Apple iPad Air(5th Gen) review: Well-packaged premium tablet

Over the years, Apple has added a variety of iPads to cater to a wide variety of consumers with different needs and budgets. While the generic iPad is aimed at early tablet users and kids, the iPad Air series in the middle can cater for everyone and the Pro series is for niche professionals and premium users, who want the latest and best that a tablet can offer.

Apple launched a new-generation iPad Air earlier this year with PC-grade M1 silicon, which is similar to Pro but costs less. I’ve been using the iPad Air (5th generation) for several months now and here are my thoughts.

Design, build quality and display
Since the very first version of the iPad Air or even the generic models, Apple has used high-quality building materials and the company has made no compromises on this either.

It is also no different in design. It has no peers to match its classy, ​​elegant design and premium hand feel.

As an aside, the new iPad Air is more environmentally friendly than any previous model. The metal housing of the iPad Air (5th generation) is made of 100 percent recycled aluminum and is of aerodynamic quality.

Also, components made of rare earth metals in the housing and audio magnets are also 100 percent recycled. Even the packaging contains 100 percent recycled wood fibers and responsible raw materials.

Coming back to the design aspect, Apple iPad Air has a flat design language that is similar to the latest iPhones on the market. This is Apple’s way of maintaining uniformity across devices across its product portfolio.

Apple iPad Air (5th generation). Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

However, there is a small, but notable difference; it features the side-mounted fingerprint sensor, which doubles as the power button in the top right corner. It is easily accessible and, most importantly, works flawlessly.

The bezel is a bit thick and it is not designed that way for nothing. The thickness is just right for users to place fingers around the edge to hold and operate the iPad. The four speakers, two to the right and left of the iPad (in landscape position) also ensure that the sound can be delivered properly. The speakers are really great and have to say, they are the best among the premium tablets. You can feel their power when you watch a movie or a TV series without headphones. They work great even at maximum volume and there was never any audio distortion.

At the base (in portrait position) is a Type-C port. This eliminates the need for users to purchase separate USB accessories, connect power banks, portable hard drives, or cameras to quickly transfer high-quality photos as well.

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It has a 10.9-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit IPS LCD-based Liquid Retina display with a resolution of 2360x1640p, a pixel density of 264 ppi (pixels per inch), and True Tone display technology.

The display is fully laminated and also comes with an anti-reflective coating.

The screen quality of Apple iPad Air is really good and also bright, which is useful when you use it outdoors. I had no problems reading news on websites or checking emails or browsing social media news feeds.

Apple iPad Air (5th generation). Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

It’s even better inside. The wildlife documentaries are visually immersive with rich colors and darker blacks on the iPad Air screen.

Apple iPad Air is compatible with Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio. Working professionals who travel a lot should go for the former, while others may get the latter.

I used the regular smart folio cover and it comes with strong magnets. It attaches very neatly to the back of the iPad and you can feel how strong the attachment is when removing the cover.

And the soft padding provides good protection against accidental drops, but only a small height. But it does a great job of protecting the device from scratches when kept in the backpack.

Apple iPad Air (5th generation) with standard smart cover folio. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

As mentioned before, Apple iPad Air (5th generation) comes with M1 Silicon. It features an 8-core CPU, which promises to deliver up to 60 percent faster performance, and the 8-core GPU can offer up to 2x faster graphics performance compared to the previous iPad Air.

Combined with the powerful CPU, GPU and 8GB RAM, the integrated 16-core Neural Engine in the Apple M1 can boost the advanced machine learning (ML) features on the iPad Air.

Numbers and chic technical jargon aside, the iPad Air is a smooth performer. During the whole review period, I never had a problem with regard to day-to-day use, nor while playing heavy games like Asphalt 9: Legend. Even when using 3D apps like Night Sky, a stable internet connection works smoothly and provides an immersive visual experience.

Even while editing a short video, the iPad Air doesn’t even show the slightest sign of slowing down. Also scribbling and scribbling on the iPad screen with Apple Pencil (2nd generation) is such a fun experience.

