I bought the cheapest iPad — what you should know.

I got the cheapest iPad I could. Here's the story.

I’ve never owned a tablet in my life. I’ve also never owned even one Apple product in my life; let alone the current mark of four now with this tablet!

I got the cheapest iPad I could from Croma. I tried to steer clear of the marketing, and Nicholas helped me make sense of what is a good purchase to make.

Salesperson’s tricks.

Another premium (!) authorized reseller almost led me astray by telling me that they don’t have the 2021 iPad 9th Generation (64 GB, Wi-Fi) in stock. Anywhere in the country! And it’s unlikely most vendors will… They had 256 GB in stock, but at that price, might as well buy the Air where “we have a 10% discount until stock lasts.”

Hmm. In a conversation lasting 1 minute, we went from something that costs ₹30,900 to something that costs ₹54,900. I mean it. It lasted 1 minute tops. Everything was fired at me in the hope that I cave in and buy what is being told to me.

Slick sales talk. Of course, I use the M1 chip on my MacBook Air and am confidently aware of how powerful it is — and that there’s no need to have one on a tablet… a tablet! Well, not for me, anyway.

Getting the Air would also mean a more expensive Pencil, and a more expensive AppleCare+. Smart talk, but I’m glad I was somewhat prepared to avoid it.

With the other recent purchases from Apple, I was also wary of making similar mistakes. I wanted the cheapest because I knew it would do the trick!

  • A13 is pretty good. A little dated, but how much has technology really changed (bar the release of the M1 lineup)?
  • 64 GB storage is okay — manageable.
    • If the only other option is 256 GB that bumps the price sky-high, skip skip skip.
  • A 10.2″ screen size is better than the Mini @ 8 point something inches.
    • Since the iPhone itself is 6.1 inches, what am I getting with an 8″ tablet?
    • Also, that display on the Mini is not comfortable. I demoed it at a store.
  • And while there’s a lightning port, I’ll live with it.
    • The iPhone is also a lightning port, as are the AirPods, so it’s not a huge dealbreaker.
    • The MacBook Air is the solitary device with a USB-C charger right now in my arsenal.

My needs.

  • Download and watch content (Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar, Amazon Prime, YouTube).
  • Draw for fun and some catharsis.
    • Learn some proper drawing as well in the long-run.
  • Read books via Apple Books, Amazon Kindle, and straight-from-the-author where possible. And where Kindle sucks, even PDFs.
  • Video calls with family.
  • Sidecar, so I have a little extra screen real estate that doesn’t involve buying and carrying a bulky monitor that’s not good for anything else.

So tell me again… why wouldn’t the cheapest iPad fulfil these needs?!

Ultimately, the cost.

So I got one for ₹29,490 — a discount of ₹1410 on the MRP.

Apple Pencil cost me ₹8,500 — unfortunately the full price (and a pretty absurd one at that).

AppleCare+ cost me ₹6,850. The folks at Croma screwed up and what should have cost me (₹6,900 – 10%) ended me costing me nearly the full amount. This was after I insisted they’re doing something wrong that their AppleCare+ costs ₹5,900 while it’s listed for ₹6,900 on the official website.

Turns out they bought my AppleCare+ for 7th and 8th generation iPad, not 9th generation.

Lesson learned: buy AppleCare+ yourself after you buy the device.

I got a budget cover for it and have skimped on the screen protection. I’ll also be getting a ₹3,000 cashback from my bank within 4 months.

The total is at ₹41,840, or $551. God I hate how expensive tech is in India. Apple already is, but tech in general is anywhere between 30-40% more expensive than its US counterpart pricing. And we’re poorer! Boils my blood.

So do I like it?

Yes. I’m actually reading books, consuming content, and enjoying phone calls with family, and even catching up on my Pocket reading list.

I reckon I’ll take the iPad and my phone instead of the laptop when going on quick, solo trips. Not having bought a keyboard for it also means I will simply not be able to do work. Which is the whole point of a holiday.

Consuming content on my laptop has always felt so odd to me. I’ve done it — it’s just never felt natural. With the iPad, things make sense… and I don’t know how to describe that.

Things you should know:

  • No Instagram or WhatsApp. What the hell are you doing, Facebook? I now have to resort to Google Duo or Signal for video calls. Virtually nobody uses FaceTime in India.
  • Speakers are stereo, but both the speakers are placed on the bottom side of the tablet. This feels… less than premium. I don’t enjoy this aspect at all. It’s stupid, really.
  • I also think the speakers are neither loud enough, nor high quality. Serviceable, but that’s about it.
  • The cameras are… okay. But I’m not complaining. I didn’t buy them for the camera. It is acceptable and I’ll take it.
  • Storage is tight, but enough. I don’t download my music (and only stream it), and my photos are also optimized (so no originals on this device).
  • Battery is good. Takes a while to charge, but seems to be good.
  • I was surprised at how effortless the setup was. Bring the iPhone near the iPad — boom! Download from a backup on iCloud — all set!
  • You need to get in a habit of un-pairing your Apple Pencil. The battery drains like crazy. When you need to use it, pair it then.

Overall, I like it. Between this and the Watch, I’m glad I got the iPad. It offers so much more utility for my use cases.

I’ll now hit the stop button on my ridiculous, nonsensical purchasing spree. I already hinted at it in the last post. I already had the iPad by then.

A quick note on that…

I’ve made bad choices recently. I’ve gone and executed some unhealthy shopping in the last five months. I’m upset at myself, too. Sometimes I’ve dipped into my savings because “fuck it, you only live once.” How long am I gonna keep myself miserable?

I guess I was trying to make myself feel better because I’ve been saving up for years without spending. And the dam broke. I was always trying to find other avenues, healthier, and not feeling any better. Which is all in reverse — usually people go through this the other way around.

For now, it is indeed time to hit a huge, red stop button. And work to make sure my finances are in no worse shape than they are in today. Which is very much recoverable. Not the best, but completely salvageable.

Café talk.

  • I must also admit, I haven’t felt super comfortable posting about Apple and my purchases on here. Feels like I’ve been getting a side-eye and plentiful judgement. 🤷🏻‍♀️
  • With this post, I also updated my earlier post on how long should I use my new tech for.

Photo by Sayan Majhi on Unsplash.


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