I really, really liked Apple’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro, which launched earlier this year, but it felt entirely Too Much for a person like me. I am someone who needs to get some light work done on the go, but who also wants to use a smaller tablet to read books and watch TV in bed. The larger Pro’s size, price tag, cameras, augmented reality features, and focus on being a laptop replacement are overkill for most people. So when the cheaper but just as capable 4th-generation iPad Air debuted in October, my interest was piqued.

The new iPad Air sports a 10.9-inch Retina display, flat-edged iPad Pro-like design, support for accessories like the second-gen Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard for 11-inch iPads, and an A14 Bionic processor (the latest and greatest Apple chip—more on that in a minute). It starts at $600, which is steep enough to feel like a splurge but not so wildly expensive that you feel like you’re investing in a laptop. And when competing tablets from Samsung and Microsoft cost about the same but deliver less impressive performance and shorter battery life, a $600 iPad starts to seem like a bargain.


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