iPad Air Review: Lighter, Smaller, Flat Out Better
I’m going to start off this review with the following statement: I could sit here and type approximately 1,500 to 2,000 words reviewing the iPad Air, but I don’t think that will do anyone justice. If you are in the market for an iPad Air, this is the only review you need to read.
The beautiful thing about purchasing an iPad is that you always know what you’re getting, though I guess the same could be said about the iPhone at this point. The hardware always improves with each model making it faster and more powerful, the software works in lockstep with the hardware, and the app ecosystem is the best on the planet, heck, probably the best in the universe. The product design is always stellar and flawless, no doubt thanks to Apple design mastermind Jony Ive.
There. We have now covered the hardware, software, app ecosystem, and product design in three sentences. So what’s left to review? The answer is not much.
Lighter, smaller, just flat out better
The iPad Air is lighter and a bit smaller (though the screen size is still 9.7-inches). The lightness of the iPad Air is certainly noticeable and I applaud Apple for making that breakthrough, it’s so much easier to hold it in your hands for longer periods of time without feeling fatigue. I also think the smaller enclosure for the iPad Air is a welcome change because it makes it easier to type in landscape mode (while holding it).
Aside from that, it’s the same old iPad we all know and love and really that’s the way it should be. Apple has perfected the product cycle better than any other company in technology. When you purchase a newer model of an Apple product that you previously owned you know three things: it will be faster/more powerful, it will run an operating system you’re familiar with (iOS or OS X), and it will be impeccably well designed. In other words, it will be better. And that has been the case for several years now, in fact, I’d bet that most iPhone/iPad reviews can be repurposed each year to some extent — that’s not necessarily a bad thing either. It just means Apple is super consistent and follows its product roadmap, which in the end is a huge benefit to customers as they know what to expect. Some may say (e.g. Wall Street and certain tech journalists/pundits) that is what is ruining Apple but I disagree.
iPad Air vs iPad mini with Retina Display
Anyway, as someone who was conflicted as to whether to get the iPad Air or the iPad mini with Retina Display (both of which have the same specifications, just different size screen) I can say that the answer comes down to one question: do you want a bigger screen or not? A bigger screen is beneficial for many things including gaming and watching video content. So if you plan to do those types of things on your iPad the full-size Air is for you. Also, just for some perspective, the iPad Air is a half pound lighter than its predecessor and the iPad mini with Retina Display is approximately .25 pounds lighter than the Air making the difference in weight only noticeable after a significant period of time with the iPad Air in your hand without putting it down.
If you want a better iPad, the Air is for you. If you want a better iPad with a smaller screen, wait for the iPad mini with Retina Display that will be released later this month. Pricing for the iPad Air starts at $499 for the 16GB WiFi only model and you can find the full price chart breakdown below. And by the way, the iPad is still the king of tablets.
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