Apple tends to update some of its most iconic products. They are not the classic renovations that we see in Samsung or Huawei terminals, but software and hardware updates of the most classic equipment. Ahead of WWDC, Apple announced new AirPods with wireless charging, an iPad Mini with an updated processor and Apple Pencil support, and a much lighter 2019 iPad Air with a larger screen and keyboard and Apple support. Pencil.
The iPad Air 2019 is a perfect team to work with, for those users who move and like to enjoy multimedia content, but who do not need all the advantages or benefits of the Pro. Nor to spend more than 800 euros on this model. Or so I think. After seeing an interesting offer, I decided to get the iPad Air 2019 , the Apple Pencil and the keyboard. This was already a month ago. Now I tell you my personal experience, how is working with an iPad and all the good and bad of this device.
I decided to buy the most basic model. Specifically, the i Pad Air 2019 (3 gen) of 10.5 inches, 64 GB and only WI-FI in silver. The basic version costs about 550 euros. I have a MacBook Pro as the main tool to work with, but since I am from here to there, with trips, hours on the AVE and at airports, I decided to opt for a more portable device. I didn't want to upgrade to an iPad with LTE because I don't need it. I have a rate with a large amount of GB that I hardly spend at the end of the month, and sharing the internet with the iPad is not a problem for me. Also, I didn't feel like spending more money each month for a rate other than the one I have for my phone. These are the characteristics of the iPad Air 2019.
Apple Pencil: a curious accessory, but expensive and with little daily use
I decided to accompany this iPad Air with a first generation Apple Pencil . Yes, it is true that there is already a second generation, but this device is only compatible with the first version. Therefore, we will have to charge it through a Lightning connection , and not through induction, like the second generation. It is a large pencil, with a rounded design and a glossy finish that sometimes becomes slippery. Of course, the precision with the pointer is very, very good . It looks like you are writing with a pen. Counting of course that the touch panel is not rough and slips slightly.
One of the most interesting features of this Pencil is the synchronization with the iPad. S olo we need to get the cap back and connect it to the port Lightning our iPad . In a few seconds a message will appear to link it and the device will synchronize quickly. In the event that we turn off the iPad, we will have to do this step again, but it is as simple as connecting the charger. Another feature is its autonomy. It has a battery life of about 12 hours. The truth is that depending on the use it lasts more or less, but what we can assure you is that we will always have it with battery. In the event that it runs out, a full charge takes just under 5 minutes.
Now, what uses can we give this Apple Pencil? The compatibility is total. That is, we can navigate through the interface and perform different actions, such as pointing to texts, taking screenshots, writing in notes, opening applications, etc. In addition, there are many specific apps for painting or coloring with this device. In my case, on most occasions I have used it to annotate through different note apps, highlight texts when writing articles or edit images through the Pixel Mator app.
Taking into account that it is a pencil of about 100 euros, I think that I have not finished making the most of it. It is a device designed for those users who are constantly drawing, taking notes, writing notes or designing. I think it's an accessory that should be included with the iPad, just like Samsung does with the Galaxy Tab S4. Or, add more default options for Apple Pencil. Still, it's a great product, with precise sensitivity, and it works really well with this Apple device.
The iPad Air keyboard
The iPad Air also comes with the possibility of attaching an official keyboard, the so-called Smart Keyborad Folio. This is the same one used by the previous generation 10.5 '' iPad Pro, as it has the same dimensions. Its price is 180 euros. In addition to the keyboard, it helps us to cover the iPad screen when we are not using it.
Personally, I think that this is the accessory that best suits users who want an iPad to work with , It is a very comfortable keyboard, with a short path that at first takes getting used to, but when you write a couple of texts you adapt perfectly to the size and roughness. And speaking of size, it is the same as a conventional keyboard, such as the Apple Magic Keyboard. It has the command keys, the numeric keyboard in the upper area and a key that allows us to display the Emojis keyboard and select it from the screen. In addition, in the lower area of the iPad panel we can see related words and select them, as well as the option to paste or copy text and go back.
Regarding the aesthetics and functions of the keyboard, this accessory is covered by a layer that is waterproof. Therefore, if we are writing with a coffee in between and we drop it on the keyboard, we can clean it and wipe it with a damp cloth . Of course, it is a magnet for dust, although it is solved in the same way: with a cloth. How does this accessory connect to the iPad? The Apple device has pins on the bottom frame. The keyboard also has these magnetic pins, so we simply have to connect them and place the hole just above the keyboard. It will automatically activate. Unlike the keyboard on this year's iPad Pro, it can only be placed in one position, which is quite comfortable when typing while sitting at a desk.
