Is the new Apple tablet so magical?

New air! Apple is updating its iPad Air tablet. The fifth generation of Apple brand’s ultra-thin tablet, now with Wi-Fi and 5G, the newcomer is advancing with a partially revised technical sheet. Purpose: to optimize use, all kinds of use, whether they are related to simple entertainment or production. Are Apple promises being kept? 20 minutes took the time to test it out and gives you my verdict!

The new iPad Air uses the Apple M1 chip. – CAPTURE

Lightweight and comfortable in the hand

10.9 inches, 6.1 mm thick, 461 grams: The new Apple iPad Air is sized to flatter the retina. But not only. Very nice in the hand, the tablet, available in five colors (including the new blue), is a truly beautiful item with a perfect finish. Like the iPad Air 4, the fifth iteration of the tablet gets rid of the Touch ID button on the front, which this time is in the upper right corner. Handling is a little less straightforward, but fingerprint unlock is very responsive. Another benefit is that the black side borders around the image are twice as thin.

Frustrated Gamers

This gives the display more breath. As always with Apple, the image is perfectly calibrated, sharp and with vibrant colors. But we would truly appreciate that for this new iPad Air, an OLED screen replaces the proposed LCD screen. The contrasts would be even better. In addition, Apple offers on a tablet that is also designed for playback, a panel with a refresh rate of 60 Hz, while 120 Hz would make hearts gamers.

Consolation: two built-in speakers broadcast frankly canonical, meaty and surround sound, from which you really want to put your headphones or headphones away to watch your movies and series in streaming mode.

M1 chip to build in the big leagues

But the real change is within. The iPad Air uses Apple’s proprietary M1 processor, which we praise a lot. The processor is the engine. They are already equipped with MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and Mac mini. 60% faster than the A15 Bionic chip in the iPad Air 4, and twice as fast in terms of display.

iPad Air 5 can run the most demanding applications.
iPad Air 5 can run the most demanding applications. – AN APPLE

Consisting of 16 cores, the neural processor (that is, the brain) is capable of performing 11 trillion operations simultaneously (one billion billion). What it gives: 11,000,000,000,000,000,000!

Usage question

You can see it in use. Or no. It all depends on the use, and here it seems wise to warn potential future buyers: if you are looking for a cutting-edge tablet just for entertainment, the iPad Air will not disappoint you, but you risk offering yourself a Ferrari to drive on small country roads.

On the other hand, if you are creative and need resources for some resource intensive applications (like Lightroom, Photoshop, ProCreate…) this is for you! So, welcome to the most demanding video games, 3D modeling, RAW photo editing, 4K HDR video editing, and all the joys that ultimately make the iPad Air a tablet halfway between an entertainment tablet… and a professional tool.

Center stage innovates

We won’t necessarily offer iPad Air for photography. If Apple now integrates a 12-megapixel sensor on the back (can shoot in 4K up to 60 fps), the photo quality on offer is worthy of the iPhone 11. It’s not too bad, but the results are perfect. when good lighting conditions are not met.

The front now houses a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle sensor, up from the previous 7-megapixel. With it, the idea is not to take group selfies, but to take advantage of the new Center Stage feature offered by Apple thanks to machine learning. With it, the user is recognized and their face is tracked and always placed in the center of the screen during visio (now in 1080p). It works great with FaceTime as well as other apps like Zoom. We also found that the built-in noise reduction system was quite effective when conf calls.

For its part, the autonomy of the iPad Air does not change and remains at the level of about ten hours. However, we see the M1 chip on the move and conserve battery power in resource-intensive applications such as video editing. However, charging time for the iPad Air with the included 20W charger remains quite long: around 2:30, according to our tests, via the tablet’s USB-C port.

Very quickly more expensive than the MacBook Air

Sold from €699 in the Wi-Fi version with 64GB of storage, the iPad seduces as much as it challenges. Why not offer 128GB of storage in 2022 (we’re moving straight to the 256GB model)? Why only offer an LCD panel on a heavy duty machine that is also/especially made for creators? And what about the price of accessories: 135 euros for the 2nd generation Apple Pencil and 339 euros for the Magic Keybord. Which can push the bill up to 1173 euros… where a 256 GB MacBook Air with an M1 chip costs 1129 euros…

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