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Apple iPad 7 Review: How Good Is This 10.2-Inch Tablet In 2020?

How good of a value is the new Apple iPad 7 10.2-inch? For my review, I tested its performance, battery life, display, and its accessories.

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The 7th generation Apple iPad 2019 10.2-inch is the newest tablet from Apple. Compared to last year, it offers a larger screen, a new body with a connector for an optional keyboard cover, and iPadOS. Other aspects like its processor, Touch ID, and cameras remain unchanged. Prices start at 329 Dollars. Should you get it? That’s what we’ll discuss in this iPad 7 review.

Apple iPad 7 10.2-inch on* Amazon

Display: 0.5-Inch Bigger

Let‘s start with its display because this is the first simple iPad to ever feature a 10.2-inch screen. All predecessors had a 9.7-inch display. Now, an increase of 0.5 inches does not sound a lot. But remember: That‘s diagonal. In real life, you will notice that it is a bit bigger – not much, but a bit.

Other aspects of the screen have not changed much. The resolution of the IPS screen increased to 2160 x 1620 pixels. However, since the screen got bigger too, the pixel density remains the same. That‘s alright because it continues to be a sharp panel. I also like that it is quite bright with 500 nits which are noticeably more than what many Android tablets offer.

Apple iPad 7 display

Again, it is an IPS display with wide viewing angles and it has a coating that prevents fingerprints. But on the negative side, the screen is not laminated. That was the case with its predecessors too. It means that you can see a small air gap between the touchscreen and the IPS layer. Because of that, you will see reflections easier and you might not always have the feeling of touching the screen directly when using the Apple Pencil.

Most Android tablets and all iPad Airs, iPad Pros and the last iPad Mini do have laminated screens. For most, this won‘t be an issue because the screen is so bright. But if you want to do precise and professional work with the Apple Pencil, you should get a tablet with a laminated screen.

Apple Pencil

Apple Pencil

Speaking of the Apple Pencil: Yes, the 10.2-inch iPad does support the first-generation Apple Pencil that also works with the iPad Air, iPad Mini and the first couple of iPad Pro tablets. Keep in mind though that the Apple Pencil 2 of the current iPad Pro lineup is not supported.

The first Apple Pencil is a pretty good stylus but it does have a couple of downsides. For instance, it feels more slippery than the second generation does. And while you can pair it very easily using the Lightning port of the iPad, that‘s the way you charge it too. That looks a bit weird. But well, it works.

When writing with the stylus, it feels a bit more slippery than the Microsoft Surface Pen or Samsung S Pen do. That‘s because the later ones use a different technology with a softer tip. If you want a bit more resistance as you get with real paper, you can get a special screen protector for that.

Apple iPad 7 with stylus

Overall, the Apple Pencil is an excellent pen though. It works great, has tons of software support build into iPadOS, and there are lots of apps that offer amazing support for the Apple Pencil. Just check out YouTube and you‘ll find many artists creating outstanding art with this pen.

Read: The Best Tablets With Pen Support

Sadly, you‘ll still have to pay 99 Dollars for the Apple Pencil. But even though you‘ll have to pay at least 428 Dollars for this iPad and the pen, I think it is the best option if you‘re looking for a somewhat affordable but great tablet with stylus support. It‘s the best option for most who want to spend less than 600 Dollars.

Design & Build Quality

Apple iPad 7 design

The screen got bigger compared to last year and that means the body got bigger too. In fact, it has almost the same dimensions now as the iPad Air has. With 7.5mm it remains to be a bit thicker.

As is common with iPads, we‘re getting a full aluminum body which is very premium-feeling. And, like with all Apple tablets except for the last Pro lineup, the bezels around the screen are huge. Especially on the top and bottom. One reason for that is the Touch ID fingerprint scanner which is built into the home button on the bottom. While that one works great, I kind of miss Face ID from my iPad Pro.

