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Verdict

The iPad Air 2024 isn’t the most exciting iPad in Apple’s range. It lacks the stunning display and flagship M4 chip of the Pro, as well as the tempting price of the base iPad 10. However, sometimes the best choice isn’t the most exciting and for many the iPad Air 2024 is the perfect iPad.

Pros

  • Landscape front camera
  • Two screen size options
  • Great performance
  • More storage options

Cons

  • No battery life upgrades
  • No ProMoton for 120Hz

Key Features

  • The frst Air with two screen sizesPick between an 11-inch screen and a 13-inch alternative
  • A chipset that outpaces much of the competitionThe M2 chip is incredibly powerful and can breeze through most tasks
  • iPadOSBespoke tablet software, with yearly updates

Introduction

The iPad Air 2024 is the middle child in Apple’s current tablet family, offering a few more features than the basic iPad while costing a lot less than the Pro.

Available in two sizes for the first time, the iPad Air 2024 will be, for many, the best iPad thanks to a mixture of high-end features, fast performance that’ll aid longevity and a good price point.

This isn’t the biggest upgrade I have ever seen for the Air, and in some ways it could be seen as a little dull, but tech doesn’t always need to be exciting to be a good buy, and this is a great example of why.

I’ve spent the last three weeks with the iPad Air 2024, comparing it to the best Android tablets and deciding who this is for.

Design

  • Repositioned front camera
  • A modest selection of pastel colours
  • Two screen size options

While it might have Air in its name, the iPad Air isn’t the lightest member of the iPad family – perhaps Apple needs to think about a rebrand next time. The 11-inch model of the Air is only slightly heavier than the 11-inch iPad Pro 2024, while the 13-inch is 38g heavier than the same sized Pro.

Apple hasn’t played around too much with the overall look of the iPad Air, and it fits in well with the rest of the iPad family. It comes in slightly more fun (if toned down compared to previous years) colours than the Pro, and brings across the landscape-positioned webcam first seen on the iPad 10. This is a bigger deal than it sounds, as your face is far more centrally positioned in video calls through apps like Facetime and Zoom now.

screen flat ipad air 2024
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

I remain a huge fan of the look of the iPad range, with the flat sides and back, plus the rounded corners. There’s enough bezel to ensure fingers don’t encroach on the screen but they’re slim enough to look modern. Some commenters will always be calling for thinner bezels even if they are necessary on a large device like a tablet.

There’s simple ‘iPad Air’ branding and a shiny Apple logo on the back, plus a trio of circular pins required for easy docking of the Magic Keyboard. Two excellent-sounding speakers sit on either end with a top-level TouchID-enabled lock button, while a magnetic docking point for the Apple Pencil can be found on the same side as the front camera.

back ipad air 2024
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The iPad Air 2024 works with either the Apple Pencil Pro or the Apple Pencil with USB-C, but not the Apple Pencil 2 – a point that will annoy anyone who’s upgrading and hoping to bring older accessories across. You can use the older Magic Keyboard, just not the newer Magic Keyboard built for the iPad Pro 2024. This is a shame, as the updated model has a sleeker look and added shortcuts.

Screen

  • 11 and 13-inch options, both with 264PPI
  • No Mini LED or OLED
  • Remains an excellent display

You can now get the iPad Air in two screen options, just like the pricier Pro line. This is a welcome change and helps differentiate the Air a little more from the base iPad which can still only be chosen in the smaller 10.9-inch size.

The 11-inch and 13-inch sizes match the Pro, but Apple does imply on its site that it’s simply rounding up the previous 12.9-inch size – likely to make it less confusing to buyers. 

I reviewed, and have used extensively, the larger 13-inch iPad Pro alongside the 11-inch Air and I think the bigger size is a much better choice for those who want a more productive device. Using multiple apps side-by-side is easier with that extra real estate, as is drawing and writing up documents. 

With that larger screen of course, comes some trade-offs. It’s less portable, heavier and trickier to hold comfortably for extended periods. If I am travelling – moving between planes, trains and hotels – I prefer the smaller 11-inch model, whereas the 13-inch alternative is easier to use at a desk, docked into the Magic Keyboard.

