Apple iPad Air (2020) review – Reviews – Technology

iPad Mini. iPad. iPad Air. iPad Professional. There isn’t any scarcity of iPad fashions to select from, ranging in worth from £399 all the way in which as much as a staggering £2,149.

Whereas pill gross sales usually have slumped in recent times, Apple’s iPad vary has constantly carried out higher than the market. So why are iPads so particular and nonetheless so revered? We just lately printed our iPad Mini evaluate, trying on the smallest mannequin within the vary, and for this evaluate, we’re specializing in the iPad Air.

It’s not the most costly iPad – that award goes to the iPad Professional – however not like the iPad Professional, which is extra geared in the direction of professional customers, the iPad Air is geared toward a wider viewers. One that desires some options that might rival a laptop computer but in addition desires a conveyable pill for video games, shopping and streaming on the go. All with out paying via the nostril for it.

In our iPad Air evaluate, we check out how nicely the ten.9-inch pill performs numerous duties, from streaming to gaming and as a alternative for our MacBook.

We put the second-generation Apple Pencil to the take a look at, and we evaluate the pill’s specs to its siblings, in addition to these seen on rivals – particularly the Samsung Tab S7 and Tab S7 Plus.

Leap to: 

iPad Air evaluate: abstract

Value: The iPad Air is accessible at Apple for £579.

Key options: 

  • 10.9-inch Liquid Retina show iPad powered by Apple’s iPad OS.
  • TouchID sensor constructed into the Energy button.
  • Assist for the second-generation Apple Pencil (£119, offered individually).
  • Constructed-in Siri voice controls.
  • A 12MP major digital camera on the rear and a 7MP on the entrance – the identical as on the iPad Professional.
  • Apple App Retailer provides entry to thousands and thousands of leisure and productiveness instruments, video games, TV reveals, music, podcasts, books, notes, reminders and extra
  • Can be utilized for shopping, streaming, video games, drawing, and notice taking (when used with the Apple Pencil) and as a laptop computer monitor (when used with an Apple keyboard, offered individually).
  • HomeKit app lets you management appropriate sensible units by way of the pill.


  • Quick and responsive.
  • Brilliant, sharp and vibrant show.
  • Straightforward to arrange and use, particularly for present Apple prospects.
  • Stunning, slim design with easy-to-use controls.
  • Apple Pencil is a gamechanger – and never only for notetaking or drawing. 


  • Speaker structure and know-how dulls the sound.

What’s the iPad Air?

The iPad Air was one among a number of Apple merchandise introduced on the model’s digital keynote in September 2020, alongside a brand new Apple Watch and a less expensive, smaller iPad. It’s the fourth time Apple has refreshed the iPad Air because the first mannequin was unveiled in 2013, and it adopted in comparatively fast succession to the third-generation introduced in March 2019.

The latest mannequin is powered by Apple’s A14 Bionic chip, which Apple claims is its “most superior” chip ever. This chip is alleged to make the fourth-generation iPad Air 40% quicker than its predecessor. The A14 Bionic can be the primary chip to incorporate Apple’s newest Neural Engine know-how, able to making 11 trillion computations a second. This helps make machine studying apps, particularly, 10 instances quicker at calculations. It additionally helps make Siri extra correct, improves monitoring on augmented actuality apps, and supplies higher facial recognition.

On the entrance of the pill is a 7MP front-facing FaceTime HD digital camera, and the iPad Air now has the identical 12MP rear digital camera utilized in iPad Professional for taking greater decision images and 4K movies.

The stereo audio system are positioned in panorama mode to enhance the sound high quality when watching reveals or movies, and the iPad Air now includes a USB-C port. As a substitute of a bodily Residence button, the iPad Air has embedded the TouchID sensor into the ability button, and this may be mixed with a passcode.

Software program-wise, the launch of the fourth-generation iPad Air coincided with the discharge of iPad OS 14 – a tablet-friendly model of the usual iOS cell software program.

What does iPad Air do?

It may be simpler to record what the iPad Air doesn’t do as a result of it’s a extremely versatile, moveable gadget that may simply be used for streaming and gaming earlier than switching into work mode with a keyboard and Apple Pencil hooked up.

