Compared: 2021 entry-level iPad 9 versus 2020 iPad 8

10.2-inch iPad

Apple has released a new 10.2-inch iPad model with a few updates to its camera, display, performance, and storage capacities. Here’s what you should know about whether it’s enough to upgrade.

The company’s entry-level tablet has remained a solid low- to mid-range device for years, packing some modern capabilities in an affordable and familiar device. The ninth-generation iPad released in 2021 is no different.

While there are few changes between the 2021 iPad and the 2020 iPad, they’re still noteworthy. Here’s how the two models stack up.

2021 versus 2020 iPad – Specifications

iPad (8th Gen, 2020) iPad (9th Gen, 2021)
Launch price $329 $329
Capacities 32GB, 128GB 64GB, 256GB
Screen size 10.2-inch 10.2-inch
Screen resolution (pixels) 2160×1620 at 264 ppi 2160×1620 at 264 ppi
Screen max brightness (nits) 500 500
Display Retina Retina
True Tone
Processor A12 Bionic A13 Bionic
Apple Pencil Support Yes, First Generation Yes, First Generation
Smart Connector Yes Yes
Dimensions (inches) 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29
Weight (lbs) 1.08 1.07
Battery (hours) Up to 10 Up to 10
Rear Camera 8MP 8MP
Front Camera 1.2MP 12MP
Center Stage
Video 1080p at 30 fps (rear)
720p (front)
1080p at 25 or 30 fps (rear)
1080p at 25, 30, or 60 fps (front)
Biometric Touch ID Touch ID

2021 versus 2020 iPad – Design, Size & Weight

10.2-inch iPad
The 2021 iPad retains the same physical dimensions as its predecessor.

Apple hasn’t changed the physical design of its entry-level tablet in some years, and when it has, the changes have been minor. In 2021, however, there are essentially no updates to the device.

The 2021 ninth-generation iPad retains the same basic footprint as its eighth-generation predecessor. It’s 9.8 inches tall, 6.8 inches wide, and 0.29 inches thick.

When it comes to weight, there is a minor difference — but it’s negligible. The Wi-Fi only 2021 iPad weighs 1.07 pounds, slightly lighter than the 1.08 pounds of the 2020 Wi-Fi model.

On the Wi-Fi + Cellular variants, the 2021 iPad weighs 498 grams (1.09 pounds). The 2020 model weighs 495 grams (1.09 pounds).

2021 versus 2020 iPad – Display

When it comes to display size and technology, Apple has left the 2021 iPad model virtually unchanged — with a couple of differences.

Both iPad models sport a 10.2-inch Retina display based on LED technology. They also have the same 2160 x 1620 resolution at 264 pixels-per-inch. The two models also max out at 500 nits of brightness.

The main difference between the 2021 and 2020 models is the presence of True Tone on the latest generation. The feature adjusts the color temperature of the screen based on the ambient environment for more comfortable viewing.

The 2021 iPad model supports sRGB color gamut, a small feature that the 2020 model lacked.

2021 versus 2020 iPad – Processor & Performance

The ninth-generation iPad from 2021 sports an A13 Bionic processor, which is a step above the eighth-generation iPad’s A12 Bionic chip.

Practically speaking, Apple says that the A13 Bionic provides a 20% performance boost over the previous generation.

Compared to rival tablets and computers, the iPad is also quite a bit speedier. It’s up to three times faster than the best-selling Chromebook, and up to six times faster than the best-selling Android tablet.

2021 versus 2020 iPad – Cameras

10.2-inch iPad
The front-facing camera on the 2021 iPad has received a major upgrade.

Besides the processor, the biggest upgrade to the 2021 iPad comes in the form of its camera. And no, it’s not the rear-facing camera.

The 2021 iPad has a 12-megapixel Ultra Wide front-facing “selfie” camera. That’s a significant upgrade over the previous camera, which barely rated over one megapixel.

The intention, of course, is to allow for better video quality when on Zoom or FaceTime calls, live-streaming, or uploading clips to social media. To that end, Apple has also added the Center Stage feature to the 2021 iPad, allowing the camera to automatically pan around a scene to keep a subject in view.

