Sunday, February 25, 2024

Apple iPad Air (2020) review: powerful, but with some quirks

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It took me a long time to appreciate Apple iPad. In its early years, it looked like a slate that was primarily good for being a slate, whether used as a prop, as a techno-futuristic take on tablets in movies, or as a portable screen for workers in the field, or the thing I scribbled a soft signature on at the cafe on. It didn’t look like a computer. I stuck my heels on a traditional clamshell laptop. (Well, not literally; that would surely break the keyboard.)

The iPad has changed a lot in recent years. His physical form is about the same. But its software has evolved to support more office-like functions. It runs on incredibly powerful chips. It works with a keyboard and a mouse.

Those things still don’t make it a great tool to work with, but at least it’s improving to be one. For years, I brought my laptop with me on vacation for fear of having to drop off something urgent for work; in the summer of 2019, I was only carrying an iPad. (Everything was fine!) This year, a fellow technical writer went so far as to name the iPad “pandemic gadget. When I carry the iPad to bed with me at night, to write ‘sorry for the delay’ emails and messages, and stream Netflix shows that will temporarily wipe out today’s news, I tend to agree with him.

So if someone asks me right now, “Should I buy an iPad?” I would say yes. The question is which one, because there are a lot of them, and if you’re looking to splurge on a high-end model, the differences between the iPad Air 2020 and the IPad Pro 2020 are about as thin as the tablets themselves. I’ve been using the new iPad Air for over a month now, and if you’re willing to sacrifice some speaker and camera quality specs, then I see no reason why you wouldn’t buy the Air. on the Pro.

Variations on a theme

The new iPad Air launched last month. It starts at $ 599 for a model with 64 gigabytes of internal storage and $ 749 for 256 GB. If you choose to buy an iPad Air with both Wi-Fi and cellular capabilities, it’ll cost you $ 130. more for either storage configuration.

The Air has a 10.9-inch “Liquid Retina” display, which is Apple’s name for a super-high-resolution liquid crystal display. It’s marketed as having an edge-to-edge screen, as the iPad’s bezels have shrunk over the years, despite still being at least half an inch wide. The body of the iPad Air is made from 100% recycled aluminum and Apple has added a few new color finishes to its range. The loaner iPad I use is green, which is really a tint of sea foam.

The 10.9-inch iPad Air doesn’t look much different from the 11-inch iPad Pro, whether it’s the all-new iPad Pro or the 2018 iPad Pro. The Air is just a few grams lighter. than the Pro, although you have to hold them both in hand to notice it, and even then you might not. On the back of the iPad Air are the same three little dots as the iPad Pro, indicating that the tablet has Apple’s “smart connector” technology and will work with the company’s accessory keyboards.

The iPad Air works with the latest accessories from Apple.

Photograph: Apple

However, the two tablets are significantly different. First, there’s the price: the iPad Air starts at $ 599 and the iPad Pro starts at $ 799. Second, the new iPad Air incorporates Touch ID into the top sleep / wake button instead of the iPad Pro’s camera-based Face ID system.


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