In being the lightest 9.7 inch tablet in the world, currently, the iPad Air has a lot to offer. After the iPad 3 and 4, it was quite a surprise to see a retina display packed tablet with a long lasting battery at a weight of just 1 pound. It definitely deserves the ‘Air’ suffix as it feels tremendously lighter than the iPad 4 and reminisces the light weight iPad 2 feel. The battery is said to last 10 hours, but as you’ll see in this post it doesn’t quite live up to its claim – at least that’s what we’ve found. The iPad Air has taken on the same form factor of the iPad mini and comes in two colours, white and space grey. After going with white iPads for the past couple of generations, I chose the space grey and was definitely pleased with the look.
This is an all-new design for the iPad since the iPad 2. The side edges have been trimmed and it comes across as a much smaller iPad than before, yet still touts the same 9.7″ inch screen. Being retina quality, the screen is brilliant as before and seems to come with a much thinner and lighter gorilla glass on top. It also has a maximum thickness of just 7.5mm, which is extremely thin for a tablet of this size. Although the cases and covers are of a different specification than the previous iPads, they compliment the thinner and lighter design of the iPad Air. As mentioned previously, the iPad Air is of the same physical style as the iPad mini and comes in two colours – white and space grey.
The iPad Air comes will all of the same functionalities as the previous iPads. Running off of iOS 7, the iPad is still very intuitive and comes across as an easier OS than the others on the market, namely Android. Although the iPad Air comes across as a very sporty tablet, there was one downside that didn’t seem to live up to its expectation. This downside was the battery life. Apple claims, and so do other blogs and websites, that the iPad Air has the same 10 hour battery life. But with straight-out-of-the-box usage our testing showed that the iPad Air carries only about 8 hours of battery life and drops quicker than the previous iPads. Now, there are a lot of reviewers out there also backing the claim of Apple of its 10 hour battery life, but we’ve tested two brand new iPad Airs and they both fall short of the same 10 hour battery life.
The battery aside, the iPad Air didn’t make too many improvements on its sound and camera aspects. It still has one speaker and the camera is still, more or less, the same as before. The A7 processor is a lot faster and renders webpages much faster than the previous iPads. It’s also worthy of noting that the iPad Air comes with dual antennas for faster WiFi which, as we tested, was a huge speed gain from before.
I would recommend this tablet to anyone looking for a sleek design with powerful hardware, but caution them with the “not-so-ten-hour battery life”. That aside, the iPad Air is sporty, powerful, and elegant.