iPad Air (2024) evaluation: the iPad most individuals can purchase this 12 months

The back of the Apple iPad Air (2024).
iPad Air (2024)
MSRP $599.00

“The Apple iPad Air (2024) will be all the iPad most people need. It’s a joy to use casually, and has enough performance and ability to satisfy as a general work device too.”

  • Thin, mild, and moveable
  • Huge energy reserves
  • 128GB minimal storage
  • Great for video games and video
  • Good for common work with a keyboard
  • 60Hz display
  • Slow charging
  • Little incentive to improve

Are you looking for an iPad, however don’t need the fundamental iPad or the all-singing, all-dancing (and really costly) iPad Pro? This doubtless quite common situation leaves you with the iPad Air (2024), which seems to be the candy spot within the iPad vary due to its selection of display sizes, large energy, and intensive versatility, all for a value that solely has three figures in it.

I’ve been utilizing and loving the iPad Air (2024), however there’s rather a lot that you must learn about it earlier than deciding if it’s the one for you.

iPad Air (2024): design

A person holding the Apple iPad Air (2024).
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

If you’ve seen and held the iPad Air (2022) or the iPad Air (2020), then you definately’ve additionally seen and held the iPad Air (2024), as all the changes are primarily contained in the pill slightly than out. Despite the display rising in dimension by 0.1 inches, the size of the pill are the identical because the earlier mannequin. It’s very skinny at 6.1mm and modestly weighted at 462 grams. The Air title is a little bit of a conundrum because it suggests that is Apple’s most featherweight pill, however it’s not as skinny or as mild as the brand new M4 iPad Pro. It is barely lighter and thinner than the 10th-generation iPad, although.

The pill in our images is the blue model, and it’s a extra refined, lighter blue than on the iPad Air (2022). It’s additionally obtainable in Space Gray, Starlight, and purple. The end is tender and heat to the contact, and the flat polished metallic chassis is properly rounded to make it comfy to grip and maintain. I’ve had no drawback utilizing it with out a case, however have discovered it’s extra versatile when it’s positioned in a single. For instance, it operates completely with the official Apple Magic Keyboard. For one thing lighter and fewer productivity-focused, I’ve discovered the Zagg Crystal Palace Folio is an efficient possibility, because it even has an area for an Apple Pencil inbuilt.

The side of the Apple iPad Air (2024).
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

For safety, the iPad Air (2024) has a Touch ID fingerprint sensor within the energy key. It’s sooner than the iPad Air (2022) sensor and much more correct than the Google Pixel Tablet’s fingerprint sensor. There’s no Face ID regardless of the entrance digicam being relocated to the facet of the slate, which is a little bit of a ache when it’s used with the Magic Keyboard.

The iPad Air continues to be a great-looking, expensive-feeling pill.

Apple is assured it has discovered the suitable design for the iPad Air, because it hasn’t deviated from it for a number of years. There’s solely a lot it will probably do with a pill, and whereas the 2024 Air isn’t breaking new floor, it’s nonetheless a great-looking, expensive-feeling pill that’s ergonomically spectacular, making it glorious to be used at residence and out and about. I’ve slipped it into my bag to make use of afterward as an alternative of my MacEbook Air, and it’s significantly extra handy. It’s the best center floor for these duties that sit between utilizing my telephone or requiring my laptop computer. Should you deem such a tool needed, as I usually do, the iPad Air (2024) is the best dimension, form, and weight.

iPad Air (2024): efficiency and gaming

A person playing a game on the Apple iPad Air (2024).
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Let’s begin off with some excellent news. The least expensive iPad Air (2024) comes with 128GB of inner cupboard space, up from the pitiful 64GB on the earlier two fashions. This is an excellent factor, and although iPadOS 17 takes up about 16GB of house, there’s nonetheless loads left over for apps, video games, images, and video. You also can spend extra to get 256GB, 512GB, and even 1TB of inner cupboard space must you need, making the iPad Air (2024) doubtlessly final rather a lot longer than older Airs, which solely had two choices — 64GB or 256GB.

