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2024 iPad Air review: Go big or go home

Published Jun 16th, 2024 12:06PM EDT
2024 iPad Air main image
Christian de Looper for BGR

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2024 iPad Air

Rating: 5 Stars

The new iPad Air doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but the larger size and better processor do make for the best iPad Air ever.


  • Sleek design
  • Stunning display
  • Great battery life
  • Comes in two sizes
  • Solid accessory support


  • Doesn’t support new Magic Keyboard
Buy FromList PriceSale Price
$599$599See It

The iPad Air is getting bigger — literally. For 2024, Apple announced that the iPad Air would not only get a chip bump, but that it would also be available in two sizes — an 11-inch model, and a massive 13-inch model. That’s right, the iPad Air is now available with a screen almost the size of a MacBook Air.

It’s hard not to draw a parallel between the announcement and the fact that Apple has long hailed the iPad as a machine that can replace your laptop. In recent years, Apple has been bringing more productivity features to iPadOS, the iPad operating system, while also building in performance on the level of a laptop, through the M-series. The iPad Air, in particular, however, seems a little undefined. Is it a pro-level iPad — and if so, why go for the iPad Pro over the iPad Air? Or, is it built to be more of a media consumption machine — and if so, is it enough to convince users to buy it instead of the base-level iPad?

I get the confusion — but I don’t think it has to be that defined. Why can’t it be both?

2024 iPad Air specs

Dimensions247.6 x 178.5 x 6.1 mm (11-inch), 280.6 x 214.9 x 6.1 mm (13-inch)
Display resolution1640 x 2360 (11-inch), 2048 x 2732 (13-inch)
Display size11 inches, 13 inches
Display typeLCD
Display refresh rate60Hz
Display brightness500 nits (11-inch), 600 nits (13-inch)
ChipsetApple M2
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Rear camera12MP, f/1.8
Video4K at 60fps, 1080p at 240fps
Front camera12MP, f/2.4
PortsUSB-C 3.1
Battery size28.93Wh (11-inch), 36.59Wh (13-inch)
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi 6e, 5G
ColorsSpace Gray, Starlight, Purple, Blue
Price$599 (11-inch), $799 (13-inch)

The same sleek design

The iPad Pro gets a slight design refresh for 2024, but the iPad Air largely keeps the overall look and feel as previous-generation models. That’s not a bad thing — I like the design of the iPad Air, and it’s modern enough to not really need a refresh anyway.

The display has a slim enough bezel around it that I like the size of, as it makes it easier to hold the tablet without accidentally touching the display. When held vertically, there’s a USB-C port on the bottom, volume buttons on the right edge, and a power button with a Touch ID sensor built into it on the top. The device is available in a few different colors — and I’m reviewing the Starlight model.

2024 iPad Air backImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The 13-inch model, of course, is all-new — and while I tend to prefer the 11-inch size of iPad, I can see the appeal of the larger one. It’s a bit of a monster — big, and obviously heavier. But it still feels thin in the hand, and allows for much more room for your content on the screen.

Both models also have a moved front-facing camera, finally. The camera has been moved to the middle of the horizontal edge, which puts it in the prime spot for video calls. That’s largely why you would use the front-facing camera on an iPad (who takes selfies on a tablet?), so it’s great to see the camera in this spot now.

A stunning non-pro display

The screen on the iPad Air looks great, as is always the case on the iPad. It’s not the same OLED screen that you get on the iPad Pro — and when you put them side-by-side, you can tell. But, it still looks stunning, whether you’re typing in a document, or watching a movie.

2024 iPad Air displayImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

I’m reviewing the 13-inch model of the iPad Air, and the display really is huge. Of course, it’s still smaller than the screen of a MacBook Pro, but for some reason when you hold the display itself, it feels bigger.

The quality of the screen is the same as last year, but again, that’s not a bad thing. It has a high enough resolution to be crisp and detailed, and it gets bright enough for use outdoors. Colors are bright and vibrant, too. It isn’t a high refresh rate display — so it’s not as smooth-feeling as the iPad Pro. And it’s not an OLED display, so black levels aren’t as deep. But it still looks very nice indeed.

Laptop-level performance

The 2024 iPad Air has the Apple M2 chip built into it — yes, the same chip that has powered many of Apple’s laptops over the past two years or so. The M2 is an outgoing chip in the MacBook world, being replaced by the M3 and M4. However, it still delivers top-tier performance in a tablet.