On its sides are a power button, volume controls, and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. There‘s no microSD card slot, of course. I‘m not a huge fan of the Lightning port but yes, there‘s still no USB C port.

Apple iPad 7 side

The two speakers on the bottom are the same from last year. They‘re pretty good for a tablet. However, like with all iPads except the Pro versions, the speakers are located on just one side. It means you won‘t hear any real stereo separation when watching movies.

Apple has not changed the cameras either. The shooter on the back has a resolution of 8 megapixels and photos and videos look fine. And the 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera is okay for video chats. But the resolution is too low for decent Instagram selfies.

Keyboard Cover

Apple iPad 7 with keyboard

Remember I said the 7th generation iPad has almost the same dimensions as the iPad Air has? It features the same smart connector too. And that means you can connect the same Apple Smart Keyboard Folio that also works with the iPad Air and the 10.5-inch iPad Pro. You‘ve got to buy it separately and spend 159 Dollars on it. Yes, that‘s quite an expensive accessory for a 329 Dollar tablet. But well, that‘s what we‘re used to from Apple.

The keyboard itself is great. I used it last for my iPad Air review. And I write tons of articles with the iPad Pro regularly which has an almost identical keyboard. Needless to say, that I felt at home with this keyboard immediately and was comfortable to work with it. For instance, I used that keyboard to write this review in Microsoft Word.

Now, the keyboard is not perfect. It is a bit smaller than your standard desktop-class keyboard. And the keys have a tiny travel. However, with a bit of time, you can get used to it. I think it‘s a good compromise of comfort and portability.

I quite like the keyboard but I‘m not a huge fan of the cover part. While the screen is protected when closing the cover, the back of the iPad is not covered at all. I tried to use the official Apple cover for the 2018 iPad which has a similar design and the back was scratched fast. Apple fixed this issue with the latest iPad Pro keyboard cover which also lets you use the tablet in two different angles. But well, that‘s a feature reserved for the Pro.

Read: The Best Tablets With Keyboards

Hardware & Performance

Apple iPad 7 benchmarks

Okay, let‘s check out the internal hardware. Apple is shipping the 10.2-inch iPad 7 with an Apple A10 Fusion processor that is supported by 3GB of RAM. When buying the iPad, you can choose between 32GB and 128GB of internal storage. I‘ve gotten the 128GB version because I like to edit photos on iPads. Out of the box, 11.4GB is used by the system. You can get a bit more out of your storage by removing some pre-installed Apple apps.

Yes, you might have noticed it correctly: The Apple A10 Fusion is exactly the same processor we got with the 9.7-inch 2018 iPad. It means you won‘t notice a bump in performance when upgrading from last year’s iPad. Benchmarks like Geekbench 5 confirm that the performance is pretty much identical.

There is a small upgrade though. Apple is shipping the iPad 7 with 3GB of RAM instead of 2GB. That‘s quite an important improvement because, with iPadOS, you‘ve got more multitasking features. With those, the 3GB of RAM should be handy. And it certainly makes it a bit more future-proof.

Apple introduced the A10 Fusion processor in 2016 with the iPhone 7. While that sounds super old, keep in mind that Apple chipsets are usually much faster than processors for Android devices of a similar generation. That means that even though you won‘t notice a performance bump compared to last year’s iPad, it continues to be faster than many Android tablets.

Apple iPad 7 gaming test

With that being said, the performance of the iPad 7 is not perfect, of course. I noticed that when playing a couple of games. In Fortnite for instance, you can not set the graphics to “epic” like you can on an iPad Air, iPad Pro or Samsung Galaxy Tab S6. Instead, you can choose between “high” graphics and 30 frames per second or “medium” graphics and 60 frames per second.

Even though you might not be able to play all games with the highest graphics settings, you can play pretty much every game. And you can use pretty much every iPad app with it. No developer will release an app or game right now, that is too demanding for this platform. The iPhone 7 with the same chipset continues to be a very popular and widely used phone. And it should stay this way for at least a couple of years.

