Apple’s iPad Air 2020: Best of the lot

Mala Bhargava | Updated on November 07, 2020

This tablet almost beats the iPad Pro and is in a perfect compact size for both work and play

Every home that can afford it should have an iPad. It’s the original tablet that started it all and its unparalleled app support helps it become whatever each user wants it to be: a book, a magazine, a gaming console, a laptop to work on.


Apple has quite a family of iPads though and it could be a bit of a job selecting one that fits your needs, a job made somewhat more complicated by the fact that there are also variants based on storage and on connectivity for each model. But choices may just have become easier because of the huge refresh to the iPad Air 2020. For many it’s going to become the one to choose because it’s become good enough, if not better in some ways, than the iPad Pro, the top-end tablet.

The iPad Air 2020 is a 10.9-inch tablet which somehow feels like it’s just the right size. It feels compact without being at all cramped to work with. I used it with the Magic Keyboard, Apple’s snazzy floating keyboard, and just sitting anywhere and resting the tablet on my knees worked out so well it freed me up to work easily in different spots in the house. When travel takes off again, the Air will no doubt be the great in-between size to move around with.

Light to hold

The Air lives up to its name by being quite biscuit-thin. Minus a case it really feels light and nice to hold. It isn’t disproportionately tall, so you can actually use it both landscape and portrait easily, making it more versatile than tablets that are just too long to be held in the hand the way tablets first started out. The bezels on the iPad Air’s display have been thinned down a lot, giving it a more ‘airy’ look though they aren’t as thin as they can be. This does not mean there’s no home button on them. Instead, it’s on the top edge where it’s combined with a fingerprint sensor for Touch ID. If you register more than one print, you easily unlock the tablet when you pick it up and turn it on. The FaceID that works on the iPad Pro isn’t available here, but users aren’t too bothered as they’re on the inside of a mask so much more often now.

The Air is now more flat, like the iPad Pro and all the new iPhones and for some reason users prefer this so much more than overly rounded off forms that they’re quite happy. Perhaps it feels more advanced — Personally I too definitely prefer the flat boxy format though I’m not sure what the psychology or utility behind this is.. The screen on the iPad Air actually isn’t an AMOLED, but honestly, you’d never know it. All Apple’s expensive products should, by rights, be AMOLED, but the quality of the LCD is so good that there’s big quarrels with it. The brightness and vividness on its screen are pretty good. It’s crisp and brilliant with its 2,360x1640 pixels per inch resolution and the colours are punchy and pleasing. It is only a 60Hz refresh rate however, in a landscape where users have become accustomed to expecting 90 to 120Hz and even more on phones. The iPad Pro has a high refresh rate screen as well. But if you’re not expecting it, you won’t miss it a bit because performance is fast and smooth.

The iPad Air now not only works with Apple’s Magic Keyboard but also with the Apple Pencil. These are optional — and expensive — purchases but important add-ones if your work or hobbies justify them. Be mindful that it isn’t the first gen Pencil that will work, but the second. Like the iPad Pro, the Air has a connector for it on the top edge in landscape mode where the Pencil just snaps on and remains in place, charging as well as sitting in readiness to be grabbed for use.

A14 chip

One thing that makes the iPad Air stand out from the basic iPad and the Mini is that it now has the A14 chip (also found on the new iPhones) putting it ahead of even the iPad Pro, though that top ender also has more cores to work with and isn’t slower. The Air handles everything from image rendering to augmented reality to heavy gaming to whatever speedy thing you care to do. Try creating music, for example. The Air also has a great set of cameras for all your video conferencing needs. It’s also good to take photos if you happen to be working on it and don’t have the phone handy.

Whether you can replace your laptop with the Air depends on what you do. I certainly can, but then what I do is write. If you need specific heavyweight software, that may be an issue. As a second device in addition to an existing laptop it’s certainly a wonderful luxury. For content consumption, it’s also very nice, with its crisp screen and stereo sound.

Amazingly there are a bunch of colours available for the iPad Air. Colour options aren’t that usual with tablets, but there is a rose gold or pinkish one, a there’s a unique light green, a sky blue, silver, and the more regular space grey.

Right at the moment, many are finding the Air a better options than the iPad Pro. No doubt the Pro will beat it hollow in its next iteration, but for now, the iPad Air certainly stands out from the entire collection of Apple’s tablets.

Price:₹54,900 and ₹66,900

Pros: Powerful with the top most chip currently available from Apple, advances in design, perfect size, great build, support for Wi-if 6, excellent cameras, good screen and sound

Cons: Too expensive, even more so with important accessories, should have moved on to AMOLED and a high refresh rate for the screen, bezels could be thinner, battery life just ok

Published on November 04, 2020

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