As we’ve stated in previous reviews, Apple’s iPad range is now a little confusing. Aside from the mini and Pro models, it’s hard to tell what makes the regular iPad different from the Air. With this fifth-generation iPad Air, however, there are more similarities with the Pro range than ever before – so much so that it’s in direct competition with the smaller of Apple’s two high-end tablets.
In fact, as we said in our recent iPad Pro 11 review, you can almost draw a straight line between these two devices – yes, there are some differences in terms of features and design, but they share a lot of common ground, apps and games load faster and run more smoothly, and we didn’t experience any slowdown when working with multiple apps at once.
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Design & Build
The look of the iPad Air is instantly recognisable, sporting the same overall design as the iPad mini, iPad Pro and recent models of iPhone. Unlike earlier models, it has angular corners, but it doesn’t feel uncomfortable to hold in the hand.
In fact, overall build quality feels premium, sporting an anodised aluminium body that feels smooth to the touch. It’s fairly lightweight for a 10.9in tablet too, weighing in at 469g (or 478g if you opt for the 5G variant) and measuring in at an impressive 6.1mm thick.
It’s available in five colour options, with four – Space Grey, Starlight, Pink, and Purple – matching the finishes of the latest iPad mini.
The front of the tablet sports a stunning screen that spans almost edge-to-edge with minimal bezels at either side, meaning there’s more space to view content such as websites or videos. It’s protect by a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass that should help prevent scratches and cracks from being made
iPad Air vs iPad Pro: Which iPad should you buy?, click the link for detailed comparison.
Apple’s iPad Air has been something of a best-kept secret. Despite sitting as the go-to choice for those looking to pick up a new iPad, it’s been left in the shadow of its smaller sibling – the iPad mini – and the more powerful iPad Pro.
That may be set to change with the launch of the fifth-generation iPad Air, which takes an already well-round tablet and adds some attractive upgrades. There’s the three-year overdue redesign that makes it look like an iPad Pro, 5G connectivity, a larger 10.9in screen and A14 Bionic processor (the same chip found inside iPhone 12).
With all this in mind, this is now one of the most compelling tablets around – but does it live up to its promise? To find out, I’ve put Apple’s latest product through its paces over several days, and here are my thoughts on what is undoubtedly one of the best tablets that money can buy.
The 10.9in tablet weighs just 458g, making it the lightest full-size Apple device since the original iPad mini. With that said, there is a slight heft to it, but this is more thanks to the solid build quality than anything else.
The iPad Air is create from an aluminium body, with a glass front screen and optional cellular connectivity, weighing just 460g. This makes it larger and heavier than the equivalent iPad mini (300g), but also much lighter than the most recent iPad Pro 11 (476g) and 12.9in iPad Pro (677g).
It’s not just about being feather-light though; Apple has managed to shrink down the bezels around the display for a sleeker design too. The result is a tablet that feels very comfortable in your hands, with Apple’s signature rounded corners giving you plenty of grip when holding it in landscape or portrait orientation.
In fact, Apple has reduced the size of the tablet compared to last year’s model without compromising on screen size – it still offers a 10.9in display fitting inside a chassis closer
Features & performance
The iPad Air 4 is a worthy upgrade to the best tablet range around, introducing features that have long been staples of the iPad Pro line at a significantly lower price point.
More specifically, the iPad Air features the same Apple M1 chipset as not only the top-end iPad Pro range, but Mac desktops including the MacBook Air, Mac Mini and 24in iMac, with 8GB of RAM and 64/256GB of storage to play with.
Compared to the iPad Air 4, the new iPad offers significant performance gains across the board, with the real limitation on graphics being the 60Hz refresh rate of the standard Liquid Retina display. For those that want high frame rate iOS gaming, the iPad Pro 11 may be a better – albeit much pricier – option.
It’s also much more powerful than most of the Android competition in the CPU department, offering over double the processing power of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra utilising Qualcomm’s top-end Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, though the high refresh rate displays
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