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Apple iPad 7 2019 Tablet Review: Small changes with a big impact?

Florian Schmitt, 👁 Florian Schmitt (translated by Alex Alderson), 10/05/2019

Live Review The iPad 7 2019 is a soft upgrade on the iPad that Apple released last year. The new iPad sports a new screen format, iPadOS and support for accessories like the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, but there are few major changes this year. Read on in this live review to find out whether the serious of small changes can combine to make a big difference.
Update: Display section expanded. Communication & GPS and Input Devices & Operation sections added.

Apple iPad 7 2019

It has been almost ten years since Steve Jobs announced the first iPad, a 9.7-inch tablet that brought large touchscreen devices into the mainstream. Rolling onto 2019, the original iPad is into its seventh generation, although it is no longer the most premium tablet that Apple sells. The company has upgraded the display to a 10.2-inch panel for this year's model, along with adding support for the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. The new iPad runs iPad OS out of the box too, all of which should make it even easier to as a laptop replacement.

However, those are the extent of the changes that Apple has made to this year's iPad, so the iPad 7 2019 will not necessarily break any new ground over its predecessor. We shall compare the iPad 7 2019 not only against its predecessor, but also the iPad Air 2019, iPad Pro 11, Huawei MediaPad M5 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e.

Please note: This is a live review, upon which we will be continually expanding.

  • 10.07.2019: Display section expanded. Communication & GPS and Input Devices & Operation sections added.
  • 10.05.2019: Display section expanded. Wi-Fi speeds added.
  • 10.04.2019: Live Review started.

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Apple iPad 7 2019 (iPad Series)
Memory
3072 MB 
Display
10.2 inch 4:3, 2160 x 1620 pixel 264 PPI, Capacitive touchscreen, native pen support, IPS, glossy: yes
Storage
128 GB NVMe, 128 GB 
Connections
1 HDMI, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm jack, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: Accelerometer, barometer, compass, gyroscope, Docking connector (Smart Connector)
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 4.2, 2G/3G/4G: B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B7, B8, B11, B12, B13, B14, B17, B18, B19, B20, B21, B25, B26, B29, B30, B34, B38, B39, B40, B41, B66, B71., LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 7.5 x 250.6 x 174.1 ( = 0.3 x 9.87 x 6.85 in)
Battery
32.4 Wh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Apple iPadOS 13
Camera
Primary Camera: 8 MPix AF
Secondary Camera: 1.2 MPix f/2.2 720p FaceTime compatible
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo speakers on the underside of the device, Keyboard: virtual keyboard, Lightning to USB cable, power adapter, 12 Months Warranty, Gigabit LTE; eSIM; Smart Keyboard support, fanless
Released
09/10/2019
Weight
483 g ( = 17.04 oz / 1.06 pounds) ( = 0 oz / 0 pounds)
Price
379 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

RatingDateModelWeightHeightSizeResolutionBest Price
10/2019Apple iPad 7 2019
A10 Fusion, A10 Fusion GPU
483 g7.5 mm10.2"2160x1620
85%04/2018Apple iPad 6 2018
A10 Fusion, A10 Fusion GPU
469 g7.5 mm9.7"2048x1536
88%04/2019Apple iPad Air 2019
A12 Bionic, A12 Bionic GPU
456 g6.1 mm10.5"2224x1668
90%11/2018Apple iPad Pro 11 2018
A12X Bionic, A12X Bionic GPU
468 g5.9 mm11"2388x1668
88%08/2018Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
Kirin 960, Mali-G71 MP8
498 g7.3 mm10.8"2560x1600
84%05/2019Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e SM-T720
670, Adreno 616
400 g5.5 mm10.5"2560x1600

Case

The iPad 7 2019 is slightly larger than its predecessor, but only because of its larger display. The device remains 7.5 mm thick though, making it slightly thicker than more expensive tablets. Likewise, 483 g is rather heavy by modern tablet standards, but the iPad 7 2019 still fits nicely in our hands.

With that said, the iPad 7 2019 looks like it has been around for years. Apple continues to reserve slim display bezels for its iPad Pro series, as it does for Face ID and a USB Type-C port. Instead, the iPad 7 2019 rocks the classic Touch ID home button and the seemingly evergreen Lightning connector.

Apple sells the iPad 7 2019 in Space Gray with black display bezels, or silver and gold, which have white bezels.

