iPad 9 reviews – performance and storage upgrades make it a great value

Apple announced its new 10.2-inch iPad 9 (2021) model with features like A13 Bionic chip, 64GB base storage, True Tone display, ultra wide front camera with center stage, and vibrant display. Reviewers have gotten their hands on the iPad and the verdict from all of them is the same: the iPad is a great value for what it offers but its design is dated and it lacks support for Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil 2.

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iPad 9 (2021) Reviews

Here are our favorite reviews of the new iPad to help you make a buying decision:

Tom’s Guide

The website calls praises the value of the iPad for $329. It provides good performance, battery life, and a beautiful display, albeit with an aging design.

The Apple iPad 2021 is a well-made tablet with a dated design that offers a great screen, smooth performance, and good battery life for a reasonable price.


CNET gave the iPad a safe buy and a review score of 8.1 out of 10. The review praises the improved A13 processor, storage options (64GB and 256GB), Center Stage feature for camera, support for older keyboard cases, and inclusion of a headphone jack. However, the older design, lack of USB-C, and first-gen Apple Pencil stick out like a sore thumb.

For 2021, I think the basic unexciting iPad wins out. Especially for the price, which usually hits $300 for holiday season sales. But other sales could change that metric fast. The iPad Air is better, and last year’s eighth-gen iPad is perfectly fine still, too — if that’s on sale for a steep discount, it’s worth considering. If you already have last year’s iPad there’s no need to upgrade. But if you’ve been waiting a few years and need one soon for the kids or family, here’s your choice.

Ars Technica

Ars Technica rightfully calls the new iPad one of the most boring products it sells, but also one of its best ones. The review compares it against sub-$500 Windows PCs and Chromebooks and notes how it comes out ahead due to its beautiful display, app library, iPadOS, and build quality. Paired with a keyboard and mouse (or trackpad), it is a better value than most PCs under $500.

The 9th-generation iPad is great for streaming video, mobile gaming, educational apps, and people who just want a functional pleasant-to-use screen for reading or browsing. Those have always been the iPad’s core strengths, and you don’t need to spend $1,000 or more on an iPad Pro if that’s all you want to do.

The 9th-generation iPad is also a surprisingly functional sub-$500 computer, especially when compared to the kind of Windows PCs and Chromebooks you can get for the same price. It has a fast processor, a high-resolution touchscreen screen, and a versatile app library that covers most kinds of creative and office work. And now that iPadOS has decent keyboard and mouse support and multitasking capabilities, the $329 iPad is a plausible laptop replacement when paired with a good keyboard case. It’s not quite a budget MacBook, but it’s the closest you’ll get.


Gizmodo had the same verdict as other reviews in this list. All the new updates are good improvements, but the design is too old now.

Solid performance and battery life, True Tone display, hugely upgraded front-facing camera, iPadOS 15 improvements, the price

The theme is obvious from these reviews. The only thing Apple needs to do next is to update the design of the entry-level iPad, without bumping up the price, add support for Apple Pencil 2, and add a USB-C port. These updates might not be something that Apple wants to include in a $329 product, but they are inevitable now. iPad 9 is the only iPad in the line-up without these features so we would not be surprised if next year’s iPad features a design refresh.

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