2024 iPad Air textImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

I’m reviewing the iPad Pro at the same time, and frankly, for my tasks, I haven’t really noticed much of a difference between the M4-powered Pro and the M2-powered Air. That’s not to say no one will — Apple has released pro apps like Final Cut Pro to the iPad, so it’s easy to start to see why extra performance might come in handy. But unless you edit videos or audio on an iPad, you likely won’t notice much of a difference in performance.

It is possible that exceptions to that rule might start to show up down the line, though. It’s entirely possible Apple will support M4 devices with software updates longer than M2 ones, and that Apple will offer new advanced features on the higher-performance chip at some point. In other words, if you’re very worried about longevity, it’s always worth buying a higher-performance device. But, rest assured that for media consumption and basic gaming, the M2 isn’t just good enough, it’s excellent.

A solid battery life

2024 iPad Air portImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The iPad Air keeps the same rated battery life regardless of which model you go for — and Apple claims 10 hours of web browsing or watching video on Wi-Fi. Your actual battery life may vary a little depending on what you use the iPad Air for, and I didn’t quite hit that number in a full work day — but when I wasn’t using it for work, I did find that it lasted at least a few days of basic media consumption usage. Most people will only need to charge their iPad Air once or twice per week.

A correctly-placed camera

On the back, the iPad Air has a 12-megapixel main camera that can capture perfectly fine photos. Photos are generally vibrant and detailed, and easily good enough to show people your location when you flip the camera around in a video call. After all, that’s the main use case of a tablet rear-facing camera, is it not?

2024 iPad Air cameraImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

More important is the front-facing camera, which is also 12 megapixels, and now placed in the horizontal bezel. This camera supports a video resolution of up to 1080p, and you’ll find that you look great in video calls. It’s an ultrawide camera that supports Center Stage, so it’ll focus on you and follow you around a room. I do wish it supported Face ID though — you’ll still have to use Touch ID on this year’s iPad Air.

New-ish accessory support

In recent years, Apple has been putting a lot of work into the accessories for the iPad, and to great success. The iPad Air is compatible with a number of these, seriously improving on the versatility of the iPad.

First up is the Magic Keyboard. Both sizes of the iPad Air support the Magic Keyboard — however unfortunately it’s the previous-generation Magic Keyboard, and not the new one with the sleek new design, function keys, and larger trackpad. That said, even the last-generation Magic Keyboard is an excellent accessory, despite the high price tag.

2024 iPad Air with a Magic KeyboardImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The iPad Air supports modern Apple Pencils, too — including the new Apple Pencil Pro. I’m not a huge Apple Pencil user, but I do generally find it to feel natural. The Apple Pencil Pro adds new features like gestures for squeezing and rolling the device. If you don’t need these, rest assured that the Apple Pencil Gen 2 is still an excellent stylus.


The 2024 iPad Air may not represent the biggest refresh ever, but it does get some meaningful updates that make the experience of using the iPad better. If you have a previous-generation iPad Air, you probably don’t need this one unless you’re particularly excited about the larger size. But if you’re in the market for a new tablet, things like the camera position and improved processor do make the new iPad Air worth buying.

The competition

So, should you go for this or the iPad Pro? Well, let’s be clear — the iPad Pro is better than the iPad Air in pretty much every way. It’s higher-performing, has a better screen, has a thinner build, and so on. But, the vast majority of users — even professionals — will find the iPad Air to be “good enough.” Unless you actually want to edit video or audio on your iPad, you probably don’t need that extra performance.

What about the base iPad? If you’re really only using your iPad for media consumption and don’t mind the smaller display size, the base iPad is still an excellent option. But if you want better performance and support for better accessories, the iPad Air is the way to go.

The iPad Air is the best choice for those who want a do-it-all tablet. It’s powerful enough to handle productivity tasks, and media consumption alike. It’s cheaper than the iPad Pro, too — and for most, the trade-offs will be worth it.

Should I buy the 2024 iPad Air?

Yes. It’s an excellent tablet.

Christian de Looper Senior Reviews Editor

Christian de Looper is based in sunny Santa Cruz, California. He has been expertly reviewing tech products for more than 8 years, and brings experience in deep technical analysis of consumer electronics devices to BGR's reviews channel.