When it comes to actual video quality, that has obviously improved on the front-facing camera. The 2021 iPad now supports 1080p HD video recording at 25 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps. Previously, iPads topped out at 720p HD recording.

On the other hand, the rear camera hasn’t changed at all. Apple says it’s still an 8-megapixel Wide camera with a f/2.4 aperture and digital zoom up to 5x.

2021 versus 2020 iPad – Tidbits

The battery life hasn’t changed between the generations. Apple says both the 2020 and 2021 iPad models can last up to 10 hours while surfing the web on Wi-Fi, or up to nine hours while surfing on cellular data.

Both models also support the first-generation Apple Pencil. Since the design of the 2021 model hasn’t changed, it will also be compatible with any and all of the accessories made for the 2020 iPad generation — including Apple’s Smart Keyboard.

The 2021 iPad retains the Lightning port and Smart Connector of its predecessor, and Touch ID in the Home button.

Additionally, they feature the same wireless connectivity technology across the board: Wi-Fi 802.11a a/b/g/n/ac, MIMO, and Bluetooth 4.2.

2021 versus 2020 iPad – Colors, Capacity & Pricing

10.2-inch iPad
The 2021 iPad is a minor update, but its camera features might be enough to sway those who use the tablet frequently for FaceTime or Zoom calls.

As with some of its other 2021 products, Apple has bumped up the storage capacities on the ninth-generation iPad.

The 2021 iPad comes in 64GB and 256GB storage variants, higher across the board than the previous model’s 32GB and 128GB options.

Importantly, the pricing is the same despite the higher storage. The 2021 iPad starts at $329 for the base model and $479 for the 256GB model. If you add cellular compatibility, that jumps to $459 for the 64GB variant and $609 for the 256GB variant.

When it comes to colors, Apple has culled the options a bit. The 2021 iPad is only available in Silver and Space Gray — there’s no gold variant to be found.

Lastly, the company has made a small but noticeable change to the color options. The Silver 2021 iPad no longer has white bezels around the screen. Now, both the Space Gray and Silver models have a black bezel.

2021 versus 2020 iPad – Which One to Buy?

Whether or not you buy the 2021 iPad really comes down to how often you use the front-facing camera for FaceTime calls, remote education, or work meetings.

While True Tone, better performance, and increased storage are nice features, none of them really justify upgrading from a 2020 iPad model.

However, the 1.2MP camera on the 2020 iPad is rough, and that’s being generous. The 12MP camera on the 2021 iPad is such a significant upgrade that we’d highly recommend it if you use your iPad for front-facing videos.

Given the affordability of the entry-level iPads, it probably wouldn’t break the bank to resell, recycle, or pass down your older iPad and get a new model.

On the other hand, if you hardly ever use your iPad’s front-facing camera for calls or videos, then we’d recommend sticking with the model that you have.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

iOS 15.1 coming week of October 25, will fix iPhone remote wipe exploit

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission as an Amazon Associate and affiliate partner on qualifying purchases. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. A ... Read more »

Apple silently extends AirPods Pro crackly audio repair program

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission as an Amazon Associate and affiliate partner on qualifying purchases. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Without ... Read more »

Apple quietly fixes zero-day flaw in iOS 15.0.2, but didn't credit its finder

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission as an Amazon Associate and affiliate partner on qualifying purchases. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Apple ... Read more »

Apple TV+ lands Jason Segel comedy series 'Shrinking'

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission as an Amazon Associate and affiliate partner on qualifying purchases. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. AppleTV+ ... Read more »

Apple's Lisa Jackson talks sustainability, environmental justice in new interview

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Apple senior vice president Lisa ... Read more »

How to use left-behind alerts, community finding, & pairing lock with AirPods Pro & AirPods Max

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. There are a slew of ... Read more »

Apple's 512GB M1 Mac mini is back on sale for $749.99 ($150 off) at Amazon

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Amazon has reissued its best-of-the-year ... Read more »

