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While the new iPad Pro is for creative pros, Apple’s new 10.2-inch iPad is designed for students and anyone on the go who wants to get stuff done without carrying a bulkier laptop. For $329 ($299 if you’re a student), you get a speedy A10 Fusion chip, support for the Apple Pencil and access to immersive augmented-reality apps.
Other highlights include more than 10 hours of battery life and a new iWork suite that makes the iPad a good productivity tool. But in an age of ultra-affordable Chromebooks and Windows machines, Apple’s refreshed tablet is more of a satisfying niche device than it is a PC for the masses.
The iPad remains the best tablet for the money, whether you’re a student looking for your first computer or someone who simply wants an easy-to-use device that has a wide array of apps. I appreciated the snappy performance from the A10 Fusion chip, especially when I was trying out augmented reality apps. And while I’m the furthest thing from an artist, I can see the appeal of the Apple Pencil for drawing, taking notes and giving more pop to presentation.
What bothers me is that this iPad forgoes the keyboard connector that’s on the iPad Pro, so you can’t use Apple’s own keyboard; you’ll have to use another option. The 10.2-inch screen may be too small for some as well, even though it is sharp and colorful. I could also do without the thick bezels, though they’re forgivable at this price.
If you prefer more of a desktop-like experience, the (Surface Go from $399) is the better choice. The keyboard accessory is a lot better than Apple’s, and you can run all the most popular Windows apps. However, you’ll get less power and a lot less battery life.
Overall, the 6th-generation iPad is a very good value and the tablet to beat under $500.
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