Apple iPad (10th Gen) review: elevating the entry-level iPad

The 10th Gen iPad overhauls the design, ups the screen size, but also increases the price – so is the 2022 iPad worth it?

Apple iPad 10.9 (10th Gen, 2022) review
(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)
T3 Verdict

Finally the entry-level iPad gets a design overhaul that makes it look much more up-to-date. The new Apple model brings a larger screen, some boisterous new colour options, and it's an all-round better product than its predecessor. However, it's also more expensive, and given the close proximity to the iPad Air it does leave a slight question as to its worth in the fuller iPad line-up. But many will love it.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    All-new design ups the entry-level iPad's game

  • +

    Bigger screen than predecessor (now 10.9-inch)

  • +

    USB-C charging, yay!

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Other iPads have better screens (brighter, faster refresh)

  • -

    It's pricey – the iPad Air isn't much more

  • -

    Controversial colour options

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The iPad is over 12 years old now, so it's about time the entry-level Apple slate grew up a bit – just like its Air and Pro bigger brothers. But that's exactly what the 10th Gen iPad brings to the table: it breaks out of its predecessor's more adolescent, gawky looks and brings a more refined, larger-screen design that people have been asking for for ages, myself included.

The 10th Gen iPad now has enough swagger about its design to sit among the best iPad models and, indeed, the best tablets on the market today. The new 10.9-inch screen design, delivered in a much smaller bezel form factor, is the clear winner; Apple's new colour options could certainly be called 'bold' too (or 'brave' if you're not a fan of the yellow finish, as shown in my review pictures on this very review).

So what's the catch? Well, it's not just the screen that's bigger, the price is up a considerable amount too. So is the 2022 iPad worth its asking price or, despite its clear positives, is a different or even an older iPad the better buy for most people? 

Apple iPad 10th Gen: Price & Availability

Apple iPad 10th Gen (2022) in yellow finish

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

As I've said, the 2022 iPad is Apple's priciest entry-level slate yet: it costs from £499/$449/AUD$749 in its 64GB storage format (there's also a 256GB model, but, annoyingly, no 128GB model – which I think would be the sweet spot for many people). 

To put this into context: the outgoing 9th Gen iPad cost £319/$329/AU$499 upon launch. So you're looking at a more-than-50-per-cent price rise in the UK from generation to generation. That's a lot, especially as the 9th Gen model is now even cheaper and the iPad Air 2022 doesn't cost much more than the new 10th Gen model. 

Apple iPad 2022 review: What's new?

Apple iPad 10.9 (10th Gen, 2022) review

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

When asking 'what's new?' it's probably a little easier to ask 'what's not new?' instead. The 10th Gen iPad changes a whole lot compared to the 9th Gen model, as explored in this T3 iPad versus feature

Principally speaking it's the display and resulting physical size shift between the two products. The 10th Gen model's 10.9-inch screen is clearly larger than the 9th Gen's 10.2-inch one, with much smaller bezels in the new model (but still an ample amount to grip ahold of, which is an essential in tablet design).

However, just because its screen is larger doesn't mean the newer iPad is that much physically larger as a result. It's actually less tall by a couple of millimetres, a little wider (think of it as roughly like adding the physical thickness onto the width), and a whole half millimetre less thick than its predecessor (but, at 7mm, you're never going to notice that). 

Apple iPad 10th Gen (2022) in yellow finish

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

The colour options are clearly different too, with the 10th Gen iPad bringing yellow, pink and blue options in addition to a more staple silver option. It's the first iPad to offer such bright colourways, nothing else in the range offers such punchy hues. I'd much rather have the blue than the yellow model, though, but each to their own.

The 2022 iPad also upgrades the processor compared to its predecessor, adopting the A14 Bionic, but not the higher-powered M1 or M2 silicon that you'll find in the iPad Air and iPad Pro respectively. But that's no surprise, it's all about arranging the family logically, and this new iPad sits towards the bottom of the pack still (although you can still buy the 9th Gen model at the time of writing, including directly from Apple (opens in new tab)).

iPad 10th Gen review: Design & Display

Apple iPad 10.9 (10th Gen, 2022) review

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

The 2022 iPad's screen is bordering on 11-inches, which I think is a much more practical size for a tablet that you'll be using to watch a bunch of things on. That's how I've treated this Apple product anyway: I've set it up as more of an open family slate than a personal expansion of my iPhone 14. Or, if you want, you can buy a Magic Keyboard Folio and then this iPad becomes a more laptop-like workhorse, so it's really versatile. 

But back to that display for a moment. At 10.9-inches it's clearly larger than the previous 10.2-inch model, but the new panel maintains the pixel density, with 2360 x 1640 pixels of resolution delivering the very same 264ppi. That's actually a universal Apple iPad feature at present: even the 12.9-inch iPad Pro has the same density. 