Professionals will love iPad Air with M1 even more with the latest iPadOS 16. It offers several new capabilities, including Stage Manager feature that allows users to resize and overlap apps or split the screen to accommodate multiple apps with ease. to work.

Apple iPad Air (5th generation). Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

The Stage Manager can connect iPad Air (5th generation) to a full external display with resolutions up to 6K. It allows users to work on four apps on the iPad and four apps on the external display.

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Also with the Visual Look Up. Users can easily extract subjects such as birds, insects, statues and more from a photo and add them to notes or a presentation with a single tap.

And in the coming weeks, Apple will bring the Free Form feature with the new iPadOS update. Allows users to host group video conferences or project meetings with presentation sharing feature.

This provides a great medium for the invitees to brainstorm with colleagues, share a link and get started right away. While others add their thoughts, users can see changes on the canvas in real time.

Also, the previously used app will be visible right behind the app that users are currently working on. In this way, the users do not lose sight of their work.

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Apple iPad Air (5th generation) features a 12MP wide-angle camera that supports up to 4K video recording and can be used to scan documents. Just like on iPhones, the native photos app supports editing functions and users play around to create creative videos. But I prefer just editing videos than going around with a big iPad to record videos or take photos.

That said, the primary camera takes excellent images and can be used well for scanning documents and converting them to PDFs for work or school projects. There are a large number of third-party apps in the Apple App Store to help you with the work.

On the front, there is an Ultra Wide 12MP front camera. It also supports the Center Stage feature, which was first introduced with iPadOs 15. It works great during video chatting. It tries to keep the user in the center of the frame and people on the other side don’t lose focus on the host even if it moves. Also, if the host is accompanied by others, the camera can automatically extend to include them in the fame.

New iMovie app on Apple iPad Air (5th generation). Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

Provided you have a good internet connection, it does a great job with high-quality streaming during video calls.

As for battery life, it can deliver 10 hours of video playback with Wi-Fi on, and with mobile data it can last for nine hours. But battery life is very subjective and depends on the individual user.

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I’m not an extreme user and I don’t spend too many hours on my iPad. I spend almost 10-12 hours outside traveling and working, and the rest at home. I used to charge the iPad Air once a week. My routine with iPad Air usually consisted of window shopping on e-commerce sites, or on average watching travel vlogs or nature documentaries a few hours a day, and sometimes watching a two or two and a half hour movie on Fridays.

To test the power of the iPad Air, I played games and even tried to edit videos, as mentioned before, the Apple tablet excels at such tasks, and again with the battery, the drain is not drastic compared to competing Android tablets. That’s probably one of the benefits of having full control over the hardware and software.

The new iPad Air also supports multiple 5G bands. This allows the device to reach peak speeds of up to 3.5 Gbps under ideal conditions. The new device also comes with support for eSIM and Wi-Fi 6.

Apple iPad Air (5th generation). Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

Final Thoughts- Apple iPad Air (5th generation) is a really good long-term investment suitable for whole family members at home

Thanks to improvements in iPadOS in recent years, iPad Air models in particular are more productive than ever before. With iPadOS 15.4 enabling universal controls, you can effortlessly move objects and notes between your companion Mac.

With new improvements to the iMovie app, there are also more tools to let your imagination run wild for editing and creating fun short videos.

And the latest iOS 16 offers more features, such as a stage manager for multitasking on the iPad Air.

In summary, you should view the iPad Air (5th generation) as a long-term investment that will serve all members of your family, whether working on presentations or playing graphically rich games, editing videos/ images from a party, or to binge-watch movies or shop in e-commerce apps.

And it doesn’t need to be replaced every two years. Given the pattern of Apple’s software support, the iPad will most likely receive iPadOS updates for at least the next five to six years. Even if support ends, the device will work just fine and even get a security software patch from Apple.

Get the latest on new launches, gadget reviews, apps, cybersecurity and more on personal technology only on DH Tech.

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