My Review Of the iPad Seventh Generation – They’ve Done It Again

It has been about seven months since Apple introduced the Seventh Generation iPad, and I, content at that time with my Sixth Generation iPad, and then my 11 Inch iPad Pro, saw no real reason to give the new Seventh Gen model anything more than a passing thumbs up as I went about my life and my business. Sure, I had a few customers who purchased it, upon my recommendation nonetheless, but beyond assisting with the purchase and the initial setup process, I didn’t give it much thought. Then in March 2020, the world changed suddenly, and people were using technology in new ways, becoming more reliant on it than ever before. The media quickly took this opportunity to write about the Seventh Gen iPad, with some even calling it the device of the pandemic, or the best device of 2020.

Around that same time, my daughter began expressing to me that she really wanted a new iPad, mostly because her 32GB model simply could not hold all of her apps any longer. It was then that I paid serious attention to this iPad, spec for spec, feature for feature, and dollar for precious dollar. It was in early April of 2018 that I gained a deep affection for what some refer to as Apple’s budget iPad. I personally find the term “budget”, completely inappropriate for this series of iPads – even offensive, and certainly inaccurate. That 2018 iPad was the Sixth Gen model, and I had more of my customers decide to buy that iPad than all other iPad models combined. Even as I sat with my 2018 iPad Pro, with its Liquid Retina Display, four speaker audio, and True Depth Camera with Face ID and Animoji, I always held a special place in my heart for that Sixth Gen iPad, and as a logical successor, the Seventh Gen iPad. Now, after seriously studying the Seventh Generation iPad, and using it actively, I have added to that fondness, a deep curiosity for why any person with the means to do so would not drop everything you are doing, just to order one of these awesome units. Sure, the Seventh Generation iPad does not have the most of anything (power, storage, best display, etc), and yet, it offers the best combination of everything, without sacrificing or compromising in any way.

Why All the Hype?

Ok, so it must be said that if Apple made a toothpaste, or a lunch meat, I would run out and buy it without so much as a second thought. Everything Apple makes is awesome. I do not in any respect dislike any of their other iPad models, including the fantastic iPad Pro units. So why then am I shouting from the rooftops about this Seventh Gen model, arguably the entry model, more than all the others? It’s because with this model, Apple has done what it seems only Apple can do. They have built a machine that is in every respect as high-quality as the most expensive models. It still offers Wi-Fi Plus Cellular configurations, runs the exact same apps as the pro models, and comes with the same, award-winning support options. It even supports the Apple Pencil and Logitech Crayon, and features the Smart Connecter, which means it supports Apple’s Smart Keyboard. So, with a Seventh Generation iPad, you can honestly do exactly the same things you can do on an iPad Pro, for typically half the price. Can you do those things quite as quickly? Is everything just as fast, just as smooth, and just as vivid? Well, that depends. For about 90% or more of users, I dare say that the answer is yes. But even if the answer is, not quite, we’re talking about a few extra seconds here and there – not hours upon hours. This is because Apple has built both the hardware and the software for the iPad, which means they know how to squeeze every ounce of power, graphics processing, battery life, and general performance out of every unit they make. No other tech company in the world can make such a claim.

Sure, if you were to hold an iPad Seventh Generation and an iPad Pro side-by-side and view them together, you’re likely going to notice the difference. You’ll be able to tell exactly why people rave about the fully laminated display of the Pro, with its anti reflective coating and its rounded corners. You’ll hear the benefits of four-speaker audio. And if you managed to pass even so much as kindergarten math, you’ll be able to count the extra seconds, albeit only a few, that it might take your Seventh Gen iPad to perform resource-intensive tasks. However, you’ll also be able to look at the charges on your Apple Card, or on any other payment method, and see the vast difference in what you had to spend to get that iPad Pro and some corresponding accessories, and what you spent on the Seventh Gen iPad with its equally capable accessories.