Apple iPad 7 2019
Apple iPad 7 2019
Apple iPad 7 2019
Apple iPad 7 2019
Apple iPad 7 2019
Apple iPad 7 2019
Apple iPad 7 2019
Apple iPad 7 2019
Apple iPad 7 2019

Size Comparison

258.7 mm / 10.2 inch 171.8 mm / 6.76 inch 7.3 mm / 0.2874 inch 498 g1.098 lbs250.6 mm / 9.87 inch 174.1 mm / 6.85 inch 7.5 mm / 0.2953 inch 483 g1.065 lbs250.6 mm / 9.87 inch 174.1 mm / 6.85 inch 6.1 mm / 0.2402 inch 456 g1.005 lbs248 mm / 9.76 inch 179 mm / 7.05 inch 5.9 mm / 0.2323 inch 468 g1.032 lbs245 mm / 9.65 inch 160 mm / 6.3 inch 5.5 mm / 0.2165 inch 400 g0.882 lbs240 mm / 9.45 inch 169.5 mm / 6.67 inch 7.5 mm / 0.2953 inch 469 g1.034 lbs

Connectivity

Apple offers the iPad 7 2019 in 32 GB and 128 GB variants, both of which have 3 GB of RAM. Both storage options can be configured with an LTE modem too, which cost US$170 more than their Wi-Fi counterparts. The 32 GB and 128 GB Wi-Fi models cost US$329 and US$429 respectively, for reference. Incidentally, the new iPad costs more than its predecessor but retains the 3.5 mm headphone jack, unlike recent iPhones.

Software

The iPad 7 2019 comes with iPadOS pre-installed, the UI of which Apple has optimised especially for tablets. iPadOS includes many of the features that Apple introduced with iOS 13, including dark mode, among others.

Apple has included advanced augmented reality features too, and it is now possible to pair two pairs of AirPods simultaneously. The Photos app has also been enhanced, along with several other in-house apps. Principally, iPadOS offers better multitasking than iOS, with it possible to run multiple windows of the same app simultaneously. Also, Apple has revised the home screen and has improved support for the Apple Pencil.

As always, the iPad 7 2019 comes with an extensive in-house software package, including GarageBand and iMovie, among others.

Communication and GPS

Our review unit has an LTE module onboard that supports many LTE bands, so you should be able to connect to LTE networks when abroad. Apple claims to have equipped the iPad 7 2019 with a Gigabit LTE modem, but it has not published any data on the speeds that it can achieve. In any case, our review unit performed well in our short LTE tests and maintained decent network reception throughout. The device has an eSIM soldered to its motherboard, but Apple has included a nano-SIM card slot too.

While its LTE coverage impressed us, we were left a little disappointed with its Wi-Fi performance. The iPad 7 2019 is much slower than its predecessor, and could only achieve half the transmission speeds of the iPad 6 2018 even after multiple iperf3 Client Wi-Fi tests.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Apple iPad 6 2018
A10 Fusion GPU, A10 Fusion, 32 GB NVMe
570 MBit/s ∼100% +153%
Apple iPad Air 2019
A12 Bionic GPU, A12 Bionic, 64 GB eMMC Flash
540 (min: 499, max: 581) MBit/s ∼95% +140%
Apple iPad Pro 11 2018
A12X Bionic GPU, A12X Bionic, TSB3247M61710TWNA1 64GB NVMe
537 (min: 397, max: 559) MBit/s ∼94% +139%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e SM-T720
Adreno 616, 670, 64 GB eMMC Flash
346 (min: 329, max: 362) MBit/s ∼61% +54%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
Mali-G71 MP8, Kirin 960, 64 GB eMMC Flash
236 MBit/s ∼41% +5%
Apple iPad 7 2019
A10 Fusion GPU, A10 Fusion, 128 GB NVMe
225 (min: 43, max: 264) MBit/s ∼39%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Apple iPad Air 2019
A12 Bionic GPU, A12 Bionic, 64 GB eMMC Flash
553 (min: 481, max: 580) MBit/s ∼100% +141%
Apple iPad 6 2018
A10 Fusion GPU, A10 Fusion, 32 GB NVMe
500 MBit/s ∼90% +118%
Apple iPad Pro 11 2018
A12X Bionic GPU, A12X Bionic, TSB3247M61710TWNA1 64GB NVMe
488 (min: 262, max: 543) MBit/s ∼88% +113%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e SM-T720
Adreno 616, 670, 64 GB eMMC Flash
289 (min: 229, max: 300) MBit/s ∼52% +26%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
Mali-G71 MP8, Kirin 960, 64 GB eMMC Flash
238 MBit/s ∼43% +4%
Apple iPad 7 2019
A10 Fusion GPU, A10 Fusion, 128 GB NVMe
229 (min: 160, max: 286) MBit/s ∼41%
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290Tooltip
; iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø244 (209-264)
; iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø229 (160-286)