  • Media streaming with the Apple TV app put in by default. This app acts as a distant management for Apple TV streaming packing containers, a library for video content material bought from the iTunes retailer, and a hub to seek out and watch Apple TV Plus reveals (for subscribers).
  • Netflix, BBC iPlayer, All 4, ITV Hub, SkyGo and Disney+ can be found from the Apple App Retailer, as are thousands and thousands of apps.
  • Apple Books and Podcasts have their very own apps, as does the iTunes Retailer. Plus, GarageBand, iMovie, Numbers, Keynote, Pages and Recordsdata are pre-installed. The latter 4 apps are Apple’s equal to Microsoft Workplace or Google Drive’s suite of apps.
  • The iPad Air can be utilized to regulate and handle sensible house units by way of HomeKit.
  • iCloud help means you may sync content material, purchases, and downloads throughout a number of Apple units, together with Macs, different iPads and iPhones.
  • Assist for the second-generation Apple Pencil (offered individually for £119) turns the iPad Air right into a pocket book and sketch pad. It may also be used to put in writing in any entry discipline on browsers, apps and extra – learn extra about this within the Efficiency part.
  • Accessible in gray, silver, rose gold, inexperienced and blue.

How a lot is iPad Air?

The iPad Air is available in two storage sizes – 64GB and 256GB – and is accessible with Wi-Fi solely, or Wi-Fi and mobile.

The costs, when purchased straight from Apple, are as follows:

You can too purchase the iPad Air from the next locations:

Is the iPad Air good worth for cash?

With iPhones ringing in at across the £1,000+ mark, it may be slightly tough to find out whether or not an iPad that prices virtually £600 is sweet worth for cash. It virtually appears “low-cost” by comparability, which generally is a little deceptive.

Firstly, chances are high – for those who’re an Apple fan – you’ll probably be shelling out for each, so it’s not fairly a like-for-like comparability. Secondly, £579 remains to be a considerable amount of cash to spend on any gadget, not to mention one that will solely ever be used for streaming and shopping the online, particularly when you need to use your cellphone for these duties.

That mentioned, there are few tablets on this worth vary that supply such a package deal of design, options and energy. The draw back is that to get the complete advantages of this pill; you do must pay additional for the Apple Pencil and a keyboard.

Consequently, we’d say the iPad Air is sweet – albeit not nice – worth for cash; it’s simply possibly not fairly the discount it would first appear.

iPad Air (2020) with Apple Pencil.

iPad Air options

Like all iPads, the iPad Air runs on iPad OS. This can be a barely redesigned model of the iOS software program seen on iPhones. It largely appears and works in the identical means, however iPad OS has been tweaked to ensure apps and options render higher on the bigger show.

This features a new compact design for incoming FaceTime and cellphone calls, Siri interactions, and Search to make these much less distracting if you’re working. Common Search allows you to seek for a phrase or data, and Apple will scour all the things from apps to contacts, information, and the online, to find what you’re on the lookout for. Then there are new sidebars for a lot of apps, together with Images and Recordsdata, and streamlined toolbars that put your entire controls in a single place.

Apple’s App Retailer on iPadOS comes with the identical enormous vary of apps seen on iOS. The pill additionally comes with a lot of Apple apps put in by default, together with Music, Apple TV, Podcasts, Books, GarageBand, Information, Clips, iMovie, Health, Well being, Voice Memos, Reminders, Notes, Pages, Keynote, Numbers, Recordsdata, and a college app referred to as iTunes U.

Talking of iTunes, you additionally get entry to thousands and thousands of TV reveals, movies, and songs by way of the iTunes Retailer. That is the place you’ll discover any beforehand bought content material saved in your iCloud account. You possibly can select to maintain it saved in iCloud or obtain it onto your gadget. By connecting the iPad Air to an present iCloud account means you’ll additionally get full entry to all of your settings, images, movies, downloads and extra on each gadget linked to the identical account.

We discover this significantly helpful when switching from our MacBook at house to our iPad when figuring out of the home. There’s additionally a small but game-changing function with Apple merchandise that makes an enormous distinction. If you copy a paragraph of textual content in your iPhone, as an illustration, you may paste it straight in your pill or Mac as a result of it’s saved in a shared clipboard. This will not appear to be an enormous deal, but it surely saves a lot time.

