2020 10.2-Inch iPad First Impressions: A12 Bionic Leads to Welcome Performance Boost on Otherwise Unremarkable iPad Refresh

A few days after Apple announced new iPads and Apple Watches, some of these devices have started appearing in the hands of reviewers. In regards to the 10.2-inch iPad, so far Scott Stein from CNET and Chris Velazco from Engadget have shared their opinions on the latest low-cost ‌iPad‌.


Given that this ‌iPad‌ lacks the complete design overhaul seen on the 2020 iPad Air, it's come off as a bit underwhelming in these first hands-on previews. That still doesn't undermine what Velazco described as welcome "extra power" under the hood for the 10.2-inch ‌iPad‌.


That's because of the biggest new addition to the ‌iPad‌: the A12 Bionic chip, leading to a performance boost that was "noticeably smoother" to Velazco, even when gaming.

Multitasking on the 2019 model could feel a little choppy at times, but I haven't noticed any of that yet, even when running two apps side by side with a third in a floating window.

I've also tried a handful of games over the past day, including Redout and Oceanhorn 2 -- two titles that gave last year's model some trouble. Thankfully, none of the little hiccups I ran into with that earlier model have shown up here yet, but that’s not to say they won’t. The A12 packs a redesigned GPU alongside more raw compute power than the A10 Fusion found in last year's ‌iPad‌, so it’s no surprise that this ‌iPad‌ runs with less fuss.

Stein echoed similar sentiments, noting that while there's not a lot to say about the new ‌iPad‌, the A12 is a "big difference" in comparison with the previous generation. He noted that if you have an ‌iPad‌ that's a few years old, this could definitely be a solid upgrade, particularly if you don't care about the more pro-level features of an iPad Pro or ‌iPad Air‌.

Stein did note a few ongoing gripes with the ‌iPad‌, relating to the lack of USB-C and the lack of compatibility with Apple Pencil 2 (it only supports ‌Apple Pencil‌ 1). Despite these woes, Stein said that this will still likely be the ‌iPad‌ to buy for most consumers, given its cheaper entry point.

Apple's fancy ‌iPad‌ is still a few weeks off. Do you wait for that? It depends on whether you're willing to spend more and you think you'll need the extra processing oomph. The new Air may have a sharper design and could be the best all-around ‌iPad‌, but it's hard to beat what's essentially last year's ‌iPad Air‌ right in front of me for just $329.

I haven't spent more than a day with the new ‌iPad‌, so more impressions to come. But there's nothing I've seen so far that changes my previous advice. For most people, this is the ‌iPad‌ to buy.

More hands-on impressions of the newest ‌iPad‌ and Apple Watch models should be coming soon. If you're curious about unboxing videos for the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE, we've accumulated some of these right here.

Related Roundup: iPad
Buyer's Guide: iPad (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

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5 weeks ago
This should be called the iPad SE. The new air should be called iPad and then you have the iPad Pro line. iPad Air used to be the the thinner and lighter version of the iPad but now it’s nearly identical to the Pro line.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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5 weeks ago
This iPad is all right for the price, but they should have given it 64GB of storage.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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5 weeks ago
Love my 7th gen, and see no reason to upgrade. Does all I need it to do, which is mostly reading in bed at night.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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5 weeks ago
32GB is just too low.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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5 weeks ago


This should be called the iPad SE. The new air should be called iPad and then you have the iPad Pro line. iPad Air used to be the the thinner and lighter version of the iPad but now it’s nearly identical to the Pro line.

Yes, this is exactly what they should have done. SE means cheaper/older design with somewhat updated internals. “Air” as a designation means literally nothing anymore, as the Macbook Air isn’t the smallest macbook, and the iPad Air is not the thinnest or smallest iPad.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
5 weeks ago
Honesty, I don’t get the naysaying. It’s a $329 iPad. It’s the iPad you buy your parents because they don’t need anything else.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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