Hands on: iPad Air review

Hands on: iPad Air review


  • Sleek design
  • Powerful innards


  • No TouchID
The arrival of its mini brother has meant that the iPad 'maxi' lost some of its headline billing - but Apple has taken the bigger tablet back to the drawing board, given it a fresh new name - iPad Air - and is hoping to prove that not everyone wants to give up on a bigger screen.

As well as improvements to its innards, in a new A7 chip and camera upgrades, the decrease in thickness and weight in the new iPad Air is very welcome, making what could have been an incremental upgrade hugely significant.
The iPad Air weighs in at just 1lb (or 453g) and 7.5mm thick - a significant step up from its predecessor, and in the hand that difference is genuinely startling.
iPad Air - thinner
The fourth incarnation of the iPad came quickly after the third - both announced last year, which may well have lessened the impact (especially given the rowdy newcomer it was announced alongside).
iPad air review
This time around, the iPad Air is looking to make a splash and to that end we get refreshed innards that take this a big step towards being a fully-functioning PC with the integration of Apple's latest physical technology.

Chipping it in

Under the hood, the iPad 5 has the 64-bit architecture of the A7 chip that debuted in the flagship iPhone 5S, but as a bigger device that power is even more important here, described by Phil Schiller on stage as 'screamingly fast'
The gap between tablets and laptops has not just narrowed but all but disappeared, and the advancements made by Apple in this area are key to its success.
iPad air review
Also improved are the cameras - bringing a HD Facetime camera (ie the front one) and a 5MP, 1080p rear camera. Don't use the rear one, though. Seriously. Don't be that person.
The cameras appeared to function pretty well in the low light of the hands-on room, but we need to get it out into the wild to give you a proper opinion.

They are certainly an improvement on the iPad 4, but beyond that it's really too early to say. Although it doesn't matter as you shouldn't use the rear one. Have we mentioned that?

Past wins

Sometimes in the wash of new technology it's easy to forget what the iPad already brings so it's important to note that the arrival of iOS 7 just a few weeks ago have made significant improvements to the iPad universe already, bringing a welcome step away from skeuomorphism and a more modern and fresh design.
And that Retina screen that has been wowing us from last year is still present and correct - and, as you would expect from a tablet - central to everything that is great about the iPad.
iPad air review
The display is crisp and colourful, meaning that photographs are vibrant and sharp, web surfing is clear and easy and watching films is a joy.
There's no Touch ID - which is a surprise given that it's quickly become a nice feature of the iPhone 5S and the A7 chip can handle it - but it's not by any means critical, and we'll merrily take the reduction in size and weight.
As you would expect with this level of power, the apps run superbly and we were flicking in and out of things like the App Store and iWorks apps without any sign of slowdown or hesitance.
iPad air review
For many 64-bit architecture on an iPhone was unnecessary but, when it comes to the iPad, the extra oomph is a real joy, and we're hoping that developers can take real advantage of the step up.

More than a name

The iPad Air is much, much more than just a name change - the reduction in the size and weight of the device improve it on a fundamental level.
The biggest criticism you could level at the iPad 4 was its size and weight, and the Air's biggest difference is that it's simply more of a pleasure to hold.
It's now down to less than the Sony Xperia Tablet Z, and we were amazed at how easy that was to hold - but Apple has taken things to another level now.
iPad air review
The innards and the other improvements are nice, incremental of course, but all make for a fine device.

Early verdict

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About Doru Somcutean

Hello, my name is Somcutean Doru and I'm from Romania.

I really like to read reviews and see what's new about technology, on D-BLOG I share with you articles/reviews that I find interesting. I also write some reviews in romanian...

My second blog is D-NEWS , here are some movie reviews , my favorite songs or clips that I like...is more like a personal blog...so please don't get in because you'll get really bored.

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