6 Months with the iPad Air 4 – A Long Term Review

With all the excitement about the M1 iPad Pro, I wanted to give you a six month review of the iPad Air 4. This is the iPad that I recommended for most users who wanted more than what the iPad 8 could provide without going all the way up to the iPad Pro. So let me tell you about my experience using the iPad Air 4 for the past six months. For everything from content consumption, general office work, managing my channel, photo editing, video editing, and gaming.

Now, one of the things that initially caught my eye was the new design.

And after six months of use, I still love it. This squared off edges give the Air 4 a very clean look and one that was previously reserved for the iPad Pro. I also really liked the brush aluminum because it doesn’t pick up a lot of fingerprints, unlike the iPhone 12 Pro. Speaking of the iPhone 12 Pro, I still really like this design but it’s not super comfortable for me to hold without a case. And in this context, I don’t super love the squared-off edges.

With the iPad Air 4, I’m not sure if it’s because I’m holding it with two hands or I’m not really sure why but I do find it more comfortable and secure to hold.

Now as far as color, if you remember I chose to go with sky blue, but it’s also available in silver, space gray, rose gold, and green. Now looking back after six months, I would have made the same choice. I love how this blue looks. It’s understated but still has a little bit of fun.

Now I’m also super excited about the blue m1 iMac and I can’t wait to show it to you guys. I definitely like the fact that Apple removed the Home button.

And what I hope to see on the next iteration of the iPad Air is even smaller vessels. That way I can get a larger display in the same form factor. Now unlike the iPad Pro, the Air 4 doesn’t have face ID.

And Apple moved the touch ID functionality to the new Power button. In my experience, it’s been consistently accurate and I made sure that I registered both index fingers. In this way I can authenticate regardless of which orientation I’m holding it. Now, Apple also replaced the lightning port with a USB-C port, just like on the iPad pro.

And I’m now in a situation where some of my devices still have lightning and some of them move to USB-C so it’s a little inconvenient.

I can charge my iPhone 12 Pro wirelessly so that’s less of an issue. But with my iPad 8, I still have to use a lightning cable so I have to have both laying around. And hopefully with the next generation of all Apple devices, we’ll have USB-C across the board. And don’t worry, I’m not holding my breath for that.

The display itself has been quite good.

It’s sharp, it’s bright and it’s color accurate which I’ll get to in a minute. Now, unlike the iPad 8, the Air 4 has a fully laminated display meaning that the display panel, the touch layer and in the cover glass are laminated into a single piece. And if you compare these two side-by-side, you’ll see that the iPad 8 image looks like it’s under a sheet of glass. And the iPad Air 4 image looks like it’s right on top of the glass. Now given the choice, I would always pick a laminated display.

It’s not that a non-laminated display is a deal breaker for me, but when I have both, I definitely like a fully laminated display better. And the reason why that’s not a deal breaker for me is that when I look at something like the iPad 8, which is designed to be the entry point into iPads, I know that I’m gonna have to make some concessions.

And that’s one that I’m willing to make at that price point. And if you watched my comparison between the iPad Air 4, the iPad Pro, the Galaxy Tab S7 and the Tab S7+, you saw that I did give the edge to those displays. And that’s because they offer a 120 Hertz refresh rate or 120 Hertz adaptive refresh rate.

And that’s when the device ramps up the refresh rate when it provides a better user experience and then ramps it down to save battery when it’s not needed. The 120 Hertz is similar to the laminated versus non-laminated. If you only use 60 Hertz refresh rate then it doesn’t really matter because you don’t know the difference. But after going to 120 Hertz and then going back, it’s definitely something that you notice. And by the way, what do you guys think of the new XDR display on the iPad Pro?

I think it looks pretty awesome. Now moving on to performance, I’ve had absolutely zero problems with the iPad Air 4. Everything I did from streaming movies and music, managing my YouTube channel, playing games, and in photo and video editing, the iPad Air 4 just crushed.

I ran a Geekbench CPU test today and the scores that I got were 1585 for a single-core and 4261 for multi-core performance. And while I don’t place a ton of value on benchmark scores, I have to admit that these are pretty impressive for the price.

From actual user experience, I can tell you that while running multiple apps and playing games and watching video, I didn’t experience any type of noticeable lag. And in general, I didn’t feel like I needed better performance. Even when it came to photo editing, which I do in Lightroom, the iPad Air 4 was easily able to handle what I threw at it. It’s a DCI-P3 display, which is a wider color gamut, so I knew that I could trust the color accuracy. And if you’re looking for more of a Photoshop replacement on the iPad, definitely give Affinity Photo a look.

