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Apple’s 2018 iPad, a review

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I use my 9.7-inch iPad Pro a lot, so when Apple introduced its entry-level 2018 iPad with Apple Pencil support, I knew I had to try it out. I’ve been using the new model this month, and I wanted to share the biggest thing I’ve noticed about it, which is:

Nothing

“Nothing, Jonny, really?”

You heard me right. I have been using the 2018 iPad to do everything I usually use the Pro for: taking notes, writing stories, working on images, sketching, communications, research, watching movies, listening to Apple Music, even playing my favorite game (which is still Rome: Total War, for some reason).

I’ve noticed nothing.

No performance compromises, no in-app stutter, no lag, for the most part almost everything feels almost exactly the same.

That’s not surprising when you think about the powerful A10 Fusion chip (as used in iPhone 7) inside the 2018 iPad, which is actually faster than the A9X chip inside the 2016 Pro, according to Geekbench. (Apple claims it to be 50 percent faster than last year’s iPad.) The new model is also equipped with 2GB RAM, just like the 2016 Pro, though the current top of the range boasts more.

While you won’t be able to use background apps if you open a third app in Slide Over while working with two other apps in Split View, you can still happily use other iOS 11 Multitasking tools.

Battery life? Given Apple’s persistent record in under promising and over delivering, don’t be surprised if you get more than the advertised 10 hours in normal use.

Pencil ‘Pad writer

If you like to write (or sketch), you’ll also need to get an $89 Apple Pencil, which works with this iPad.

I’m not especially artistic, but I do like sketching, and I find little difference working on either the 2016 Pro or 2018 iPad. Pressure and tilt sensitivity are just as good. I do note that the experience feels slightly different due, I think, to the lack of reflective  coating on the entry-level device.

Feeling isn’t everything: The display refresh rate is a little slower (60Hz v. 120Hz on the Pro). This can make for a little lag when you draw – most people writing or sketching on the tablet (like me) won’t notice this at all, though some pro artists might. If you need the best available art tablet, you might want a Pro. But for everyone else, Apple’s new tablet really does the job here.

Let’s get physical

On first glance, the 2018 iPad keeps to tradition; it looks like last year’s iPad, which looked like 2013’s iPad Air. With larger bezels around the side, the tablet is thicker (7.5mm) than the current Pro (6.1mm). And where iPad Pros have four speakers, the new iPad has just two.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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