Hands-on Experience with iPad Air 5: It's a "tablet" in the Standard Sense

Hands-on Experience with iPad Air 5: It's a "tablet" in the Standard Sense

  1. Briefly talk about the appearance
  2. The size that unleashes the full power of iPad
  3. Real continuitywith one charge a day
  4. M1 chip and performance
  5. Some regrets
  6. Selection and purchase advice
  7. In summary: an iPad in the standard sense๏ผˆOTOFLY may sell ipad case in the future.)

In the past spring 2022 new product launch, Apple released new products such as iPhone SE, iPad Air and Mac Studio. Among the many new products, iPad Air is a regular upgrade, so the attention is relatively lowest. But I just happened to get this new product during the home quarantine and used it for a few days. In this article, I'll talk about my hands-on experience with the 2022 iPad Air.

The iPad Air is a familiar product to readers, and there are no special changes to the look and feel of the current generation of iPad. So in this hands-on experience, I won't go over the parameters that can be found on Apple's website, but rather talk about the parts of iPad Air that I've experienced the most in my own context.

In addition, I've used the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, 7.9-inch iPad mini, and the older iPad without any suffixes for a long time, but I've never used a 10.9-inch iPad product in earnest. So I'm taking this opportunity to compare my experience with other iPad models and provide you with more information for your iPad purchase decision.


  1. Briefly talk about the appearance

The iPad Air is the fifth generation of the same series, and the second generation of the iPad Air with a square shape. Compared to the previous generation, the basic design and size of iPad Air remains unchanged, and the screen is the same Liquid Retina display as the previous generation, with the same side Touch ID. However, Apple continues its tradition of "exclusive colorways for each generation" with a new blue color for the new iPad Air, which is the same color I used this time.

Like several other colorways, the blue version of iPad Air has a frosted finish with a frosted texture. When used indoors, the color is a little darker than in the product image, closer to a dark blue. In addition to the iPad itself, I also paired it with a set of Magic Keyboard in white, and the "blue and white" color combination works well together. The white Magic Keyboard is more resistant to dirt than I expected and is easy to remove when stained. However, users who have used the keyboard say that there is still a possibility of yellowing after long use. You need to weigh the appearance and durability before you buy.


  1. The size that unleashes the full power of iPad

What really shows the value of iPad Air is its 10.9-inch screen size. In my opinion, it's "big enough and small enough" to balance the right amount of information with portability. "Big enough" means the display area is large enough to carry a sufficient amount of effective information. iPad Air is about four-fifths the size of an A4 sheet of paper, and the actual display area is roughly the same size.

One of the scenarios where I use my iPad more is to view PDF files. Usually, I read in portrait mode. In this state, reading a document on iPad Air feels very similar to printing it out on A4 paper, and my reading speed and annotation habits are perfectly inherited on iPad. And when I need to read a document while doing something else (like looking up words or chatting), I can use landscape mode for split-screen browsing, and iPad Air is still wide enough to present the text without feeling like the information on the same screen has been dramatically reduced. When I use iPad mini for this task, it's significantly more confined.

In addition to reading documents, iPad Air is also great for sharing movies with two people. With the recent increase in the epidemic and everyone working from home, Daisy and I have been spending a lot more time watching movies over dinner. We used to put our 12.9-inch iPad Pro on the dining room table, and while the display was great, the 13-inch size did take up a bit of space on the table, leaving no room for two more plates of food. iPad Air is the perfect size for two people to watch a show without taking up too much space. If you're watching a TV show together in bed, you can rest your hands on the iPad Air and not get too tired.

In addition, the scale of the iPad Air display gives the user a subtle hint that "you can look at me like a piece of paper". After I received the iPad Air, I didn't have a chance to fiddle with it before Daisy took it to do a few small drawings and rated it as "good". However, the iPad Pro had been sitting in my house for a long time, and despite its larger display area and Apple Pencil, it didn't give Daisy the urge to draw. After a brief conversation, I realized that the size and dimensions of the iPad Air intuitively reminded Daisy of a pen and paper, and she naturally followed her habit of using a pen and paper to draw with Procreate.

"Small enough" means it's smaller and lighter than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro while still displaying a good amount of information, which makes me more likely to pick it up and use it in different life situations.

The aforementioned "no room at the dinner table" is a good example, but there are many other scenarios, such as when I'm reading text before bed, but the iPad Pro is too big to fit in bed or to lift. The iPad Pro weighs more than 1300 grams with the Magic Keyboard on, which is not much different from the MacBook Air in terms of size and weight, and it's not as light and thin as a tablet.

However, the size of the iPad Air is not perfect, and one of the effects is the Magic Keyboard. 12.9-inch version of the Magic Keyboard has full-size keys for the main functions, but 10.9-inch version has half-width keys. These keys are concentrated on the right side of the thumb area and are used quite frequently, so if you follow the normal keyboard usage habits, you will easily miss the keys or fail to find them, which will affect the efficiency of typing. For example, I often use the "+" and "-" keys to page through the candidate words, and the half-width keys are often wrong. The width restriction also causes the two keys in right-angle quotes to be of different widths, which makes it a bit difficult to find them. The good news is that these problems are not insurmountable, and you can get used to them after a couple of days of familiarity. However, for users who rely on iPad for text creation, half-width keys can be a bit of a problem, so you'll need to take that into account when shopping.