Then, you might ask yourself whether the tiny gap in the display of the Seventh Gen iPad is really that noticeable, whether two speakers instead of four is really an issue, and whether you actually take enough pictures with your iPad’s camera to warrant those extra features, when you also happen to have an iPhone with an amazing camera, and when the Seventh Gen iPad still has cameras that do an awesome job. Only you can answer those questions for your individual circumstances, and there’s no right or wrong answer, but I think it is safe to say that for most, this Seventh Gen iPad deserves a spot at or near the top of everyone’s must-have list.

Don’t Be Fooled By the Name!

Not gonna lie, I’ve seen a few people who think they need an iPad Pro, simply because they plan to use their iPad for professional purposes. How can I possibly buy an iPad that doesn’t have the word “Pro” in it, if I want to design and create with it? The answer is, you can easily do just that. Do not be mislead by the term Pro. You can do anything, with any iPad in Apple’s current lineup. Need to create and edit movies or audio, edit photos, run your business, and more? These things and more can be done on every iPad that Apple sells. Apple actually added an extra GB of memory to the Seventh Gen iPad, so it has no problem running pro-level apps. This also means that if you’re a gamer, you won’t be left out either. Although the iPad Seventh Gen runs the A10 Fusion Chip, rather than sporting the A12X and A12Z chips sported on recent iPad Pro models, the A10 Fusion is a solid chip that still offers desktop-class performance, and that easily matches the capabilities offered by modern traditional computers, even surpassing some. Once again, this is thanks in no small way to the fact that Apple makes both the hardware and the software.

When it comes to graphics, the Seventh Generation iPad is also no slouch. Nor can it be said that there is anything lackluster about the gorgeous Retina Display of the Seventh Gen iPad, which has been increased in size from 9.7 to 10.2 Inches since the Sixth Gen model. When it comes to audio, the Seventh Gen iPad will again not disappoint. While it offers two speakers instead of four, it still offers rich, clear, stereo sound that will please the ear. And though it has fewer microphones than the Pro model, the ones it does offer will truly astonish even the jaded listener, as they can easily record spoken audio in something shockingly close to studio quality.

Ok, so the cameras don’t offer all the features available in the iPad Pro models – Truetone Flash, Face ID and Animoji, and so on, they still provide more than adequate stills and awesome video recording in HD. You can still take Live Photo’s, pano shots, slow motion and timelapes videos, and much more. And when it comes to the lack of Face ID, let us remember that Touch ID is still industry-leading and provides the security, privacy, and convenience you’ll love when unlocking your iPad, making purchases, and more.

Design wise, the iPad Seventh Gen sports the classic iPad design which some people actually prefer. It comes in three colors, and it weighs in at only 1.09LBS for the Wi-Fi Plus Cellular model. Speaking of cellular, we highly recommend that you spend the extra $130 necessary to get an iPad with cellular capability. You can easily sign up for a data plan right on your iPad, cancel it if you no longer want it, and more. This added convenience, coupled with the GPS chip offered only on the Cellular models, truly provides a revolutionary experience.

Finally, it should be mentioned that both the Seventh Gen iPad and the iPad Pro offer adaptors that let you connect to just about any accessory, whether via HDMI, USB, Lightning, or other standards. There are SD Card readers, thumb drives, and much more available for both models. Both models also support the Smart Connecter, so you can easily use the Apple Smart Keyboard. And since both models support the Apple Pencil, you’ll have the best drawing tool at your disposal on either model. Let us also not forget that battery life will be the same, regardless of which iPad model we may get. It was stated by Apple some time ago, and it still holds true today, iPads get ten hours of battery life. Sure, this can be less if you are playing Fortnight or streaming movies the entire time, but the point is the same, both iPads are equally capable where battery life is concerned.