Now, on to some unsurprising information. The main tech replace for the iPad Air (2024) is the Apple M2 processor. Like the M1 chip within the earlier mannequin, it’s an 8-core CPU with a 16-core Neural Engine, however with a 10-core GPU. Most of the time, I haven’t seen any distinction in efficiency over the iPad Air (2022), because it’s fluid, quick, and extremely satisfying to make use of no matter whether or not you’re merely watching video, multitasking, or working. Putting the 2 current iPad Airs facet by facet and performing the identical duties confirmed completely no distinction between them to my eyes.

A video playing on the Apple iPad Air (2024).
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I don’t play many graphically intensive video games, and seen no distinction enjoying Skate City, Mini Motorway, or Angry Birds Reloaded. They all run completely and look good on the large display. But the iPad’s gaming brilliance for me is in its simplicity, Playing Solitaire+ whereas the TV is on within the background is stress-free in a manner it’s not on an iPhone, all as a result of massive display and the intuitive and responsive touchscreen. This comfy multitasking has been an enormous good thing about an iPad because the very first mannequin, and it’s fantastic to see it has not modified even after a decade.

I’m positive that in sure circumstances, the M2 chip will make the iPad Air (2024) a greater performer than the iPad Air (2022), however I anticipate most individuals gained’t come near troubling the very excessive limits of this iPad. It could sound just like the M2 (and even the M1) is overkill, however I’d a lot slightly have an excessive amount of efficiency than not sufficient, as will be the case with the A14 Bionic (a cellular chip) within the Tenth-generation iPad for avid avid gamers and employees.

Apple iPad Air (2024): display

A person holding the Apple iPad Air (2024), showing the screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The iPad Air (2024) has an 11-inch Liquid Retina display with a 2360 x 1640 pixel decision and a most brightness of 500 nits. It’s 0.1 inches larger than the iPad Air (2022) display, however you gained’t discover except you place them facet by facet, and even then, it’s onerous to identify. The specification is identical although, and this can be a disgrace as I actually hoped Apple would add its 120Hz ProMotion technology to the iPad Air this time round, however it stays a 60Hz display.

Refresh fee apart, I wrestle to search out any faults with the iPad Air’s display.

How a lot this bothers you’ll rely in your utilization and eyes. I discover the distinction essentially the most when utilizing iOS and scrolling by apps like Reddit or Chrome, the place it’s not as easy or blur-free as on the iPad Pro. I haven’t seen any further eye pressure enjoying video games or studying books. The drawback is extra about making the 2024 Air a worthwhile improve. If Apple added a 120Hz display, it will have made it extra fascinating to house owners of older variations. But because it stands, the visuals and efficiency of the 2024 model are both similar, or it’s onerous to identify the modifications in comparison with different current Airs below regular use.

A video playing on the Apple iPad Air (2024).
Andy Boxalll / Digital Trends

For the primary time, you should purchase the iPad Air in two totally different display sizes, both the 11-inch we’re testing right here or a 13-inch model. The latter has the identical total specs, and though the display decision is larger at 2732 x 2048, the pixel density is identical at 264 pixels per inch (ppi), so that you gained’t see any distinction in high quality. Both help the Apple Pencil and Apple Pencil Pro, together with the “hover” mode that’s not obtainable on the Tenth-generation iPad.

Refresh fee apart, I wrestle to search out any faults with the iPad Air’s display. It’s vivid sufficient so I can see it completely out and in of the house, it has a large viewing angle, colours are vibrant, and there’s little or no reflection from the laminated, specifically coated glass. It helps each Apple Pencil fashions, and I actually get pleasure from enjoying video games and watching movies on it. If it had ProMovement know-how, it will be nearly excellent, which is probably why Apple hasn’t launched it, because it nonetheless needs to promote iPad Pro tablets.

iPad Air (2024): productiveness and software program

The Apple iPad Air (2024) attached to the Apple Magic Keyboard.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I discover the iPad Air (2024) is nice for work, however I admire that others could not. I take advantage of Apple’s Pages, Outlook, Teams, Asana, Chrome, and some different apps to get issues completed, and the iPad Air handles all of them with out a drawback. Also, iPadOS 17’s multitasking performance works for me as I don’t put enormous calls for on the software program, which implies it by no means will get irritating. But in the case of modifying images or movies, or something that basically wants speedy multitasking or utilizing a number of apps without delay, I might flip to my Mac Mini and a monitor.