  1. Real continuitywith one charge a day

After the release of the new iPad Air, I saw that some of you were concerned about whether there would be any major changes in battery life with the M1 chip. According to Apple's website, the new iPad Air has the same battery life as its predecessor, and not only that, but iPad mini, iPad Air, and iPad Pro have the exact same battery life. From my experience, there's really nothing special about the iPad Air's battery life, which I'd call "really only need to charge once a dayโ€.

My routine is to start at 9:00 every day, participate in the editorial poll of yesterday's articles, then meet and type; use it to watch YouTube while eating at noon, and continue typing after the lunch break, during which I listen to music or chat in social tools. After work in the afternoon, I use it to continue watching YouTube while eating dinner; before going to bed, I read documents for about half an hour and then charge it up and go to bed. With automatic room brightness throughout, the iPad Air has just enough power to last me a day, literally one charge a day.

This battery life is "normal operation" for iPad, not better than its predecessor, but also better than many laptops. However, since my previous iPad Pro was a 2018 model, the battery life is not as good as it used to be today. So after replacing it with the iPad Air, I feel that the battery life of the iPad has improved, which is a passive benefit of switching to a new device.


  1. M1 chip and performance

Since Apple introduced the M1 chip, I'm sure you've seen countless discussions about how powerful this chip is, so I won't dwell on them in this article. In my everyday use, whether I'm watching, writing, retouching, or editing a short video, there's no scenario that really hits the M1's performance ceiling. Simply put, the M1 chip in iPad Air does not make any trade-offs or "cuts" compared to the iPad Pro, and in terms of performance alone, everything the iPad Pro can do, the iPad Air can do.


  1. Some regrets

Overall, switching from the old iPad Pro to the new iPad Air has been a much more enjoyable experience for me. But there are a few things that I don't like about it.

The most obvious thing is that without Face ID, unlocking and opening the screen is a little more troublesome than before. Most of the time, I'm holding the side of the tablet with one hand when I light up my iPad. When I'm using iPad Pro, Face ID automatically detects my face and unlocks it directly, which means I can unlock my iPad the moment I pick it up and operate it directly. But on iPad Air, I have to actively reach out to touch Touch ID, which is convenient, but after all, it's an extra finger-holding action that's less smooth than before.

The second is the high screen refresh rate support. iPad Pro applied the 120 Hz ProMotion high screen refresh rate early on, which is also an important selling point for the Pro series. On a large screen, the difference between different refresh rates is much more noticeable than on a phone. Without opening any apps, you can feel the significant difference in refresh rates between iPad Air and iPad Pro by simply swiping between pages in the home screen. When you go from 120 Hz to 60 Hz, every step feels a little jarring, and it takes a while to get used to it.


  1. Selection and purchase advice

I'd like to conclude this article by talking about which of the current iPad models are suitable for which users.

The iPad Air is undoubtedly the right device for most people, and it strikes a relative balance between price and configuration. Even if you only use it to watch TV shows, take online classes or play games, it's not an overly expensive investment. It also has a high performance ceiling and potential for expansion - with the same M1 chip as the Pro Series and a full suite of Pro Series-compatible accessories, iPad Air is perfectly capable of keeping up with you if you want to use it in the Pro way.

For advanced users who already know exactly "what I want to do with iPad," iPad Pro is better suited. Compared to iPad Air, those extra "Pro" parts of iPad Pro may directly determine whether some usage scenarios hold true. For example, if you're an interior decorator, you might need a LiDAR camera to help your clients model quickly; if you want to do a podcast on iPad, you'll naturally record better with five studio-quality microphones; if you want to do visual and even 3D design on iPad, the larger screen size and Liquid Retina XDR display will help you do it better. If you want to do visual or even 3D design on iPad, the larger screen size and Liquid Retina XDR display help you do it better.

iPad mini can be considered a "big phone" for those who must carry their tablet around in their pockets. Compared to a phone, iPad mini has a wider field of view, more information, more room to grip when playing games, and more visual comfort. But it doesn't have accessories like Magic Keyboard, and the screen size really isn't big enough. When it comes to serious office work or creative work, iPad mini may not be as comfortable.


  1. In summary: an iPad in the standard sense

This generation of iPad Air is an iPad in the standard sense - portable, powerful, balanced, and not too expensive, which is exactly what the public expects from the word "iPad". Many of you bought iPad with a plan to use it for three or five years, and the M1 chip is what gives you the confidence to use it for a long time without worrying about lagging behind in performance. During the time I've been using the new iPad Air, the epidemic has escalated, and I've been stuck at home using it for work, entertainment, and study. This is the meaning of a good device that can make life happy and fulfilling.

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