The 2019 iPad is Apple's 7th generation iPad. It now comes with a 10.2-inch display compared to the 9.7-inch of the iPad 6. And there's 3GB of RAM instead of 2GB. The physical dimensions are slightly bigger and it's also slightly heavier.
The only other major difference is the iPad now supports Smart Keyboard (US $159). The iPad is still kinda thick at 7.5mm.
The weight is 483g. Cellular model is slightly heavier.
The combination of the size and weight makes this tablet very portable. However, it's not that lightweight that you can grip with your thumb. I tried using my thumb to grip the big bezels and gave up after a few seconds.
Holding the iPad with the hand underneath is the better way of holding it if you want to hold for a long period of time. The sketch above was drawn while I was commuting on the public train.
Price for the Wifi models are US $329 (32GB) and $429 (128GB), cellular models are US $459 (32GB) and $559 (128GB). The most expensive Wifi iPad is cheaper than the cheapest iPad Air 3 (64GB). If you're on a budget and want to get a tablet for digital drawing, the new 10.2-inch iPad is worth considering.
The resolution has also increased and is now 2160 x 1620 (264PPI). Visuals look sharp and individual pixels are difficult to discern. Even though there's no P3 wide colour gamut support, the colours still look good.
The glass is very glossy and reflective though. Depending on where you're using the iPad, it may or may not be a problem.
The screen is also quite slippery. While sketching on the train, I could see the Apple Pencil (US $99) gliding around a bit too easily. You can get a matte screen protector to get the textured feeling when drawing, but that's going to affect the colours, sharpness and contrast of the display. Some people like the matte screen protector, some don't. It's a personal preference. If you do want to get a matte screen protector, consider getting the one from SuperShieldz which is cheap and good.
Maximum brightness is 500 nits which makes it bright enough to use outdoors.
This is not a laminated screen so there's a tiny gap between the glass and the actual display. Even though there's a gap, when drawing, that gap is actually not obvious. It's only when you're looking from the side will you see the gap. Parallax is not a problem on a 10.2-inch screen like this.
When tapping on the screen with the Apple Pencil, there's a hollow sound. Tablets with laminated screens will have a dampened sound. This is not something that affects drawing performance of course.
Here's the first sketch I drew on this iPad while I was outdoors. The auto-brightness went to the maximum and the iPad felt slightly warm but still comfortable enough for me to work for long periods.
Battery life is around six hours if you're drawing non-stop at maximum brightness. Battery life is longer if you're just using this indoors at less than maximum brightness.
The iPad takes a long time to charge though.
Speaking of charging, the Apple Pencil, sold separately for another US $99. still charges from the lightning port on the back.
Pressure sensitivity and palm rejection works really well. Apple Pencil is the best style for drawing on the iPad. There are third party styluses out that but they don't come close to the accuracy of the Apple Pencil.
There's also tilt sensitivity which can work with pressure at the same time.
Despite the older A10 chip (iPad Air 3 and mini 5 are using A12), drawing experience is still fluid. I was able to use large textured brush without lag.
The only thing that affects drawing experience is the slippery screen which will take time to get used to.
The primary drawing app I'm using is Procreate. When I tried to create a 300DPI A4 canvas, I able to get a maximum of 26 layers. This is surprising because the iPad Air 3 that also has 3GB RAM can only created 19 layers, at least at the time of my review. I no longer have the iPad Air 3 so I can't test it anymore. It's great that the Procreate developers have increase the limit for the layers here.
How much storage to get
How much storage to get depends on what you're going to do, and the apps you use.
The base model of 32GB may be good enough for those who sketch casually.
However, if you're someone who sketches frequently, already sketches frequently, then I suggest getting the 128GB model.
The file size of digital art depends on the complexity, number of layers, and the file format.
Take Procreate for example. Procreate actually records a timelapse video while you're drawing. The video file is larger than the image file. And if you record at higher quality (eg 4K), the file size will be even bigger. In Procreate settings, there's the option to record using HEVC H.265 codec which is quite demanding but even this iPad is still able to record using that without lag so that's great.
Running out of storage space on the iPad can be tricky.
Files are saved inside the apps that create them. So if you run out of storage, you would have to go into the individual apps to export them either to the cloud, or an external storage such as a lightning-USB external drive. You have to do that for individual apps which is tedious and time consuming. There's also the risk of forgetting to transfer certain files.
Compared to iPad Air 3
The reason why the iPad (2019) is so much cheaper than the iPad Air 3 (2019) is because the display is not as good. Don't be mistaken that the 10.2-inch display is a lousy display. It's not. It's a good screen. Colours look good. The screen is even bigger now. I've always though the 9.7-inch was a bit small and could be bigger. At 2160 x 1620 (264PPI) resolution, visuals are sharp.
The main selling point of the iPad Air 3 is the display. More specifically the iPad Air 3 has a laminated display which has no gap between the glass and the display beneath. There's anti-reflective coating which makes reflections more transparent so that you can see the display more easily. The anti-reflective coating also has a bit more friction so Apple Pencil isn't that slippery on the glass. There's P3 wide colour gamut support and True Tone.
The 32GB iPad is US $329 vs the 64GB iPad which is US $499. That's a $170 difference to pay for the better screen. Is it worth it? It really depends on what you value. Or you can spend that $170 towards getting the 128GB iPad and the $99 Apple Pencil, and a case.
If you're using a matte screen protector, the colours, anti-reflective coating aren't going to matter.
The 2019 iPad is a good budget tablet for beginners who want to get started with digital art. It's just a very good tablet overall even if you're not into drawing.
If you're current using iPad 6 and thinking of upgraded to this new iPad, I don't think it's worth the loss you'll make selling and buying a new one just for that extra 0.5-inch display. You might as well wait for Apple to update the iPad with better processors and even more RAM.