Apple only includes a GPS module with LTE variants of the iPad 7 2019, which is something worth keeping in mind if you need GPS connectivity. We took our review unit on a short bike ride to compare its location accuracy against a Garmin Edge 520, one of our reference bike computers. The iPad performed well during this test, but the Garmin plotted a more accurate route, more accurate, especially when we cycled across a bridge. The iPad mapped our loop more precisely than the Garmin could, though. Overall, the iPad 7 2019 should make a good navigation companion if you plan to use it for that purpose.

GPS test: Garmin Edge 520 - Overview
GPS test: Garmin Edge 520 - Overview
GPS test: Garmin Edge 520 - Loop
GPS test: Garmin Edge 520 - Loop
GPS test: Garmin Edge 520 - Bridge
GPS test: Garmin Edge 520 - Bridge
GPS test: Apple iPad 7 2019 - Overview
GPS test: Apple iPad 7 2019 - Overview
GPS test: Apple iPad 7 2019 - Loop
GPS test: Apple iPad 7 2019 - Loop
GPS test: Apple iPad 7 2019 - Bridge
GPS test: Apple iPad 7 2019 - Bridge

Cameras

The iPad 7 2019 has the same cameras as its predecessor and the one before that. These are the same cameras that Apple used in the iPhone 5s, so they are comparatively outdated by modern smartphone standards. However, they still take decent looking photos in our opinion.

The iPad has an 8 MP rear-facing camera and a 1.2 MP front-facing shooter. We would only recommend using the latter for FaceTime videos because of its low resolution.

Accessories & Warranty

Apple includes a Lightning cable and a charger in the box, along with some warranty and safety literature. As mentioned earlier, the iPad 7 2019 supports the Apple Pencil, the company's active stylus. However, the iPad is only compatible with the first-generation Pencil, with Apple reserving the second generation for its latest iPad Pros.

The iPad 7 2019 also supports the Smart Keyboard, which doubles as a protective cover. The built-in stand can be adjusted between two angles too.

Apple includes a 1-year limited warranty, the coverage of which can be extended Apple Care+. Please see our Guarantees, Return Policies & Warranties FAQ for country-specific information.

Input Devices & Operation

The touchscreen that Apple integrates within the iPad 7 2019 reacted quickly and precisely throughout our tests. The device supports 3D Touch unlike any of this year's iPhones, but iPadOS modifies this technology compared to how it previously worked. Now, you can only press on app icons to bring up a sub-menu like choosing which camera to use, for example.

Display

The iPad 7 2019 has a 10.2-inch display, which has the same pixel density as the panel that Apple included in the iPad 6 2018. Apple has equipped the iPad 7 2019 with an IPS retina panel, for reference.

Our tests demonstrate that the iPad 7 2019 has a dimmer display than its predecessor, which is also less evenly lit. The panel has a lower black value though, which allows it to achieve a higher contrast ratio than the iPad 6 2018 managed last year.

