Apple iPad (2020) & iPadOS 14 review: Faster, smarter, better

by birtanpublished on October 3, 2020

kids are going to school at home the holidays aren't far off money is tighter for many than it used to be i say this because it's never been more important to make cheap good things and i've spent a week with apple's new cheap ipad to see what you get for 330 dollars the thing is it's also going to be a lot of people's first taste of ipad os 14 so we should probably get into that too all of which means today is your lucky day because you're getting two review videos

In one and it hopefully isn't a half hour long thankfully we can keep some parts nice and short and it helps that this ipad is just about the most straightforward gadget upgrade i've ever seen in terms of basically everything this ipad is physically identical to the one we got last year there's still a home button with a fast accurate touch id sensor the headphone jack the power volume keys

Those are all right where they've always been even the same 8 megapixel camera is back which remains fine you're better off just whipping out your phone to take photos but this thing will do in a pinch there's a tendency for people who love gadgets to want to see extremely visible improvements every time there's a new one and you're not going to see many of those here but on the flip side we're still benefiting from some of the changes apple made to the last ipad

The 9.7 inch displays that ipads used to use are gone replaced by 10.2 inch panels that look really nice for the price and are bright enough for reading in daylight in the park when you don't want to binge netflix on your couch all the time the extra space you get compared to older models give websites and apps running side by side more room to breathe this screen also plays nice with the apple pencil and like those older ipad pros apple's budget model here has a side mounted smart connector so you can

Magnetically attach keyboard cases and i guess stuff like this logitech charging dock which is really the only other thing i've seen use this connector when you look at the changes apple made to the last ipad it's no surprise the company kept almost everything the same for this one it's still a workable design and a lot of people will find it familiar and easy to wrap their heads around but there are still things i would change here the biggest knock against this thing is its anemic storage we're looking at just

32 gigs for the entry level model and keep in mind six gigs is already chewed up by ipad os unless you lean on streaming apps almost exclusively for your media you're going to be doing a lot of finicky file management over the years and this front-facing camera is at best passable but the quality is not great especially now that we're on zoom and facetime calls all the time now apple did make one big change here it gave the 2020 ipad and a12 bionic chipset which yes is the same thing that powered the

Company's 2018 flagship phones and yes that's a bigger deal than it sounds my biggest issue with last year's ipad is that it used a chipset that was almost too old for the job the atn fusion made its debut in 2016 and i do not care how good this company is at chipset design running demanding apps on a three or four year old processor doesn't it's not going to feel great all the time thankfully just about all of those hiccups are gone thanks to the a12 this year i like to keep the ipad propped up next

To me while i work and i've often found myself running two apps side by side in split view so i can sort of quickly check through things other times i'll have something pulled up in safari and have slack or spotify running in a floating window the ipad handled these multitasking situations beautifully and when work was done i will admit i spent a little too long poking around the worlds of ocean horn 2 and the bradwell conspiracy with none of the stutters i sometimes got out of last year's ipad

All told there is plenty of power here for all of the usual ipad things but i did want to try one more test i made a half hour supercut made of nine gigs of 4k review videos in lumafusion and adobe premiere rush and the ipad didn't bat an eyelash as i chopped up all that footage and shifted the clips around the real test was transcoding and exporting those 4k video clips as 1080p files and both times this 330 dollar ipad stacked up very well against a thousand dollar ipad pro when i exported the files in lumafusion

The race was actually a photo finish so i tried again in premiere rush the ipad pro finished in just under five minutes while the regular ipad took an extra minute and a half and when you consider the huge difference in price between these tablets that's not bad at all of course none of this would matter if the ipad had lousy battery life but it is just as solid as always i got about 11 and a half hours of total use when i use the ipad for just web browsing and

When i played a marathon of mtv's double shot at love the ipad lasted about 10 and a half hours before needing a charge and thankfully the ipad comes with a better charger this year it's a 20 watt brick with a usbc the lightning cable that takes this tablet from bone dry to full in about three hours instead of the four or five that it used to now there will be some people who wanted apple to do more with the cheap ipad this year and i'm personally

With them but since we got such a noticeable redesign last year this 2020 model was always going to be more chill by comparison that said the hardware does a pretty solid job of giving ipad os 14 the power to do what it needs to do and a quick note on that apple laid a lot of important groundwork in earlier releases like for example actual on-device file management desktop class web browsing in safari and proper support for mice and track pads

By comparison some of the changes here can't help but feel less consequential at least at first i've come to really appreciate some of them but broadly speaking this is a year of polish not sweeping changes but at least we finally have widgets yes android had these first and yeah google was right about them all along anyway ipad os comes with several widgets pre-installed for its own apps and they really run the gamut most most are nice and practical like the self-explanatory battery and weather widgets