Whichever model you choose, you’re getting basically the same screen tech. There were rumours that Apple would take the split approach, similar to the iPad Pro 2022, with the larger model getting the better Mini LED panel and the smaller one sticking with the same IPS LCD used on the Pro since its inception. That didn’t come to pass, with both versions instead sticking with IPS LCD.

video playback ipad air 2024
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Coming straight from reviewing the iPad Pro 2024 M4 with its stunning OLED panel that can produce a glorious HDR image and refresh at up to 120Hz, I have to admit that the switch to a more traditional iPad screen was jarring – at least to begin with.

There’s nothing wrong with the screen and if you’re coming from a previous iPad Air or base iPad, it will feel familiar. In fact, if you’re upgrading from a base iPad, including the very good iPad 10, the display is superior. This is thanks to better fingerprint resistance and a laminated finish so it feels like you’re touching the pixels, rather than glass. 

Apple uses very good IPS LCDs and the iPad Air 2024 holds its own against much of the competition that hasn’t yet switched to OLED. Brightness levels are good (about 500 nits for the 11-inch model, slightly higher for the 13-inch) for everyday viewability and colours are accurate. Movies and other content, especially those with darker scenes can look muddy, and if you put the iPad Air next to the OLED Pro the difference is huge – even more so when playing back Dolby Vision HDR content.

I’d love an iPad Air with an OLED but it’s going to take a few years for that tech to trickle down from the iPad Pro range.

The locked 60Hz refresh rate is another sacrifice that has been made to differentiate the Air from the Pro line, with the latter able to change how many times its screen refreshes every second from 10-120. This tech – Apple calls it ProMotion – gives everything a smooth finish, from scrolling to gaming. It has always been staunchly a ‘Pro’ feature in Apple’s eyes with only the MacBook Pro, iPhone Pro models and iPad Pro having it. Again, it could be years before there’s a ProMotion-toting iPad Air.

Performance and Software

  • Powered by the M2 chipset
  • Welcome 128GB starting storage bump
  • 8GB RAM in all options

The iPad Air 2024 is powered by the M2 chip, just like the older iPad Pro variants that have since been upgraded with the new M4 silicon. While this chip isn’t quite as capable as the M3 found in the MacBook Air, it is still very powerful for a tablet – especially one with a starting price of £599/$599. 

In performance tests, it destroys even the best Android tablets we’ve reviewed (including those at double the price, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra) and matches the iPad Pro 2022. Considering this was previously Apple’s flagship and could cost more than £1000/$1000, the performance levels are seriously impressive.

It’ll also support Apple Intelligence features when they launch alongside iOS 18 in certain regions too, so you’re not going to be left behind when Apple’s big AI push arrives later this year. These AI features won’t be coming to the iPad 10 with its A-series chip, so this is another differentiator between the iPads.

There are, of course, plenty of people who won’t get the full potential out of this chip. Browsing, gaming, even 4K video editing have been achievable on older iPads and unless you’re utilising some of the more ‘Pro’ focussed apps like Final Cut or Logic or some of the recent M-series exclusive games like Assasins’s Creed Mirage, you won’t notice huge performance upgrades.

Having a newer chip isn’t just about faster performance however. Aside from support for Apple Intelligence, the M2 should get updates from Apple for years to come ensuring new features are added yearly. Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 are present, and there are also some Apple Pencil-specific tricks reserved for this chip, including the hover feature previously only available on the Pro. This lets the iPad see where you’re placing the stylus before you do it. 

When I reviewed the iPad Air 2022, one of my biggest issues was the lack of a 128GB storage variant. The base of 64GB didn’t feel large enough, but the jump to 256GB pushed the cost up to a level that didn’t feel worth it. Apple must have listened, as now the base storage is 128GB – which I do feel is enough for most tablet users – and you can choose 256GB, 512GB or even 1TB if you need more offline storage space.

There’s also 8GB RAM across the whole range. With the iPad Pro, the amount of RAM increased with the storage size so the 256/512GB models got 8GB, whereas the 1TB and 2TB got 16GB. With the iPad Air 2024, it’s the same whether you choose 128GB or 1TB.

camera ipad air 2024
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Like previous Air models, a single camera sits on the back with another on the front. Both are 12MP sensors, although the rear shooter can shoot up to 4K 60fps while the front is restricted to 1080p. The front camera is excellent for video calls, aided by the new position on the landscape edge, and the rear camera is good for scanning documents and the like.

