Ten years ago there wasn’t much else you could do on the commute to work but read or catch up on sleep. Even if you did travel with a bulky laptop, the battery life wouldn’t let you do much more than the first paragraph of a proposal due that day. The introduction of the iPad changed the very definition of what portable and powerful could be. Whether you wanted to catch up on TV, browse the news or read your emails, the iPad was versatile enough to handle it all. This year with the inclusion of Apple Pencil support, you now have your very own portable design studio. All built into a package smaller than a paint palette.
On the new 2018 iPad, despite it not being a Pro, the Apple Pencil performed pretty well. The tracking is accurate, and the pressure sensitivity allows users to tilt and push the tip to make adjustments to what appears on the screen in real-time. This works equally well for both note-taking and content creation. The palm rejection is also excellent, meaning you can write naturally and accurately for long periods without cramping. When used side-by-side with an iPad Pro there is a slight, and noticeable, amount of input lag. However, considering the price difference between the two models, it’s pretty impressive how well this iPad keeps up.
Compared next to each other, it’s hard to tell the difference between this and last year’s models. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though as the 2017 version did a lot of things really well. The retina screen is crisp, bright and beautiful. Everything from watching Netflix, Stan and YouTube, to reading, writing and editing documents is an enjoyable experience. The jump from a dual-core to a quad-core chip translates to a tangible increase in speed while multitasking, noticeably smoother web scrolling, as well as general improvements as you navigate iOS.
The new operating system is pre-installed out of the box and continues to make strides toward being the best mobile operating system on the market. We found that the new Files app brings the iPad closer to being a bonafide laptop replacement; the on-screen keyboard now allows you to swipe down on keys to change characters, making typing a more streamlined experience if you don’t have a keyboard case; and new multitasking capabilities allow you to drag and drop files between apps, so sharing photos and documents is easier than ever. If you fork out for the cellular version, the 2018 model supports speeds of up to 300mbps so you can instantly upload/download files on the go.
Although we’re pleased TouchID is included for secure unlocking and payments, we wished they’d have included the same fingerprint reader as the current generation of iPhones. The first generation fingerprint reader present is noticeably slower and requires you to physically push the button to unlock. It may sound like an insignificant gripe, but when you’re switching between phones with a haptic button and a physical button, it’s nice to have consistency.
Last year’s iPad offered the best tablet experience for its price and the 2018 iteration ups the performance again, while still maintaining its biggest selling point, the price. Even with its enhanced productivity, the iPad is still just plain fun to use.