The iPad Pro 11 Killer

The fifth-generation iPad Air is right here, and whilst it’ll glance near-identical to its predecessor, there are key upgrades inside that make it extra of an iPad Pro competitor than ever prior to, carrying key upgrades together with Apple’s desktop-focused M1 chipset, 5G connectivity and Apple’s Center Stage digital camera tech.

With such a lot of similarities between it and the iPad Pro 11, is the iPad Air the candy spot in Apple’s tablet assortment? While it’s no longer best possible, there’s so much to like about this 12 months’s iPad Air – so long as it doesn’t creak.

Design & construct

The glance of the iPad Air is immediately recognisable, carrying the similar total design because the iPad mini, iPad Pro and up to date fashions of iPhone. Unlike previous fashions, it has angular corners, but it surely doesn’t really feel uncomfortable to carry within the hand.

In truth, total construct high quality feels top rate, carrying an anodised aluminium frame that feels gentle to touch. It’s somewhat light-weight for a ten.9in tablet too, weighing in at 469g (or 478g if you happen to go for the 5G variant) and measuring in at an excellent 6.1mm thick.

It’s to be had in 5 color choices, with 4 – Space Grey, Starlight, Pink, and Purple – matching the finishes of the newest iPad mini. The Blue color possibility, then again, is a wholly new color unique to the iPad Air – and the only we were given despatched for evaluate.

You’ll in finding quantity rockers at the top-left in portrait orientation that adjust capability relying on how the tablet. That implies that moderately than the amount ‘up’ key being on the backside when held the wrong way up, it’ll be the amount down button as chances are you’ll be expecting. It first gave the impression at the iPad mini, and whilst it’s no longer a game-changer, it’s a pleasing small contact that makes on a regular basis use a bit of more straightforward.

In different spaces, it’s industry as standard, carrying a integrated Touch ID sensor throughout the Power button, and there are stereo audio system fixed on reverse aspects. That’s flanked by means of a USB-C port at the backside with advanced information switch speeds – however extra on that later.

One of the important thing variations between the iPad mini and iPad Air (excluding the scale) is accent fortify. Both fortify the second-gen Apple Pencil, which magnetically attaches to the aspect of the tablet, however most effective the iPad Air has the Smart Connector at the rear and compatibility with the Magic Keyboard.

Though pricey and weighty, Apple’s Magic Keyboard necessarily turns the iPad Air right into a 2-in-1 pc – and with an upgraded chipset at its center and split-screen capability, it plays like one too. I’ve long past into element about why I like the Magic Keyboard previously so I received’t center of attention an excessive amount of on it right here, however if you happen to’ve were given the finances, it’s a worthy purchase.


If there’s one criticism I’ve concerning the iPad Air pattern I’ve been supplied with, it’s the pressure of the backplate.

Though there’s no distinction in dimensions in comparison to different fashions of iPad Air, the pattern equipped for evaluate has a noticeable flex at the rear – such a lot in order that I will be able to really feel the elements contact the plate beneath with little or no force implemented.

I realize it when dealing with the iPad day by day, and it’s one thing {that a} handful of (however no longer all) iPad Air house owners have picked up on since release. On the turn aspect, I’ve used different samples of the fifth-gen iPad Air that don’t have this factor in any respect – it kind of feels associated with a definite batch of Apple’s newest tablet.

It’s no longer simply one thing I’ve spotted both; a number of individuals of the Tech Advisor group have treated my pattern and all observation that you’ll be able to certainly really feel a flex and the elements inside.

It isn’t noticeable when paired with Apple’s Smart Folio, however at £79/$79, it’s no longer an inexpensive case for shoppers to select up on peak of a tablet that begins at £569/$599.

I’ve reached out to Apple for readability at the factor, and I’ll replace the evaluate when I am getting a reaction.


While the iPad Air comes nearer to the iPad Pro 11 than ever prior to, there stays one unique distinction: the show. I’m no longer speaking concerning the mere 0.1in distinction between the ten.9in iPad Air and 11in iPad Pro both.

In truth, you’ll in finding the similar 2360 x 1640 solution and 264ppi pixel density because the an identical iPad Pro, but it surely’s lacking the particular sauce of Apple’s Pro vary – ProMovement adaptive refresh price era, offering buttery-smooth efficiency at as much as 120Hz.

The iPad Air, like the remainder of the usual iPad assortment, is restricted to a normal 60Hz. The result’s that video games and apps aren’t rather as gentle as they may well be, however that’s somewhat same old for all however essentially the most top rate tablets available on the market.

That’s to not say there’s a disappointing viewing enjoy on be offering from the tablet although; I discovered the iPad Air show to be vivid, detailed and bright whether or not gaming, observing motion pictures on Netflix or just writing emails.

