The circle is now complete with all iPads offering Center Stage. Also, we spent the last week with the new iPad Air from Apple, here is our opinion.
After all the rumours, it’s no surprise (somewhere) that Apple has formalized its iPad Air for a 5th (already?) iteration. Since the release of the latest iPad Pro and therefore the latest iPad and iPad mini, the iPad Air was the only one not to benefit from Center Stage yet, it’s now done!
If the iPad mini is now an ideal tablet for some, it remains focused on a niche market, which is not the case for the iPad and the iPad Air. Their mission is to convince the general public, while the Pro range is aimed above all at the most creative (we don’t say “Professionals” because that no longer makes sense).
The iPad mini adopted the design of last year’s iPad Air, which was a real leap forward for the small tablet. This year’s iPad Air sees no aesthetic change other than new up-to-date colors. On the other hand, inside there has been a major change with the integration of an Apple Silicon M1 SoC and that is not nothing.
We spent more than a week with it, here is our test of the iPad Air (2022 or 5 for friends) and we can say it right away, it’s an ideal tablet and it’s for everyone, without exception.
Features of iPad Air (2022)
As a reminder of the characteristics, the new Apple iPad Air propose :
|Apple iPad Air (2022)|
|Screen||– 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display
– 2360 x 1649 resolution at 264 dpi
– 500 nits
– Laminated screen
– Anti-reflective coating
– True Tone Display
– Compatible with Apple Pencil (2nd generation)
|SoCs||– Apple Silicon M1
– 8 CPU cores
– 8 GPU cores
– Apple Neural Engine
|Memory||– 8GB RAM
– 64GB or 256GB of internal memory
– No memory expansion
– Space grey
|Camera||– Only one camera
– 12 Megapixel wide-angle, F/1.8 aperture
– Smart HDR
– 12 Megapixel Facetime HD Camera, F/2.4 Aperture
|Audio||– 2 Stereo Speakers
– 2 microphones
|Connectivities||– Touch ID on the power button
– Wi-Fi 6
– eSim + nano-SIM
– USB 3.1 Gen 2 and Thunderbolt
– DisplayPort support
– Barometer, Gyroscope, Accelerometer
– Proximity and light sensor
|Software||– iPad OS 15|
|Height and weight||– 247.6 x 178.5 x 6.1mm
– 461g / 462g
|Starting price||– 64GB: €699 / €869 (5G)
– 256GB: €869 / €1039 (5G)
|Availability date||– March 18, 2022|
On the packaging side, we find the white rectangular cardboard box and as is still the case (perhaps not for very long), we are entitled to a USB-C to USB-C cable, a 20W USB charger, instructions for use for a first grip. Nothing very original in itself. It is recalled that the iPad Air supports the second generation Apple Pencil and that it is optional (135 euros). Note that the iPad Air is compatible with the Magic Keyboard (339 euros) of the iPad Pro 11.
For its price, count from 699 euros in the WiFi version with 64GB to go up to 1039 euros in the 5G / WiFi version with 256GB of internal memory. If we regret that Apple does not offer a 512GB version for once, it is especially the 64GB version that we find a bit limited. For us, Apple should have started with a 128GB version.
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Design, Photo, Screen and Audio
It is certain, when we discover the iPad Air 2022, we will not really see anything new in terms of design. The screen edges are not the thinnest on the market and we do not necessarily understand why Apple maintains a difference of 0.1 inch on the diagonal of the screen between the iPad Air and the iPad Pro. As much, we can understand for the refresh rate of 120Hz, reserved for “Pro” but for the diagonal, why bother? Short…
Yours truly is a big fan of the iPad mini but the latter caters to a certain niche somewhere and no, the iPad mini is not the tablet that caters to the greatest number. For that, there is no denying that a 10-inch tablet is much more open with an ideal screen size for all uses. She’s not too small and she’s not too big.
