Apple ipad £319
As night follows day, a new Apple ipad takes our Product of the Year tablet Award. This ipad looks identical to the one that won in 2017 – and uses the exact same chassis. There’s little difference in specs – dimensions, weight, placement of ports and buttons, the speakers, the camera – everything is the same. But unlike its predecessor, the new ipad supports the Apple Pencil (£89).
The new ipad’s screen is almost identical to last year’s, however it now supports Dolby Vision HDR content on itunes and Netflix, which is that bit brighter, punchier and more colourful.
Colour balance remains the ipad’s strongest suit, balancing punch and realism in a way that means everything is vibrant but never unnatural. From Thor: Ragnarok to Planet Earth II, it feels as though the picture you see is how it was intended, with excitement and subtlety as required. This is a sharp and detailed picture and at this price it’s comfortably the best tablet for watching movies and TV shows.
While it’s disappointing the fourspeaker layout of the ipad Pros still hasn’t made it down as far as this model, the audio from the drivers is at least crisp and clear, though predictably somewhat lacking in weight. When partnered with a good pair of headphones, the new ipad sounds a touch better than last year, with an extra sliver of punch added to the already crisp, detailed and natural delivery. Timing is good, and dynamic shifts, both subtle and bold, are handled well. It’s a natural, fairly neutral sound much like that of the company’s other phones and tablets, and one that lends itself well to movies and music alike.
At the heart of the device is Apple’s A10 chip, which is more powerful than the A9 in last year’s model and offers a super-snappy and slick user experience. Everything is held together by IOS 12, which generally offers a clear and intuitive experience. Its new features are geared towards making the ipad experience slicker and more intuitive too. The added Pencil compatibility isn’t a huge benefit to anyone who uses an ipad for movies, music or games, but for those who occasionally do annotating, writing or drawing, it may well be worth the investment. After all, it’s pleasant and accurate to use. The improvements over the previous ipad, while subtle, make this a prodigious AV tablet – particularly for those who fancy a bit of on-the-go HDR action. Owners of the 2017 ipad needn’t rush out to upgrade, but for everyone else, the 2018 ipad makes an excellent purchase. It’s comfortably the best tablet available at this price.
More of the same, only better – the Apple ipad takes another Award