iPad Air 2 review

Apple took the perfect tablet and somehow made it even better

iPad Air review
Thin, bold and still incredibly powerful

Battery life

  • Up to 10 hours of web browsing or watching video
  • Very low idle power drain, but gaming takes its toll

Apple decided to go for design over battery life with the iPad Air 2, and while this is a bugbear of mine when it comes smartphones I don't mind it here, it's less of a hindrance in a tablet.

The battery life of 10 hours of web browsing or watching video has been ported over to the newer iPad Air from the original, but given that had a thicker chassis it's really impressive that the power has been preserved, which is largely down to that improved A8X chip chugging along at the heart of things.

iPad Air 2 review

The screen remains the biggest drain on battery life

The screen is still as hungry as ever before, as the battery test was pretty power-sucking compared to its rivals. The iPad mini 2 only took down 16% in the looped video test the previous year (a Full HD 90 minute video from 100% at full brightness), where the iPad Air 2 went down by 21%.

It's not a terrible result though - while you'll lose about 20% watching streamed video at full brightness over 80 minutes' use, the general power consumption when out and about is bordering on negligible.

It's also a better result than the new iPad 9.7, which dropped 23% in the same test.

I've left the tablet in a bag for a quite a few hours and come back to only find 2% gone, so Apple's really worked on making sure apps don't chew down power without you looking.

iPad Air 2 review

Games can take a lot out of the battery

It's a slightly different scenario when it comes to gaming, as the longer sessions really take it out of the power pack, especially with the higher-power titles.

It's not terrible, but I wouldn't feel comfortable taking the iPad Air 2 on a long haul flight if I was thinking of playing Real Racing 3 for three hours. Mostly because I would have played too much of one game, but also because my battery would be in danger of running out.

iPad Air 2 review

A thinner frame but the same battery power

Apple doesn't release battery size figures, but reportedly this one is 7,340mAh, which is about what we'd expect, and for most people the battery on the tablet, even if browsing the web or using the tablet as a laptop replacement, is pretty good indeed.

I don't think battery life is that much of a worry for most tablet users given than you'll have to be pretty forgetful to not plug it into power once in a while before it runs completely dry.