Technology

Apple iPad Air 5 (256GB, 5G) IM Test

Apple iPad Air 5 (256GB, 5G) IM Test

With the fifth generation of the iPad Air, Apple delivers a consistent further development of its “middle class”, which, thanks to the in-house M1 processor, goes one step further in terms of performance in the test. In this respect, the iPad Air surpasses all current Android tablets and can only be trumped by the Pro models. The 10.9-inch IPS display is also convincing in the test, and it offers high resolution and brightness as well as beautiful colours.

The artistry is of the usual high quality, while the equipment with 5G mobile communications, powerful cameras, four speakers, and TouchID knows how to score. It’s just a shame that the Apple Pencil has to be purchased separately, and there isn’t a memory card slot, as is typical for Apple. At least USB-C storage can be connected and used.

Apple iPad Air 5 in the test: Top screen without OLED

Almost unchanged from the previous generation, the fifth version of the iPad Air also offers a 10.9″ display. It not only scores with its thin edges without a home button but also with a high resolution of 2,360 x 1,640 pixels. The 13:9 format is ideal for working but often produces black bars when watching series or films. By not using OLED, these are not jet black but dark grey – in the test laboratory, we determined a rather average checkerboard contrast of 113:1.

The colours of the iPad Air display cut a perfect figure. Because the Apple tablet even covers the vast DCI-P3 colour space almost completely at 97.7 per cent and thus delivers wonderfully rich colours. The “True Tone” function, also known from other Apple devices, automatically adjusts the colour tone to the environment, and “Night Shift”, which filters blue light, is also on board. At 503 cd/m², the display is pleasantly bright but darker than last year’s iPad Air.

Compared to the Pro models, the iPad Air reduces its diagonal (the iPad Pro is available in 11 and 12.9 inches). Still, it does without an exceptionally smooth refresh rate of 120 Hertz but offers a conventional 60 Hz.

Outstanding performance thanks to Apple’s M1 processor

The M1 processor from Apple, which was unveiled in 2020, was already convinced in the MacBook Air or last year’s iPad Pro. Now iPad Air buyers can also enjoy the high efficiency and performance of the system-on-chip.

The iPad Air offers solid performance, which the Pro models only beat. The eight GB of RAM, which Apple has doubled compared to the previous generation, should also be decisive. A so-called neural engine to improve machine learning is also integrated.

Our test model achieves an impressive 10,021 points in 3DMark “Wild Life”. In addition, it keeps a very nice 60 frames per second in the GFX-Bench “Manhatten Onscreen,” which limits the screen’s frame-rate limitation. We compare the fifth iPad Air to its predecessor, the Pro model, and the currently most potent Android alternative.

Top equipment: 5G for Generation 5

We tested the iPad Air with a nominal 256 GB of memory. Of this, 241.3 GB were still available after the initial setup – alternatively, Apple offers a variant with 64 GB, which is 170 euros cheaper. You can also save money if you do without the 5G version. After all, Apple sets a further surcharge of 170 euros for mobile communications. Alternatively, you can also benefit from the fast new wireless standard when you’re on the go, but you need a corresponding contract and a nano-SIM or an eSIM. Alternatively, the iPad Air 5 transmits via WLAN 6. 

Depending on the memory and wireless version, the recommended retail price for the Apple iPad Air 5 is between 679 and 1,019 euros.

Incidentally, the 8.2 mm thick casing of the iPad Air 5 is available in five colours (space grey, rose, violet, blue, polar star) as usual. As you would expect, it is of very high quality and, according to Apple, is made from entirely recycled aluminium – 96 per cent of the rare earth metals and any tin in the solder have also been reused. However, the smooth back makes a case essential to prevent damage from accidental drops. At around 461 grams, the iPad is pleasantly light.

Little has changed in terms of other features compared to the fourth iPad Air. The 2022 version also uses USB-C as the main interface, which can be used to connect accessories such as USB sticks or drives and the charging cable. A jack adapter for headphones is missing. The fingerprint sensor is again integrated into the on/off switch, while FaceID is omitted in the new iPad Air. The four speakers, which offer clear stereo audio in landscape format, make a good impression.

The 12-megapixel cameras of the Apple iPad Air 5 cut a perfect figure. The outer camera records 4K videos, while the ultra-wide-angle front camera with follows mode always keeps the focus on your counterpart. If other people join the video call, they automatically zoom out and thus enlarge the image section. Both cameras deliver very nice results, which can still be seen even in twilight. There is no flash or optical image stabilizer, and the front camera also does not have an auto focus.

The Apple Pencil of the second generation is compatible with a pen, which can be charged via the magnetic side surface. However, it is not included in the scope of delivery, and instead, it has to be bought later for a suggested retail price of 135 euros. The same applies to the keyboard. Like its predecessor, the iPad Air 5 is compatible with the Smart Keyboard Folio and the Magic Keyboard, which, at 199 and 339 euros respectively, are by no means a bargain. Alternatively, Bluetooth keyboards from other manufacturers can also be used.

The battery life could be a bit better.

The fifth iPad Air relies on a 7,730 mAh battery like its predecessor. Given the increased performance, the runtimes are correspondingly shorter.

A Full HD video can be enjoyed for around 9:54 hours with a display brightness of 200cd/m² before the iPad has to be plugged in again. The battery drains faster when scrolling through websites with the same intelligence – the power ran out after 09:18 hours. The iPad is then recharged via USB-C. In the test, this takes around 02:46 hours, with about 26 per cent of the capacity being reached after 30 minutes.

The new device runs up to an hour shorter but charges 10 minutes longer compared to its predecessor. The following photo gallery also offers an extensive comparison, which compares the tablets’ display values with each other.

Step-by-step advisor: Find the right tablet

The Apple iPad Air 5 is not the right tablet for you? Then try our step-by-step guide to find the right tablet for you:

Always up to date: Our tablet leaderboard

If you are looking for alternatives, you can also use our tablet leaderboard. Here you will find all the products we have currently tested sorted according to their overall rating, value for money or certain aspects and sub-categories. You can see the five best-placed models in the following list.

Advantages

  • Starke Performance
  • Nice screen
  • WiFi 6 and 5G cellular
  • Great cameras and speakers

Disadvantages

  • Apple Pencil not included
  • Quite expensive with a cellphone

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