Apple iPad Air 3 Review
Product Name: Apple iPad Air 3
Product Description: The new iPad Air 3 has a 10.5-inch display with slimmer bezels, a faster processor, and an improved higher-resolution front-facing camera. It uses the new operating system, iOS 12 that works great with multitasking, gesture controls, and markups. Apple also made the storage larger providing 64 and 256GB versions, better performance and last but not least, added support for Smart Keyboard and first-generation Apple Pencil. And this is really great because it revolutionizes the way you can use the iPad Air 3. It is like having a lightweight mini office on the go.
Price: 469 - 779
- Build Quality
- Screen Quality
- Easy to Use
Don’t be fooled by its thin body, the iPad Air 3 (2019) has serious horsepower inside. Its laminated screen and overall design might not have changed much but you get great performance and fast integration of apps and accessories, such as Apple’s brilliant Smart Keyboard. Support for first-gen Apple Pencil might make it feel behind its time but let’s not dismiss the fact it doubles the performance of the entry-level iPad 9.7. We think the new iPad Air 3 is a great tablet for the average person. If you buy it, you won’t be disappointed.
Super thin and very light
Excellent 10.5-inch screen display
Strong and fast performance
Great battery life
Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard support
Dull and old design
Two speakers on one side
Camera needs improvement
First-generation Apple Pencil support only
Lacks Face ID
User Review( votes)
Apple iPad Air 3 Review
The Thinnest and Lightest iPad
I guess it’s too late to get excited with the newest version of iPad Air since there are a lot of other choices of iPad in the market today. Looking at the design, it is not as cute as the iPad mini, and definitely not as amazing as the iPad Pro. So what do we get with this new tablet? Well, let’s find out in this Apple iPad Air 3 review.
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It was 2014 when Apple released the second-generation of iPad Air. Since then, the company focused on launching new models such as iPad Pro 12.9 and iPad mini 5 with premium features and higher price tags. Now the new iPad Air 3 wants to claim its place as the best ultra-thin tablet there is but one has to wonder, with so many different iPad versions available, it is even relevant anymore? Let’s dig deeper.
The new iPad Air 3 has a 10.5-inch display with slimmer bezels, a faster processor, and an improved higher-resolution front-facing camera. It uses the new operating system, iOS 12 that works great with multitasking, gesture controls, and markups. Apple also made the storage larger providing 64 and 256GB versions, better performance and last but not least, added support for Smart Keyboard and first-generation Apple Pencil. And this is really great because it revolutionizes the way you can use the iPad Air 3. It is like having a lightweight mini office on the go.
Based on the overall look and design, the iPad Air feels like a repackaged version of the iPad Pro 2017 version. It may not support the latest generation of the Apple Pencil (although it does support the first generation) and lacks the lighting effect of a MacBook Keyboard but the specs are fantastic and most importantly, it comes at a very reasonable price. This newest edition to iPad Air family packs quite a punch in terms of power as well as providing excellent functionality.
- 10.5-inch Retina display with True Tone technology
- 2224 x 1668 screen resolution
- 500 nits peak brightness
- A12 Bionic chip processor
- iOS 12 Operating System
- 8 MP rear camera with f/2.4 aperture
- 7 MP Facetime front camera with f/2.2 aperture
- 3 GB RAM
- 64 GB/256 GB storage space
- Battery life up to 10 hours
Unlike the 1st and 2nd generation of iPad Air that had a screen display of 9.7-inch, the 3rd generation has a bigger size at 10.5 inches. It is also fully laminated making the gap between the glass on top and the LCD panel itself almost invisible. And with its wide display P3 color space providing rich, vibrant, and real-life colors, images pop on the screen. This is especially noticeable when doing drawing activities, the richness and range of colors is mind-blowing.
Thanks to Apple’s True Tone technology, the screen easily adapts to the surroundings by adjusting its color and brightness. You don’t have to worry about the ambient light because all iPads are made with exclusive anti-reflective coating which reduces reflection. Overall, the experience of using the iPad Air 3 with such a fantastic screen is brilliant and would please anyone.
One of the main reasons that stand out as to why people should invest in or upgrade to an iPad Air 3 is because, unlike previous Air models, it is the cheapest iPad in the market with Apple’s Smart Connector. This means that you don’t have to use Bluetooth to connect the smart keyboard, you can simply attach magnetically the Smart Keyboard to the tablet and off you go, that simple, automatic connection. There is no need any more for third-party keyboards which can be unreliable and they lack proper integration.
What’s special about the Smart Keyboard is it is made of custom-woven fabric and its 64 keys are etched using a laser. The quality of the details is fantastic. It is water and stain-resistant, unlike MacBooks with their delicate butterfly keyboard. Unfortunately, all this “luxury” comes at a price, the smart keyboard is a bit pricey and for those who love customizing things, some keys are hard to modify and control. However, this should not take away from the fact that it is a fantastic addition and turns your iPad Air into a hybrid between a tablet and a laptop.
Apple Pencil First-Generation
Nowadays all new iPads feature Apple Pencil support which means that the new iPad Air 3 won’t be left behind. It is compatible with the first generation stylus pen, designed for drawing, taking notes, and marking up documents. There is a cheaper alternative in the Logitech Crayon which is an accurate, versatile, and comfortable to use pen. However, when it comes to battery life, the Apple Pencil can last up to 12 hours while Logitech Crayon can work for only 8 hours. This might be irrelevant to some, for others, it will be worth paying the extra money.
