The definitive iPad Air review roundup

iPad Air review

Reviews for the new iPad Air are in and they are glowing. Ahead of the tablet’s launch on November 1st, reviewers have published their thoughts on Apple’s latest full-sized tablet, highlighting its reduced weight, speed, and overall performance. Is this the iPad you should get or should you wait for the Retina iPad mini? We’re not so sure, but hopefully the reviews we’ve collected below help you make that decision.


Surprise: the iPad Air is the best iPad we’ve reviewed. In addition, though, it’s also the most comfortable 10-inch tablet we’ve ever tested. Not every manufacturer can produce a thin and light device without also making it feel cheap or flimsy, but Apple nailed it. Factor in a sizable boost in performance and battery life, and the Air is even more compelling. The last two iPads served up relatively few improvements, but the Air provides people with more of a reason to upgrade or even buy a tablet for the first time.


When Apple introduced the iPad mini, I feel in love and felt that I’d never be swayed back to the other side. The iPad Air makes the argument anew that there’s still room for big tablets in people’s lives, and it might just help usher in an era of computing where households own more than one kind of iPad, and PCs are harder and harder to find.


The iPad Air is the most significant upgrade to the 9.7-inch iPad in its history. It’s lighter, more portable, more usable and faster than any previous iPad. It doesn’t fundamentally change what you can do with a tablet, but if you’re in the market for one the iPad Air really is the best iPad to date. Competition is definitely more stiff among the smaller tablets thanks to the Nexus 7, but in the nearly 10-inch tablet space it seems like Apple is going to continue to enjoy a great position there.


For anyone who doesn’t truly take advantage of the capabilities in Mac OS X (or Windows) that aren’t available in iOS, the iPad Air is a superior portable computer to a laptop in nearly every way. Smaller, lighter, simpler, more fun. And now, with the iPad Air, in many cases it’s even a faster device. Note too, the simple fact that the high-end iPad Air, with cellular networking and 128 GB of storage (the configuration I tested), costs $929 — only $70 less than the base model MacBook Air. The new iPad Air is a full-fledged competitor to laptops.


But this new iPad Air just kept going, clocking a battery life of 12 hours and 13 minutes, which exceeded Apple’s claim by more than 20%. The company says its A7 chip, combined with the fact it controls its own operating system, gives the new iPad the ability to tailor under-the-hood processes so unneeded drains on the battery can be minimized.

Bottom line: If you can afford it, the new iPad Air is the tablet I recommend, hands down.

The Loop

When I first picked up the iPad Air, I noticed how light it was. I mean really light. In reality, Apple shaved about half a pound of weight off the new iPad compared to the previous generations. That may not seem like much, but when the old iPad only weighed approximately 1.5 pounds, knocking off half a pound is significant.


The iPad has proven to be more than just a simple consumption device. A lot of that has to do with the breadth and depth of apps particularly in the creative arts for the iPad. While it is true that existing iPad owners benefit from all the software advancements I mention above, the new design of the iPad Air and the power of the A7 make it more usable than ever. And for most, this may be the only personal computer they really need.

The Verge

It feels like Apple’s lead over the tablet competition is so massive that the company is simply letting the iPad’s core strengths and superlative hardware sell themselves instead of aggressively pushing it into new use cases and scenarios. Let’s call it the College Freshman Test: until Junior and Sally can head off to State with an iPad Air instead of a MacBook Air, it’s going to take a lot more work to evolve the iPad into a true primary computing device.

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