June 24, 2021


Popular Software

iPad Air 2020 review: Apple’s middle child iPad steps up

It’s hard to keep track of iPads. Apple’s tablets are pretty fantastic and versatile, but also blend together across a wide spectrum of sizes and prices. Knowing which one to get is usually a matter of weighing what you’re willing to spend and how much you’re planning to do.

All iPads, right now, can do similar things. They all support Pencil sketching, keyboards and trackpads and all current models have pretty new processors. So the redesigned iPad Air is either one of two things: a fancier everyday iPad for you, or a cheaper iPad Pro.

After using it for a number of days, I really like it. I think it’s now my favorite iPad. In fact, I’ve mostly forgotten about the iPad Pro. The Air is just about as good, for less. And if you’re really, really interested in a Pro, which was last updated back in March, I’d consider just waiting till next year to see what else gets introduced — like a mini LED display, perhaps.

If you have the money, though, I really love this new iPad Air. I love its design, I love its accessories. And it takes the edge off the Pro’s super-premium prices, adding useful extras such as USB-C, a crisp larger display and fast performance, and taking away stuff that you probably didn’t even need.

But that doesn’t mean the Air is necessarily the best iPad for you. For its price, the standard eighth-gen iPad remains the better deal, and the go-to for most people. In fact, consider the eighth-gen iPad this way: basically last year’s iPad Air at a lower price.

The perfect size, with one new Touch ID button

The 11-inch iPad Pro has been my favorite size for a while. This new fourth-gen iPad Air is exactly the same size and fits the 11-inch Pro’s cases and keyboards, too. It feels identical, with one exception: It has Touch ID on the top power button, instead of Face ID.

So I slapped the old Smart Keyboard from the iPad Pro 11 on and things felt almost exactly the same. iPad Pro who?

The display is basically the same as the 11-inch Pro, but not exactly. It’s weird. The 11-inch Pro has an 11-inch, 2,388×1,668-pixel LCD with 600 nits max brightness. The Air has a 10.9-inch, 2,360×1,640-pixel LCD with 500 nits max brightness. I never noticed the difference. The side bezels seem a hair bigger on the Air. The iPad Pro also has smoother ProMotion screen refresh, at up to 120Hz, versus the iPad’s more normal feel. ProMotion is lovely, but I’m also fine without it.

What about the new Touch ID button, though? The Air doesn’t have Face ID, which the Pros and iPhones have. The Face ID camera is cleverly hidden around the black bezel of the Pro and works at nearly any orientation. Meanwhile, the Air is Apple’s first device with a fingerprint sensor on the small power button on its edge, instead of the circular home button (which this iPad doesn’t have).

Read more: https://www.cnet.com/news/ipad-air-2020-review-apples-middle-child-ipad-steps-up/