There’s additionally fortify for HDR10 content material with spectacular dynamic vary, and it’s somewhat vivid with a max brightness of 471cd/m2 in checking out.  

In truth, the one genuine unhappiness is that it’s an IPS LCD show and no longer the awesome Mini-LED, OLED or AMOLED, that means that blacks aren’t rather as deep and inky as the ones on top rate tablets just like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra or the iPad Pro 12.9 – although that’s arguably higher fitted to ‘professional’ customers than on a regular basis shoppers anyway.

Features & efficiency

Apple has designed the fifth-gen iPad Air for college kids, creatives and avid gamers, all of which want the easiest efficiency at their fingertips. With that during thoughts, Apple determined to transition the iPad Air line from the A-series chipsets used within the iPhone to the M-series chipsets utilized in Apple’s iPad Pro and desktop Mac line-up.


More in particular, the iPad Air options the similar Apple M1 chipset as no longer most effective the top-end iPad Pro vary, however Mac desktops together with the MacE-book Air, Mac Mini and 24in iMac, with 8GB of RAM and 64/256GB of garage to play with.

Apple claims that this represents a 60% spice up to the CPU and ‘as much as’ 2x efficiency within the graphics division, and that’s in large part subsidized up by means of our benchmark effects.

Compared to the iPad Air 4, the brand new iPad provides important efficiency positive factors around the board, with the actual limitation on graphics being the 60Hz refresh price of the usual Liquid Retina show. For those who need top framerate iOS gaming, the iPad Pro 11 could also be a greater – albeit a lot pricier – possibility.

It’s additionally a lot more tough than lots of the Android festival within the CPU division, providing over double the processing energy of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra utilising Qualcomm’s top-end Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, although the top refresh price show does permit the competing chipset to flex its muscle mass within the graphics division.

Some would possibly argue that this type of tough chipset is overkill in a tablet, but it surely’ll permit the iPad Air to proceed functioning at its easiest for future years as builders start to profit from the desktop-level efficiency on be offering.

You can see how the iPad Air 5 compares to the contest in our complete benchmark breakdown underneath. Spoiler: it’s tough!

As chances are you’ll be expecting, that interprets to a blisteringly speedy tablet enjoy irrespective of what you’re as much as.

Games run exceptionally easily, albeit at a capped 60fps, and it’s nice for photograph modifying too, with further energy translating to real-time impact previews and little or no, if any, load occasions when making use of filters and different results.

It’s additionally a boon for content material creators, with a brand new iMovie replace rolling out that’ll additional assist create complicated movies with out a lot effort, and you’ll be able to be expecting sooner render occasions this time round too.

It may also maintain operating more than one apps directly the usage of the multi-tasking capability, entire with drag-and-drop capability. That’s nice for college kids – particularly when mixed with Apple’s Magic Keyboard, which necessarily turns the tablet right into a 2-in-1 pc.

Performance apart, there were enhancements to the tablet’s USB-C port, providing USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 information switch speeds of as much as 10Gbits in keeping with moment, up from 5Gbits in keeping with moment on its predecessor.

There’s additionally upgraded 5G connectivity, up from 4G LTE, if you happen to go for the cell type – although the cost of the cell type has higher to replicate this development, so tethering could also be the simpler possibility if you happen to don’t intend on the usage of the tablet clear of Wi-Fi that ceaselessly.

You’ll additionally in finding Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 fortify, and safety as soon as once more makes a speciality of the Touch ID-enabled Power button without a Face ID in sight. That’s one of the vital few perks left unique to the iPad Pro vary. 


While cameras on tablets usually aren’t as attention-grabbing as their smartphone brethren, Apple has upgraded the front-facing digital camera at the iPad Air 5 to check the remainder of the iPad vary.

That method the newest iPad Air sports activities a 12Mp ultra-wide front-facing digital camera, making it a very good selection for crew selfies, however that wasn’t the principle reason why at the back of the improve. Instead, it was once to facilitate Apple’s Center Stage era, which makes video calling – a well-liked function on tablets – a lot more straightforward.

The concept at the back of the tech is to analyse the front-facing digital camera and mechanically zoom into your face, permitting you to position the iPad on a floor and transfer round a room whilst chatting with out the wish to repeatedly transfer the tablet.

Center Stage tech

It’s no longer new tech, to be had on key competitors just like the Facebook Portal Go and Amazon’s Echo Show 10, however it’s at hand to have however.

It performs well no longer most effective with FaceTime however third-party apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams too, although you’ll be able to’t appear to turn on it throughout the Camera app itself. The skill to file movies the usage of the tech would’ve been a pleasing contact.

