In less than a year Apple has launched three new iPads in probably the biggest revamp of its tablet portfolio. It’s come at a time when global tablet shipments have continued to slip since their peak in 2014. Our smartphone screens have grown as tablet sales have ‘degrown’; Apple’s rejig suggests that there are still use case scenarios for tablets. If you’re in the market for a tablet, your choices really boil down to Apple’s iPad or Samsung depending on whether you lean towards iOS or Android. We break down the options for you:
The best all-round tablet:
Apple’s 2019 10.5-inch iPad Air (Rs 44,900 onwards) is a happy medium for both work and play. Apple has added the Smart Connector to its third iteration of the Air – a feature that was earlier reserved for its more powerful iPad Pro line. This allows you to connect a smart keyboard or other third-party keyboards and convert the Air into a work accessory. It also offers support for the first-generation Apple Pencil. The new A12 bionic chip gives this tablet extra bite, whether you’re gaming or multi-tasking. Form factor; that’s a big plus for this tablet even though the design language might not have changed radically. At about 460 gms, its remarkably light for a device with a 10.5-inch screen and it’s just 6.1 mm thick.
The Air’s heft and utility makes it a great travel accessory – whether you need to edit or craft MS Office docs or play catch up on your favourite show on a long flight. It has the battery life to back it up too – we clocked about 10 hours during our tests. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab A 10.5 (Rs 29,990) with its vibrant display, slim build and expandable memory is a great Android Content consumption device. This tab’s Dolby Atmos Quad speakers and 16:10 aspect ratio add to its entertainment credentials.
The slinky tablet: if you still cling on to your pre-2017 iPhone or prefer smaller screens like the Pixel 3 or Samsung Galaxy S10e, you might veer towards smaller 7-8-inch tablets. The iPad Mini 2019 edition (Rs 34,900 onwards) gets its first refresh since 2015 and just like the Air, it’s largely a hardware upgrade. The fifth-gen Mini also packs the robust A12 bionic chip and adds Apple Pencil Support. It’s perfect for taking notes or doodles given its lighter form. This is perfect for e-books, gaming or videos on the go. It’s not really geared for serious productivity, but Apple’s on-screen keyboard can tackle emails and the occasional word document.
The cutting-edge tablet: if you like to be ahead of the curve and own the best tab out there, you’re probably already sold on Apple’s new iPad Pro (Rs 71,900 onwards). Apple’s biggest overhaul of the iPad has the hardware for anything you throw at it – from serious multi-tasking to photo editing. The A12X Bionic chip and up to 1TB (no kidding) of internal storage give it more firepower than the average laptop. The bezel-less, Liquid retina display (it comes in 11 and 12.9-inch variants) with Face ID is great for HD Content. Is it ready to replace your laptop? That’s an argument that hasn’t stopped since the first iPad was launched a decade ago. If you’re on the Android side of the fence, there’s the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (Rs 57,900) with its ultra-thin form, gorgeous display and solid hardware that also includes support for expandable memory. The S-Pen and connected accessories make this a formidable product.
(Ashwin Rajagopalan writes extensively on Gadgets & Trends, Travel & Lifestyle and Food & Drink. He owns and manages Brand Stories, a creative Content outfit and www.bytesize.in, a premier lifestyle blog with a focus on short-format content. Instagram: ‘ashwinpowers’)