iPad 9.7 (2018) review

The most affordable iPad ever brings brilliant upgrades

iPad 9.7 (2018) review

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  • Perfectly acceptable battery life
  • Equivalent to more expensive iPad Pro

New iPad 2018 review

We've not had an issue with battery life on a tablet for a number of years, simply because they're not something you use as much as a phone, and therefore you can easily go 3-4 days between charges.

In our general testing we found that the new iPad lasted just as well as the iPad Pro 10.5, which you'd imagine would do better due to the more powerful, but also more efficient, components inside.

For instance, running the Geekbench 4 battery rundown test on the iPad Pro 10.5 and the new iPad yielded an almost identical score – 2620 for the new iPad, compared to 2690 for the more powerful tablet. The battery was toast in around four and a half hours for each tablet, and that's running at full power (bright screen, heavy lifting going on under the hood and so on).

We also ran our 90-minute video test on the new iPad, where a Full HD video is looped at max brightness and we see how much battery is lost from a full charge. The new iPad dropped to 77%, a loss of 23%, which is comparable to previous Apple tablets such as the iPad Pro 9.7, but not as impressive as the iPad Pro 10.5, which only lost 18% in the same test.

New iPad 2018 review

The claim of 10-hour battery life for web browsing or watching video seems to bear out, as we found that even after five hours of Wi-Fi-streamed YouTube gazing we still had plenty of gas in the tank.

Apple does need the new iPad to last the day if it’s going to be used in schools, and we think that should be more than possible. It may need a boost if, like us, you spend about an hour making a timelapse video, which causes the iPad heat up a little (without getting anywhere near too hot) as the CPU kicks into gear and the battery life takes a hit.

For anyone using the new iPad extensively as a laptop replacement, you're probably going to want to look at the iPad Pro 10.5, but for day-to-day tasks like watching the odd movie on the train, this tablet will last a decent time between charges.


  • Good enough for basic snaps
  • Low-light performance predictably poor

New iPad 2018 review

It's hard to rate the camera on an iPad, as it's not really that much use in modern society. However, the 8MP sensor on the rear of the new iPad tells a pretty good story in brighter lights, capturing sufficient detail – only when zoomed in does the lack of detail really show.

It’s the same sensor as on the previous two cheapest iPads, so Apple hasn't done much to improve the camera performance on its slates for a while now.

There are an impressive number of modes on offer to play with too, showing that the A10 chipset inside looks like a good move from Apple, enabling as it does the capture of super-slow-motion footage (although it's not in the same league as Samsung with its Galaxy S9). 

It also allows for things like panoramic scenes, timelapse video and high-res movies, while the bigger screen means that framing your snap is much easier than on a phone.

The timelapse mode is pretty good, allowing businesses and fans to create small movies that explain everything visually, from a sunrise to the amount of cars flowing past a window, because your ex left and you just can't bring yourself to count those blasted cars manually and WHY DID SHE LEAVE ME?

The low-light capability is poor – although in fairness that's compared to the top-end iPhone X. With the phone you're getting one of the more impressive snappers on the market, but the tablet doesn't have a lot of refinement in the sensor.

However, for AR purposes, or for shooting a video and taking pictures for school, the sensor on the back of the new iPad is just fine.

The 1.2MP front-facing camera is also just fine, allowing you to have clear enough, not overly-exposed video conversations with friends or classmates, depending on what you fancy doing in that specific moment.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.