Apple iPad (2022) vs iPad (2021): which one to buy?

Apple iPad (2022) vs iPad (2021): which one to buy?
  • Apple / Pocket-lint

    Apple iPad (2022)

    Our top pick

    The Apple iPad (10th generation) is an excellent tablet. It doesn’t have all the features and power of some of the other models in Apple’s portfolio, but it does offer an improved and improved design, a nice big screen, and more than enough power for most tasks. It’s a perfect blend of features and value for money.


    • Great updated design
    • Solid performance
    • Good battery life with USB-C charging
    The inconvenients

    • No Apple Pencil (2nd generation) compatibility
    • No anti-glare screen
    • No Stage Manager support

  • iPad 2021 - square label

    Apple / Pocket-lint

    Apple iPad (2021)

    Great value

    Apple’s iPad (9th generation, 2021) is the ideal tablet for those who simply need something to surf the internet, watch streaming services and do other occasional things – like connecting a keyboard via the smart connector to do some work – rather than trying to be something more glamorous.


    • Robust design
    • Apple Pencil (1st generation) support
    • Smart connector for keyboards
    The inconvenients

    • Design a bit dated now
    • No touchscreen to wake up to
    • Always uses the Lightning connector


Apple’s iPad (10th generation) arrived in October 2022 and it sees a design upgrade, a processor upgrade and it also brings a logical change to the position of the front camera. This comes at a cost though, making it a bit more expensive than its predecessor, the iPad (9th Gen).

With the iPad (9th generation) remaining in the iPad portfolio as an entry-level model and the iPad (10th generation) slipping between the 9th generation model and the iPad Air (2022), which iPad should you buy? We’ve detailed how the iPad (10th Gen) compares to the iPad Air (2022) in a separate feature, but here we’re focusing on how the iPad (10th Gen) compares to the iPad (9th). generation) cheaper but older. .

Specifications, price, availability

Let’s talk about the price first. The iPad (10th generation) starts at $449 in the US and £499 in the UK. This is for the 64GB model, Wi-Fi only. The iPad (9th generation) meanwhile, starts at $329 in the US and £369 in the UK. Again, this is for the 64GB, Wi-Fi only model. It is therefore a little cheaper than the iPad (10th generation). Both are available through Apple, as well as various other retailers.

The Apple iPad (10th generation, 2022) is available in a range of color options, while the iPad (9th generation, 2021) is only available in silver and space gray. You can see an overview of the specs of both tablets below, giving you a quick indication of how they compare, but remember that numbers aren’t everything – as we dive a little deeper into this feature – so keep that in mind when making your decision.

  • Apple iPad (2022)Apple iPad (2021)
    Storage64/256 GB64/256 GB
    CPUApple A14 bionicA13 bionic
    Operating systemiPadOS 16iPadOS
    BatteryUp to 10 hoursUp to 10 hours
    Camera (rear, front)12MP f/1.8 rear, 12MP f/2.4 landscape front8MP rear, 12MP f/2.4 front
    Display (size, resolution)10.9-inch Liquid Retina, 2360 x 1640 pixels, 264ppi, 500nits10.2-inch Retina, 2160 x 1620 pixels, 264ppi, True Tone
    PriceFrom $449 / £499From $329 / £369
    Measurements248.6 x 179.5 x 7mm, 477g250.6×174.1×7.5mm, 487g
    ColorsYellow, blue, pink and silverSpace Grey, Silver


Apple iPad (10th generation, 2022) review: an absolutely fabulous photo 1

Plush pocket

Apple’s iPad (10th Gen) steals its design from the iPad Air, so it looks quite different from the iPad (9th Gen) and offers a much more modern design overall. The iPad (10th generation) has flat edges and uniform bezels around the screen. It also moves the Touch ID home button from the bottom of the screen to the power button positioned on the top edge, providing a lot more display in the footprint and ditching the big, dated bezels we see on iPads. For years.

On the back of the iPad (10th Gen) there’s a single camera lens, although it’s a bit larger than the iPad (9th Gen). The iPad (9th generation) has a very small camera lens in the upper left corner of its back, and its edges are rounded – a design that some might prefer. It also has larger bezels around the screen, and the Touch ID home button sits at the bottom of the screen, as we mentioned. It’s a dated look now, but larger bezels can be useful when holding the tablet to watch movies for example, giving you a place to place your thumbs away from the screen. Both models have a Smart Connector positioned on the left edge, but the iPad (10th generation) is overall thinner, shorter and lighter than the iPad (9th generation), as well as a bit wider.


