Tablets are steadily seeing a resurgence thanks to COVID-19. Gone are the days of bulky work computers and the like — these days, a tablet or even a laptop will do just fine.

Our favourite? The new fourth-generation Apple iPad Air, which we are declaring the ultimate portable workhorse. It’s well complemented by the second-generation Apple Pencil and the Magic Keyboard, which we’ll also touch on in this review.

apple ipad air
Choose from five different colours: Silver, Space Grey, Rose Gold, Green, and Sky Blue.

Here are our five reasons as to why the latest Apple iPad Air is a portable powerhouse tablet that’s the best in its class.

Great when on-the-go

For years now, the iPad has always prided itself on being a portable power station on-the-go. The latest edition of the acclaimed tablet weighs in at only 460g, making it easy to bring with you anywhere and everywhere. It’s also only 6.1mm thin, meaning you can fit it into any backpack, tote, or carrying case.

ipad air
You will barely notice its weight.

See it all

Almost anything looks good on the iPad Air thanks to its 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display. This all-screen design pushes its bezels to the very edge; what’s left are just slim borders that give it a sleek and stylish look. This makes watching movies particularly enjoyable — I found myself using the iPad more than my TV when it came to watching Netflix.

Its magic

ipad air
The Magic Keyboard is one of Apple’s most innovative accessories to date.

Being a technophile, I thoroughly enjoy a clicky keyboard. Having already tested out the Smart Keyboard Folio in our previous review, it was time to put the Magic Keyboard to the test. First thing you’ll notice is its floating cantilever design, which utilises a powerful magnet to keep the iPad in place. While I could adjust to a comfortable angle for myself easily, it can only tilt so far so be careful as it may dislodge the iPad off the magnet.

There are also full-sized backlit keys with a scissor switch mechanism, which is a similar feel to what you will get with a MacBook Air. What’s great is that it comes with its own trackpad as well. Now you don’t have to worry about smudging the screen — just use the built-in trackpad. Lastly, the Magic Keyboard also provides front and back protection when folded. But when opened, it features a USB-C port on the side for pass-through charging.

Next-level note-taking

The iPad Air was made for note-taking without any actual paper or pen.

The second-generation Apple Pencil is also another great addition to the ecosystem. This time, it comes with a more textured matte finish for greater grip and a more authentic feel. It also attaches magnetically to the right side of the iPad, which also doubles as its wireless charging dock. What’s great was how easy and effortless it felt to write with it. In all fairness, it’s a more bougie way of taking down notes — and I’m fine with it.

Powers combined

Now, pairing both the Magic Keyboard and the Apple Pencil together and you’ve got a pretty solid all-in-one workstation. The iPad Air uses Apple’s latest and greatest A14 Bionic chip, which promises up to 40 percent CPU performance with 30 percent faster graphics. It is a lot more noticeable, especially if you were using the previous generation iPad Air. Battery life also took a significant upgrade, now lasting for the better part of 14 hours on a single charge. I found myself working without even noticing that I was on the iPad sometimes. Whether it’s simply making mental notes about something, writing another story, or simply scrolling endlessly through Netflix, I’ve pretty much given up on a laptop for now.

Verdict

To really put the iPad Air to the test, shoot in 4K via its rear camera and edit it straight on the tablet.

Now, here comes the hard part — colours. The iPad Air comes in five distinctive finishes: Space Grey, Rose Gold, Silver, Green, and Sky Blue. There are also only two storage options for the iPad Air, which are either 64GB or 256GB. This are priced from S$879 and S$1,099 respectively. Do know that if you choose to opt for the Wi-Fi + Cellular variant, you will be forking out even more.

If you’re in dire need of a portable and compact device that can double as a workstation — especially with more days being spent working from home — there is no better option. This is especially true if you’re in the creative industry that needs to work with editing software and the like. The iPad Air doesn’t come cheap, but we reckon it’s worth every penny. More details here.

This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Kuala Lumpur

(All images: Apple)

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