The Magic Keyboard stays probably the greatest cellular keyboards round, and I’m nonetheless utilizing the mannequin I purchased in 2020. Aside from a damaged Shift key after an unlucky drop, it doesn’t want changing, and I like that it has been dependable and continues to be supported, contemplating the $300 value. It’s unlucky Apple has eliminated help for the Magic Keyboard Folio on the 2024 iPad, as anybody wanting a less expensive keyboard accent must take a look at one other producer.

The battery status Settings screen on the Apple iPad Air (2024).
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Is the iPad Air (2024) a laptop computer different? Kind of, however it’s extra of an in-between machine, the place a smartphone isn’t sufficient to get issues completed shortly, however the work you’re doing doesn’t demand a laptop computer. Ans iPadOS 17 is de facto highly effective, however you do should take time to be taught its gestures and multitasking options and settle for that it’ll by no means fairly match macOS or Windows for pure productiveness energy. I like that it’s straightforward to attach an SSD drive with USB C, although, and the Files app makes exploring it quick and easy.

There’s rather a lot to be mentioned in regards to the iPad and Apple’s ecosystem, too, because it not solely works completely with the Magic Keyboard (it actually does really feel like utilizing a touchscreen laptop computer), but in addition connects seamlessly to my AirPods Pro, hyperlinks to the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s cellular hotspot, and makes signing as much as and utilizing Apple’s providers like Apple Arcade so very straightforward. Even the setup course of was extremely easy. I used my iPad Pro (2020) to switch account and app knowledge over, and I barely wanted to even check in to apps on the brand new pill. I like this simplicity, and it endears you to the iPad Air the second you turn it on.

iPad Air (2024): cameras

The Apple iPad Air (2024)'s camera.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

You’re not going to purchase the iPad Air for its cameras, however what you do get works properly. There’s a single 12-megapixel digicam on the again, which might shoot video as much as 4K high quality at 60 frames per second (fps), plus one other 12-megapixel digicam with 1080p/60fps video recording on the entrance. It helps a 2x “zoom out” wide-angle type mode and Apple’s Center Stage function.

For video calls, the iPad Air is okay, and I’ve had no complaints about high quality from others on my calls. Center Stage is an fascinating function, because it ensures you’re at all times within the body throughout calls, even if you transfer round. It’s shocking how a lot motion it compensates for, and the on-screen angle adjustment is easy and pure.

If you wish to take images with the iPad Air, simply do not forget that this isn’t a smartphone designed for pictures, so that you don’t get something like a wide-angle mode, an optical zoom, or perhaps a Portrait mode. It’s a easy, one-camera affair. Photos are satisfactory sufficient, however I’ve used it largely for common office-type duties resembling doc scanning, which is a useful function in iOS and higher matches with how most individuals will use the pill.

iPad Air (2024): battery and charging

A person putting the Apple iPad Air (2024) on charge.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Apple doesn’t formally state the mAh capability of the battery contained in the iPad Air, however it does say it’s a 28.93-watt-hour cell. It ought to present round 10 hours of mixed-use for the Wi-Fi model or 9 hours if you happen to use the mobile mannequin. If you get the 13-inch model of the iPad Air, the battery additionally will increase in capability, however the use time is estimated to be the identical.

