In today’s review, we take a look at the recently introduced new generation of the iPad Air. Although it had its premiere in September, Apple delayed its sale almost until the end of October, which is why we are bringing its review only now. So what is the new Air like?
Design, quality and price
For many years, Apple has relied on more or less the same design for its tablets with rounded edges and relatively thick frames, especially on the top and bottom. However, when he introduced the significantly redesigned 3rd-generation iPad Pro in 2018 with frames similar to those used on the iPhones 5, it must have been clear to everyone that this is where the iPads will go in the future. And just this year, Apple decided to take the first step with the new iPad Air. The angular, original design seems to be more modern than the previously rounded edges.
As usual, the tablet is made of aluminium in a total of five colour variations – specifically azure blue, space grey, silver, green and gold-pink. The colours might seem to have a bit different hue than on Apple’s promotional materials so it might be advisable to see them first in a store before buying.
As for the processing of the tablet as such, there is no point in criticizing Apple for anything. This is, as traditionally, a masterfully made product without any visible compromise in the form of an illogically processed element or anything similar. An uncertainty may only raise a plastic piece for the 2nd generation Apple Pencil on the side of the aluminium chassis, as this proved to be the biggest weakness of the iPad Pro in endurance tests as Apple has still not come up with another solution since the last generation (it used the same solution on iPad Pro 4th generation this spring as well).
If you are interested in the dimensions of the tablet, Apple has opted for a 10.9” display and therefore refers to it as a 10.9” iPad. However, do not be fooled by this label. In terms of dimensions, this is a tablet identical to the 11” iPad Pro, as one tenth of an inch of the difference is formed by wider frames around the display on the Air. Otherwise, you can look forward to tablet with dimensions of 247.6 x 178.5 x 6.1 mm, which are the same dimensions as the iPad Air 3rd and 4th generation. However, they are only 5.9 mm thick.
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While Apple has bet primarily on OLEDs for iPhones this year, iPads still stick to the classic LCD – in the case of Air, specifically Liquid Retina with a resolution of 2360 x 1640 pixels. This is a type of display that has already been premiered on the iPhone XR and which is possessed by both of the last two generations of iPads Pro.
You probably won’t be surprised that the iPad Air 4’s display matches them in the vast majority of features, such as softness, full lamination, P3 color gamut or True Tone support. The only major difference is especially the lack of support of ProMotion technology, thanks to which the tablets are adaptively increasing the display refresh rate to up to 120 Hz. It’s a shame for this absence with Air, as the higher refresh rate is always visible on the display. It makes scrolling and similar processes look smoother, thanks to which working with a tablet makes a better impression as the whole.
Lighting replaced by USB-C
Most of the Apple product fans might argue that Lightning is the best thing in the connector array, and its current replacement, USB-C, is a complete atrocity from Apple. However, we might not complete agree, as thanks to USB-C, the new iPad Air finally opens the door to a huge number of USB-C accessories and compatibility with wide range of external monitors, which of course it supports.
We are not done with praise yet. iPad Air has got an outstanding set of speakers. Specifically, the tablet boasts a two-speaker sound, with one of the speakers located on the bottom and the other on the top. Thanks to this, watching multimedia content is getting almost a cinematic feeling. The sounds from the speakers sound quite dense and lively but at the same time natural with a great volume.
Although the rear camera on the iPad is probably one of the most useless features in the world, it’s worth mentioning.
The tablet offers a fairly solid photo system consisting of a 12MPx wide-angle lens with an f / 1.8 aperture, which predestines it to take really very solid images.
As for video recording, the tablet can handle videos in up to 4K at 24, 30 and 60 fps, and a slow-motion in 1080p at 120 and 240 fps.
The front camera then offers simple 7 Mpx.
All these are not values that would dazzle in any significant way, but on the other hand, they do not offend.
A battery capacity is not usually publicly shared by Apple, however, the official specs state it should last around 10 hours of consistent using.
During the test, a single charge was good for around nine hours of using standard apps, web browsing and video playback, all over Wi-Fi, and if you’re only using your tablet lightly we’d expect it to last even longer.
You will get a 20W charger in the box – Apple has stopped including chargers in the box with the iPhone 12 range, but has chosen not to do so here – and you’ll find that can charge up your tablet quicker than an iPad Air 3. We found it was able to charge the tablet from zero to 27% in half an hour.
Buy or not to buy
The new iPad Air would surely come handy to some of you who seek an upgrade from your old tablet and yet don’t need to use it for work or higher-performance tasks. iPad Air also comes in more colours which may dazzle some of us looking for something a bit different in terms of design.
On the other hand, it is not as good as a Pro version which is used by many for work tasks rather than multimedia. The iPad Air is also not very affordable and you might look for other options if you seek to have more memory in your device.