The eighth generation iPad from Apple is both capable and unremarkable, as predicted.
Eighth-generation iPad design
This year, there's not much new to say about the iPad's design. Go read our review of the 2019 7th-generation iPad. Everything in it applies to this 2020 model, except for how fast it works. Every year, the design stays the same in 2020. It still has a 10.2-inch Retina screen with a resolution of 2160x1620 that is not laminated and is set into an aluminium body.
Touch ID and the Home button are still there. There are still two speakers on the bottom and a front-facing camera with 1.2 megapixels, which seems rather small in a world where Zoom is king.
The back camera is the same 8-megapixel BSI module that has been around since 2018. It has a five-element lens that can take HDR images, 43MP panorama shots, and can record at 1080p with 120 frames per second slow-mo at 720p.
It still has Bluetooth 4.2 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi, but Apple's famed U1 chip is nowhere to be found.
The Smart Connector is still on the side and can be used with the Smart Keyboard and a few other third-party keyboards that don't use Bluetooth. The first-generation Apple Pencil, which charges through the iPad's Lightning connection, is also supported.
Performance of the eighth-generation iPad
The most important thing about the new eighth-generation iPad is how well it works. That's what it's all about, and Apple, of course, was able to do it. It doesn't have the same powerful A14 Bionic CPU as the newest iPad Airs, but it's more than enough to get the job done.
The A10 Fusion processor has been replaced with the A12 Bionic chip. The A10 is a quad-core CPU with two cores that are very efficient and two that are very fast. Only two cores can be used at once when the chip is being used, hence benchmarks treat it as a dual-core device.
The A12 Bionic features two high performance cores and four tempest cores, and all of them can function at the same time. This means that benchmarks like Geekbench display the A12 Bionic as a six-core design. The new iPad Pros have an A12Z Bionic CPU that is similar but has more graphics cores, making it look like an eight-core architecture.
Pros and cons of the eighth-generation iPad
• Reliable and well-thought-out design
• Good increases in speed
• Great table for families, kids, industries, businesses, or schools
• With the same design, old cases will still work
• Jack for headphones
• Smart Keyboard works with Apple Pencil
• 20W USB-C power brick
• Not enough space
No second-gen Apple Pencil support
Should you buy the iPad from the 8th generation?
The basic iPad has an obvious audience. It's for people who want a tablet that can perform a surprising amount of work, like schoolwork, notes, emails, a commercial store register, or just reading the news, and who want it to survive for a few years. Face ID, an extra pair of speakers, and slimmer bezels are not things you need.
It's a mobile workhorse that does precisely what you need and not much else. Here, Apple has done just that. It boasts the same single-core speed as the newest iPad Pros, which means it will be useful for years to come.
There are things that could be better, like maybe a USB-C connector instead of Lightning, but it is more for the sake of convenience than for Pros' demands. Apple at least took a half-step in the right direction by adding a robust 20W USB-C power brick and a USB-C to Lightning adapter in the box.
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