Apple announced the iPad Air 4 in mid-September but the company is only getting around to releasing it. The new iPad Air (2020) goes on sale alongside the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro later this week. Ahead of that though, the first batch of iPad Air is out. Check out our review roundup of the iPad Air (2020) below to know what other publications think about Apple’s latest mid-range iPad.
The publication notes that the new iPad Air design is similar to the 2018 iPad Pro and that’s a good thing. The addition of the USB-C port for charging and data transfer is the best part as it makes the iPad Air compatible with a host of accessories. Plus, it is always easy to find a USB-C cable when you are out and about.
The hardware’s job on a tablet is to disappear, and it does so fairly well here. If you’d like some more character, though, Apple is offering some new colors for the anodized aluminum frame. In addition to the usual silver, gray, and rose gold, there’s now green and a subtle light blue.
The Touch ID sensor on the power button works in the same way as Touch ID on older iPhones. You need to press the button and keep your finger on the sensor to unlock for a second to unlock the device. This is a problem as the same button is also used to trigger Siri, so if you press a little longer than usual, you trigger the virtual assistant.
It works well but a little differently than I expected — which is probably because I’ve been trained so heavily by the tap-to-wake fingerprint sensors on Android phones. Just like the old Touch ID sensor on the home button, you need to click down the power button and then let your finger rest on it for a beat. Bam, you’re unlocked. (And yes, it’s a real button.)
But something about it being placed on the power button threw me at first. As with the home button version, if you press down too long you get Siri. If you don’t leave your finger on long enough, it won’t unlock and will give you a little reminder to “Rest to Open.”
You will not need to worry about performance with the A14 Bionic inside the iPad Air as it is very fast. Battery life is also extremely good.
If all you care about is that the iPad Air is fast and that it will let you do both iPad things and lots of real-work things, then yes: it can do that.
The iPad Air is definitely an attractive purchase proposition if you are ready to spend $599.
There’s no ProMotion display on the iPad Air but the display is still very good.
It’s a pretty lovely screen, similar in quality to what you‘ll find on the pricier iPad Pro. This is what Apple calls a “Liquid Retina Display,” with 2,360 x 1,460 resolution and a pixel density of 264 ppi. Also like the Pro (and last year’s Air), it supports the wider P3 color gamut and makes use of Apple’s True Tone technology, which automatically adjusts the color temperature depending on the ambient light.
That new Touch ID power button might take some time getting used to.
Now that I have Touch ID set up, I don’t use it as much as I’d like. Part of that’s that I often use the tablet docked in the Magic Keyboard, at which point the button is on the upper left, and feels awkward to reach with either of my index fingers. It’s a shame that the Air still doesn’t have Face ID, a feature you’ll find on the iPad Pro, and that iPhones of course have had for years.
The iPad Air is now the default tablet to buy for most consumers.
This year, I would upgrade Air to the best tablet for almost everyone, and I’d even argue it’s Apple’s best high-end tablet. That is, until Apple upgrades the Pro with a new chip and more advanced display tech, which is almost certainly will.
That light design of the iPad Air is definitely a highlight.
One thing that I love a lot about the Air is that it lives up to its name and clocks in at the lightest weight of any of Apple’s portables at 1.0lb flat. This plus the Magic Keyboard is just such a killer portable writing machine it’s wild.
Matthew was more than happy with the Touch ID power button.
The initial scanning process to set up a finger seemed ever so slightly more reluctant to grab my fingerprint here than it used to on the home button. My guess is that it’s to do with the oblong shape of the sensor or its housing. But once it was scanned and input, I’m happy to report that it works exactly as well if not better than any iPhone home button version. I set a finger on my left hand here because I only use iPads in horizontal mode. But if you aren’t a keyboard person and are doing a lot of reading, the right hand would be appropriate.
If like me, you are wondering how the stereo speakers of the iPad Air sound when compared to the iPad Pro, Matthew says it’s just fine.
The two speaker system in the iPad Air is arranged in the much better horizontal array but it’s hal the amount that are in the iPad Pro and it shows. It’s a bit less loud overall but honestly the top volume is still way more than you need for typical iPad viewing distance.
You can check out some iPad Air (2020) videos below as well.
What are your thoughts on the new iPad Air (2020)? Do you plan to buy it over the iPad Pro? Drop a comment and let us know!