Apple’s iPad Air 2019: Now an almost-pro tablet

Mala Bhargava | Updated on May 01, 2019 Published on May 01, 2019

With support for the Pencil and a keyboard, plus the more powerful A12 Bionic chip, there’s enough power for most things

Apple’s iPad line-up now includes the Mini, the regular (though they don’t call it that) which is in its 6th generation, the iPad Air and the iPad Pro. Each of these has a whole lot of variants based on size, specs and connectivity configurations. If you look at the entire collection, prices start from ₹28,000 and shoot past ₹100,000. Accessories are additional.

To complicate matters, there are older iPads around as well, to make the choice more difficult. If you’re thinking of picking up an Apple tablet, it certainly makes sense to broadly know the line-up.

We recently reviewed the iPad Mini here and though it now has more power and supports the Apple Pencil, is clearly for those who want a high level of portability, being the smallest. Ideal for leaning back for a good read, browsing, taking notes or sketching playing an addictive game, and swiping through your photos. It has the power needed for things like augmented reality but it’s a nice personal carry-anywhere tablet you can curl up with.

The regular iPad is actually Apple’s most popular in India and the cheapest. It’s much what the iPad has always been from the start. It’s not meant for heavy processor-hungry work but handles a bit of everything with absolute grace. This one is the no-brainer option for someone who doesn’t want to get a tablet for anything in particular and everything in general. It makes for a good family tablet, easily passed from one person to another.

The next step-up is the iPad Air and one can think of it as the pre-pro because the line-up then gets completed with the ultra powerful iPad Pro in its two sizes. The iPad Pro is a lean mean machine which can take on intense tasks and is therefore aimed at professionals who need the power on an everyday basis.

The iPad Air actually borrows some features from the iPad Pro, closing the rather large gap that exists between the regular and the Pro.

The weight difference between the iPad models that share the approximate same size isn’t dramatically different. So one shouldn’t be thinking of buying the iPad Air because it may be the lightest. The Air has other more significant design advantages. The display is closer to the surface where you touch it and it just looks better than the regular iPad. Tap that one and you get a sort of hollow sound, but this isn’t the case with the Air. The Home button still remains on the Air and only disappears when we move up to Pro level. This also means there’s no Face ID present but the old familiar Touch ID does. The Air’s display also supports True Tone, a brightness and colour temperature auto adjuster to protect the user’s eyes and make looking at the screen more comfortable in different conditions.

Notepad or notebook

The iPad Air has the little connector pins that mean a keyboard can be snapped onto it. IPad’s own keyboard case is expensive, but fits it best. With its addition, the capabilities of the IPad go up exponentially because you can do a lot of basic work on it. As long as it isn’t one’s primary work device, it’s great to grab for a session of work or of course travel with.

For on-the-go focussed work, it’s quite a productivity booster as it sits quite nicely on one’s lap in a car, or at an airport or a coffee shop. Those who need a computer more intensively and all day would need to look at a machine with a bigger screen specially if some specific piece of software is critical to work.

The iPad Air also works with the Apple Pencil which also takes up the capabilities though it’s an additional ₹8,500. You can easily mark documents, draw, take notes, and generally do whatever you would with a pen or pencil or even painting brushes. The Air, like the Mini, only uses the first-gen Pencil though and that has a few awkward design issues such as its smooth roundness making it easy to roll off a surface and the fact that it doesn’t clip anywhere on the tablet. It charges by sticking out a mile in the lightning port, though to be fair, this is only needed for a short time.

There’s plenty of processing power on the iPad Air as it uses the A12 Bionic chip which is the same as the one on the latest iPhones. It certainly is able to handle the growing crop of augmented reality applications on the App Store.

The iPad Pro models have quite a few additional s such as a more powerful chip and performance, Face ID, great sound with four speakers, support for a new Pencil, USB Type C, and better cameras — but it is a very big step up the ladder in price. The iPad Air makes for a good tablet for those who want a bit of everything at a lower price.

Price: iPad Air starts at ₹44,900 for the Wi-Fi model and ₹55,900 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular, Pencil is ₹8,500, Smart Keyboard is ₹13,900

Pros: Plugs a gap in the line up by offering a good non-basic option, good display, powerful, supports keyboard and pencil

Cons: Expensive accessories, supports only first-gen Pencil

Published on May 01, 2019

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