The Cost Breakdown:

When we add to all of the above factors, the difference in price, it becomes crystal clear why the iPad is suited to just about everyone – especially families and anyone involved in education – not as a secondary unit, but as the primary device. For just $329, one can purchase a Seventh Generation iPad with 32GB of storage. For just $100 more, you can quadruple this storage to 128GB. Add $130 to either of the above prices to add cellular capability to your shiny new iPad. So, even the most expensive Seventh Generation iPad will run you just $559, and that is assuming that no discounts are available, which they often are. Contrast this with the iPad Pro 11 Inch which has a starting price of $799 for 128GB in Wi-Fi Only, and which can easily rise above the $1000 mark. The very highest Pro model, the 12.9 Inch with 1TB of storage and Wi-Fi Plus Cellular, will run you $1649. Now again let’s be clear, we’re not suggesting that the iPad Pro units are overpriced or not worth the money. We are just saying that many folks will simply not be able to run out and buy something with such a price tag.

The Story Doesn’t End Here

Need something more than the Seventh Gen iPad without the Pro price tag? Want more storage, or think you really need that faster processor? Consider the iPad Air Third Generation. It is essentially the same as the Seventh Gen iPad, except that it does have the fully laminated display (10.5 Inch), the A12 Bionic chip, and double the storage across the board, either 64GB or 256GB. It has a starting price of $499, so it won’t run you into that thousand dollar region. The awesomeness of the Seventh Gen iPad actually makes us consider recommending the Air as an alternative to the Pro for those who feel they simply must have some of its features but are not willing to pay its price.

So Who Needs the Pro?

if you’ve stayed with us through this entire post, you might be wondering, why would anyone need the iPad Pro? Well, it’s quite simple. If you need a larger display, such as the 11 Inch or 12.9 Inch displays offered only on the Pro models, then you do. If you are editing movies for Hollywood as a full time career, we might recommend it, though it can be done with the Seventh Gen iPad. The internal storage alone might be enough to convince some people to spring for the Pro. The top configuration of the iPad Pro offers a whopping 1TB of storage. If you have trouble getting your fingerprints recognized, you may benefit from Face ID, thus needing the iPad Pro. Finally, if you do not have an iPhone X or newer, thus having access to awesome new camera features, Animoji, and much more, then you could probably benefit from having at least one device that does offer such features, and you might want to consider the iPad Pro.

Conclusion:

you really can’t go wrong with a Seventh Generation iPad. With this model, Apple has managed to keep cost to an all time low, while still including full functionality and all the features that really matter. This unit is perfectly capable, and should offer several years of reliable use, which is after all, about as much as we can ask of any tech product. If you have not yet gotten your hands on one of these units, we highly encourage you to do so. You won’t be disappointed.

3 thoughts on “My Review Of the iPad Seventh Generation – They’ve Done It Again”

  1. Hi Matt:

    Thank you very much for your latest post. It was very informative.

    I am totally blind, and I am in to audio editing and broadcasting. Based on my research, I see no reason why the iPad cannot serve as an alternative to the traditional laptop. The iPad is often faster than the Mac and windows computers. Plus, many of the apps for the iPad are equivalent to apps for the Mac and windows. It is unfortunate that many are willing to stick with the Mac and windows instead of trying alternative apps like Luma fusion. I would love for you to comment on the quality of Luma fusion and other apps that people often use with the Mac and windows.

    Thanks,

    Victor

    1. Hi there, well of course I agree with you 100%, and I have indeed replaced my traditional computers with the iPad. I see no reason at all why the vast majority of people cannot do this. As far as LumaFusion specifically, my experience with it so far is extremely limited, but I have brought a video into it and exported it, uploading it to YouTube. It worked flawlessly, and all evidence points to it being a very powerful, very accessible app. I will be doing a podcast based on this iPad review, and I will talk about what apps are on my iPad and what they do. Any questions let me know.

  2. Great review. I ended up purchasing the Air 3 because it was the one available as I needed it during this COVID crisis time. It is awesome. Will you do a podcast on using the Apple Pencil as a voice over user? I have the Apple Pencil and would like to be able to use it to its fullest.

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