like the base iPads that came before it. It now sports flat aluminum edges and equal bezels around its 10.9-inch glass display. The Touch ID fingerprint scanner has shifted from the classic home button to the edge-mounted power button, and the headphone jack has gone the way of the Dodo. Perhaps the most important shift in the iPad’s new design is that the Lightning port is no more — all iPads now carry USB-C ports for charging and data transfer with universal USB-C accessories.

apple ipad port and charger

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

This is also one of the most colorful base iPads, with Silver, Pink, Yellow, and Blue frames to choose from. All four versions feature Apple logos on the back with subtle tints to match their colorways. The 12MP rear corner-mounted camera has a wider aperture than the 9th generation iPad but no other significant changes. Apple’s 12MP selfie camera is the same on paper, too, though it’s shifted from a portrait orientation to a landscape position along the long edge — a first for an iPad.

Under the hood, you’ll find two storage tiers — 64GB and 256GB — and options for Wi-Fi or 5G cellular connectivity. If you pick the cellular version, you’ll find a SIM tray on the same edge as the volume buttons. No matter your configuration, you’ll get Apple’s 5nm A14 Bionic chipset.

There are some big changes for the iPad (10th gen) but the most obvious is the price hike.

As usual, Apple is pretty tight-lipped about its battery capacity, simply offering that the iPad (10th generation) is capable of up to 10 hours of surfing the web or watching video. The cellular model offers slightly worse returns, topping out at nine hours. Both versions charge via the bottom-mounted USB-C port, and you get a braided USB-C cable and a 20W charging adapter in the box.

Perhaps the most controversial change to Apple’s 10th generation iPad is the price. The base 64GB Wi-Fi-only model now starts at $449 — a sharp $120 increase over its predecessor. If you choose to upgrade your storage and connectivity for a grand total of $749, you’re then looking at a price tag that’s only $50 shy of the base M2 iPad Pro with Wi-Fi. Add in the potential accessory costs if you want an Apple Pencil and/or an official keyboard case, and you’re in MacBook Air territory. A budget tablet, this is not.

You can buy the Apple iPad (10th generation) direct from Apple and via major third-party retailers around the world.

What’s good?

apple ipad home screen

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The iPad’s top-to-bottom redesign has been a long time coming. It’s the first model to ditch the classic chunky chin and forehead, and it’s a welcome change. The evened-out bezels look far more modern, and the aluminum construction is robust, yet it still feels light in hand. It’s almost identical to the refreshed iPad Air, which helped to kickstart Apple’s redesign phase. Apple’s penchant for bright colors works well on the iPad (10th generation), too. The bright yellow version I tested would feel entirely out of place in a boardroom, but it’s right at home as a Netflix-streaming, Asphalt 9-playing tablet, too.

As we’ve seen on other redesigned iPads, the flattened aluminum sides bring a host of changes. There are now stereo speakers — two on each of the shorter sides — replacing the old mono speaker setup. I’ve had no problems with volume or clarity, though the iPad (10th generation) seems to prefer the bottom speakers to the top. The revamped design also moves the Touch ID sensor into the position previously held by the power button, something I’d sure like to see on an iPhone. It’s quick and accurate, though it can be a bit of a reach depending on how you hold your tablet.

apple ipad touch id

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

This is the first base iPad to shift away from Apple’s famed 4:3 aspect ratio. The almost-square setup was the preference for years, as it was deemed the best way to read a webpage. However, webpages have become such a small slice of what the iPad can handle, so Apple adopted the 23:16 ratio for its iPad Air series, and now has followed suit for the 10th gen iPad. The shift also cements the standard iPad as a tablet meant to be used in landscape. It’s much more comfortable for video streaming and writing in apps like Google Docs.

The long overdue redesign transforms the iPad (10th generation) into a tablet that shines in landscape orientation.

You’ll still run into black bars above and below most shows and movies, but they’re slimmer than on previous iPads. Many apps also default to the landscape orientation, as seen in CBS Sports down below. But the biggest telltale sign that Apple is thinking horizontally is the iPad’s selfie camera, which now sits opposite the keyboard smart connectors, acting as a “this side up” indicator. Why landscape-centered cameras haven’t been adopted by other iPads is a question for another time, but the advantage is that you no longer look like you’re staring into space on a video call. As far as quality goes, it’s adequate enough for FaceTime needs and the occasional selfie, but you probably won’t want to use it for much more.

The iPad’s rear 12MP shooter is also fine — it’s the same sensor you’d find on the iPhone SE (2022). It shouldn’t be your first choice for photography, but it’ll do in a pinch. You can get decent details in good lighting, but portrait mode isn’t an option. Just please, please don’t bring it to your kid’s recital. Other people want to see too.

apple ipad volume buttons

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Apple’s iPadOS 16 operates much like Android 12L, offering key iOS features with some big-screen extras. The taskbar makes life a lot easier, keeping a few of your favorite apps within reach at all times, as well as others you’ve used recently. There are a handful of helpful widgets to dive into — even if the shapes aren’t all that exciting — and the App Library gives you the option of an almost-clean home screen. You might need that App Library, too, given the extensive list of apps optimized for iPadOS 16. Most apps seem to play better with the iPad than they do with comparable Android tablets due to years of dedicated work from Apple and third-party developers. One exception is Instagram, which sits in a corner and screams like a child left behind in a Walmart no matter which large screen platform you choose.

