Today we are reviewing the new 10.2-inch Apple iPad 8 2020. This is the starting model of the iPad line, which is inferior in performance to the more advanced Air and Pro. Nevertheless, thanks to the good balance between price and features, this line has been the most popular device among Apple tablets.
So what’s new in the most affordable 8th generation iPad, and is it a massive upgrade over the previous device? Let’s see.
iPad 8 10.2″ 2020 Full Specifications
- Display: 10.2″, IPS, 2160 × 1620, 262 ppi, supports Apple Pencil (1st generation)
- Chipset: A12 Bionic
- RAM: 3 GB
- Storage: 32/128 GB
- MicroSD card support: no
- Wireless networks: Wi-Fi (2.4 + 5 GHz), Bluetooth 4.2
- Main camera: 8 MP, f/2.4, autofocus
- Front-facing camera: 1.2 MP, f/2.4
- Battery: 32.4 Wh
- OS: iPadOS 14
- Dimensions: 250.6 x 174.1 x 7.5 mm
- Weight: 490 g
The standard iPad is the most affordable (for the brand) model. The average price for a basic iPad 8 10.2″ 2020 in dark gray, without LTE and with 32 GB on board at the time of writing this review is about $440. With LTE support, a 10.2-inch iPad will cost $578. Quite a tangible difference for adding mobile Internet, don’t you think?
What’s in the box
The set is pretty basic. In the branded white box, in addition to the tablet itself, you can find a charger, a USB Type-C-Lightning cable, a minimum of accompanying waste paper and, to the delight of brand fans, a couple of stickers with a bitten apple.
Design, materials and build quality
In the design of its devices, Apple is rather conservative and is in no hurry to endow new generations of gadgets with some kind of external (and sometimes internal) updates. The basic 2020 iPad version is treacherously similar to the 2019 model, and that, in turn, has changed little since 2018. We will not see anything fundamentally new here.
The 8th generation iPad is still clad in a metal case and has rather large bezels around the screen, among which the top and bottom stand out. Tablet weight is 490 g, and dimensions are 250.6 × 174.1 × 7.5 mm. There are three familiar colors to choose from: Silver, Gold and Space Gray. In the review, we have the last option.
The design is not new, but the quality of materials and the build quality are top-notch. Everything fits perfectly, nothing is loose. But there is no water protection in the budget tablet.
Elements configuration and ergonomics
The location of the main elements is also not surprising. On the back of the body in the upper left corner is the main camera and the company emblem proudly in the center. On the front there is a display with large bezels, above it you can see the front-facing camera, and under the screen there is a traditionally slightly recessed Home button with Touch ID.
On the top, in different corners, there is a 3.5 mm jack for wired headphones and a power button, and in the center there is a tiny hole for a microphone. The same is located slightly lower. On the top right are the volume buttons.
In the model with support for SIM-cards, the slot is on the same side, only at the bottom. On the left side in the center you can see three terminals for connecting the docking station. And finally, a pair of external speakers and a Lightning charging connector have found their place at the bottom.
Sure, the large bezels look pretty weird on a 2020 device, but that has its advantages as well. For example, while watching a video or flipping through social networks, the tablet can be held as you like, without fear of catching the sensor with your thumbs. I believe that for such a rather weighty gadget this is the optimal solution. But in games, bezels tend to get in the way. If they were thinner, this would allow the touch control buttons to be placed closer to the edges of the screen and it would be much more convenient.
If we talk about ergonomics in general, then working on an iPad is quite convenient; the same can be said about web surfing, chatting on social networks or instant messengers, watching YouTube, working with text, etc. The speakers and key elements are positioned in such a way that you can choose a comfortable grip without touching any of them. The only issue, in my opinion, is the mass of the tablet. You cannot hold it for a long time, it’s just too weighty.
The 8th generation iPad features a 10.2-inch IPS panel with a resolution of 2160 x 1620, 262 ppi and an aspect ratio of 3:4. It’s bright, with fairly wide viewing angles, pleasant natural color rendition and decent contrast.
In essence, the screen in a regular iPad is the simplest, without any bells and whistles or interesting settings, but it’s comfortable to work with. The pixel density is far from record values, but it’s enough for text. However, the same can be said about multimedia – the screen is good for reading, videos, and games.