Apple Pencil 1 has the same responsiveness than the second-generation Apple Pencil but at a substantially cheaper rate. We tried drawing on the iPad Air 3 using the Apple Pencil and there is no problem with lagging or shading whatsoever. It is more than good enough for basic creative work or handwriting documents. It is super accurate and smooth to use and it is very responsive, too responsive at times! The only letdown we could think of is that the Lightning charge port of the pen could easily wear out with heavy use.
Although we are still waiting for the iOS 13, Apple iPad Air 3’s iOS 12 is still a great operating system. It makes navigating, switching apps, and running two apps at the same time or Split View function, so much easier. Other great perks of the iOS 12 are the newly updated Apple News, Screen Time for managing your children’s usage of the tablets or smartphones, and its compatibility with other third-party password apps.
The fact is that everything on iOS, like with every software that apple creates, just works. You don’t need to worry about downloading drivers, compatibility issues or system requirements.
Tablets might not be ideal for taking photos or videos due to their size but putting that aside, the iPad Air has a nice camera. Its 7 MP front-facing camera and 8 MP rear camera with an f/2.4 aperture, both give you nice and sharp images. True, it will never compare to the camera in your fancy smartphone and you might look a bit weird standing up with a 10.5inch iPad taking a photo, but it is good to know that there is reasonable quality in those cameras, should the situation present itself that you need to take a photo. For video face time or similar, the front camera is more than adequate. We loved video chatting on a larger screen and because of that we actually think the front camera to be the camera that will get the most use, rather than the read camera.
At first glance, you might get disappointed with the fact the iPad Air has not increased its screen size knowing that the iPad Pro range has got a much larger screen. To be frank, the design on iPads has not changed much over the years and with this new iPad Air you will feel at home. And this is not a bad thing because why changing something that it has proven over the years to be a success.
You should pay more attention however to what is under the hood, because it has features for everyone, whether professionals or consumers, such as 3.5 mm headphone jack, Touch ID button and support for Apple’s Smart Keyboard. It weighs 1lb (453.5g) and measures 0.24inch (6.1mm) claiming the throne as the thinnest and lightest iPad ever.
Frustratingly, instead of using the new USB-C connector just like iPad Pros, it sticks with the traditional lightning port for charging the tablet or transferring data. Another frustrating element is the fact that it uses the first-generation Apple pencil, rather than the second generation. Apple keeps the 2nd generation to the rather more expensive units. We are in no doubt that support for it will come later in the future or in a future follow up iPad Air 4 release In addition to this and to highlight another area we wish they could have improved on, the iPad Air 3 has only two speakers rather than what could have been a better user experience if they had put quad speakers. It comes in three different colors to choose from, Silver, Space Gray, and Gold that looks a bit like Rose Gold. This is in line with past and current models.
Don’t be fooled by its slim design, it can outperform many of the best laptops in the market today. According to several multi-core benchmark tests, the third-generation of iPad Air doubles the performance of the iPad 9.7. That is quite an improvement straight off the block. With its powerful A12 Bionic chip processor, it got a score of 11,575 which is higher than the 10.5-inch iPad Pro. As a matter of fact, only the latest iPad Pro 12.9 and the iPad 12.9 have a better performance. How about that?
This means that you get an amazing speed and performance increase for multitasking and app deployment and management. This is without a shadow of a doubt an investment that will last you for years and will handle future firmware and software updates well.
All iPads have the same battery life. It can last for 10 hours of browsing web pages on Wi-Fi, watching videos, or listening to music but in all fairness, how long the iPad remains on still very much depends on how often you use it. When it is on Standby or Low-Power mode it could last for 24 hours or even a week.
After a heavy session of playing games, photo editing, and constant checking of emails, the battery drained dramatically, which is not a surprise. The good thing that the iPad Air 3 supports fast charging technology which up until now was an exclusive feature for the iPad Pro range. In a mere 15 minutes, you can get 17% recharge, about an hour for 63%, and it takes 2 hours and 28 minutes to be fully complete.
Re-charge rate (via Fast Charging) from 0%
- 15 mins: 17%
- 30 mins: 32%
- 45 mins: 47%
- 60 mins: 63%
- 75 mins: 79%
- 90 mins: 86%
- 105 mins: 92%
- 120 mins: 96%
- 135 mins: 98%
- 100% at 2h 28m
We were pleasantly surprised and at times blown away by the iPad Air 3. We can definitely say it is one of the best tablets for light or medium users, perfect for work and play at home. As a whole, it is truly outstanding. If you are looking for an iPad with many of the iPad Pro’s features but without spending anywhere near the same amount, then this is a fantastic tablet to buy. It may not be the most innovative iPad in the market but with its powerful A12 Bionic chip processor and fast charging capability, and super thin and lightweight design, it is hard to find a tablet better than this one.
If this iPad tablet is not quite enough for your day-to-day and you are looking for something different, why don’t you check out other tablet reviews in our Tablets Reviews section? We are convinced that there is something for you in there.