The iPad also benefits from Apple’s unrivaled ecosystem integration. It feels instantly at home used in tandem with an iPhone and/or Apple Watch, and it can act as a capable second screen for a Mac. Universal Control, for example, lets you seamlessly share one keyboard and mouse across your trusty Mac and your iPad.

Even though Apple’s A14 Bionic processor is no longer positioned to set the world on fire, it feels well matched to the iPad (10th generation). That’s not to say it has any shortage of power, but true hardcore users looking to show off their benchmark totals might prefer an M1- or M2-equipped alternative. For the rest of us with everyday needs, there’s no need to fear. I had no problems bouncing between news and games, nor did I notice any lag with multiple apps open. The A14 Bionic doesn’t run into thermal issues, either — the iPad (10th generation) remained a cool customer even after an hour or two of use. Even though the beefed-up iPad Air or iPad Pro could be enough to tempt, there’s not much need for more power than this as it already outmatches essentially every other sub-$500 tablet you can buy.

Mentioning battery life, the iPad (10th generation) has no problem meeting expectations. Apple pegged it at 10 hours on a single charge, and I easily matched that mark with mixed usage. Of course, I didn’t sit down for 10 hours on the bounce, instead letting my screen time add up over a few days. You might get worse results if you lean heavily on video streaming, but you shouldn’t have any issues if you split your time.

Luckily, the solid battery life means you won’t have to hunt for a charger every day. Tablets aren’t known for their blistering charging speeds, but it’s tough to complain about the iPad (10th generation). Once I finally managed to drain the cell, it took about two hours plugged in with the included 20W charger (a rarity these days) and USB-C cable to get back to full speed — pretty fair for the price point. Apple’s braided USB-C cable is also nicer than what most OEMs toss in the box.

What’s not so good?

apple ipad youtube

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The iPad (10th generation) is a classic case of two steps forward, one step back. It features so many shiny, surface-level improvements, yet it’s loaded with head-scratching quirks. For starters, the headphone jack is gone. This is the first time we’ve seen a base iPad without a headphone jack, and it’s hard to accept that there isn’t space for one. It’s still a common feature on other low-to-mid-tier non-Apple tablets, even those with slim bezels. The Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 still has one, for example, and it’s tucked carefully into the corner of the frame.

Apple’s larger display is great for watching shows and playing games, but the quality leaves a bit to be desired. The iPad (10th generation) doesn’t have a laminated display like most of Apple’s other premium options. This makes it great for bulk cases like schools because it’s easier to repair, but it results in a more reflective display. It’s an understandable choice from a business perspective, but it makes personal use worse, especially in direct sunlight.

The Lightning port may be gone, but it lives on in the form of slow USB-C data transfer.

Then there’s the USB-C port. Yes, we’re happy it’s here — one less Lightning cable to worry about — but not all USB-C ports are created equal. The iPad (10th generation) features a USB-C port limited to USB 2.0 data speeds, or 480Mbps. If that sounds familiar, it’s because 480Mbps is the same speed that Lightning transfers at. The other iPads offer faster USB-C data speeds, with the iPad Pro transferring at 40Gbps, the Air hitting 10Gbps, and even the Mini reaching 5Gbps.

You could maybe offset the weaker data transfer speeds if Apple tried to make up for them in some way. After all, the USB-C port should mean that the iPad plays nice with the second-generation Apple Pencil now that the awkward method of jamming the first-gen Pencil into the Lightning port is no longer an option… right? Nope. Instead, it’s only compatible with the first-generation Apple Pencil. You’ll need a USB-C to Lightning dongle to connect the two, and it costs $9 instead of coming free in the box.

apple ipad home screen landscape

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

That’s alright. At least the iPad is still a great, budget-friendly value, right? Well, not as much of that anymore, either. You’ll now have to shell out $449 for the base iPad with just 64GB of storage, a far cry from the classic $329 price. It’s still the most affordable iPad — barely — but the 64GB of base storage just isn’t a reasonable amount when you’re spending over $400. Shifting to a higher tier comes at even more of a cost. Jumping to 256GB costs $599, which you could spend on a base iPad Air (5th generation) instead to get the M1 chipset and second-gen Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard support. You could also drop $499 on the iPad Mini (6th generation), which has a newer A15 Bionic chipset inside and also supports the latest Apple Pencil.

Oh, and if you want to accessorize, expect to spend a lot more money along the way. The new Magic Keyboard Folio, which is only compatible with the 10th generation iPad, costs a whopping $249. If you choose to go all-in on the 256GB, cellular-enabled model with the folio, you’re looking at $1,000 when it’s all said and done. At that point, you’re dropping the same amount of cash as a MacBook Air (M1). Likewise, while pairing the iPad up to a fancy keyboard case for laptop-like functionality absolutely viable, for whatever arbitrary reason the iPad (10th generation) does not support iOS 16’s Stage Manager feature for improved multitasking.