Apple working with Florida to bring state digital ID support to Wallet

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Florida is working with Apple ... Read more »

Apple TV+ 'Dickinson' season 3 trailer hits YouTube

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Apple TV+ original series “Dickinson” ... Read more »

Apple seeds fourth developer betas for iOS 15.1, iPadOS 15.1, tvOS 15.1, & watchOS 8.1

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Apple has reached the fourth ... Read more »

Apple issues tenth developer beta for macOS Monterey

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Apple has reached the tenth ... Read more »

Apple Watch Series 7 already on sale, shop exclusive early Black Friday pricing

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The Apple Watch Series 7 ... Read more »

Luna Display 5 improves Mac setup performance, adds Windows support

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Dual-screen app Luna Display can ... Read more »

How to use the new AR directions in Apple Maps

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. If you live in one ... Read more »

Best Deals Oct. 13: $70 off TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 Mesh, up to 40% off Black+Decker products, and more!

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Wednesday’s best deals include $70 ... Read more »

Apple TV+ animated series 'Harriet the Spy' to debut Nov. 19

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Apple TV+ has announced that ... Read more »

Analysts shrug off reports of Apple iPhone 13 production cuts, issues

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. A report Tuesday indicated that ... Read more »

Get up to $1,500 for your used Apple device ahead of new MacBook Pros

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. With new MacBook Pro models ... Read more »

Apple Watch Series 7 review roundup: the best, but not a compelling upgrade

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The new Apple Watch Series ... Read more »

Apple explains security & privacy risks of side-loading in detailed new paper

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Apple has published a new ... Read more »

Future AirPods could get posture monitoring & body temperature sensing

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. After more than seven years ... Read more »

Verizon-owned Visible customers claim account hijacks, bogus iPhone orders

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Multiple Verizon Visible users are ... Read more »

Samsung copies Apple & Google, schedules Unpacked 2 for next week

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Monday to Wednesday, October 18 ... Read more »

BOE in final testing to provide OLED iPhone 13 displays

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Beijing display manufacturer BOE is ... Read more »

Three Apple Watch sizes may arrive in 2022

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Apple may introduce a third ... Read more »

Researchers demonstrate new methods of bypassing macOS security

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Although Apple has taken steps ... Read more »

Google Stadia adds new way to interface with streaming games

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Google Stadia players can now ... Read more »

New 'M1X' MacBook Pros to feature 1080p cameras, similar pricing, leaker claims

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Apple’s upcoming MacBook Pros could ... Read more »

Apple TV+ may have 35.6M users by 2026, TV analysts predict

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Apple TV+ could hit 35.6 ... Read more »

AppleCare+ Express Replacement now available in the Apple Support app

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. A new update to the ... Read more »

Mini LED in new MacBook Pro is '100% confirmed,' claims analyst

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Apple will be introducing Mini ... Read more »

Apple's Mac event invite has a 'warp speed' AR easter egg

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Keeping with Apple’s recent tradition, ... Read more »

Apple's Apple Silicon MacBook Pro and AirPods event is on October 18

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Apple has announced that it ... Read more »

Best Deals Oct. 12: $519 M1 Mac mini, 55% off iClever Mac keyboard, and more!

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Tuesday’s best deals include a ... Read more »

Apple Silicon Macs can have two HDMI displays with new Hyper docks

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Apple Silicon MacBook Air or ... Read more »

Google dropping Material Design in iOS to make iPhone apps look more like they should

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Google will begin phasing out ... Read more »

Infinity offers free wireless CarPlay to 2020, 2021 model owners

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Infiniti is making wireless CarPlay ... Read more »

Group rebuts claims big tech antitrust efforts would weaken national security

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. A group of anti-monopoly organizations ... Read more »

'The Shrink Next Door' trailer teases Will Ferrell & Paul Rudd Apple TV+ comedy

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Apple has released a new ... Read more »

Netgear has a new $1,500 Wi-Fi 6e mesh router

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. Netgear’s latest release in its ... Read more »