But is this display every bit as good as the Pro's one? Well, no, not quite. It's sharp enough, as outlined above, and there are great features like True Tone for real-time adaptation to differing ambient light sources/colours. But there's not the step-up feature set of ProMotion 120Hz or a brighter panel technology as you'll find higher up the iPad foodchain. You'll miss that if you're used to it, I suspect, but if not then I don't think it'll really matter much at all. This is still a decent display. 

Apple iPad 10.9 (10th Gen, 2022) review

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

The 10.9-inch iPad's design is otherwise every bit of what you'd expect really. It looks, unsurprisingly, like an iPad. Apple knows what it's doing and how to keep this guy as part of the family. I must say it looks a lot better than the 9th Gen model, which I've been calling out as looking old hat for some generations now. 

Another feature I was pleasantly surprised to find is the inclusion of USB-C charging. Now, I know there's some controversy with the whole Apple-versus-USB thing going on at the moment, but I much prefer this charging option. And, unusually, Apple even includes a wall plug in the box, so there's no worry if you're a current Lightning cable user elsewhere in your Apple ecosystem. That's all bases covered.

To sign-in to the iPad there's no Face ID available, but there is a Touch ID fingerprint sensor over the power button. That works just fine, or you can tap in your PIN or swipe pattern to unlock. I'd of course much prefer to see more advanced sign-in features such as Face ID, but that's the reserve of the Pro series only at present.

iPad 2022 review: Performance & Battery

Apple iPad 10th Gen (2022) in yellow finish

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

Inside the 10th Gen iPad you'll find Apple's A14 Bionic processor. That's "one better" than the 9th Gen model's A13 Bionic. But it's not the latest that Apple has to offer by any means (the A14 is found in the iPhone 12, which is two years old now; while Apple's M2 silicon is the more advanced option making its way into various products). 

Does it matter that it's not the very latest? I don't think so. The 2022 iPad functions just as you'd expect of a product released this year. Its iPad OS operating system runs smoothly, animations are spot on, and there's no lag with loading or stuttering to more intensive apps. It'll do all these things a little speedier than the previous iPad model, but not quite as fast as the Air or Pro models. Which I have no issue with whatsoever.

Apple iPad 10th Gen (2022) in yellow finish

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

When it comes to battery life, Apple rates the iPad as good for 10 hours of light web browsing and similar uses. That's been largely spot on in my use-cases over some workdays of use, if not underselling just how long it can go for. 

When it comes to streaming, however, you can't expect quite so long: my battery test got through to around six hours using Wi-Fi to stream a full-brightness slice of Netflix. Which is still plenty good for long-haul flights and such like.

If you want to use the iPad in a more laptop-esque format then it's compatible with the Magic Keyboard Folio and 1st Gen Apple Pencil, both of which I've dabbled in using during this review. I'm not the biggest fan of using an iPad as a laptop replacement myself, but admit that iPadOS is now better at handling this kind of scenario. And you can still get near to that 10 hours of productivity time, so it's comparable to many of the best lightweight laptops on the market right now.

Apple iPad 10th Gen review: Verdict

Apple iPad 10th Gen (2022) in yellow finish

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

Finally the entry-level iPad gets a design overhaul that makes it look much more up-to-date, like a real grown-up. The new Apple slate brings an all-important larger screen (at 10.9-inches), some boisterous new colour options, and it's an all-round better product than its predecessor. I'd call it the iPad people have been asking for for ages

However, it's also much more expensive, and given the close proximity to the iPad Air it does leave a slight question mark as to where it fits in the range. However, if you're non-plussed about getting M2 silicon, and are keen to avoid the mega-bezels on the older 9th Gen model, then this 2022 model will be a mighty-fine option for many people. Just maybe not in the yellow finish, eh? I'm team blue. 

Also consider

If you're looking for an iPad then you're probably not interested in an Android tablet, but there are plenty of options – just go check out T3's Best Tablets feature for the lowdown. 

Sticking within Apple's camp, however, I'd suggest paying an extra bit of cash to buy the iPad Air 2022 if you're after more power, as this features the M1 processor. The price then jumps pretty steeply, and I see the iPad Pro as a different kettle of fish in its aspirations, more than just a 'basic tablet' and more versatile laptop replacement. Or, working backwards through the range, the cheaper iPad (9th Gen) is still available, at a far lower price, so for basic browsing and show-watching it'll still keep you happy, despite its design being much more dated-looking by comparison.

Mike Lowe
Tech Editor

Mike has been writing about consumer technology for 15 years and is T3's Tech Editor. As a phones expert he's seen hundreds of handsets over the years – swathes of Android devices, a smattering of iPhones, and a batch of Windows Phone products (remember those?). But that's not all, as a tech aficionado his beat for T3 also covers tablets, laptops, gaming, home cinema, TVs, speakers and more – there's barely a stone unturned that he's not had a hand on. Previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for a full decade, he's also provided work for publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more. In addition to his tech knowledge, Mike is also a flights and travel expert, having travelled the globe extensively. You'll likely find him setting up a new mobile phone, critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next getaway... or cycling somewhere.