The iPad Air 4 was a tablet that came and went. I personally think that many people spent time comparing this tablet to the iPad Pro, simply because they have the same design language. But when you remove the comparison aspect and evaluate the tablet alone, it is a truly compelling device. And more than anything else, I do not miss the iPad Pro. Here’s why.
The latest iPad Air has the same design language as the current iPad Pro, and it looks and feels like a modern iPad. It is thin, it is light and very comfortable to use. And of course with Air in particular, you get a handful of different color choices that are not available on the other iPad models. I have the Sky Blue model, and I was initially a little critical of how subtle the blue actually is. But in reality, I do not mind. I stand by my statement that this color is more silver with a blue tint than a sky blue, but I do not think sky blue is a bad look. It just wasn̵
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The screen is something I initially talked down a bit due to the lack of a 120Hz screen with a high refresh rate, which is what is on the iPad Pro. But after using it for a few months, it has not really been something I think about. The screen itself still has a high resolution and is great for watching movies, games and reading. And because this tablet is generally so smoothly fast, I do not see myself constantly after a higher refresh rate display. I think 60Hz on the iPad Air is enough. And the average user will not need a higher refresh rate display at this point.
When it comes to ease of use in the real world, I would say that lust is probably the weakest link for Air’s display. This tablet can only get up to 500 nit top brightness, while iPad Pro can deliver up to 600 brightness. When you use this tablet indoors, this is not very worrying, but with only 500 nit top brightness you can struggle to get a nice view of the screen when you are out during a sunny day. Hope they can address this in generation 5.
When I first got the Air 4, I was not so hot on the fingerprint sensor. I thought it did not make much sense for Apple to do this as FaceID was already in play on the iPad Pro. But even though this tablet is not significantly cheaper than the 11 ”pro, it is still technically lower. And you can not expect to get every top shelf feature on a mid-shelf product. My first problem with TouchID was the location of the sensor. And I still think it makes a lot more sense to put the sensor on the right side above the volume buttons. But after a few months of use, I have definitely become more comfortable with the location. And it’s not something I consciously think about anymore. The sensor is very fast, so I do not feel that it slows down the usability at all.
The performance of the iPad Air has remained just fine for my daily use. Remember that this tablet uses Apple’s A14 processor. This is Apple’s latest mobile processor outside the M1. So you get top performance. Not once have I had the air to slow down or not complete a task in a timely manner. And I do not use this tablet for games so often. But when I do, it’s usually a pretty great experience.
Surprisingly, the battery life of the Air 4 has not been good. It’s even more strange to me because I’m not a heavy user of this iPad. I use it for different things throughout the day, but never for long distances. And there are a few days a week where I practically do not use Air at all. But when I get back to it, I always have 30 or 40% battery life left. I mostly use the iPad to surf the web, watch YouTube videos and use it as an external monitor for my camera.
There are people who are just worried about whether this tablet will last you all day when you use it consistently. And I want to say yes for the most part. But it is definitely not an iPad with several days of battery life, and I will always have a charger available if you plan to use this as your daily driver for productivity.
I think iPadOS is somewhat underrated for being much less buggy than iOS is, at least in my experience. I really can not remember that this tablet has ever bugged me, even in a small sense. And that’s not really something I can say for other Apple products at this point. I’ve had a flawless experience with iPadOS 14, and I think they did a good job of addressing errors that were in version 13.
Widgets have been a nice addition to iOS 14 and iPadOS 14. In addition to the fact that it has taken so long before they arrive, widgets on iPadOS are aesthetically pleasing and work well. I just wish there was more you could do with them. It should have been a no-brainer for widgets to be free to be placed anywhere on the home screen. Free form widgets are my # 1 feature on the iPadOS 15 wishlist.
Overall, the iPad Air is a great tablet alone. I still think that anyone who wants to get a new iPad for school and productivity will probably feel better about an iPad Pro, especially if you’re going to get the pencil and keyboard. An Air 4 with keyboard and pencil is about $ 200 less than what it would be for a Pro with keyboard and pencil. And then you have to decide if the extra features you get with the iPad Pro are worth the extra $ 200. If not, then the Air 4 is a great steal.
What are your thoughts on the iPad Air 4? Hear in the comments below!
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