Blame the apps, not the hardware is my overall message. The icons for some apps are larger in code size than the first version of Adobe Illustrator and the Google model of web apps and complicated iOS apps can bring down the newer iPad Pro. Look at their hesitance to update apps if you wonder how many components have to be reviewed for a quick update to list privacy concerns that most developers fixed in days.
I would put a few documents in Files storage and use the Apple apps to see how responsive the hardware is when the application saves state as the OS intends for the gloriously smooth multitasking experience you are right to expect on hardware faster in every respect than needed to juggle a dozen spreadsheets, documents and presentations. Try running apps in airplane mode so you get a sense of the actual hardware speed without network sync or delays (perhaps Google is sending telemetry or downloading parts of the app while you work rather than optimizing for your experience?).
In 2020, Apple is reminding developers they need to be detecting delays as short as 20ms in frame by frame animations - even one frame that’s late spoils our sense of delight.
You are right to be absolutely brutal on developers that can’t handle an app suspend / resume cycle on an OS designed for power efficiency. The RAM constraint is there since it’s not needed if the app is designed and tested properly. Throwing more RAM at an app that doesn’t take advantage of hardware as capable as the iPad 2 isn’t effective. Worse, all RAM draws power so putting too much RAM in lowers battery life, for no gain in performance.
Even if you aren’t a developer, you can read Apple’s high level overview of what is needed to design a good app. Step one is design it to look great, step two is prepare for interruptions. Google missed or ignored step 2.
Be prepared for interruptions, and be ready to resume. Your app can be interrupted at any time. When an interruption occurs, your app should save the current state quickly and precisely so people can seamlessly continue where they left off when they return.
You can look at memory allocations in Xcode if you don’t agree with this overview, but to make an incredibly responsive app requires very little RAM on iPadOS. Well written apps will perform magnificently on older hardware - even 5+ year old devices have a lot of life in the for the correct app lineup.