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Apple iPad Air 4 - Review

Apple Phone / Tablet

Apple iPad Air 4 - Review

Apple Phone / Tablet

Apple iPad Air 4 - Review

Apple Phone / Tablet

An affordable alternative of iPad Pro 11-inch.

The latest 4th generation Apple iPad Air announced earlier during the Apple event in September has a significant performance improvement from its predecessor, and it looks like an iPad Pro 11-inch. So how much more will the latest iPad Air have to offer against its predecessor, and has it caught up with the newest iPad Pro 11-inch? Here's a quick comparison before we dive into the details.


Advancing from its previous generation, the latest iPad Air sits a 12MP-wide rear camera with focus pixels and a larger aperture, similar to the latest iPad Pro 11-inch. Meaning pictures captured are now sharper than the previous generation. However, the front camera remains the same 7MP, similar to both the iPad Air 3 and iPad Pro 11-inch.


A14 Bionic chip

Using Apple's latest A14 bionic chip, the iPad Air 4 features a 6-core CPU and a 4-core graphic architecture, delivering a massive boost in performance. It is 40% faster in CPU performance and 30% faster in graphics. The next-generation 16-core neural engine is two times faster in machine learning than the A12 Bionic chip used in the previous generation. The iPad Air 4 can now handle 4K video editing, create gorgeous artwork, play immersive games, and more. However, it is yet to know how much it will fair against the iPad Pro 11-inch - A12z Bionic chip, which runs on an 8-core CPU and faster GPU. 

Machine learning accelerator

The A14 Bionic chip also includes a second-generation machine-learning accelerator for ten times faster machine-learning calculators. As claimed by Apple, the combination of neural engine, CPU machine learning accelerator, and high-performance GPU enable the iPad Air 4 to perform powerful on-device experience such as image recognition, natural language learning, analyzing motion, and more. 


The iPad Air 4 holds a beautiful 10.9-inch liquid retina display with 2360 x 1640 resolution at 264 PPI, almost the same size as the iPad Pro 11-inch. According to Apple, it also has advanced display technologies like full lamination, P3 wide colour, True tone, and an anti-reflective coating, which delivers an incredible visual experience.


Using the same design case as the iPad Pro 11-inch, the iPad Air 4 is available in five different colours; there are the standard silver and space grey, and the new rose gold, green, and sky blue finish. It uses a thin and light material lighter than before, weighing 456gram for the Wi-Fi version and 464gram for the cellular version. Also, it has the next-gen custom sensor Touch ID integrated at the top button of the iPad Air 4, capturing details of fingerprint more efficiently.


Like its predecessor and latest iPad Pro 11-inch, the iPad Air 4 allows up to 10 hours of web surfing, music, or video play for the Wi-Fi models. Also, it uses a USB-C connector similar to the iPad Pro 11-inch, which is ten times faster than its previous lightning cable.


Instead of the previous smart keyboard and Apple Pencil 1st gen, the iPad Air 4 now works with both the Magic keyboard with smart keyboard folio and Apple Pencil 2nd gen. It also has a dual landscape stereo speaker to enhance the audio experience and auto ios update feature to keep users updated.


Catching up in many aspects, the iPad Air 4 hugely closes the gap with the iPad Pro 11-inch, making it an affordable alternative. It uses the latest A-series Bionic chipset that can handle demanding apps and edit 4K videos, features the same liquid retina display, rear and front camera, and 10 hours of battery life as the iPad Pro 11-inch. Also, the iPad Air 4 is now compatible with the Magic keyboard (Smart keyboard folio) and Apple Pencil 2nd gen, which previously was only accessible for the iPad Pro line.

Even so, the iPad Pro 11-inch still has its difference from the iPad Air 4. It has the ProMotion with a 120Hz high refresh rate, a LiDAR Scanner to measure the distance surrounding objects up to 5 metres away, two rear camera, facial recognition, quad-speaker audio, and additional storage options, which the iPad Air 4 does not have. However, it would probably make more sense to consider the iPad Air 4 for an upgrade rather than the iPad Pro 11-inch, plus it is cheaper by S$320 (Wi-Fi) and S$340 (Cellular) for the base model.