Apple’s fifth generation tablet brings an all-new design with performance upgrades, which makes it thinner, lighter and faster than all previous iPad models.
iPad Air Hardware: Thin & Light
At only 7.5mm and weighing less than 1 pound, this is Apple lightest and best looking tablet yet. The iPad Air, inspired by the iPad Mini, is the long awaited design refresh that iPad owners have been dreaming since first rumored last year. Apple’s new iPad Air is 20 percent thinner and 28 percent lighter than the fourth-generation iPad, and with a 43 percent narrower bezel the borders of iPad Air are dramatically thinner. The only downside I can see on the design is durability. The fact that the Air thinner and lighter, most likely makes it more prone to dents, crack and dings. My advice for Air owners would be to put a case on this thing ASAP.
(compared to my iPad 3)
iPad Air Display: A Better Retina
Apple’s retina display never seems to disappoint, and the one in the iPad Air feels improved over previous models. Although Apple is yet to confirm this, the new Sharp IGZO panels seem brighter and more responsive when compared to my 3rd-gen model. Users will enjoy movies and images that “pop” on the screen. Colors are both accurate and rich, while the screen has deep blacks that help the contrast ratio when viewing at angles and in bright light.
iPad Air Software & Features: Fast & Furious
Apple has brought all the performance and speed found in the new iPhone 5S over to the new iPad Air. This translates to the new Air blowing older iPads away in terms of speed. Throughout my iPad Air review the tablet zipped through gaming, multimedia playback and productivity apps thanks to the 64-bit A7 chip. The addition of the M7 co-processor (also found in the iPhone 5S) brings new motion sensor abilities to games and fitness tracking apps. When it comes to the software on the iPad, iOS 7 delivers that flat look and steady performance the iPad needs to perform all basic tasks. iOS 7 also proves to be the perfect companion, as it helps out with the 10-12 hours of battery life provided by Apple.
When it comes to the camera, users will notice Apple [perhaps] has no interest in consumers using their tablets for photography. The brilliant camera found on the new iPhone 5S is nowhere to be found on the iPad Air. Users will be stuck with no flash, and last years 5MP rear iSight camera will only provide basic snaps.
(5MP camera with no LED flash)
iPad Air Pricing & Availability: Expensive, But So Worth It
Apple has decided to stick with the same exact pricing scheme for the iPad since way back in 2010. That being said, for $499 what you get is simply best tablet on the market. With the current iPad mini at $299, and the iPad 2 at $399, Apple still provides plenty of options for those looking to save some cash. In terms of availability, the Air should be in healthy supply now that it has been out for nearly a month. The tablet is available at Apple stores, a variety of retailers (Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target) and all four major US carriers.
Do I Really Need To Upgrade?
This is the question you are probably asking yourself right now. My advice…YES! Previous generation models feel outdated next to the new Air. If you simply want the best looking and best performing tablet on the market, the new iPad Air is for you. For casual tablet users who just want email and web, sticking with your current iPad is not a bad choice. I will warn you however, once you head to the Apple store to test out the Air, you can kiss your older model goodbye. But don’t worry, Gazelle is always here to save you some cash when you decide to upgrade.
I will tip my hat to Apple on this one. Apple has a real winner with the new iPad Air. Current iPad owners of previous generation models will feel that this is a completely new product category from Apple. The difference in weight and performance is just breathtaking. Throughout my review I would constantly go back to my iPad 3 to see if I could actually notice the difference. After about 20 minutes of going back and forth, I finally decided to put my 3rd gen away. The Air is simply fast, thin and light, while proving to be a considerable and worthy upgrade over each and every iPad model before it. Great job, Apple. It is about time.