Here's a quick PSA for anyone who has had their eye on Apple's 10.9-inch iPad: the tablet is back on sale for $399 at Amazon, Target and Best Buy. For reference, Apple normally sells this entry-level 64GB model for $449, though the device's average street price on Amazon has hovered closer to $430 since it launched last October. Either way, this deal matches the all-time low we first saw over the holidays last year. Just note that, as of this writing, a few colors are out of stock at Amazon and Target.
We gave the 10.9-inch iPad a review score of 85 this past October. It offers a more modern design than the cheaper 10.2-inch iPad, with flatter edges, thinner bezels, a Touch ID button and a USB-C port, much like you'd find on the pricier iPad Air or iPad Pro. It packs a roomier display than the 10.2-inch model despite being slightly shorter and lighter. Its A14 Bionic chip is still plenty powerful for media consumption, light work and other everyday tasks, and it still gets the usual 10-ish hours of battery life. And perhaps most conveniently, it's the only iPad whose front-facing camera is located along the landscape edge of the tablet, which is a much more natural position for video calls.
There are a few quirks to consider, though. Unlike the iPad Air, the 10.9-inch iPad's display isn't laminated, so it can feel like you're interacting with an image below the glass rather than directly touching what's on screen. It also lacks an anti-reflective coating, so it's a little more prone to glare. It only works with the original Apple Pencil, not the vastly improved second-gen stylus. Nor does it support the same Magic Keyboard as the iPad Air or iPad Pro; instead, it uses its own accessory called the Magic Keyboard Folio that, while good, isn't as stable on your lap. It also lacks a headphone jack.
As we note in our iPad buying guide, if you can afford to step up to the iPad Air, that is the better option overall. And if you just want a competent iPad for the lowest price possible, the 10.2-inch model is likely a better value. That said, the 10.9-inch iPad is still a fine middle ground for those willing to pay a bit more for a nicer-feeling tablet, and this discount should make its sacrifices a little easier to accept.