Apple iPad Air 11-inch test (2024): brings back an Android tablet that costs a lot more – ZDNET

With its portability and large storage space, this versatile tablet strikes a balance between performance and price. It is powerful enough to handle the needs of most tablet users, such as multitasking, video watching, and video conferencing. And it costs hundreds of euros less than the Pro model and other high-end Android tablets.

That said, while this iPad Air certainly isn’t better than the iPad Pro, it’s also not significantly superior to the previous Air or other cheaper iPads.

But if you want an iPad that’s light, has a big screen, and has most of Apple’s goodies, this year’s model might be the most reasonable option.

Apple iPad Air 11-inch (2024) technical specifications

iPad Air 11 inch

  • starting price : €720
  • Display : Liquid retina display
  • Mass Weight: 462 grams
  • Processor : Apple M2 chip
  • FRAME : 8GB
  • Storage space : 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB
  • battery : Up to 10 hours, Li-Po 28.93 Wh
  • Camera : Main 12MP, front 12MP

13-inch iPad Air

  • starting price : €970
  • Display : Liquid retina display
  • Mass Weight: 617 grams
  • Processor : Apple M2 chip
  • FRAME : 8GB
  • Storage space : 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1GB
  • battery : Up to 10 hours, Li-Po 36.59 Wh
  • Camera : Main 12MP, front 12MP

How I tested the Apple iPad Air 11 » (2024)

I tested the iPad Air every day for a week and a half. I used various productivity apps for writing and work. I was browsing the web. I played games.

The benchmarks I ran made it possible to compare the performance with the old one iPad (8th generation) and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra.

The device I tested is the 11-inch model. Apple also sells a larger 13-inch model. Fun fact: Apple kept the same specs for both configurations, including processor, RAM and storage, battery life and cameras.

What are the best features of the Apple iPad Air 11” (2024)

Double storage for the same price as the previous model

The iPad Air (2024) has four storage capacities, starting at 128GB and up to 1TB for the 11-inch and 13-inch models. The 11-inch iPad Air with 128GB of storage costs €720, which is not far from the €700 of the previous generation 10.9-inch model with half the storage, i.e. 64GB.

iPad Air (2024, 6th generation)

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Doubling the storage capacity of the base model is enough to entice some buyers to add the new iPad Air to their cart.

Add to that all the extra features of the latest model, including the front camera now centered on the longer side of the tablet, the M2 processor and more, and you have one of the best tablets on the market, if not the best.

The new iPad Air is equipped with an M2 chip

That’s more power compared to the M1 chip in the fifth-generation model. how is it better Apple says the M2 chip gives the new iPad Air 50% faster performance than the previous M1 model and three times faster than the A13 Bionic model.

Although I don’t have an M1 to test these claims. I have two older 8th generation iPads at home, both of which were noticeably slower and less responsive than the iPad Air. It is clear that the iPad 2024 outperforms the older A12 Bionic chip in benchmark tests. But here is a comparison with the top tablet Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra.

SC CPU Benchmark

  • iPad Air (2024) :2622
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra : 2081
  • iPad 8th generation : 1330

MC CPU Benchmark

  • iPad Air (2024) : 10007
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra :5601
  • iPad 8th generation : 2788

GPU benchmark

  • iPad Air (2024) : 41771
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra :9481
  • iPad 8th generation : 8998

As a reminder, the Samsung is a €1,350 14-inch tablet equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor.In addition to the Ultra tablet’s superior performance in benchmarks, I found the iPad Air much more reliable in daily use than the Samsung tablet.

While I appreciate the versatility of the Tab S9 Ultra, the iPad Air is much faster and less prone to random errors (ie app crashes, connectivity issues, and general performance). Especially when using apps like CapCut for video editing and Photoshop for photos.

iPad Air (2024, 6th generation)iPad Air (2024, 6th generation)

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Big screen for the first time

Apple sells the 13-inch iPad Air for the first time. It’s obviously heavier than the 11-inch model (around 140 grams), but offers more screen area to improve productivity and content viewing.

Since the 13-inch iPad Air starts at €970, it’s an efficient and relatively affordable option for students and professionals.

However, I prefer the 11-inch model for its portability. That’s the whole point of the “Air” device, right?

What I would like to see in the next model

iPad Air (2024, 6th generation)iPad Air (2024, 6th generation)

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

The real iPad “Air”

Apple missed the mark when it came to the “Air” name for this year’s iPad, with the latest iPad Air being heavier and thicker than the latest iPad Pro.

It’s not that the company doesn’t respect the size and weight of the iPad Air compared to previous versions, but it’s that Apple has put most, if not all, of its efforts into making the more expensive and thinner iPad Pro lighter and thinner this year, so iPad Air bite the dust.

At 462 grams, the latest 11-inch iPad Air weighs practically the same as its predecessor, which weighed 461 grams at 10.9 inches. The 2022 and 2024 models are also 6.1mm thick. Apple didn’t make the iPad Air thinner or lighter this time around, which is disappointing given how thin the Pro model is. Perhaps the term “Air” now represents only the basic features, like the MacBook line.

iPad Air (2024, 6th generation)iPad Air (2024, 6th generation)

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Unlocking with Face ID

I sound like a broken record, but truth be told, many iPad Air users want this feature, but Apple hasn’t added it to their model yet.

This is a minor issue, especially with the highly accurate fingerprint reader integrated into the side power button, but it’s a matter of convenience.

Touch ID can be configured with both hands so you don’t have to reach every time you want to unlock the tablet, but I prefer to pick up the tablet and let it recognize my face to unlock more easily.

Final Thoughts on Apple iPad Air 11 » (2024)

After testing the latest version of the iPad Pro, the biggest reason to upgrade to the older model is the 13-inch size option.

What was once an advantage of the iPad Pro has now been reduced to a much more affordable price.

I also strongly recommend that existing users, including those who own the 2022 model, do not upgrade to the latest model. Apart from the larger screen, there is no major difference between this year’s iPad and the one from two years ago.

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