Also, for the greatest number, we sincerely believe that this is the ideal tablet. The thickness is only 6.1mm and the weight remains super reasonable at 461g, which still allows one-handed use for short sessions. The finish remains excellent from our point of view and if we noted certain first negative opinions, we did not have this impression, at least not yet. We will see over time and we will update this test as needed.
If taking pictures with a tablet remains a heresy, we are happy to find the same camera as on the iPad mini 6 or the iPad Pro M1. This allows you to document your notes or other notes, which is practical. We recall that the iPad Air is not intended to replace your smartphone for the photo but still allows you to take snapshots at the level of an iPhone 11, which is good. On the other hand, on the front, there is a front camera capable of recording in 1080p (at 25fps, 30fps or 60fps) and especially with an ultra wide-angle lens and a 12 megapixel sensor. The camera itself does not allow you to take ultra wide-angle photos but allows the iPad Air to have Center Stage technology in turn, which we have been able to test with FaceTime, Zoom or even Webex on the others. iPad. Basically, Center Stage uses ultra-wide-angle and machine-learning to recognize and track the user, allowing for a sort of subject tracking during visions. Yes, it works very well.
Regarding the screen, there is a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina Display screen with a definition of 2360×1640 and therefore a density of 264ppp. So yes, I might as well say it right away, it’s not as thin on the display as an iPad mini 6 with its higher density, but it’s more than enough for this tablet format and unless you’re doing pixel- peeping, we challenge you to see pixels with the naked eye in a classic use. The screen itself is excellent with perfectly controlled colorimetry and good brightness. Whether in broad daylight or in a brightly lit office, we did not note any particular problem. And finally, we still appreciate the support of the Apple Pencil in its second generation and yes, it still arises on the side of recharging and pairing.
And finally, on the sound side, on the iPad Air 5, there are 2 stereo speakers which are excellent and provide balanced sound that is powerful enough to do without an external speaker or headphones. This is where we hear a certain difference with the iPad Pro 11 for once but apart from long content, we think that the user will not necessarily make the difference. Afterwards, we will remain honest, if we want better immersion, nothing can compete with good wireless headphones or good wireless headphones.
M1, 5G, WiFi 6, Performance and Autonomy
As we had already said on the iPad mini test, it is true that if it is a real plus to have 5G on a tablet, we will not pay the same attention to it because we will more often be in the habit of using such a tablet via WiFi at home or via their smartphone. As long as you also have an iPhone, the integration is such that you are not necessarily advised to invest the additional 200 euros to have the 5G version of the iPad Air.
Now, for those who are ultra-nomadic, 5G will be a big plus and in the case of the iPad Air, we did not note a significant impact on autonomy in general. As on the iPad mini 6, the iPad Air does not support millimeter 5G, which did not particularly bother us in real life. If we could already have super fast classic 5G everywhere, that would be a big step forward. On the other hand, we have WiFi 6, and that is always practical because we are starting to find it more often. To finish on the characteristics, note that the iPad Air 5 offers USB 3.1 Gen 2, much faster than its predecessor.
On the performance side, we are not going to surprise you too much… The new iPad Air embeds the Apple Silicon M1 in its bowels, the same as the iPad Pro 2021 or the latest MacBook Air. For the iPad Air, it’s borderline “Overkill”. The power is such that we are not even sure of being able to exploit it at 100%. All our daily applications run without any worries. In truth, there is absolutely nothing but nothing that cannot be run on this iPad Air so that the new tablet from Apple is indeed a tablet that will remain with users for a long, very long time before being possibly change.
And finally, unsurprisingly, the iPad Air runs iPadOS and no, it won’t replace your Mac running macOS. So yes, it will be able to do everything a Mac does in real life, but at the cost of a workflow that is not always optimized, especially for file management. In addition, even with a Magic Keyboard, we find the iPad Air too small on its knees for example, so we will have to be careful when we want to use it in laptop mode on the move.
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Base price: €699
See more offers