IPad 9 test (2021): is Apple’s cheapest tablet worth it?

Archi-dominator on the tablet market, Apple continues to advance. After having renewed its iPad Pro by equipping them with M1 chips, the American is refreshing its range of more affordable tablets. The 6th generation iPad mini is aimed at lovers of compact formats, the iPad 9 (2021) is the entry point into the world of Apple tablets.

Point of revolution this year for the most affordable iPad from Apple, the American is satisfied with a few adjustments, including the integration of a more powerful chip. Marketed from 389 euros, Is Apple’s Cheapest iPad Worth It? Answer in our full test.

IPad 9 Price and Availability (2021)

test iPad 9 iPadOS 15

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The iPad (2021) is already available from 389 euros. It comes in two colors: space gray and silver. Apple does not increase the price of its entry-level tablet and even takes the opportunity to review storage capacities.

From now on, the most affordable model has 64 GB of storage against 32 GB previously. We can also opt for a capacity of 256 GB (which we recommend) which will increase the bill to 559 euros. Add 140 euros to these prices for the WiFi + Cellular versions.

To fully benefit from the potential of the iPad, you can also let yourself be tempted by the 1st generation Apple Pencil sold for 99 euros and / or the Smart Keyboard sold at 179 euros. As always, the bill can quickly climb at Apple.

iPad 9 64 GB at the best price
Base price: 389 €

iPad 9 256 GB at the best price
Base price: 559 €

It’s in the old pots …

Like every new Apple product, the iPad is entitled to its share of criticism every year. The first, the most obvious, concerns its design unchanged since 2010 (apart from the enlargement of the screen that occurred in September 2019).

However, like the iPhone 13 this year, this feeling of disappointment stems more from our imagination (what we would have liked to see) than from the reality of things. Because in fact, the iPad 9, like the previous models, is a well-designed machine, with elegant lines and exemplary finishes.

Yes, this iPad 9 is a carbon copy of last year’s model. Yes, Touch ID is still there. So what ? If component / material recycling allows consumers to access a stylish, high-performance product without participating in the economy of organ sales, then where is the problem?

In reality, outside the screen borders that are really too wide and the Lightning port which makes resistance, we can not fault much with the design of the iPad 9. It is in the old pots that Apple makes the best applesauce.

The screen starts to date

In wanting to recycle too much, Apple is still getting its feet in the carpet. The iPad 9’s new Retina display offers very few improvements over the previous generation. Apart from True Tone and a bit better brightness, there is not much to eat.

test iPad 9 screentest iPad 9 screen

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So we always interact with a 10.2 ” panel with a refresh rate of 60 Hz and a definition of 2160 x 1620 pixels. Above all, the screen is always so bright, which tends to interfere with reading outdoors, especially on sunny days.

test iPad 9 lecturetest iPad 9 lecture

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In itself, the screen of the iPad 9 allows comfortable use for most purposes. Despite everything, the slab is starting to date. And anyone who has been able to try a competing tablet will notice a clear difference in quality, especially in games or for watching films and series. It is therefore barely passing for this year, but Apple has every interest in reviewing its copy for the next iteration at the risk of being “knocked out”.

The A13 chip of the iPhone 11

Under his costume could not be more classic, the 9th generation iPad contains the A13 Bionic, a chip that we know well since it equipped the iPhone 11 when they were released. The most critical will see it as a good way to recycle old stuff, others (like us) will point out that it is a component that is barely two years old. It is therefore quite suitable for delivering sufficient power for all uses.

As proof, we have not experienced any difficulty in demanding tasks such as photo editing, video editing or even gaming, especially with the demanding 3D licenses available on Apple Arcade.

The few benchmarks carried out during our test weeks confirm the good shape of the A13 Bionic chip. Coupled with the optimization and new features of iPadOS 15, it makes this iPad a real productivity tool. Provided, of course, to associate it with a keyboard / mouse combo.

No more enduring, no less either

Does replacing the A12 chip with the A13 Bionic also improve battery life? Not really. At best (for versatile use) the iPad 9 is as enduring as its predecessor. At worst, it does a little worse. This is particularly the case when watching series or movies in streaming.

test iPad 9test iPad 9

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This new version does not therefore achieve the same feat as the latest iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max but remains a machine enduring enough for what is asked of it. By combining productivity and multimedia throughout the day, it even comes close to 10 hours of use. These performances therefore position it behind the iPad Pro but ahead of the iPad Air 4 and mini 6. Rather not bad.

test iPad 9 lightningtest iPad 9 lightning

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Despite these good impressions we can not help but tickle by noting (without great surprise) that the iPad 9 also incorporates this damn Lightning port which, in addition to not being practical (you cannot switch chargers), limits the speed of recharging. So that he finds all his energy, iPad 9 needs time. A lot of time. Too much time. Pity.

But still ?

iPad 9 price testiPad 9 price test

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As we mentioned above, the iPad 9 will reveal its full potential if we add a compatible keyboard as well as the 1st generation Apple Pencil, if taking notes is part of your use. If the Apple Smart Keyboard is too expensive, accessories manufacturers offer excellent alternatives at much more affordable prices.

The iPad 9 mainly benefits from the advances of iPadOS 15. The latest version of Apple’s OS outperforms the competition. Above all, an iPad 9 user now has the same tools (including the excellent Split View as well as Widgets) as the iPad Pro, which is sold three times more expensive. Apple’s proposal therefore commands respect.

Other welcome novelties include the integration of the new 12 Mpxl front sensor with ultra-wide-angle lens. Beyond the best image quality, it allows you to enjoy Center Stage, the feature allowing the camera to follow the subject during a videoconference so that it always remains in the center of the frame.

test iPad 9 facetimetest iPad 9 facetime

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Still in the productivity aspect, we appreciate Apple’s openness to other universes. From now on, it is possible to contact anyone via FaceTime without taking into account the material that our interlocutors use. If you contact someone with an Android or Windows device, they will receive a link inviting them to join you from their browser.

iPad 9 64 GB at the best price
Base price: 389 €

iPad 9 256 GB at the best price
Base price: 559 €

Our opinion on the iPad 9 (2021)

Can we say that the iPad 9 is technically the best tablet on the market in this price range? No. Apple’s competitors are more generous in the field of hardware.

Can we say that the iPad 9 is the best tablet in its class? Yes. Apple’s success has always been in its ability to combine the right hardware with the right software. This iPad would almost be the perfect symbol.

By recycling a lot of components, Apple manages to reduce the cost of manufacture and pass it on to the final price. For 389 euros, we can now enjoy the same software as that integrated into the iPad Pro sold three times more expensive. However, the user experience goes mainly through the software.

With iPadOS 15, the iPad 9 can do it all and will be suitable for users looking for productivity on the move. Associated with a keyboard case and a mouse, it can even accompany students in lecture halls or nomadic professionals. In short, we highly recommend it to anyone who wants to taste the iPad experience without breaking the bank.


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