“Is this a laptop replacement?” A friend asked me under an Instagram post showing off the new iPad with its keyboard and Apple Pencil support. I could have said yes, but that wouldn’t have been good enough, especially since I’ve been using iPads as laptop replacements for years now. This is by no means new. The new iPad with its kickstand keyboard mount tries to project the entry-level iPad as an iPad replacement for many users, but this is something the iPad Pro has been doing casually for years. But the new iPad is looking at a completely different segment and this is the angle I was trying to explore when reviewing the 2022 version of the iPad.

Apple iPad 2022 price in India: Rs 44,900 onwards

Apple iPad 2022 review: what’s new, the good and the bad

The new iPad carries on the same design language as the recent iPads. But the 10.9-inch Retina display is big and compact, thanks to the thinner bezel now achieved by moving the home button outward. Instead, the power button on the left side, when you hold the tablet horizontally, also houses the TouchID, while at the top you see the volume buttons. The single USB-C port on the right is flanked by speaker grilles.

There are a few new colors in the iPad, and my review unit came in a metallic pink, which isn’t the kind of color I’d buy, though.

The iPad is technically a computer if you know how to take advantage of it. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

The Liquid Retina display is stunningly sharp, and you’ll love adding the home screen blocks that bring it to life. And when you watch a movie saved on Netflix during a short domestic flight, the richness of this display is felt. If you’re not flying, the speakers are a pleasure to use and loud enough to fill your living room.

One big change that Apple is pushing this time around is the Magic Keyboard folio, which is what could potentially make it a laptop replacement. This one has a two-piece design with a keyboard that attaches to the iPad with magnetic studs at the bottom and a second back panel that covers the back and offers a kickstand to prop up the iPad.

The kickstand resembles the Microsoft Surface and is awkward to hold on my lap and work like I’m used to. This works well if your iPad is on a solid, flat surface. Also, this two-piece setup felt a bit wobbly to me, with part of the keyboard drifting slightly to the side as I typed.

The iPad is a great consumer device. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

There is another accessory for this iPad and a design issue that comes with it. The iPad is compatible with the first generation Apple Pencil. When I unpacked the pencil, it wasn’t recognized by the iPad. For that, I first had to connect it to the iPad using a cable. When I did this with the converter in the pencil box, it still didn’t work. It only works with a new, slightly longer converter that Apple is pushing with the new iPad – remember, this has to be purchased extra. After connecting it to the iPad with a cable, the pencil was paired and ready to use. This is clearly not the Apple experience I’m used to, especially when there’s a better Pencil out there that connects wirelessly.

Also, the pencil doesn’t go along well with the iPad as there isn’t a slot for it on the folio, nor does it have a strong magnetic connection to the side of the iPad. Plus, you also need to find a way not to lose the connector if you’re on the go.

apple ipad, apple ipad 2022, apple ipad 2022 price, apple ipad 2022 features, apple ipad 2022 review, apple ipad 2022 accessories A new USB-C to Apple Pencil adapter is required for pairing and charging. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

But on the bright side, I’m sure a lot of people will be looking at the iPad without any of the accessories. For them, there’s nothing really standing in the way of the overall experience. That’s because the iPad is now upgraded to the A14 Bionic processor, not the latest processor Apple has to offer, which can handle all tasks very well, including things like Photoshop and multi-tab browsing on Chrome. As an iPad Pro user of many years, I couldn’t pinpoint any aspect the iPad lacked, even though this one doesn’t have a Pro tag. And this despite fighting the urge to go back to the iPad Pro keyboard, which is a much better design and experience overall.

The camera is also now better with a 12MP sensor and while I used to mock those who get up at weddings with their iPads to click pictures, I now know that the camera is very important for students like my son to keep records of homework and send the same to their teachers for assessment. With the new iPad, the camera is good enough for you to click pictures of the hill station you went to although your child will have the sharpness to capture his homework well.

Accessories change the experience of using the iPad. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

But how good is it as a laptop replacement?

If you’re a student, even a writer, or an office worker who needs to check emails and spreadsheets on the go, the iPad is a good substitute for carrying a large laptop in your backpack. That said, the new Magic Keyboard may take some getting used to, especially if you’re moving from a hard keyboard that stays where it should.

For creatives, processing power won’t be an issue, and you’ll always have the added benefit of the Apple Pencil for scribbling and note-taking. And iPadOS now just makes it feel more like a computer with lots of features that make it easier to multitask and move content between apps and your other Apple devices. Also, the battery life on cellular operation is enough to complete a full working day with regular connectivity and frequent Zoom calls.

Apple iPad 2022: Should You Buy It?

The iPad itself is a near-perfect product, even if the way it interacts with accessories feels a bit half-baked and certainly not what you’d expect from Apple. And this is especially true when you consider the price of the keyboard which retails in India at Rs 29,900, more than half the price of the iPad itself. There are third party versions that might make more sense here.

Buy the iPad if you’re looking to get a tablet for the first time or even upgrade from an older iPad. Yes, this can be a good laptop replacement for a large chunk of users, one that is easier to use and will last longer.

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