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iPad Air (2019) review

iPad Air (2019) evaluation

The Air is again! Apple unexpectedly revived its outdated iPad Air branding (formally discontinued in March 2017) in a shock announcement in March 2019, unveiling a robust, mid-priced, mid-sized pill with an A12 processor and help for the Apple Pencil.

However will the Air float your boat? In this evaluation we put it via our rigorous pace, graphics and battery assessments, and consider design, specs and pricing, to seek out out if Apple has hit the candy spot.

For extra common recommendation, see our iPad shopping for information.

Design & construct high quality

The Air options an improved design in comparison with the 2018 iPad 9.7in, with amongst different enhancements a bigger display and thinner physique, however stops in need of the novel adjustments seen within the Professional fashions.

So the bezels across the edge have shrunk barely, enabling the next screen-to-body ratio and permitting Apple to squeeze in a noticeably bigger show with out bulking out the chassis an excessive amount of. However the House button stays – whereas the 2018 Professional fashions ditched the House button (and Contact ID, changed by Face ID), which made doable an virtually all-screen design. In different phrases, this can be a compromise between the triple beliefs of low value, familiarity, and optimum design.

A bezel tweak can solely obtain a lot, and to accommodate the larger display the Air has been made taller and a bit of wider than the prior 2018 iPad, though the far slimmer profile (6.1mm, down from 7.5mm) means it is really 13-14g lighter. Be aware that the 11in iPad Professional is 5.9mm, so this is not the slimmest mid-size pill on Apple’s books – though it’s the lightest.

  • iPad Air (2019): 250.6 x 174.1 x 6.1mm; 456g/464g (Wi-Fi/mobile)
  • iPad 10.2in (2019): 250.6 x 174.1 x 7.5mm; 483g/493g
  • iPad Professional 11in (2020): 247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9mm; 471g/473g

A much less instantly apparent change – however one I am very joyful to report – is the restoration of the laminated display. For price causes the 2017 and 2018 iPad 9.7in fashions each have unlaminated screens, which bend inwards very barely when pressed and really feel a bit low-cost. That is not a difficulty right here.

The antenna unit on the mobile mannequin now matches the color of the remainder of the again, somewhat than being a cheap-looking matt black as on the 2018 iPad. And Apple has included a Professional-style Sensible Connector for the Sensible Keyboard. 

I discover the Sensible Keyboard fairly arduous to sort on at this measurement (the 12.9in model is way more snug) but it surely’s nonetheless a quantum leap ahead from onscreen typing and an enormous profit for enterprise sorts on the go – particularly contemplating how less expensive this system is than the Professional fashions you beforehand had to purchase to get a Sensible Connector.

However aside from the adjustments outlined above, and a few seemingly inconsequential tweaks to the place of ports and buttons, the Air follows the identical design because the iPad 9.7in. To be clear, that is not a foul factor! It is a phenomenal and sensible design that appears sensible and feels nice within the hand (and, since you get the curved under-edges somewhat than the newer squared-off design, it is really simpler to select up than the Professional).

And also you get a headphone port, which is one thing Professional homeowners need to handle with out.

As is commonplace for iPads at present, the Air is available in silver, gold and House Gray. I examined a House Gray unit, however would at all times vote for gold given the selection.

Specs & options

A lot for the iPad Air’s aesthetics. Let’s check out how nicely it performs.

Velocity & graphics testing

Apple has geared up the Air with an A12 Bionic chip – the newest technology of its cellular processor line. As earlier than this can be a compromise, for the reason that souped-up A12Z model within the Professional iPads is even quicker, but it surely’s nonetheless a formidable inclusion at this value and an enormous step up from the A10 Fusion within the iPad 9.7in, and nonetheless discovered within the newer iPad 10.2in.

The A12 is complemented by 3GB of RAM, a rise from 2GB in 2018. (The Execs can be found with both 4GB or 6GB.)

The Air, which scored 11,369 within the multi-core part of the Geekbench four CPU take a look at, wasn’t far off doubling the efficiency of the earlier yr’s 9.7in mannequin (6,056). It was in flip pretty simply crushed by the iPad Professional 11in (18,381), however was noticeably quicker than the Professional from one technology beforehand (9,300).

To guage graphical processing energy we use the GFXBench Metallic app, and right here once more I noticed an enormous step up in efficiency from the iPad 9.7in and playable body charges proper as much as the toughest benchmarks. Efficiency was admittedly not similar to the iPad Professional 11in, which was streets forward all through, however in a lot of the assessments the Air was in a position to beat the 2017 Professional convincingly.

If you happen to’re a inventive skilled wanting to make use of probably the most demanding video and picture processing apps, or a gamer with an eye fixed on probably the most graphically superior titles, you then is likely to be suggested to plump for an A12Z system. However for nearly all of us the iPad Air’s wonderful efficiency will probably be greater than sufficient, and provides loads of future-proofing.

Battery testing

The Air has a 30.2Wh rechargeable battery, and Apple reckons that is good for round 10 hours of Wi-Fi searching. This was borne out in testing: it lasted 9 hours 24 minutes in Geekbench four’s battery benchmark, which is significantly extra demanding than real-world use.

That is virtually equivalent efficiency to the iPad Professional 11in (9 hours 32 minutes), and significantly better than the iPad 9.7in, which lasted 6 hours 1 min.

My Air was bundled with a 10W charger, with which it went from empty to 13% energy in 30 minutes – fairly sluggish going. I’ve heard that in some areas the Air is provided with a 12W charger, which can yield barely higher speeds.

