Apple iPad Air 2020 : AIR TO THE THRONE

Apple’s ‘Air’ products tend to be the ones targeted at most of its buyers, giving you high-end features but with a few corners cut from its ‘Pro’ ranges to keep the price down. Given that the iPad Air 2020 has many of the Pro’s useful features, it takes that middle ground comfortably – albeit with a price increase of roughly 20%.
9/10 (Expert Score)
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Apple iPad Air 2020

AIR TO THE THRONE

The 4th-gen Air is an iPad Pro without the more niche features, giving it a more premium price.

Apple’s ‘Air’ products tend to be the ones targeted at most of its buyers, giving you high-end features but with a few corners cut from its ‘Pro’ ranges to keep the price down. Given that the iPad Air 2020 has many of the Pro’s useful features, it takes that middle ground comfortably – albeit with a price increase of roughly 20%. The new iPad Air is the first non-Pro iPad to get Apple’s new tablet design, with rounded corners, squared edges, and a futuristic feel overall. Even the iPhone 12 is now following the same philosophy. The back is a big flat piece of aluminium, with the exception of the camera bump. It comes in five colours, including classic silver and dark grey, now with rose gold, green and blue options, which we love. The screen has a resolution of 2360×1640, which is 264 pixels per inch. This is easily sharp enough for the average distance you’ll hold a tablet from you in our experience.

It’s an LCD screen, rather than an OLED, which typically offer better contrast. But the iPad Air is still capable of fairly solid contrast, and its 500 nits of brightness is quite visible in any light condition. The screen is 60Hz, rather than up to 120Hz as on the iPad Pro. The latter would not only make everything look smoother when animated, but also make the Apple Pencil as responsive as possible, as you’d see the results of your drawings quicker. But for casual drawing or note-taking, the responsiveness here is absolutely fine. When you have the iPad Air in landscape, speakers at each end give you stereo, with impressive control over the width of movies’ sound especially. Sounds move around the screen, or blast right out past your ears depending on the action. The actual sound balance is merely solid – it can’t offer much in the way of bass – but the precision is strong, so you can hear with clarity what’s going on. And it can go really damn loud.

Quick draw The iPad Air was the first product announced with Apple’s new and most powerful processor, the A14 Bionic. And benchmarks show just how capable it is. The Geek bench 5 single-core score we measured is 40% higher than the 2020 iPad Pro’s score. Put simply ,this is a small, thin beast when it comes to performance. In practice, most users won’t even hit the limits of what the iPad Air can do. We found everything we wanted to do was handled incredibly quickly and smoothly. Even things like editing images with myriad layers or multiple tracks of 4K video seem to cause no appreciable slowdown. Support for the Apple Pencil 2 makes using iPadOS 14’s new stylus friendly features more tempting, too. Apple has made it possible now to handwrite in any text field, with the results understood by the system. You can also make lengthy handwritten notes and drawings in note-taking apps, and manipulate what you’ve written in various ways, such as copying and pasting sections into an email or document app as typed text.

The iPad Air has a single front camera, and a single rear camera, and neither is great, frankly. There is some fancy tech on the rear camera, such as 4K video recording at 60fps with Apple’s ‘cinematic video stabilisation’. However, the quality on either cam – whether shooting stills or video – is fairly washed out, lacking the punchy colours and contrast you get from iPhones. Detail is similarly subdued. The iPad Air is an excellent tablet, with a beautiful design and ultra slick operating system, aided by bags of power. Following the price rise, it needed just a few extra boosts to feel worthy of five stars, like a screen that matches the iPad Pro or a rear camera that matches the iPhone SE. But if you think you won’t mind about the screen and camera (and, let’s be clear, it’s by no means a bad screen) then the iPad Air is a slam dunk.

9Expert Score
Awesome

The iPad Air offers a great screen, powerful processor, premium design and great Apple Pencil support. It’s a shame the price has risen, but it’s excellent and the tablet to beat.

Positive
  • Sleek design
  • detailed screen
  • Apple Pencil 2 support
Negatives
  • Mediocre cameras
  • no 120Hz or OLED screen
  • notable price jump

Apple iPad Air 10.9-inch (2020) - UK Model - WiFi Only / Silver / 64GB

£579.00
Offer clove.co.uk
Last update was on: June 1, 2022 3:18 pm

Apple iPad Air 10.9-inch (2020) - UK Model - WiFi Only / Silver / 64GB

Apple iPad Air

THE ALTERNATIVES

1

Apple iPad PRO

Alternative

APPLE iPAD PRO While it rocks a slightly older CPU, the iPad Pro offers a brighter, bolder 120Hz screen, four speakers for stronger stereo and an improved dual-lens camera, so it’s no slouch.

Apple iPad PRO

Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2020) – UK Model – Cellular (4G/LTE) Single SIM / Space Grey / 128GB + 6GB RAM
Finance Options (UK Orders Only). From £24.00 per month, subject to details, conditions apply (UK only)
2

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7

Alternative

SAMSUNG GALAXY TAB S7 Want a silky smooth 120Hz OLED screen? The Tab S7 delivers – and comes with an S Pen so you can really take advantage of its impressive capabilities.

Samsung Tab S7 Best Values

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 – UK Model – Wi-Fi Only / Mystic Black / 128GB + 6GB RAM
Finance Options (UK Orders Only). From £15.83 per month, subject to details, conditions apply (UK only)

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