The prices at Apple have always been breathtaking, but the new Magic Keyboard for the iPad Air 2020 (or the 11-series iPad Pro) is a new house number: Apple charges 349 euros for the keyboard – and the Apple Pencil is not included, but tears open another crater in the wallet with 135 euros.
Almost 500 euros just for the accessories – even for die-hard Apple fans this is heavy fare. But when you work with them, your perspective changes. We tested the expensive keyboard in combination with the new iPad Air and had a lot of fun with it.
The viewing angle is infinitely adjustable, the buttons are backlit, and the integrated USB-C port provides an additional interface so that you can charge the battery and connect additional accessories in parallel. The matt, non-slip plastic surface has already proven itself in Apple’s Smart Folios.
The typing experience comes close to that of a real keyboard. No wonder, because Apple uses the same scissors design as the new Macbooks, only the key travel has been reduced slightly due to the design. It’s a bit short for prolific writers, but the trackpad tickles completely new possibilities out of iPad OS.
The tablet operating system, which from version 13.4 can optionally be operated with a mouse pointer, comes very close to a desktop. The habit of tapping the screen with your finger quickly wears off over time. Then relaxed work sets in, in which we also benefit from the multi-finger gestures. For example, we could zoom in on photos with a spread gesture and swipe forwards and backwards in Safari with two fingers.
In many situations the notebook can stay in the bag. And in contrast to this, the iPad is ready to go as soon as it is opened. On the other hand, size and weight are no longer an advantage, because at 1074 grams and more than 15 millimeters, the iPad combination is heavier and thicker than many ultrabooks.
Modern look of the Pro series
We come to the tablet, and of course the comparison with the predecessor comes first. The iPad Air took a huge leap forward in 2020. With the angular unibody, which consists of 100 percent recycled aluminum, the new generation is moving closer to the Pro series.
Because the dimensions are almost the same, the Air is compatible with the accessories of the iPad Pro – the Apple Pencil, for example, docks magnetically to the frame without any problems. Older accessories also fit: The Smart Cover of our 2018 iPad Pro 11 “can be used with the Air without any problem (the cover protrudes slightly on one side).
The front side also benefits from the new design: the display bezels are a bit wider than on the Pro models, but compared to the centimeter-wide strips of the iPad Air 2019, the progress cannot be overlooked. The modern look is convincing, especially since Cupertino serves the usual high standards in processing and haptics.
The narrower display bezel also has the advantage that Apple can install a larger display, although the size and weight hardly change. However, the new design does not leave any space for the wide Touch ID button under the display.
Because unlocking with Face ID is reserved for the Pro series, Apple has integrated the fingerprint sensor into the power button in the top right of the frame. A good decision, after pressing it, the detection is quick and reliable, and you land on the home screen without delay.
Is the Air the cheaper Pro?
The nimble unlocking process already sets the high pace that Apple is going on the Air 2020. With the A14, one of the world’s most powerful mobile processors is installed. The SoC, which also sets the pace in the 12 series iPhones, delivers a performance that can keep up with the A12Z of the current Pro series.
Demanding apps and games or video editing are no problem with this tablet. When it comes to the connections, Apple is also based on the Pro series and replaces the Lightning port with a USB-C interface that transmits data at up to 5 Gbit / s according to the 3.2 Gen 1 specification.
The quality of the display is also convincing, on 10.9 inches, 2360 x 1640 pixels are bright and, for an LCD, very viewing angle stable, thanks to True Tone, not only the brightness but also the color temperature is adapted to the ambient light. The question is slowly being asked, why should you buy an iPad Pro at all when the Air offers a similar package? There are a few subtle differences.
While the Pro has four speakers radiating in four directions, the Air is a stereo pair (which doesn’t sound quite as voluminous). The 12-megapixel camera takes good photos in daylight, but weakens in low light, and there is no second lens and a LiDAR sensor, which is particularly interesting for AR applications.
The waiver of Face ID also means that Animoji are not available in video chat. And while the iPad Pro displays content at up to 120 Hertz, which enables particularly smooth scrolling, the iPad Air stops at 60 Hertz. In addition, the iPad Pro 11 “managed more than 13 hours in our standardized runtime test, while the Air had to be plugged in after ten hours.
Such a battery life still allows comfortable work, but is not top class. This is our overall conclusion: Apple has made a good tablet that only lacks the finishing touches in a few places. If you want the best of the best, you can’t avoid the Pro series – or you can look around the Android warehouse. With the Tab-S7 series, Samsung offers an equal equivalent here.
Source: RSS Feed: Connect – Tests by www.connect.de.
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