Display screen

Regardless of the persevering with presence of pretty giant bezels across the edge, the iPad Air’s display is a pleasure and a triumph, with quite a few enhancements from the iPad 9.7in.

Decision is up, albeit solely by sufficient to keep up Retina-standard pixel density (264ppi) throughout a bigger space. It seems implausible: sharp, brilliant, vibrant. Because of the brand new inclusion of True Tone it offers a constant output in diversified circumstances, and the anti-reflective coating means you could have much less to concern from brilliant overhead lighting.

Interacting with the display feels nice, because of the lamination already talked about and the just about on the spot response. It could be straightforward for Apple followers to take this with no consideration, however not all tablets give such a convincing phantasm that you’re bodily shifting across the onscreen components.

Cameras

The Air has an 8Mp rear digicam, similar as on the iPad 9.7in – a good inclusion that gives reliably first rate photos somewhat than something spectacular. (I requested Apple if the A12’s neural engine would offer any of the identical algorithmic photographic advantages as on the iPhone XS, however the firm performed this down.)

The entrance digicam, however, is vastly improved: 7Mp and 1080p video, up from 1.2Mp and 720p video within the iPad 9.7in. This is smart; few individuals use a mid-size pill to take footage of good views, however most iPad homeowners will get pleasure from the advantage of an improved entrance digicam for FaceTime and selfies.

Apple Pencil help

Excellent news/unhealthy information: the Air is Pencil-compatible, however solely with the much less good first-gen mannequin, which fees awkwardly by way of the Lightning port. I desire the Apple Pencil (2018), which attaches magnetically and fees wirelessly, however that continues to be unique to the iPad Professional fashions.

Different specs

That is a lot of the specs & options price highlighting, however I am going to spare a couple of phrases for the storage allocation, which has been doubled at every tier from the earlier yr: 64GB and 256GB, up from 32GB and 128GB. That is maybe extra important than it sounds, as a result of it means the entry-level mannequin has loads of storage for the common consumer, whereas final yr we tended to advocate paying further for the higher tier.

Contact ID is now second-gen, which is quicker and extra dependable than the first-gen model used beforehand; eSIM is supported; Bluetooth has been bumped from four.2 to five.zero; and also you now get gigabit LTE. All of those adjustments are from the iPad 9.7in (2018), and are matched by the iPad Professional 11in.

Software program & apps

The iPad Air comes with the newest model of Apple’s iPadOS working system preinstalled: at time of writing, which means iPadOS 13. iPadOS is slick and quick and recognized for its strong safety, now with much more optimisations for the pill type issue. It’s a little more durable to customize than Android, however the default setup is simpler and in our opinion extra pleasant to make use of.

Except you are keen to jailbreak your system, you will solely have the ability to obtain software program from the official App Retailer; nonetheless, there’s greater than one million vetted, iPad-optimised apps on there. Premium and big-name apps are more likely to come to iPadOS earlier than Android as a result of iPad homeowners are extra keen to spend cash.

Worth & availability

The iPad Air is pitched a bit of greater than the common iPad, whereas remaining markedly extra reasonably priced than the iPad Professional fashions additional up the dimensions.

  • iPad Air (2019, 64GB, Wi-Fi): £479/$499
  • iPad Air (2019, 256GB, Wi-Fi): £629/$649
  • iPad Air (2019, 64GB, mobile): £599/$629
  • iPad Air (2019, 256GB, mobile): £749/$779

The iPad Air is available for purchase now, direct from Apple and from the standard resellers (corresponding to Amazon and Finest Purchase). For the bottom costs on the market, see our roundup of the very best pill offers.

Verdict

The iPad Air is a set of compromises, and in virtually each space there’s one other pill on the market that is higher: the iPad 10.2in is cheaper, the iPad mini extra moveable, the iPad Professional extra future-proofed for very demanding apps. However as an all-round bundle that is vastly interesting and fairly probably the very best (or at the least best-value) Apple has to supply.

It is a quick machine with a big and well-specced display, lengthy battery life and engaging (if old school) design – the outdated acquainted House button and significantly the headphone port will probably be seen as plus factors by many. The front-facing digicam offers high-quality FaceTime video and selfies, and whereas the rear digicam is much less spectacular this can be a wise space for a mid-size pill to chop prices.

Speaking of which, £479/$499 (for the peerlessly enough base storage allocation) is nice worth for all of the goodies simply talked about. These on a decent finances ought to select the iPad 10.2in, and a Professional mannequin might be higher for a inventive skilled, however for most individuals that is the iPad to select.

This evaluation initially appeared on Macworld UK.

Specs

Apple iPad Air (2019): Specs

  • A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine and M12 coprocessor
  • 3GB RAM
  • 64GB/256GB storage
  • 10.5in laminated ‘Retina’ display, 2224 x 1668 decision at 264ppi, 500 nits brightness, True Tone, helps Apple Pencil
  • 8Mp rear digicam, f/2.four, 1080p HD video, Slo-mo (120 fps), Dwell Pictures
  • 7Mp entrance digicam, f/2.2, 1080p HD video at 30 fps, Retina Flash
  • 30.2Wh rechargeable battery: claimed battery life 10 hours on Wi-Fi
  • Stereo audio system, twin microphones, three.5mm headphone jack, Lightning port
  • Wi?Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 5.zero, Gigabit-class LTE, Nano-Sim and eSIM
  • 250.6 x 174.1 x 6.1mm
  • 456g/464g (Wi-Fi/mobile)

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