The new 10th-generation iPad is ostensibly the new starting point for the iPad line. It’s got a bigger screen, faster processor, and better design than the ninth-gen model that came out in 2021 and has been the entry point for the iPad line for the past few years. The bigger size screen and many of the design features have trickled down from the more expensive iPad Air, but the 10th-gen iPad has an older processor and makes some other omissions to bring the price down.

At its core, this iPad is an excellent tablet with fast performance, reliable battery life, and a vast library of optimized apps to make use of its large touchscreen.

schoolwork, travel, and content consumption — it’s not really a device to replace your laptop with.

Apple seems to be aware of this conundrum because it’s still selling the ninth-gen iPad for $329, a much more palatable and accessible price for the many people just looking for a basic iPad to do basic iPad things.

That puts this iPad in a weird spot — it’s certainly better than the ninth-gen model (which is still great), but it costs considerably more and is not as good as an iPad Air. And since you can find a current iPad Air on sale fairly easily at this point, this new iPad is not the iPad to buy right now despite the fact that it has a lot going for it.

Tooking the part
The 10th-gen iPad brings the squared-off, even-bezel, home button-less design Apple introduced on the iPad Pro way back in 2018 to the sub-$500 price point. It’s very nearly a clone of the last two iPad Air models, with the same size display and chassis measurements within a millimeter of the Air in every dimension. (Those millimeters do mean it’s different, though, and precisely fitted cases can’t be swapped between the Air and the new iPad.)

The updated look is much more modern than the ninth-gen iPad, but since we’ve seen variations of this for four years now on other iPad models, it doesn’t look particularly fresh. It just looks like an iPad.

Like virtually every other iPad ever made, the new model has an excellent fit and finish that feels nice to hold and interact with. My review unit is a yellow that I’m not especially fond of, but thankfully Apple sells it in three other colors, including silver, blue, and pink.

Apple says the iPad has an “all-screen design” in its marketing materials, but let’s be honest here: the front of this new iPad is not “all-screen.” There is a considerable bezel area framing the display, and though it’s nice that it is the same size all around and provides a place to hold the thing without accidentally touching the screen, it’s far from edge-to-edge. Plus, there’s a camera on the front. So even if you don’t count the bezel, it’s not “all-screen.”

The camera is good news, though: in a long overdue change, Apple’s stuck the front-facing camera in the bezel on the long edge of the screen, which makes using it for video calls in landscape orientation much easier. It’s surprising that this is the first iPad to actually have the front camera in the right spot, but it’s a safe bet we’ll see this change in future updates to other iPad models (though not for this year’s iPad Pro M2, oddly). The camera itself is just fine, but the better placement makes using it for video calls from a desk much less awkward. It still supports Apple’s self-centering Center Stage feature, but there’s no real point to using it now that the camera is in the right spot, and I left it off for the majority of video meetings I took on the iPad.