Although they were briefly discontinued in 2017, Apple has relaunched the iPad Air with their 2019 model in March, and the reviews are in: it’s a winner. It’s bigger (with a 10.5-inch screen) and better than the 2017 version, with many new features as Apple has been developing its technology over the years.
However, it is no longer the top-of-the-line iPad like the Air used to be. Instead, the iPad Air 2019 is more like a pared-down version of the current iPad Pro. It follows the same design as the 2017 iPad Pro in many ways, but with fewer features, high-performance features so that it remains below Pro status.
What is great about the iPad Air though is that it makes many of the Pro’s features that it does possess more accessible to those who cannot afford the top-of-the-line model. It also offers a better option for those who want to upgrade form the $325 basic iPad but don’t have a grand to drop on the Pro. The iPad Air’s price truly reflects this mid-range quality by being set at $499.
The Air is aptly named as a slim and light device: it is thinner than a centimetre and weighs less than a pound. Great display and performance are among its strongest points, as is its long battery life, all of which differentiate it from the lower-end iPad. It has a larger screen than the basic iPad, as well as more storage and better compatibility with the Apple Smart Keyboard and the Apple Pencil, making it especially useful for artists and graphic designers.
The screen itself is better designed than the one used on the standard iPad. It is antireflective and is able to display more of the colour spectrum. It also uses Apple’s True Tone technology, which adjusts the colours on the screen according to the lighting in your environment, causing less strain for your eyes. It also has a laminated screen that eliminates the gap between the screen and front glass that can often be seen on the standard iPad and other lower-end digital devices. This is more of an aesthetic feature, but it is more immersive by making what is on the screen feel and look closer to your fingertips.
What makes the iPad Air different from the pro, though, are some downgrades that you may find you don’t want to live without. Instead of the Pro’s four speakers, the Air has two, which means music and videos you play on the iPad will be without stereo separation. It is also missing Apple’s ProMotion Technology, which is a large selling feature of the Pro. This feature matches the iPad’s display speed to video content, which makes visuals appear to move much more smoothly.
In the end, if you want superior sound and visuals for watching movies, the Pro is the best choice of iPad. However, if your goal is to get an iPad that is lightweight and offers great working conditions, the iPad Air has better features over the standard iPad without drying out your bank account.