By Jim Karpen updated on 02/21/2014
The iPad Air blasted the competition in recent tests of battery life conducted by the website Which Tech Daily. In fact, the testing found that it did even better than the advertised 10 hours, offering an impressive 13 hours of video playback. It beat out the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, the second generation Nexus 7, the Tesco Hudl, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD (2013 version), and the 2014 Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. The Air had a 40 percent longer battery life than the Galaxy Note 10.1, the lone tablet in the 10-inch range besides the Air. The iPad 2 and iPad mini with retina display didn't perform as well in video playback, scoring about in the middle of the pack. However, all three of the iPads tested performed better than all the other tablets in a test of Internet use, with the iPad Air again having the longest battery life, clocking 11 hours. The best an Android tablet, the Galaxy Note 10.1, was able to do was 8 hours. By comparison, the iPad mini with retina display lasted 10.23 hours and the iPad 2 lasted 9.8 hours.
What's really impressive is that the iPad Air can have such a long battery life while still being so thin and light. Usually a longer battery life entails having a larger battery, which means the device is heavier and thicker. It's a credit to Apple's engineering that they can accomplish this. The new A7 chip used in the iPad Air is simply more efficient, and therefore uses less power.
And by the way, if you're looking to optimize battery life, Apple has a great page that tells you all the different ways you can make your iPad battery last longer. The most important thing, they say, is to keep it out of the hot sun or a hot car. In addition, it's important to always update your device with the latest version of iOS. Other tips include using the auto-brightness feature so that your display is only as bright as necessary; turning on Airplane Mode when you're in areas where there's no WiFi or cellular data network; setting your iPad so that it autolocks after a short period of inactivity; turning off push email and setting it so that you fetch email manually; and minimizing the use of location services.
They say that in order for your iPad to accurately report the state of its charge, once a month you should completely charge the battery and then completely drain it. (Something I've never done.)
They also give tips for long-term storage of your iPad. Store it in a cool place, charge the battery to about 50 percent before storing it, and power it down before storage.