All standard apps and tasks run super smooth on the iPad 7 and most people might never see a difference between this tablet and an iPad Pro. However, if you do demanding work, you can see differences, of course. For instance, I noticed that photos are exported faster in Adobe Lightroom on the iPad Pro than on the iPad 7. And you‘ll be able to edit 4K videos much smother on an iPad Pro too. Of course, it has to be this way. The Pro costs more than twice as much.

Software: iPadOS

Apple iPad 7 experience

The iPad 7 is the first iPad to ever ship with iPadOS out of the box. Alright, it‘s not that special. All current iPads can be updated to iPadOS – including last year’s one. But because this one has 3GB of RAM, it might be updated longer in the future than the iPad 6 might be.

I‘ve been using iPadOS since the very first beta and I love it. Apple improved a lot. You‘ve got to get used to it a bit. But once you‘re familiar with all new features, you‘re getting a great multitasking experience. With iPadOS, you can not only open two apps side by side, but also two instances of an app. And you can switch between several slide-over apps fast.

Apple has fixed most issues people had with iOS. Who would have thought that one day you can connect external hard drives and access not only photos but also Word documents, PDFs and even ZIP files? You can do that now and you can even have a download folder in the Files app. Oh, and you can connect a real mouse.

There are tons of new features and I don‘t want to get into all of them in this review. If you‘re thinking about getting an iPad: I‘ve got a video with the best new iPadOS features online already.

Battery Life

Apple iPad 7 battery

In my standard battery test, the iPad 7 got a runtime of 13 hours. For this, I‘m always looping an HD video at medium brightness and turned-on WiFi until the tablet shuts itself off.

Overall, the battery life is very good. If you just surf the web a bit, watch a bit of YouTube or work with a text editor, it should last you two days most of the time. Standby times are amazing, as is the case with all iPads. But keep in mind that if you‘re binge-watching Netflix or playing hours of Fortnite, the battery will drain much, much faster.

iPad 7 Review: Final Verdict

Apple iPad 7 review

We‘ve come to the end of my Apple iPad 10.2-inch review. Can I recommend this tablet? Yes, I can. For most this is the best tablet to get if you‘re looking for a mid-range device with a bright screen, a premium build, and up-to-date software. It‘s also an excellent choice if you‘re looking for a kind of affordable tablet with great pen support.

Sure, due to its older processor it is not super exciting. And if you own an iPad 5 or 6 already, you should probably wait another year before you upgrade. But if you don‘t own an iPad yet or your previous one is broken, this is the one to get if you don‘t want to get the much pricier iPad Air or iPad Pro.

Let‘s look at the competition.

The next best iPad is the iPad Air. While it has a very similar design, it features a noticeably faster processor and a laminated screen. It‘s much pricier and uses the exact same Apple Pencil and keyboard. So, if you use a tablet for watching Netflix only, the cheaper one is good enough.

If you‘re looking for a similar priced Android tablet, you can check out the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e. While its original price is higher, you can often get it for roughly over 300 Dollars now. It does not support an active pen. However, you get a much more premium and modern looking body with a pretty AMOLED screen and four speakers.

Apple iPad 7 Keyboard
Apple iPad 7 10.2-inch Review: The Apple iPad 7 offers an excellent value for its price. It is the perfect tablet for many - especially if you don't want to spend more than 400 to 500 Dollars. Even though the Apple A10 Fusion processor is an older one, its performance continues to be very good. Yes, the 10.2-inch Retina display is not laminated but it is very sharp and bright. I also like that you can use the Apple Pencil and the official keyboard cover with the simple iPad now. In addition to that, iPadOS is a good operating system with great multitasking support.
  • Bright display
  • Solid performance
  • Full metal body
  • iPadOS with great multitasking
  • Apple Pencil support
  • Official keyboard cover support
  • Long battery life
  • Integrated fingerprint scanner
  • Old design
  • Display not laminated
  • No stereo separation
Buy at* Amazon


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