New iPad Air 2022 review: More power for the same price, what’s not to love?

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New Apple iPad Air review

New Apple iPad Air review (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

If we had to recommend any tablet right now, the iPad Air would be at the top of our list. Apple gave this popular device a massive reboot two years ago, introducing a stunning all-screen design, faster processor, USB-C charging, and compatibility with the improved second-generation Apple Pencil stylus. And now, thanks to another big upgrade, the iPad Air has been fitted with Apple’s blisteringly quick M1 processor, which is the same brain that powers some of the most popular MacBooks.

So, with that hugely impressive speed boost is the iPad Air now the ultimate tablet? Express.co.uk has been putting it to the test and here is our full iPad Air review

Apple iPad Air 2022 review:

When you first set eyes on the new iPad Air, it appears that not much has changed as this tablet has the same all-screen design and striking aluminium finish as its predecessor.

To be honest, we’re pretty pleased that Apple has kept things the same on the outside as this is one of the best-looking tablets money can buy.

The subtle matt-coloured metal case with shiny embossed Apple logo still looks sublime and the edge-to-edge screen means there are no annoying bezels to spoil your Netflix binge or FaceTime call.

It’s worth noting this new iPad features the same 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display as before, which is no bad thing as it’s a great panel that offers rich and vibrant colours that pack plenty of punch.

New Apple iPad Air review

The iPad Air still looks stunning (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

Helping to boost the visual experience further is Apple’s True Tone technology, which adapts the colour temperature of the screen depending on the conditions of the room you’re in. There’s also an excellent anti-reflective screen coating, which makes it perfect to use both inside and out in spring sunshine.

Sadly, the only thing you won’t find is Apple’s slick Pro Motion technology, which is still exclusively reserved for the more expensive iPad Pro range.

It’s a shame the display isn’t a little faster as, if you’ve ever used Pro Motion, you will notice the difference as the Air suffers from a tiny bit of lag but it’s certainly no deal-breaker as this device still offers a solid way to binge on movies, check emails and get creative.

Although things have stayed much the same on the outside, there is one huge update going on under the hood with the new Air now getting its power from Apple’s M1 processor. This makes what was already a very capable tablet even better with some tasks performed around 60 percent faster than before – that’s impressive.

If you love editing photos, making movies on the move, or playing data-hungry games on your tablet then you will notice a real difference when it comes to load times and sheer performance. There really isn’t anything the Air can’t cope with and all that power will mean its future-proofed for years of iPadOS updates that Apple releases each September.

New Apple iPad Air review

The iPad Air can be transformed into a mini laptop thanks to the Magic keyboard case (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

Despite all this extra power, Apple is still promising 10 hours of playtime – a claim that seems pretty accurate during our testing. We put the Air through a number streaming video tests and it should see you through your next long-haul flight.

Along with that M1 chip, another major boost to the Air is the inclusion of 5G technology when buying the more expensive cellular model. This means you’ll get downloads of over 300Mbps when away from your fixed-line broadband. It’s a handy upgrade, although buying a SIM with enough data to stream endless movies on the move can be expensive so make sure you really need this option before taking the plunge.

As a quick price guide, the entry-level iPad Air starts from £569 but add 5G and things increase to a hefty £719 and that doesn’t include the monthly price for data. Talking of that entry-level machine, one thing to note about this device is that it only comes with a very measly 64GB of internal storage, which simply isn’t enough for most people’s needs.

Apple recently upped the iPhone 13 to include 128GB of storage as standard so it’s a bit baffling why the tech giant hasn’t followed with a similar upgrade on the Air. To make matters worse, there isn’t even a 128GB Air available on the Apple Store meaning fans will have to splash out an extra £150 to jump to the 256GB model. If you want 5G and enough storage for your photos, apps and movies, that price increases to a whopping £869 – ouch!

Apple iPad Air review

The iPad works with the latest Apple Pencil (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

Thankfully, one thing you do get with the iPad Air that you won’t find in the box with your new iPhone is a 20W charger, which refills things pretty quickly via the USB-C port. Thanks to the M1 chip, that USB-C port also allows for much faster file transfers, which is handy for those who need to connect up their cameras to this device.

The final upgrade that’s worth a mention comes to the front-facing 12-megapixel Ultra Wide snapper now features Center Stage technology. This update allows the camera to follow you around the room when making video calls so you always stay in shot. We’ve been using Center Stage on other Apple products for a while and it works really well – it even knows when someone else walks into the shot and seamlessly switches to a wider angle view so everyone can be seen.

Other extras that have made a return include the side-mounted Touch ID fingerprint scanner – which we actually prefer to Face ID on the iPad Pro – and its fully compatible with the latest Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard which turns this device into a mini laptop.

Apple has also refreshed the colours this year with Air now available in new Blue, Pink, Purple and Starlight colours, plus there’s the standard Space Grey. We took delivery of the new Blue variant which looks really sleek and stylish.

Apple iPad Air review

The iPad comes in a number of colours (Image: APPLE)

iPad Air review: Final Verdict

PROS: M1 processor is awesome • Stunning design • 5G comes to the Air • Better front-facing camera
CONS: 64GB of storage is not enough • Can get very expensive • No Pro Motion display

The iPad Air is back and is just as loveable as before. Although Apple hasn’t tinkered with the design, this tablet still looks great and there’s definitely a wow factor when you unwrap it from the packaging. The inclusion of that ludicrously fast M1 chip should ensure this tablet gets the latest software features from Apple for years to come and 5G is great for those wanting buffer-free downloads when on the move.

The updated front-facing camera makes FaceTime calls feel more interactive and the new USB-C port improves things when transferring files.

It’s hard not to recommend the iPad Air, but it’s worth remembering that this device can get very expensive if you start adding more storage and cellular connectivity. Please Apple, sort out that terrible 64GB entry-level option ASAP!

If you want Pro Motion and a miniLED display, you also might want to consider paying a bit extra for the iPad Pro as there’s no question that this premium screen is still superior to the iPad Air.

But for everything else, the iPad Air is still our favourite tablet and this upgrade simply makes it even better.

Published at Wed, 16 Mar 2022 13:00:00 +0000

New iPad Air 2022 review: More power for the same price, what’s not to love?