436
cd/m²
444
cd/m²
467
cd/m²
473
cd/m²
499
cd/m²
486
cd/m²
470
cd/m²
470
cd/m²
481
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 499 cd/m² Average: 469.6 cd/m² Minimum: 3.4 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 87 %
Center on Battery: 499 cd/m²
Contrast: 1018:1 (Black: 0.49 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 0.97 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 0.9 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
97.8% sRGB (Calman 2D)
Gamma: 2.135
Apple iPad 7 2019
IPS, 2160x1620, 10.2
Apple iPad 6 2018
IPS, 2048x1536, 9.7
Apple iPad Air 2019
IPS, 2224x1668, 10.5
Apple iPad Pro 11 2018
IPS, 2388x1668, 11
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
IPS, 2560x1600, 10.8
Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e SM-T720
Super AMOLED, 2560x1600, 10.5
Screen
-14%
-44%
4%
-255%
-57%
Brightness middle
499
530
6%
515
3%
639
28%
384
-23%
452
-9%
Brightness
470
513
9%
483
3%
591
26%
360
-23%
453
-4%
Brightness Distribution
87
92
6%
90
3%
87
0%
84
-3%
90
3%
Black Level *
0.49
0.61
-24%
0.41
16%
0.45
8%
0.8
-63%
Contrast
1018
869
-15%
1256
23%
1420
39%
480
-53%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
0.97
1.2
-24%
1.6
-65%
0.92
5%
6.83
-604%
1.7
-75%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
1.98
3.2
-62%
4.4
-122%
2.59
-31%
12.7
-541%
3.7
-87%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
0.9
1
-11%
2.8
-211%
1.3
-44%
7.5
-733%
2.4
-167%
Gamma
2.135 103%
2.28 96%
2.21 100%
2.22 99%
2.199 100%
2.07 106%
CCT
6571 99%
6588 99%
6944 94%
6656 98%
8544 76%
6337 103%

* ... smaller is better

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 52 Hz ≤ 10 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 52 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 10 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 52 Hz is very low, so the flickering may cause eyestrain and headaches after extended use.

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9370 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Conversely, the iPad 7 2019 has a more colour accurate display than its predecessor. Our review unit averaged approximately 1 DeltaE deviations during our tests, which is better than our ideal value of 3. The human eye cannot perceive differences in deviations below 3, though. The panel also has an almost perfect colour temperature of 6,571 K. The iPad 7 2019 covers practically all the sRGB colour space too.

CalMAN: Greyscale
CalMAN: Greyscale
CalMAN: Colour Accuracy
CalMAN: Colour Accuracy
CalMAN: Colour Space
CalMAN: Colour Space
CalMAN: Colour Saturation
CalMAN: Colour Saturation

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
18 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 7 ms rise
↘ 11 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 19 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (24.9 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
38 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 19 ms rise
↘ 19 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 37 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (39.7 ms).

Performance

Apple equips the iPad 7 2019 with the Apple A10 Fusion SoC, just as it did with its predecessor. Hence, we do not expect the iPad 7 2019 to offer any better performance than the iPad 6 2018 does. Nonetheless, the A10 Fusion remains powerful enough for most apps downloadable from the App Store.

In short, the iPad 7 2019 should match the performance of the iPhone 7. So, if you are used to something like the iPhone 11 Pro, then the iPad 7 2019 may feel a little slow by comparison.

Power Management

Battery Life

Since the battery capacity and SoC remained unchanged from last year's iPad, we expect the iPad 7 2019 to replicate the runtimes of its predecessor in our battery life tests. Its slightly larger display and new OS may affect battery life, though.

Initial Verdict

The Apple iPad 7 2019 tablet review.
The Apple iPad 7 2019 tablet review.

Are iPads still fun to use? In our opinion, yes, but a large part of that is because of the new iPadOS, rather than any significant hardware changes that Apple has introduced with the iPad 7 2019.

In short, the new iPad is a slightly larger version of the iPad 6 that supports the Apple Pencil and Apple Smart Keyboard. However, there have been third-party iPad keyboards on the market for years, so Smart Keyboard support is not necessarily a reason to upgrade from the iPad 6 to the iPad 7. The Smart Keyboard, while being well-made, is also extremely expensive for a detachable keyboard.

The iPad 7 is pricey at US$329 too, although it is worth keeping in mind that that is the cost of the 32 GB Wi-Fi SKU. Apple charges US$429 for the 128 GB Wi-Fi model, and US$170 more for LTE connectivity, bringing the most expensive model within US$50 of the 256 GB Wi-Fi iPad Air. Nonetheless, the iPad 7 is a great home and school tablet that has plenty of power for all the apps on the App Store. Its premium design, pen support, well-optimised OS and a decent camera will still likely turn heads, though.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Apple iPad 7 2019 Tablet Review: Small changes with a big impact?
Florian Schmitt, 2019-10- 5 (Update: 2019-10- 7)
Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - News Editor - @aldersonaj
Prior to writing and translating for Notebookcheck, I worked for various companies including Apple and Neowin. I have a BA in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds, which I have since converted to a Law Degree. Happy to chat on Twitter or Notebookchat.