Updated on December 26th, 2013
The new iPad Air from Apple is arguably the best version of the iPad. It borrows a lot from the iPad Mini in terms of design but it’s a good thing. The iPad Air is now thinner and lighter, making the name Air a perfect fit for the tablet. The iPAd Air is also faster as it now uses an A7 processor, the same processor used by Apple on the new iPhone 5s. There is no touch ID on the new iPad Air but that should not be a deal breaker. The iPad Air is still a great tablet, at least on paper.
Early reviews on the iPad Air are in, and the verdict is unanimous – the iPad Air is yet the best iPad to ever come out of Cupertino. Here are the summaries for your reading pleasure.
Below are some highlights to give you a sense of what everyone is saying.
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.
The iPad Air is a huge improvement over the iPad 4th-gen, or the iPad 2, pictured in the gallery. Its form factor is the best currently available for a 10-inch tablet, and it provides a great blend of portability and usability that leans towards the media device end of the spectrum.
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.
We coached the iPad Air through some of our favorite benchmarks, along with a fourth-gen iPad running the most recent version of iOS (7.0.3). The results were quite compelling. In Sunspider 1.0.1, the old iPad took 661ms on average to complete the tests, whereas the new Air blasted through in 402ms average. That’s a greater than 50 percent improvement in Web rendering speed. (The iPhone 5S scored 417ms.) Geekbench 2 was similarly improved, 1,797 vs. 2,382 (higher is better here), and on Geekbench 3 the gap widened, 1,429 vs. 2,688. In fact, the iPad Air’s single-core score of 1,475 is higher than the dual-core score of the fourth-generation iPad.
I’ve been testing the iPad Air for about a week and found it a pleasure to use. This new iPad isn’t a radical rethinking of what a tablet can be, but it’s a major improvement on a successful product. It is the best tablet I’ve ever reviewed.
I found the iPad Air to be much more comfortable to hold for long periods than the last two, heavier models. And I found it to be noticeably faster than prior iPads. Apple claims it offers up to twice the speed of past models. It attributes that to a new processor, of its own design, called the A7, which also will be in the new Mini. This processor, like most PC processors, is what’s called a 64-bit chip, which means it can handle data in bigger chunks.
Trying to summarize what makes the iPad Air special quickly turns into a list of the things Apple likes to have with any evolution of an existing product: it’s smaller, lighter and faster with absolutely no tradeoffs made in the process. The iPad Air feels like a true successor to the iPad 2.
The iPad Air becomes available in the US starting November 1. It should arrive in the Philippines shortly after that.