But some just don't make sense like the apple podcast widget you'd think it would offer media controls or something but all it ever shows you is what you're listening to or what you could be listening to next fortunately there is a wide world of third party widgets to start messing around with so don't feel beholden to the ones apple made just keep one thing in mind you cannot slap these widgets all over your home screen they can only be placed in the small sort of today view window that sits on the left

Side of the screen and even if you set that panel to remain visible it'll still vanish the moment you hold the ipad upright in other words widgets and ios 14 make iphones more informative at a glance widgets and ipad os don't get the chance to do enough i should also point out that one of the iphone's best new features the overflow area for rarely used software called the app library isn't here at all i think that was a huge mistake

Bigger screens might mean more room for app icons and more folders but for me that also leads to more disorganization and i really hope apple sourced this out soon it seems clear from other changes apple made here that the company is really intent on blurring the line between the ipad experience and the mac experience some apps for example have been redesigned with sidebars for faster access to options and controls you'd normally have to spend a little time hunting around for the calendar notes files music all of

These are a little easier to use with fingers or track pads and mice i wish apple would make these kinds of desktop like app designs more of a requirement other interface changes also have been pretty satisfying like the spotlight inspired approach to search it used to be that if you searched for gmail for example ipad os would throw a whole screen of results at you what's nice about apple's new search is that it gives you the same

Breadth of results as always just reorganized in a smaller package theoretically that might mean you have to do a few extra taps to get exactly the results you're looking for but for me at least it hardly ever came to that there is one more thing we need to talk about though the apple pencil and i would be lying if i said i wasn't bummed that this ipad uses apple's first gen stylus from five years ago but at least ipad of west 14 gives you opportunities to use it in more places the standout feature here is scribble

Which lets you just start writing in any text field ipad os then just does its best to render your chicken scratch into actual text and you don't even need to write directly in the box as long as you're close the software will figure out where you actually meant to write and just take care of it now my penmanship ranges from pretty good to just f and bad depending on how fast i'm going but i've been really surprised by how accurate these results are fixing

Errors is pretty easy too thanks to a cluster of controls that appear at the bottom of the screen which leads me to my one quibble with scribble if you flub a url or a google search term having to move your hand down the screen to those controls gets kind of old fast especially if you make back-to-back typos like i do all the time the smart move would have been to have ipad os place the palette of controls next to the text field you're writing in but whatever if you're the type of person

Who uses the pencil frequently anyway i cannot overstate how helpful scribble is it means that you do not have to put the stylus down to get everything else done the other big example of pencil refinement happens in the notes app which has a lot of new features honestly if you deal with diagrams a lot for example notes will quantize your polygons and your arrows your hearts all of those doodles into really precise looking figures now that's cool but not everyone needs

To do that so you can double tap anything you've written to select it and from there you can copy and paste it or just kind of moving around on the virtual page and best of all the notes app is always processing what you write when you write it so it knows to treat some of your scribbles differently than others if you jot i don't know someone's phone number down in notes ipad os will recognize it and give you options for adding it to your contacts or sending them messages when you tap that

Underlined link that same trick works for dates and addresses and urls too and it's honestly good enough that i might actually start using the notes app regularly unfortunately it is impossible to get a feel for some of ipad os's features because a they aren't being widely used enough yet and b we live in like a weird strange pandemic world now app clips are the best example these are tiny versions of apps that perform simple tasks like unlocking a scooter or

Ordering a sandwich from panera bread they're a cool idea and that they could take some of the friction out of really infrequent interactions but until more developers adopt it or decide they won't want to we don't really know for sure so where does all of that leave us well the ipad is basically the same cheap good tablet we got last year except it runs and charges a little faster and i know that's not thrilling but it is an extremely competent machine that's made a little more flexible by design

Changes and pencil improvements in ipad os 14. if you haven't upgraded your tablet in a long time or if you're buying one for the first time for yourself or for your kids this is still your best all-around option and we've already seen this thing go on sale but if you don't really need a tablet or if you're still chugging along just fine with the one you have this one feels like a pretty easy skip and there you go that's our review of the ipad 2020 and

Ipad west14 i know it might feel like we breezed through some things and we'll explore other features in more depth later but for the most part both of these updates tended to deal with pretty iterative changes so it felt like we could kind of just lay out the high level stuff and let you kind of figure out how you felt speaking of if you have feedback about either of these products the software or the hardware please leave it down in the comments below or email me at v8 gadget.com if you have comments or feedback about

My new sort of transition into becoming the filipino stanley tucci maybe hold on to that for yourself for a little while thank you for watching we'll see you again next time maybe i'll have hair who knows you

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