In addition to the keyboard, we can also use this accessory to view only the screen when watching movies, series or presentations. You just have to place the back of the keyboard on the back of the ipad and rest it on a surface . Another of the most positive points of this keyboard is that it does not need to be charged, since it is powered through the pins of the iPad.
iPad Air with keyboard attached.
In short, it is a comfortable keyboard when typing, ergonomic and easy to use. Also, quite resistant. Of course, its price can pull a little back, especially considering that there are different options, which although they are not connected so easily, they can be configured via bluetooth.
The iPad Air 2019 has pretty much the same design as the model from 5 years ago. There are hardly any changes. the dimensions are very similar, at 25.06 x 17.41 x 0.61 cm thick and weighing 465 grams. Of course, the side frames are somewhat better used. However , it still has a fairly pronounced frame at the top and bottom , with a camera for selfies and the classic Touch ID, which also seems to have a slight renovation, and which works very well. We do not have Face ID, this method is exclusively for Pro models.
The rear is made of aluminum. It is flat, with a camera in the upper area, the Apple logo in the center and the word iPad written at the bottom. This rear is fused with aluminum frames that are slightly rounded. 6-millimeter-thick frames that house a volume button on the left edge , the power button and headphone jack on the top, and a double stereo speaker on the bottom. In that same location we also have the ligning connection
Apple did not want to bet on a USB C connection either. A bad decision considering that with iPad OS, the next version of the operating system that is already in beta, allows you to connect external hard drives and other accessories . The UBS C connection is a standard and is present even in mid-range terminals. However, Apple has not wanted to add it on the iPad Air. Personally, it is one of the aspects that I like least about this device, since practically all my accessories are USB C. Especially since my MacBook Pro has USB C ports.
Beyond the connections, the iPad Air is very light. It weighs only 465 grams in the case of the WiFi model, and it is quite noticeable when we transport it. When holding the equipment it is not heavy either, and its 6 millimeters thick make it have a better grip. It is an elegant device, with a nice design, if somewhat dated. Especially when we look at the front.
We can also compare this design with that of the iPad Pro from 2017. It seems that Apple has sweated the same front, since the screen size is the same, although the rear differs in some aspects, such as the shape of the camera. But even the Smart Connector, to connect the keyboard case (which is precisely the same as in the Pro 2017 model) is in the same location.
The iPad Air 2019 has a 10.5-inch LCD panel, with a resolution of 2,224 by 1,668 pixels and with retina technology . It's a fairly large screen, especially considering that previous iPads Air were around 9.7 inches. If we come from a previous model we will notice the difference. As for the quality of the screen, the truth is that it is excellent. The colors are very good, with fairly pure blacks and perfect viewing angles. The resolution of the iPad Air leaves us with a pixel density of 264 p / p. The pixels are barely visible and the sharpness of the panel is excellent. It is a perfect screen to consume multimedia content.
In terms of brightness, the high is more than enough to see clearly in bright conditions. In broad daylight there is some complaint, as it reflects a lot on the screen. This device incorporates TrueTone, a technology that allows you to change the hue of the screen depending on the light. This helps us to better visualize the panel, since the tones adapt to the environment.
Performance, autonomy and camera
The 2019 iPad Air features the A12 Bionic Chip. It is the same processor that the iPhone of 2019 incorporates. That is, the most powerful of Apple with the exception of the A12X of the iPad Pro. In the RAM we find 3 GB of RAM. The performance is more than sufficient for basic tasks, such as writing text, games, browsing social networks. In the case that we want to work with video or image editing, the performance is also more than enough. Also with heavy games like Fortnite or Asphalt . The navigation of the system is very fluid, without cuts or any type of LAG.
In terms of autonomy, Apple promises up to 10 hours of browsing with WI-FI, with a battery of 30.2 watts / hour. On a day-to-day basis, and continuously working with basic tasks or multimedia content, the approximate duration is about 8 hours, which is not bad at all. The load is 10w, so it is quite slow.
The iPad camera has never stood out. In this case either. The iPad Air has an 8 megapixel main lens. A camera with low results indoors and somewhat more decent outdoors with good brightness. Although it is more than enough to take pictures of a page and scan it through an app, or in a timely manner, the results are not as good as we expect in a device of this price. The same happens with the front camera. It has a resolution of 7 megapixels. Considering that Facetime is present as one of the most interesting functions of the iPad, the quality of this front lens is not adequate for video calls or selfies. We see quite a lot of noise indoors and lack of color.
Software: from iOS to iPad OS
The iPad comes standard with iOS 12 , the latest version of Apple's operating system finally available. The next version will be iPad OS and will be out in the fall. In my case, I have decided to test the iPad Air with iOS 12 for a few weeks and then install the iPad OS beta.
