Review: Apple iPad (Fifth-Generation) | iLounge


Review: Apple iPad (Fifth-Generation)

Highly Recommended

Company: Apple

Model: iPad (5th Generation)

Price: $329 – $559

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Jesse Hollington

Pros: The least expensive full-sized iPad that Apple has ever sold. Great entry-level option with modern capabilities. Best battery life we’ve ever seen on an iPad. Modest performance boost puts it closer to the 9.7” iPad Pro. Adds support for taking Live Photos. Should appeal to users with simple tablet needs that are new to the iPad or those looking to upgrade from the iPad Air or older models. Price makes it well suited for educational and business markets.

Cons: Essentially a hybrid of the 2013 iPad Air and 2014 iPad Air 2, offering little new beyond the upgraded CPU. A return to the size and weight of the original 2013 iPad Air. No camera or audio improvements. No anti-reflective screen coating. Available only in 32GB and 128GB capacities.

The 9.7” iPad has become an iconic design, so there aren’t a lot of surprises here in the basic form factor — it pretty much still looks and feels like an iPad, measuring the same 9.4” x 6.6” in height and width as every iPad that’s come before it. However, what’s notable is that the fifth-generation iPad form takes a step back into 2013, coming in at the same 0.29” thickness and approximately 1 pound weight as the original iPad Air (the Wi-Fi iPad is 0.03 pounds heavier than the Wi-Fi iPad Air, however the cellular model comes in at the same 1.05 pound weight).

The weight difference isn’t noticeable compared to the iPad Air 2 or 9.7” iPad Pro, but the thickness definitely is, and more importantly it’s enough that most iPad cases made in the last 2-3 years will not be compatible. Users coming from an original iPad Air should be able to use their existing cases. Regardless, the shift back to the 2013 size is an interesting — and arguably refreshing — departure from Apple’s usual obsession with thinness.

While the fifth-generation iPad gets the thickness and weight of the original iPad Air, the other design features are clearly drawn from the iPad Air 2, including the omission of the mute switch, a Touch ID sensor, and the single row of speaker holes on the bottom — down from 14 per side on the iPad Air 2 to 13 per side on the fifth-generation iPad. It’s pretty clear that this isn’t just new hardware thrown into an old iPad Air chassis.

Not surprisingly, the fifth-generation iPad gains none of the physical features of its “Pro” siblings. The stereo speakers, Smart Connector, and camera flash still remain the exclusive domain of the considerably more expensive iPad Pro. Essentially, the fifth-generation iPad retains the standard iPad design that we’ve all come to know and love, basically blending the iPad Air and iPad Air 2 designs together.



Editors' Note: iLounge only reviews products in "final" form, but many companies now change their offerings - sometimes several times - after our reviews have been published. This iLounge article provides more information on this practice, known as revving.

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