The iPad 2020 works on A12 Bionic chipset which is already two years old. It’s the same as was installed in 2018 smartphones like iPhone XS, XS Max and iPhone XR. Basically, it has become the norm for Apple to equip the current but cheaper iPads with processors from the past. Although for the iPad Pro, the new A12Z Bionic was rolled out separately. True, the pricing policy there is completely different. By the standards of Android devices, using two years old hardware is dubious, but Apple has always had its own opinion on this matter.
RAM here is 3 GB, and the model itself has 4 modifications: 32/128 GB and with or without LTE. We’re testing the basic version with 32 GB of storage and without any SIM cards. What can we say, 32 GB in 2020 is very little. And, of course, you get no support for memory cards, since it’s Apple.
This means that the 8th generation iPad in its initial modification is more of an Internet tablet for work or entertainment on the Web. There is simply nowhere to store a lot of information, except perhaps to use cloud storage. On the other hand, you are unlikely to use a tablet for storing a large number of photos and videos that eat up memory. Still, the cameras here are much simpler, and for good photos it is better to use a smartphone. If you’re interested in games, then choose the iPad with 128 GB since games take a lot of space.
If we talk about performance, the “old” processor is not a hindrance – everything flies on the tablet. The device perfectly copes with ordinary tasks and multitasking, and games run great. PUBG in Ultra Mode? Easy. No freezes, the gameplay is pretty smooth. During long battles, the case heats up a little (this happens locally almost over the entire area), but the performance does not drop. All in all, even a basic iPad can cover most of the needs of the modern user.
IPad 2020 runs on iPadOS 14, which was just introduced on September 16. Since iPadOS was rolled out as an independent OS only last year, technically this is the second generation of the operating system.
In the tablet format the operating system is quite comfortable – it is characterized by a logical and understandable arrangement of elements, speed and smoothness.
However, Apple is focusing on the fact that the iPad with its OS can easily replace a laptop. True, this will require a docking station and a mouse, which will cost half the cost of a “cheap” iPad. In my opinion, iPadOS is good as a tablet operating system, but there is still room to grow before it can replace a laptop. To turn a tablet into a laptop Apple will need some more time. Otherwise, all good.
The cameras and their characteristics have not changed since the last generation. It still has an 8-megapixel f/2.4 sensor as the main camera and a 1.2-megapixel sensor for videos. The selfie camera is not intended for anything else, although by modern standards 1.2 megapixels is very weak. But the main camera with proper lighting allows you to take quite good pictures.
One way or another, in low light, 8 megapixel just aren’t enough. For a smartphone, this would most likely be unforgivable, but for a tablet, this is a pretty decent result. Let’s just say that you can take a quick photo and send it through the messenger, but you can’t post anything special on the social network.
As always, the basic iPad has a physical button with an embedded fingerprint scanner. Touch ID works great – the fingerprint is recognized quickly and with a minimal percentage of false positives. But the Face ID is still missing. But that’s hardly critical.
The iPad’s battery life is good. The battery is 32.4 Wh, which, according to the manufacturer, provides more than 10 hours of surfing and watching videos. And well it’s true – mostly. For an hour of watching online videos, the battery lost 7-8%, so in this version the tablet can easily survive for 12 hours without recharging. But it will depend on the use case. Games, for example, increase battery consumption. During testing, on average, I had to charge the iPad every 3-5 days, taking into account the active use of the tablet for several hours a day. Quite a decent result.
The tablet comes with a 20 W charger (the 7th generation adapter was 12 W), which should improve the charging speed. But no. It took me about 4 hours to charge from 20% to 100%, which is a lot. The easiest way is to leave the tablet on charge overnight and you will be happy. The iPad has never had high charging speeds, so we will assume that this is within the Apple norm. On the other hand, we don’t use tablets as heavily as smartphones, so charging time is not a top priority in this case.
Sound and communication
On the lower edge of the tablet, next to the charging connector, there is a pair of speakers. The sound is really good – loud, clear, with audible lows and even to some extent surround sound. If only the speakers were on both sides of the screen so that we could have stereo! But this is the prerogative of more advanced and expensive iPads. For this price the sound of the 10.2-inch tablet is pretty decent.
What do we get in the end? Apple iPad 8 10.2 is a rather versatile and balanced device in many respects, but there has been a minimum of innovations since the last generation. We get a more recent chipset and more powerful charger. I mean you could’ve at least included a better front-facing camera.
If you have been using iPad for the last couple of years, then there is not much sense in updating to the 2020 version. But if you are planning on starting using Apple devices, iPad is hardly the best place to start.
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