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Apple iPad Air 2020 review: Perfect iPad for both - work and fun

Apple iPad Air 2020 review: Perfect iPad for both - work and fun

From merely a content consumption device, iPads have come a long way. Apple has been constantly improving on the software front

Apple iPad Air 2020 Apple iPad Air 2020

Price: Rs 54,900 for 64GB, WiFi

Colours: Silver, Space Gray, Rose Gold, Green, Sky Blue

Specs: 10.9-inch Liquid Retina Display, 2360x1640 resolution at 264 PPI, A14 Bionic chip with Neural Engine, 64/256GB storage, 12MP ultra-wide rear camera, 7M front camera with FaceTime HD support, TouchID, USB Type-C, 458 grams, WiFi, Bluetooth, AirDrop

What's in the box: iPad Air, USB-C charging cable, 20-W USB-C power adapter

iPad Air 2020 is not a budget-friendly tablet. Nor is it as expensive as the iPad Pro. With just the right amalgamation of hardware and software, perfect for both - work and fun, it sits right in between.

Premium design

Ditching the old design, the iPad Air 2020 with flat edges and rounded curves has a premium look and feel. Apple has managed to squeeze in a 10.9-inch bright display in a compact form factor, which feels apt while working. The home button is gone for good and so is the lightning port. In a first for Apple, Touch ID incorporated in the power button is convenient for unlocking as well as authenticating app purchases. The flawless touch and intuitive gestures complement the overall experience. And the Type C port for charging (an industry-standard) is a welcome addition. It also opens up the iPad to a much wider accessory ecosystem. For instance, it supports USB-C pen drive.

Entertainment

There is one thing about iPad line-up hasn't changed in the last decade. They are fast. Apple doesn't get into the specification madness but focuses on what matters the most - experience. Right from streaming movies and shows to gaming and augmented reality apps, everything was just smooth and perfect. I binged some of my favourite shows and movies on the iPad Air 2020 - OnePunch Man, The Simpsons, Kung Fu Panda series, Boston Legal, Blue Bloods, ARGO, Cast Away, Shutter Island... to name a few and the experience was enthralling. It was complemented with a loud and clear stereo sound. While gaming, be it Call of Duty, Asphalt 9: Legends, LEGO Brawls... graphics looked super-rich and the gameplay was fast and fluid. Gaming on the iPad Air 2020 was fun and not even once the hardware failed on me while taking on the opponent. I even used the Orboot AR app for an extended duration and there wasn't any lag.

Work

From merely a content consumption device, iPads have come a long way. Apple has been constantly improving on the software front. My work often includes working on documents with constant access to my emails, Otter.ai which has all my voice recordings, viewing PDFs and at times browsing the web as well.

Earlier, even after pairing the tablet with a Bluetooth keyboard, I couldn't dream of working on the iPad. But the iPad OS with multitasking support including split view, drag and drop amongst others have made it possible. While the Microsoft Office apps work well on the iPad, they aren't free. However, Apple's Office suite apps can be downloaded for free. This includes Pages (alternate to word), Numbers (alternate to Excel) and Keynote (presentation alternate). To avoid compatibility issues, I was able to export these in word/excel format while sharing. When mounted on the keyboard (it's in the vertical position with magic keyboard), the camera is on the left bezel. So during video conferencing over Zoom and Microsoft Teams, I had to constantly look towards to left. I also had to use the Bluetooth buds all the time as there isn't a 3.5mm port.

The single-camera at the rear is good. I used to find the idea of capturing images and videos from the iPad absurd. And I only used it for scanning important documents. But while working from home, it did come in handy in capturing beautiful cloud formation and gliding birds while working from my terrace.

The iPad Air 2020 is powerful, and the support for the Magic Keyboard increases productivity. A very well-designed accessory, the keyboard with backlit keys and trackpad transports the experience completely, making it a great productivity machine. The ability to adjust the angle of the iPad, quick navigation with the trackpad and the keyboard supporting shortcut commands made it easy to work on. And for creative professionals, the Apple Pencil 2nd gen works well. It even magnetically attaches and charges when snapped to the top.

However, both the Magic keyboard and Apple Pencil 2 are not bundled with the iPad Air 2020 and involves an additional investment of Rs 27,900 and Rs 10,900, respectively. But you can also consider Logitech, Astrum or any other 3rd party Bluetooth keyboard too. While everything is good about the iPad, storage is one big issue. Starting at Rs 54,900, 64GB is a little too less. Opting for a 256GB capacity would mean spending additional Rs 14,000.

Overall, the performance is backed with an impressive battery - good enough to last a day's work. With a couple of hours of gaming and streaming videos, it lasts longer - anywhere between three to four days.

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