Apple took advantage of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro event to update two of its iPad models. On the one hand, the iPad mini, which came with a complete redesign, and, on the other, the iPad 2021, which remains as the entry model in the catalog of tablets of the company, has been updated with important internal news. The objective? Make the most recommended equipment for students and users looking for a multimedia device, continue to be an interesting option in 2021.

The ninth generation of Apple’s most popular tablet maintains the price of the previous version. It is, therefore, below 400 euros in the case of the base model. Now come with him A13 Bionic chip, same processor as the iPhone 11 and iPhone SE of 2020. According to Apple, the new iPad SoC offers up to 20% more powerful graphics than last year’s model. The A13 Bionic also has a higher-generation Neural Engine to use functions related to machine learning.

In practice, there is no task that can resist the iPad 9. The A13 Bionic continues to do a fantastic job three years after its launch. It makes this iPad capable of offering excellent performance in demanding apps, office work, studies, etc. It also has more than enough power for heavy games.

The new iPad also doubles the memory compared to the 8th generation model. This is another of the main novelties. The base version now includes 64GB, while the variant with more storage amounts to 256GB. It is an important and necessary leap to be able to save files and documents without worry.

The battery of the iPad 2021 remains intact compared to the previous generation. Apple says we can get up to 10 hours of birth by Internet on a single charge and up to 9 hours using mobile data. In my experience, the iPad has endured a day’s work without any problem, reaching the end of the day with approximately 20% battery.

iPadOS 15 looks great on the new iPad

The A13 Bionic chip is a perfect processor for iPadOS 15, since it allows you to use some of the most interesting functions of the new version of Apple’s operating system, such as Live Text, more fluently. The truth is that iPadOS 15 is a slight, but necessary update for Apple tablets. It mainly includes features that allow to improve productivity, something extremely necessary in a device of these characteristics.

One of the most striking functions is the new multitasking, which now it is much more intuitive and easy to use. Apple allows you to make use of the split screen by moving the applications to the sides. It is also possible to apply the striking floating windows that are located on one edge of the screen and that are hidden on one side by means of a simple gesture. Now the applications show a shortcut that not only allows you to set one of the available formats comfortably, but also offers the possibility of selecting any compatible application, without the need for them to be present in the Dock.

When you click on the three points in the upper area, three options will appear that will allow you to make different views. On the one hand, convert the app to full screen, arrange it in a floating window or divide the screen to house another application on the other side and display the home screen to choose that application.

iPadOS 15 also has small functions that can help a lot when working or studying with the iPad. For example, it is possible drag links or images from one application to another quickly. Also extract text from images and photographs to select, copy and translate it. All this, without forgetting the possibility of applying widgets in any area of ​​the home screen or the improvements that come to FaceTime, Safari and other applications.

This is the new front camera of the iPad 2021
This is how FaceTime-centric framing mode works.

The most remarkable function of this new iPad 2021 is, without a doubt, the new front camera. Those from Cupertino have opted for a 12 megapixel ultra wide angle sensor, which not only dramatically improves image quality when taking photos, recording video and making video calls, but also offers 2x zoom out for more panoramic selfies.

The ultra-wide-angle sensor has also allowed Apple to add one of the most amazing features of the iPad Pro: the centered framing (also called Center Stage). This feature makes use of zoom out and artificial intelligence to detect the subject in a video call and keep it always in focus, even when it moves. The sensor is able to follow the person with fluid movements and detects if another member joins the video call to extend the angle and keep both of them focused.

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It works really well and is extremely useful to avoid that mismatch effect that is created by having the sensor on one of the sides of the iPad when it is used in a horizontal position. It is also compatible with the main video calling apps, such as FaceTime, Zoom, etc.

Regarding the quality of the cameras, the main sensor, which remains at 8 megapixels, offers a resolution more than enough for specific photographs or scanning documents. The front camera has a good quality for selfies and video calls, although in low light conditions it is inevitable to see some noise.

New inside, same outside

While early rumors suggested a look similar to the 2019 iPad Air, with a slightly larger screen and somewhat more utilized bezels, the new 9th generation iPad. keeps the design of the previous version intact. Its screen, therefore, does not grow in size. It also does not allow compatibility with the second generation Apple Pencil or the new Magic Keyboard with integrated trackpad. The company, yes, has made small changes in appearance.

The front, which maintains the wide bezels in the upper and lower area, which in turn allow to house Touch ID – which works wonderfully -, they are black in both finishes of the iPad: both in Space Gray and Silver. The rear wall maintains aluminum as the main material, which is also completely recycled.

The Retina screen continues to be 10.2 inches with a resolution of 2,160 x 1,620 pixels and a density of pixels per inch of 264. As a novelty, the TrueTone technology, which allows you to change the hue of the whites depending on the surrounding light. Therefore, if the area has warm light, the panel colors will turn slightly yellowish to avoid eye strain.

Overall, the iPad 2021 display offers excellent sharpness and very well calibrated colors. The tactile response is also very good and the brightness does a good job both in any circumstance.

IPad 9 accessories

The iPad 2021 maintains the compatibility with the first generation Apple Pencil (99 euros). It is still a recommended device for those users who perform design-related tasks or want to draw on the tablet, as well as those students who take notes. Including the second-gen Apple Pencil doesn’t seem feasible. At least for the moment. It would mean a change in the design to be able to house the charging area in one of the edges of the iPad. The price of this accessory is also higher.

In any case, the 1st generation Apple Pencil includes functions very similar to the most advanced model, with the possibility of writing in any area of ​​the screen and converting it to text, applying different levels of pressure or controlling some sections of the interface as if a touch pointer was involved.

The Smart Keyboard, which is priced at 179 euros, is also compatible with this iPad 9. Again, an interesting option for those users who are looking for an accessory to be able to write comfortably, although its price is very high.

Is the new iPad 2021 worth it?

The iPad of 2021 keep the price of its predecessor, 379 euros for the 64 version GB and 549 for the 256 GB variant. The variants with WiFi + LTE cost 140 euros more in both versions.

For yet another year, the company has managed to position this iPad as one of the most recommended options for students or users looking for an inexpensive multimedia device. There is no tablet that offers better features for this price, and it is hardly possible to find a laptop below 400 euros that performs as well as this iPad. The inclusion of the A13 Bionic chip has been a complete success. It gives the device enough power to take full advantage of the functions of iPadOS and allows you to use the heaviest applications with total fluidity without affecting the price.

The new camera, on the other hand, is a very welcome extra for those people who usually make video calls or do online classes, with the possibility, in addition, to experiment with the ultra-wide-angle sensor from the camera app.

The iPad 2021, yes, has some shortcomings. Apple maintains a Lightning port on a clearly student-focused device, something that makes it difficult to attach accessories. On the other hand, the company has been betting on the same aspect for several years, without applying the possibility of minimizing the frames to house a larger screen, as it did with the iPad Air in its day.

Despite the small drawbacks, the 9th generation iPad is still the king of budget tablets, and finding a replacement is very difficult.