The iPad Air is Apple’s latest installment in the iPad series.
Featuring a choice of two colors- silver or space gray- the iPad air is thinner, lighter, faster, and boasts a greatly improved screen compared to previous iPads released. Better features aside, the price ranges from a hefty $499 for the basic 16GB Wi-Fi version and goes up to $929 for the 128GB version that includes LTE cellular data capability. Is the improved hardware worth the steep price? Take a look.
The iPad Air presents a design unmatched in the tablet market. The tablet stands at 9.6 inches tall and 6.6 inches across, along with a 9.7 inch retina display. The Air truly lives up to its name, weighing a mere 1.03 pounds and measuring 7.5mm thick. These figures make it a startling 0.43 pounds lighter and 1.9mm thinner than the iPad 4.
Despite the light size, the iPad Air does not feel loose or flimsy. The aluminum finish feels sturdy, along with easier to grip edges, compared to the loose, sloping featured in previous models. The Air feels significantly lighter and more comfortable to use than the iPad 4, and when switching between the two the difference is quite noticeable. Some internal changes include the A7 chip with 64 bit architecture and an M7 motion coprocessor, along with a 1.4 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM- the best hardware Apple has to offer. Apple made no improvements to the Air’s camera from the previous iPad model, still including the 5-megapixel iSight camera used on the iPad 4. All aspects of the camera are the same, including FaceTime and HD video. While no changes or improvements have been made, the camera still provides excellent quality pictures and video.
Along with an improved camera, expected features not included in the Air are the fingerprint scanner, first introduced in the iPhone 5S. A change from the standard home button would be a welcomed change-as well as an opportunity for something Apple’s new devices usually lack- never before seen features.
One of the more exciting updated features of the iPad Air is its new connectivity. In addition to great features like Bluetooth 4.0 and improved baseband, which supports 14 different LTE bands, the iPad Air gets dual-band Wi-Fi that uses a new feature: Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) connectivity. MIMO connectivity uses multiple antennas to receive and send data much more quickly than any iPad has ever produced. Apple claims data speeds up to 300 Mbps, although this has not been tested for validity.
Other features worth mentioning are the 2048 x 1536 resolution at 264 pixels per inch, along with fingerprint resistant oleophobic coating. The battery life is consistently impressive, boasting up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music. The lightning connector, a smaller cable introduced with the iPhone 5, is used to charge the iPad Air.
Is the iPad Air worth the price tag it offers? Without a doubt, the Air is the best iPad in the series, and Apple touched up several mistakes found in previous iPad versions. 2013 was a competitive year for tablets, with companies like Google and Samsung constantly releasing Android based tablets offering similar, even superior options compared to the iPad. 2014 looks to be an even tougher year of competition.
It can be a daunting task to discern the best tablet; one that fits into a budget and still offers quality options. The iPad Air does remain a solid option, offering several Wi-Fi or Cellular data tablets to fit a variety of budgets, along with one of the best -if not the best-tablet designs out there.