Apple iPad (10th generation, 2022) review: an absolutely fabulous photo 9
Plush pocket

Apple’s iPad (10th generation) features a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display that offers a resolution of 2360 x 1640, resulting in a pixel density of 264ppi. It’s a nice screen in use and while not quite as good as the iPad Air (2022), it offers a great viewing experience overall with punchy colors and good angles.

The iPad (9th Gen) has a smaller 10.2-inch Retina display, with a resolution of 2160 x 1620 pixels. This also translates to a pixel density of 264ppi and again there’s a good viewing experience. As you might notice, the 10th Gen model has a 0.7 inch larger screen than the 9th Gen model in a very similar footprint, so you get more screen without having a bigger body. , as briefly discussed above.

Both the iPad (10th generation) and iPad (9th generation) feature Apple’s True Tone technology, 500 nits peak brightness, and a fingerprint-resistant coating. Neither have a fully laminated screen or an anti-reflective coating, which the iPad Air offers and the two make a difference.

Hardware and Specifications

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Plush pocket

Apple iPad (10th Gen) runs on the A14 Bionic chip, while iPad (9th Gen) runs on the A13 Bionic chip, so you get a performance upgrade with the new model . It might not be as noticeable as the M1 chip on the iPad Air – or the M2 chip on the latest iPad Pros, but the iPad (10th Gen) is quite a bit faster than its predecessor.

The iPad (10th generation) and iPad (9th generation) come in 64GB and 256GB storage options and they both promise up to 10 hours of battery life for browsing the web or watching videos.

The iPad (10th generation), however, switches to USB-C for charging, while the iPad (9th generation) has Lightning. Both are compatible with the first generation Apple Pencil, although you will need an adapter to charge the Apple Pencil with the iPad (10th generation) as the Pencil uses Lightning to charge.

Along with the processor upgrade and the move to USB-C, the iPad (10th Gen) also upgrades the rear camera from an 8-megapixel snapper found on the 9th-gen model to a sensor of 12 megapixels, capable of recording 4K video.

There are also differences in the front camera. The 10th-gen model and 9th-gen model both have a 12-megapixel sensor with an f/2.4 aperture and the company’s Center Stage feature, although the 10th-gen model moves the front camera to position landscape on the right edge, while the 9th generation model has it at the top of the screen like the other models in the range. Landscape orientation is much better for video calls, so if that’s something you plan to do a lot with your iPad, the 10th Gen model is the better option.

Elsewhere, the 10th generation iPad offers Bluetooth 5.2 and Wi‑Fi 6 (802.11ax), while the iPad (9th generation) has Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi‑Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac) . The iPad (10th generation) is also 5G compatible for Wi-Fi and cellular model, while the iPad (9th generation) is 4G.


Apple iPad (10th generation, 2022) review: an absolutely fabulous photo 25

Plush pocket

Apple’s iPad (10th generation) is compatible with iPadOS 16, like the iPad (9th generation) so both models offer a very similar user experience overall.

Neither have Stage Manager, although iPadOS 16 packs a lot of features that make both of these tablets great. You can read all about iPadOS 16 in our separate feature to find out all the features available, or head to our tips and tricks feature to find out all the iPad can do.

In a nutshell, while there are performance and design differences between these two models, the overall user experience is very similar regardless of which model you choose.

iPad (10th Gen, 2022) vs iPad (9th Gen, 2021): Which Should You Buy?

Apple’s iPad (10th generation) brings big improvements over the iPad (9th generation) – the design being the main improvement. The shift to iPad Air design sees the 10th Gen model offer a larger screen in a footprint very similar to the 9th Gen model, in a long overdue refresh.

There’s also a processor upgrade, the move to USB-C, a more logically positioned front-facing camera, and a wider choice of colors.

Apple iPad 10th Generation - Label

Apple iPad (2022)

Our top pick

The iPad (10th generation) is the perfect blend of features and value for money, and with its improved design, we expect it to be the go-to iPad for most people.

You pay for these upgrades though and while we think the iPad (10th Gen) is great, with the same user interface, the 9th Gen model may be more attractive thanks to its lower price.

Apple iPad 9th Generation - Label

Apple iPad (2021)

good alternative

The iPad (9th generation, 2021) is for those who simply need a tablet to surf the internet, watch streaming services, and do other casual things, rather than trying to be something more glamorous. It still has its place.

There’s a case for considering the iPad Air (2022) over the iPad (10th Gen) if you have an extra budget and need more power, and there’s also a strong case for going with the 9th generation model if you want to save some money. That said, the iPad (10th Gen) is a great middle-of-the-road option that will meet many needs in a nice design that matches its more expensive siblings and solid upgrades over the 9th Gen model.


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