Apple iPad (10th generation) specs

Specs Apple iPad (10th generation)

Display

10.9-inch Liquid Retina LCD

2,360 x 1,640 resolution

120Hz refresh rate

Landscape selfie camera

Processor

Apple A14 Bionic

Storage

64GB
256GB

Battery

Up to 10 hours

Cameras

Rear:
12MP Wide (ƒ/1.8 aperture, PDAF)

Front:
12MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.4 aperture, 122-degree FOV)

Connectivity

Wi-Fi 6

4G LTE (optional)

Bluetooth 5.2

Software

iPadOS 16

Accessories

Apple Pencil (1st generation only)

Magic Keyboard Folio

Dimensions and weight

248.6 x 179.5 x 7mm
277g

Colors

Silver
Pink
Blue
Yellow

Apple iPad (10th generation) review: The verdict

apple ipad app library

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Judged in complete isolation, Apple’s 10th generation iPad is a great tablet. It feels more like a modern member of the iPad family than a budget afterthought thanks to its flattened edges, revamped Touch ID sensor, and four equal bezels. The performance is everything you could ask for from an everyday tablet with a big display, and the battery life is nothing to scoff at. Anyone with experience in the Apple ecosystem can pick up iPadOS 16 and know where everything is and how it operates within minutes.

The problem is that the iPad (10th generation) doesn’t exist within a vacuum. Instead, it has to be put into context against its predecessor and the rest of Apple’s lineup. The $120 price increase takes the tablet from a slam-dunk value to a slightly underpowered alternative within striking distance of the iPad Air (5th generation) ($559 at Amazon) and iPad Mini (6th generation) ($399.99 at Amazon). When you consider that Apple still offers the previous ninth-generation iPad ($298 at Amazon), it further hurts the value proposition.

The iPad (10th generation) is great in a vacuum, but struggles to stand out in a crowded iPad lineup.

Outside of iPadOS, there are a few budget Android options you could consider, too. We’ve already mentioned the Galaxy Tab A8 ($229.99 at Amazon), which follows several of the same design cues for almost half the price. It offers an even wider aspect ratio, which is even better for widescreen content. However, it definitely can’t match Apple for performance. Amazon’s Fire HD 10 Plus ($219) is another affordable option, again with a landscape-oriented selfie camera. It does require you to give up on Google services and deal with some poor speakers, but Amazon’s largest tablet supports wireless charging and is generally great value for the money, especially for Amazon Prime subscribers.

If it were only the increased asking price that was holding the iPad (10th generation) back that would be one thing, but there are some head-scratching choices elsewhere, too. The headphone jack is a casualty of the new design, and the USB-C port isn’t much better than the Lightning port it replaces if you want to transfer files to and from other storage devices. Then, there’s the confusing Apple Pencil compatibility — did we really need to get to a point where you have to buy a dongle instead of Apple simply making the iPad compatible with the second-gen Pencil? You’ll also have to spend an arm and a leg to round out your setup with the fancy new Magic Keyboard Folio case.

apple ipad back lamp

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Ultimately, the iPad (10th generation) is a good tablet, but I’m not sure who to recommend it to. If you want a tablet for your kids, I’d buy the predecessor and save the $120. I’d recommend the same for shoppers in Europe — the price hike is even steeper than in the UK or the US. Meanwhile, the iPad Mini is a better bet for portability, while the iPad Air is more powerful and feature-rich (including Stage Manager support) without costing too much more. It’s an equally odd fit for the education market and many businesses, as students, teachers, and workers would have to muddle with easy-to-lose adapters if they want to use Apple’s stylus.

While you probably wouldn’t ever regret actually buying one, Apple’s long-standing tablet for just about everybody has finally reached a point (and a price) where it doesn’t make the most sense for just about anybody.

Apple iPad (10th generation)

Apple iPad (10th generation)

New design • USB-C • Fun colors

The new iPad for 2022 is a huge shift for the line.

The newest iPad abandons the old design and also abandons the Lightning port. It gets numerous internal upgrades and even some fun colors.

Top Apple iPad (10th generation) questions and answers

Measured on the diagonal, the iPad (10th generation) has a 10.9-inch display.

No, the iPad (10th generation) does not have a headphone jack. You’ll need to use USB-C headphones, an adapter, or wireless Bluetooth headphones.

If you want to stick to streaming videos, reading eBooks, and browsing social media, the 64GB iPad will be big enough. If you think you’re going to download a lot of apps or larger games, you might want to consider a larger model, however.

No, because of the larger size and new design, existing iPad cases will not fit the iPad (10th generation).

Now that both devices offer 10.9-inch displays, the main difference is that the iPad Air packs Apple’s M1 chip to the iPad’s A14 Bionic. The Air also supports Stage Manager in iOS 16, the Apple Pencil (2nd gen), and the Magic Keyboard accessory.

Yes, the iPad (10th generation) cellular model supports both 5G and LTE data. All models are also compatible with Wi-Fi 6.

No, the latest iPad only supports wired charging through the USB-C port.

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