Quality-wise, the 12Mp digital camera is unusually detailed in splendid lighting fixtures prerequisites, with respectable publicity and nice color accuracy bearing in mind nice high quality selfies, although the f/2.4 aperture method it’s no longer rather as performant in low-light prerequisites.

On the rear of the iPad Air you’ll in finding the similar 12Mp f/1.8 snapper as its predecessor, without a genuine exchange in {hardware} or device features to notice. Like the front-facing digital camera, it’ll suffice for on a regular basis snaps, but it surely’s no longer going to switch an iPhone 13 Pro Max anytime quickly.  

Battery existence & charging

Battery existence stays constant regardless of the uptick in efficiency, with Apple’s claimed 10-hour battery existence ringing true in on a regular basis efficiency. While that doesn’t sound that lengthy, extra informal customers can stretch that utilization throughout more than one days – I definitely didn’t really feel the wish to peak up the iPad Air each day like my iPhone.

There’s additionally speedy charging fortify on be offering that’ll assist cut back the period of time you spend looking ahead to the iPad to regain price. It’ll settle for a most of 20W of energy, however in contrast to the iPhone, you’ll get a 20W charger within the field – no wish to fork out for added chargers right here.

Using Apple’s 20W charger, you’ll be able to be expecting 25% price in half-hour. It’s no longer rather as speedy as some smartphones, however bearing in mind Samsung’s top-end Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra controlled 29% in half-hour – the quickest in our assessments so far – it’s somewhat speedy for a tablet.


The iPad Air ships with iPadOS 15.4 out of the field, Apple’s newest model of its tablet-optimised running machine. While there were strides at the Android aspect of items of past due with the point out of Android 12L for big-screen tablets, Apple’s iPadOS continues to be with ease essentially the most succesful and maximum polished tablet OS to be had in 2022.

The major energy of iPadOS is the large library of apps and video games to be had from Apple’s App Store, and in contrast to Android competitors that may use scaled-up cell apps, all iPad apps are optimised for the large display. That method you’ll get a greater enjoy in apps, profiting from the display area to be had with UI tweaks and different options.

There’s additionally a greater vary of apps to be had for creatives and video editors with pro-level apps like Procreate and LumaFusion Pro to be had to obtain.

There also are multitasking options that can help you run more than one apps on-screen on the similar time, entire with drag-and-drop capability, and new options in iPadOS 15 mean you can temporarily take notes from anyplace at the iPad, permits the facility to replicate and paste textual content from pictures inside your Photos app and a lot more.

Simply put, it’s a flexible little bit of device with nice app availability and a top point of polish – there’s a reason iPads had been so widespread for years, in the end.


The fifth-gen iPad Air begins on the similar $599 as its predecessor in the United States, but it surely’s in reality £10 inexpensive in the United Kingdom at a discounted £569. That’ll web you 64GB of garage, with the cost expanding with higher garage capacities and 5G connectivity. Here’s how a lot all of the vary prices:

  • iPad Air (64GB, Wi-Fi): £569/$599
  • iPad Air (256GB, Wi-Fi): £719/$749
  • iPad Air (64GB, Wi-Fi & Cellular): £719/$749
  • iPad Air (256GB, Wi-Fi & Cellular): £869/$899

For context, the iPad Pro 11 with the similar M1 chipset because the iPad Air begins at £749/$799, representing nice price for cash if you happen to do not want Face ID or ProMovement show tech.

If you’re fascinated by choosing one up, the iPad Air is available for purchase from Apple along widespread outlets like Amazon and John Lewis in the United Kingdom and Best Buy in the United States.


The iPad Air stays the candy spot in Apple’s assortment; it sports activities an business design that appears nice and feels excellent within the hand, provides iPad Pro-level productiveness with the inclusion of a desktop-level M1 chipset and whole compatibility with the top rate Magic Keyboard – one thing that may’t be mentioned of another non-Pro iPad.

The Apple Pencil 2 fortify stays cast too, making for a succesful tablet for college kids, avid gamers or even creatives that really feel they received’t employ the ProMovement show on be offering from the (near-identical however costlier) iPad Pro 11.  

There also are the added advantages of 5G connectivity and Apple’s Center Stage digital camera tech, bringing the iPad Air in keeping with the remainder of Apple’s tablet assortment.

iPadOS 15 is some other sturdy level, providing no longer most effective a big library of apps absolutely optimised for the ten.9in show however good options like split-screen multitasking, dictation or even the facility to replicate and paste textual content from inside photographs, making for a succesful tablet that’ll do almost anything else you want with out criticism.

There are problems round construct high quality with my pattern, however I’m assured it is a production factor restricted to a small batch of iPads – I’ve no longer spotted it on another fifth-gen iPad pattern I’ve treated – and if you happen to do in finding your backplate flexes, you’ll optimistically be capable of get a alternative on the Apple Store.

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