All iPads run iPadOS and all iPads with an M-series chip benefit from the multitasking-focussed Stage Manager view that lets you work in smaller resizable windows more akin to a traditional desktop PC view. While it can be seen as an issue for the Pro line, the fact that this £599/$599 tablet can do pretty much everything the £999/$999 Pro alternative can is a huge win for the Air line. Apple doesn’t ship a ‘Pro’ version of iPadOS for the higher-end models and there aren’t any huge changes coming in iPadOS 18 that won’t be supported on this Air.

Battery Life

  • No charging plug included in certain regions
  • No huge battery life jump
  • Charges via USB-C

I have been using the 11-inch model of the iPad Air 2024 for this review, so all my battery judgements are restricted to that model. However, even though the 13-inch variant has a larger battery, it shouldn’t result in a huge endurance jump. That extra battery looks to be there purely to ensure parity between big and small models, and Apple uses the same ‘10 hours of surfing the web’ claim for both.

Battery life here lives up to Apple’s claim, and I found it less volatile than the OLED-toting iPad Pro 2024. With the higher-end tablet, jacking up the brightness to 100% in HDR videos sent the battery tumbling down – that’s not the case with the Air, simply as it can’t push its brightness levels quite so high.

I used the iPad Air 2024 on a transatlantic flight to the USA and after around nine hours of streaming downloaded videos from Apple TV Plus and Netflix, I had 5% left once I had landed. That’s a good result, in line with Apple’s claims and what I would expect from a tablet. There’s some extra depletion if the tablet is powering the Magic Keyboard, and during a 9:30 – 5:30 work day when I used the iPad Air instead of my laptop, I had 12% left once it was time to head home.

For the first time, Apple no longer includes the 20w plug inside the box of the iPad Air 2024 (this is the same for the Pro series) in some regions. I am in the UK and my box included just the tablet and USB-C to USB-C cable – although in the USA there is a 20w plug.

Using Apple’s 20w plug, the tablet took over two hours to recharge with a 50% charge taking just shy of an hour. There’s been little change in battery life and charging speeds with the iPad range in a number of years. Apple has clearly decided that around 10 hours of use is fine, and I mostly agree. However, with Apple’s M-series laptops often doubling what the iPad can achieve there needs to be some improvements in the next few years.

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Should you buy it?

You should buy if you want an iPad that’ll last

With its M2 chip and support for the upcoming Apple Intelligence AI system, this iPad Air will last for years to come with great performance.

You shouldn’t buy it if you want the best iPad screen

The iPad Pro 2024 with its OLED panel and ProMotion leave the Air’s IPS LCD in the dust, offering better colour reproduction, higher brightness levels and really good HDR support.

Final Thoughts

The iPad Air 2024 isn’t the most exciting tablet that Apple has ever released. It lacks the stunning display of the Pro and the tempting price of the base iPad 10. However, sometimes the best choice isn’t the most exciting and for many the iPad Air 2024 is the perfect choice.

There are enough extras here – higher base storage, a better screen, faster chip, Apple Pencil Pro compatibility and Apple Intelligence support with iOS 18 – to make the jump from the cheapest iPad worth it. Plus, the introduction of the 13-inch model means you don’t need to splash out £1199/$1199 to get an iPad with a screen that’s larger than 11-inches.

I still think if money is no object, the iPad Pro 2024 with its M4 chip and OLED display is the ultimate iPad. Do you need to spend at least £999/$999 on a tablet though? When the iPad Air 2024 offers many of the same skills, the answer is probably no.

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Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product.

Tested for three weeks

Screen tested using a colorimeter

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FAQs

Does the iPad Air come with a charger?

In the US, it comes with a 20W charger. In the UK it does not. Check your local Apple Store page to see whether or not your region includes the plug.

Is there a cellular option?

There is. You can choose between a Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 5G option.

Trusted Reviews test data

Geekbench 6 single core
Geekbench 6 multi core
1 hour video playback (Netflix, HDR)
30 minute gaming (intensive)
30 minute gaming (light)
Time from 0-100% charge
60-min recharge (included charger)
30-min recharge (included charger)
15-min recharge (included charger)
GFXBench – Aztec Ruins
GFXBench – Car Chase

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Video Recording
IP rating
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Fast Charging
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ASIN
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First Reviewed Date
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Refresh Rate
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RAM
Colours

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