In iOS 12 there are no major changes compared to previous generations. Yes, some other exclusive function, such as the possibility of applying a split screen or the classic floating windows , which allows us to have a better navigation of the system. iOS 12 also has an in-app usage control. So we can see how much time we spend with the applications. iOS 12 is a very good version for the iPad, but there are hardly any productivity features that allow it to be used as a laptop.
The latter does happen with iPad OS . The new version of the operating system is perfect for productivity. Especially for the options it includes. For example, the possibility of using several applications with the floating window or improving the shortcuts in the app. In addition, iPad OS allows us to use the split screen in the same application. These functions are great for working or doing two things at the same time on the iPad.
Beyond the possibilities that the iPad offers us for productivity, the new version also has design options. For example, we can choose between a light theme or a dark one. Although the panel of this iPad Air is not OLED, so it does not really save battery, it does offer a somewhat more 'sophisticated' design for some users. The latest betas have also added the ability to choose the size of the icons. Last but not least, the Widgets bar can be docked on the home screen. So we have the controls more at hand.
The truth is that iPad OS does not mean great changes compared to iOS 13 for the iPhone. Apple has wanted to divide this version into its own operating system to increase the possibilities of this operating system. iPad OS sounds good for next fall, when its final version arrives. But also for future updates. With the power of iPads, Apple can pack in some really cool features and functions. The operating system of this device is one of the star features, and possibly one of the most important aspects when purchasing an iPad. If you are considering this device for work or productivity, iPad oS fits perfectly.
Price and conclusions
The 2019 iPad Air has different settings. Therefore, also different prices. The most basic configuration is priced at 550 euros. These are the other variants.
- iPad Air 64 GB with WI-FI : 550 euros.
- iPad Air 64 GB + Cellular: 670 euros.
- iPad Air 256 GB with WI + FI: 720 euros.
- iPad Air 256 + Cellular: 860 euros.
550 euros may seem like a cheap price. Technically it is, but we must bear in mind that it is 64 GB, limitation with Wi-Fi and without the possibility of expanding the storage. In my case, 64 GB is more than enough for the use that I have given the iPad during this month of use. Also, I have an iCloud subscription so all my pictures and documents are saved in the cloud. In the case of the Wifi option, I chose this model because I do not have anything to share from my mobile connection to the iPad, since I have a card with a large amount of GB and I don't want to spend more money on another SIM that I will use from time to time when. What about those who do need a 4G network on the iPad? That the price increases to 670 euros and the storage is still somewhat low for a device of these characteristics.The most powerful version, with 256 GB of storage and 4G, exceeds 800 euros . That is, a little less than the basic version of the 11-inch iPad Pro with 64 GB.
The point is, the iPad Air can be inexpensive considering the high prices we see on Apple devices. But we also have to see the type of variant that is at that price. A version that is perhaps fair for most users. Even for me in the next few months. Even so, and considering the price, few devices resemble it.
The iPad Air has many positives, but also negatives. Starting with the good, this device perfectly meets power, screen and options for productivity or work . The compatibility with the Apple Pencil and the keyboard add the possibilities of this device for those users who are looking for something light and comfortable. So does your screen. A brilliant 10.5-inch iPS panel with sharp colors and very good viewing angles.
The Software is another of the positive points of this tablet. iOS 12 is perfect, but iPad OS is a big step for the iPad. Since I updated to this new version, the way I use the iPad changed rapidly, I no longer saw it as a multimedia device, to watch videos or read the news. I had it as an 'all-rounder' device, for work when I was away from home or multimedia when I finished my long hours writing in front of the computer.
What is the worst of the iPad Air 2019? One of the main drawbacks is its design. It retains the same physical appearance as its previous generation. Yes, we have Touch ID and its good operation, but with a lot of framework. The same thing happens with the connection. That the USB C stays in the iPad Pro does not seem like a good thing to me. Especially considering that iPad OS also offers the possibility of connecting hard drives or external memory using this adapter. The last negative point is the cameras. They are not up to the task.
In short, and generally speaking, the iPad Air is a very good device. It is perfect for those users who want to use this type of product for studies , since it offers great versatility with its light weight, the possibility of connecting a keyboard and the iPad OS options. Also a performance that allows us to carry out somewhat more demanding tasks, such as video editing, without the device standing out. Or for those who want to take advantage of a good multimedia experience for the trip.
If you are looking for an iPad for the basics, for the school of the little ones or for home entertainment, spending from 550 euros is not the best option. Especially since there are tablets with a lower price on the market. Without going much further, the iPad of 2018. What about users looking for performance and versatility? The iPad Air has proven to measure up, but with some shortcomings. The lack of USB C, the incompatibility with the latest generation of the Apple Pencil or the limited storage options make the Pro model consider for the most professional public.