During my time with the pill, the battery life has matched the iPad Air (2022) and (mostly0 matched my iPad Pro (2020) as properly. For instance, a 45-minute video name over Teams took 20% from the battery, and a 30-minute YouTube video at 1440p took about 6%. It used up about 7% after I hooked up it to the Magic Keyboard and typed for half-hour in Pages. Overall, with a common combine of labor, movies, gaming, and video calls, the iPad Air (2024)’s battery has returned an energetic display time of about six hours on a single cost to this point.

Apple doesn’t embrace a charger within the field, however it does embrace a USB-C to USB-C cable, which can be utilized to cost the iPad Air utilizing your laptop or a USB wall charger. Again, Apple doesn’t state the utmost charging wattage for the iPad Air, however some sources state it’s 20W. I used an Apple wall charger and cable to recharge the iPad Air from virtually flat to 100% in about two hours and quarter-hour.

iPad Air (2024): value and availability

The Apple iPad Air (2024) showing the screen and web browser.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The 11-inch iPad Air (2024) prices $599 for the 128GB model, $699 for the 256GB model, $899 for the 512GB mannequin, and $1,099 in order for you 1TB of inner storage. The 13-inch iPad Air (2024) begins at $799, and every storage capability enhance prices one other $200 over its 11-inch equal, ensuing within the prime 1TB 13-inch iPad Air (2024) costing $1,299. A mobile model is out there thatstarts at $749 for the 11-inch iPad and $949 for the 13-inch iPad Air.

Add a Magic Keyboard and the Apple Pencil Pro to the 1TB 13-inch iPad Air (2024) with mobile connectivity, and you might spend greater than $1,900 on it. That’s some huge cash for a laptop computer, not to mention an iPad Air, particularly when the iPad Pro exists. Whether you spend that a lot is as much as you, however we predict the candy spot for the iPad Air is when it prices a bit of greater than the Tenth-generation iPad — in any other case, the iPad Pro (2024) turns into the higher buy.

M4 iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard.
iPad Pro (M4) Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

What about alternatives? The iPad, normally, is the most effective pill you should purchase. Although the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 series performs properly and appears nice, Android for tablets simply can’t sustain with iPadOS, and the vary of obtainable (and accurately formatted) apps is smaller. The Amazon Fire Max 11, with its keyboard case and stylus, is a less expensive different and is surprisingly succesful — supplied your expectations in regards to the software program are stored in verify. But the almost definitely different is the brand new M4 iPad Pro, which prices extra, however is de facto the biggest upgrade you can make from an older iPad, and the mannequin that can final the longest if you happen to’re an iPad newcomer. Just be ready for a excessive value.

iPad Air (2024): is it the iPad for you?

The back of the Apple iPad Air (2024).
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I opened this evaluation by saying I like the iPad Air (2024), and I actually do. It’s an excellent pill that does completely all the pieces I would like, together with changing my laptop computer, supplied I’m not doing something too intensive. Considering the large bounce in value to get the M4 iPad Pro and that the Tenth-generation iPad is now greater than two years previous, the iPad Air (2024) appears to be the iPad for everybody this 12 months.

It is, however it’s additionally not an iPad you must improve to if you have already got an iPad Air or iPad Pro from the final 5 years. It nonetheless doesn’t have a 120Hz display and the M1 chip used within the previous Air tablets continues to be massively highly effective. The final iPad Pros additionally use the M2 chip, even the 4th-generation iPad Air helps the Magic Keyboard, they usually all run the identical software program. Apart from extra storage capability, there isn’t a very robust cause to improve your “old” iPad Air or iPad Pro.

The iPad Air (2024) appears to be the iPad for everybody this 12 months.

This is the issue. I’ve gone from utilizing the iPad Air (2022) and iPad Air (2020) to solely utilizing the iPad Air (2024), and I haven’t actually seen the shift in any respect. It reveals how improbable current iPad tablets have been, slightly than any substantial bounce from the brand new iPad Air. If you’re in search of your first iPad or an improve to at least one that’s a few years previous, the iPad Air (2024) is great and positively my decide for 2024 iPad fashions. Except for a 120Hz ProMovement display, I actually couldn’t ask for something extra.

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