It’s an incredibly powerful app. If you’re a subscriber, you probably know that when it comes to video editing on my iPad, I use LumaFusion.

And again, the iPad Air 4 was responsive and I didn’t feel like it was holding me back. I do like using the iPad Pro better for photo and video editing because I have the 12.9 inch version that gives me more real estate to work with.

Now, another excellent use for the iPad Air 4 is sidecar. So if you own a Mac or a MacBook, you can use the iPad Air 4 as an additional display and it’s all wireless. Now I knew that this was an option when I got it but I wasn’t sure that I would ever use it. But now when I have my MacBook connected to my ultra wide monitor, I can still have a third display without having to deal with any adapters or cables. I also like the fact that I’m still keeping the touch screen functionality when I’m using sidecar.

And it’s definitely something that I plan on continuing to do with all my iPads. If you’ve gotten value from this video, give it a thumbs up. It lets me know what kind of content you like so that I can make more of it. And I still see that over 90% of you are new viewers, so hit that Subscribe button. Now I talked a little bit about audio in my initial review.

But the iPad Air 4 actually has pretty good speakers. There are speakers on the top and the bottom or left and right, I guess, depending on how you’re holding it. And even though you’ve see four speaker grills, this is a pair of stereo speakers. When I’m watching content or listening to music, the audio quality is pretty good.

I mean, it’s not the best that I’ve ever heard from a tablet.

I do like the iPad Pro, the Tab S7 and the Tab S7+ better but for the most part I’m using headphones, So speakers aren’t really a deciding factor for me with a tablet. As far as volume, they’re plenty loud and I’m not sure that I’ve ever had it at a hundred percent.

But just to give you an example for gaming, which I’ll get to in a minute, I’m easily able to identify the direction of footsteps and where they’re coming from. And the next I wanna talk about the cameras and you’ve probably heard me say that I rarely use the cameras on my tablets. Other than taking some test shots, it’s just not a tool that I end up using but the rear facing camera on the iPad Air 4 provides pretty good image and video quality.

Now in practice, I just end up using my phone because it’s more convenient and it has a better camera. But for a tablet, the iPad Air 4 is actually plenty good. For the camera I do use is the front facing camera which I use for FaceTime and Zoom calls. Again, in terms of quality, it’s as good as it needs to be. And just like every camera it performs better with better lighting.

As far as battery life, the iPad Air 4 has been pretty good. Apple reports, about 10 hours of surfing the web on WiFi and then nine hours when using cellular data. And in my experience, it’s been pretty accurate. Now of course, if I’m gaming and I have the brightness turned all the way up, I’m not gonna get anywhere near that.

But as with every device, the battery life depends on how hard you push it. Now, I wanna shift directions a little bit and talk about some of the accessories that I use most often with the Air 4. By far, the most used accessory is a keyboard. And I have both the Magic Keyboard and the Logitech Folio Touch. And both are good options. And if you’re trying to choose between them, I’ll leave a link to my comparison video at the end of this one. Now next up would probably be the second generation Apple pencil. It’s one of those accessories that I knew I would use some, but I didn’t realize quite how convenient tool it is. Now of course, I use it for photo and video editing but it’s also great for note taking, sketching out my shot list and then signing documents.

And the more I learn about this device, the more I like it. I have a dedicated iPad Air 4 accessories video.

So if you’re looking for all of my recommendations, definitely check it out. But I do wanna mention one other accessory which is a small power bank. I always wanna have a power source with me and there are a ton of options on Amazon. I use different ones from various manufacturers and I’ll link to a few of my favorites in the description. Now next, let’s talk about gaming. I didn’t really think that I would game on the iPad Air 4, but it’s actually quite a good experience. You know, considering. I mean, we don’t have 120 Hertz like we do on the iPad Pro, but neither does my iPhone. And I really enjoy mobile gaming on this larger display.

So if you ever wanna play PUBG, let me know.

I’m terrible at it, but I really like playing. If you’re gonna be downloading a lot of big games or doing some photo and video editing, keep in mind that you may wanna get more than 64 gigs of storage. I know I talked about the speaker system and it’s definitely better than what we have on the iPad Air 4, but you can’t beat a dedicated headset. So it’s extremely rare for me to actually game without one. Of course, there is no headphone jack so I end up having to use a USB-C to 3.

5mm adapter, and now I just keep it attached to my headset.

Remember that I’ve link some in the description to all the products I talked about. Hopefully this video is helpful. Click on my face to subscribe and then watch one of these videos. Now what I always say, buy it nice or buy it twice.

Good luck and see you soon..

Read More: WHY PAY MORE?! Apple Magic Keyboard 2021 vs Logitech Combo Touch