The draw back to all of those pre-installed apps is that they eat into your gadget’s storage, and Apple doesn’t allow you to bodily increase the storage on any of its merchandise. Nevertheless, you may take away all or any of those apps, so that is extra an FYI than a serious problem. Plus, you may pay for as much as 2TB of iCloud storage, so built-in reminiscence turns into much less necessary. But that is one other value.

Safety-wise, there’s a Contact ID sensor embedded into the Energy button. This enables Apple to take away the bodily house button and stretch the display with out making the general pill a lot greater. Different {hardware} options embrace a 7MP front-facing FaceTime HD digital camera and the identical 12MP rear digital camera utilized in iPad Professional for greater decision images and 4K video seize.

Though it’s a must to pay additional for it, a standout function of the iPad Air is help for the Apple Pencil. The second-generation Pencil is head and shoulders above the unique mannequin and – when used with iPad OS 14 – comes with some good options, together with gesture controls in addition to the power to handwrite in any kind field, often called Scribble to iPad. Because of this for those who don’t need to fiddle with the on-screen keyboard or a bodily one for that matter, you may merely handwrite Google searches, fill in kinds and extra utilizing the Pencil. The software program then converts it to textual content.

This fully elevates the iPad Air as a pocket book and makes working and switching between duties quicker and simpler. One other small however helpful function of the Apple Pencil is that it may be saved magnetically on the aspect of the pill. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 and S7 Plus each retailer the pill on the rear which prevents you from having the ability to place it flat on a floor.

The iPad Air can be appropriate with Magic Keyboard, Sensible Keyboard Folio, and new Sensible Folio covers.

Apple iPad Air (2020) with keyboard

Apple iPad Air (2020) with keyboard

iPad Air display and sound high quality

We beforehand mentioned the advantages of the Retina show in our iPad Mini evaluate, however to recap, Retina is an Apple show know-how that crams a larger variety of pixels right into a smaller body to make colors brighter and textual content sharper. The iPad Air takes this know-how in a barely completely different course, and its 10.9-inch display makes use of what’s often called Liquid Retina.

At its core, Liquid Retina gives the identical advantages as Retina shows, but it surely makes use of an LCD panel moderately than an OLED one. The “Liquid” truly comes from the actual fact LCD stands for “Liquid Crystal Show”. LCD screens are usually brighter than OLED, however distinction isn’t pretty much as good. We may write an entire separate article in regards to the professionals and cons of each applied sciences, however for this iPad Air evaluate, we’ll hold it easy; its show is vibrant, sharp and vibrant and works wonders for Full HD content material.

This show moreover makes use of True Tone know-how to measure the ambient mild color and brightness. It then mechanically adjusts its show, so whites and colors are proven extra precisely.

Regardless of all of Apple’s advertising claims and phrases, the iPad Air display pales into comparability subsequent to the Samsung Tab S7 and Tab S7 Plus shows. It’s nowhere close to as hanging and immersive, however you additionally pay much less for Apple’s mannequin, so is anticipated, to an extent. Within the iPad Air’s favour is an anti-reflective coating. You don’t get the glare or reflections when watching content material on the iPad as you do on Samsung’s fashions. It additionally options Faucet to Wake, which lets you faucet the display to carry it to life, moderately than having to seek out the ability button. You possibly can learn extra about Samsung’s rival in our Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 evaluate.

Onto sound, Apple has redesigned the structure of the stereo audio system on the iPad Air to place them on all sides when considered in panorama mode. This creates extra immersive, wider stereo sound that’s wealthy and well-rounded when watching movies or on convention calls. Nevertheless, you solely get the complete advantage of this structure and sound for those who’re utilizing the pill in a case or stand. In case you’re holding the gadget, then your palms block these audio system, which mutes the sound.

Apple iPad Air (2020) ports

Apple iPad Air (2020) ports

iPad Air design

The iPad Air design is nearly an identical to the earlier mannequin when it comes to dimension and design. It’s the identical thickness, and there are solely a handful of millimetres separating their respective width and peak. In addition they weigh related (458g for the iPad Air 4 vs 456g for the iPad Air 3)

For the newest mannequin, Apple is providing 5 finishes – silver, house gray, rose gold, inexperienced, and sky blue and so they’re all delicate and enticing. We all the time really feel that providing a wider vary of colors is essentially a moot level as a result of for those who’re including a case or keyboard folio, then the color is roofed. It’s good to have a selection, although.

The pill itself is well-balanced and simple to carry. It has a heft to it that makes it really feel strong and costly however isn’t overly heavy until you add the keyboard folio. The mix of the LCD panel and the elimination of the bodily Residence button signifies that the iPad Air makes nice use of the design to provide as a lot display real-estate as potential. As is the case with most iPads, the bezels are bigger than these seen on rivals, however they’re much less noticeable on this mannequin of the Air, which additionally means it’s simpler to carry when not in a case.

When it comes to ports, the iPad Air now includes a USB-C charging port moderately than a Lightning connector. Within the long-term, that is nice as a result of virtually all units, from numerous producers, are switching to USB-C. This implies you received’t must have a number of chargers for various units. Within the short-term, nonetheless, till this change turns into common, you might discover the additional charger a tad annoying.

iPad Air set-up

Establishing the iPad Air – as with all Apple merchandise – is easy. Particularly for those who’re an present Apple buyer, as by merely signing into your account, the pill will do all of the exhausting be just right for you, pulling in your present settings, app downloads and syncing all related knowledge out of your newest backup.

You possibly can moreover arrange or disable, TouchID, Siri and sharing settings by way of the step-by-step information. Or select to manually replace the pill if you wish to restrict which apps are put in on the iPad Air.

In case you’re not already an Apple buyer, you’ll must create an Apple ID and manually obtain the apps you need. Apple has created an Android switching function, although, which helps you turn from one software program to a different with ease.

iPad Air with Apple Pencil on the screen

iPad Air with Apple Pencil on the display

iPad Air battery life and efficiency

Apple guarantees as much as ten hours of browsing the online or watching video over Wi-Fi, which drops to 9 hours if you’re linked to a cell community. This was virtually spot-on in our looping video take a look at, wherein we play an HD video on repeat till the battery dies. The iPad Air went from full to flat in 9 hours 57 minutes. It’s fairly a piece decrease than the 13 hours on the Lenovo P11 Professional, nonetheless.

By comparability, when utilizing the iPad Air intermittently, to play SimCity, watch the odd TikTok clip, make a few Zoom calls and work with the Apple Pencil on Google Docs for half an hour at a time, this battery lasted virtually three days – twice that of the Lenovo.

Energy-wise, Apple claims the iPad Air is its strongest pill, and whereas we are able to’t quantify this, it definitely is a beast of a multitasking gadget. With the ability to make a Zoom name whereas switching between apps and collaborating on Google Docs barely made a dent within the velocity or effectivity of the pill. We by no means skilled any noticeable lags when opening or transferring between apps and toolbars, calls by no means dropped out, and the Apple Pencil labored effortlessly.

Our verdict: must you purchase the iPad Air?

Within the wider iPad ecosystem, the iPad Air is the goldilocks of the bunch. It’s not too large, not too small, not too costly, and also you don’t must sacrifice on options or efficiency.

If the iPad Mini is a worthy household pill, and the iPad Professional is for energy customers, the iPad Air occupies a middle-ground that may enchantment to many individuals.

When in comparison with rivals, particularly the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 and Tab S7 Plus, the iPad Air does fall slightly brief when it comes to its show know-how. It’s additionally a disgrace that probably the greatest options of the Air – help for Apple Pencil – requires a separate buy. But it surely’s one which’s definitely worth the funding.

Apple has performed an outstanding job of hitting a candy spot between leisure and productiveness, all housed in a sexy, well-built gadget. In case you’re out there for an iPad, the iPad Air is the one we’d suggest. The bigger, brighter display, the battery life, the quick energy and notably the help for the second-generation Apple Pencil makes it probably the most cost-effective strategy to get your palms on an Apple pill, comparatively compromise-free.

Our score: 

  • Options: 4/5
  • Display and sound high quality: 4/5
  • Design: 5/5
  • Set-up: 5/5
  • Battery life and efficiency: 4/5

General score: 4.4

The place to purchase iPad Air

For extra opinions, head over to the Know-how part. Nonetheless evaluating tablets? Learn our Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 evaluate or our Amazon Fireplace HD 10 evaluate. Assume the iPad Air may be slightly large? Try our Apple iPad Mini evaluate.