iPad Air Review

First Impressions:

Overall my first impressions are positive, the device has a beautiful display which was my main reason for buying it. The design of this iPad is everything I wanted and more. I am so tired of the old iPad design so the refresh is welcome. If you want to here more about my iPad take a look at the video below.





Full Review:


iOS 7:

One of the largest reasons I bought an iPad was the software. Now before you crucify me for singing Apple's phrases about the beauty of iOS 7 let me clarify. I do not like a lot of aspects of Jony Ive's software, but what I do like are all the apps available for iOS, specifically the tablet apps. Android is known for having a lack of tablet apps and I was not going to deal with that. I still have some problems with iOS 7, even though I think at least design wise it looks better. However if you think about it, Jony Ive and Craig Federighi had about 6 months to remake all of iOS, so I expect iOS 8 to be a lot more polished and more enjoyable.


Performance:

The iPad has the most powerful mobile processor in existence, which is weird since Apple is not normally part of the spec race. What enables this processor to be so great is the 64-bit architecture in Apple's A7 chip. Now 64-bit means nothing till apps are optimized for it, but once they are the difference is huge, especially in games. In personal use I have not noticed a single stutter and everything loads really quick. The iPad also has the M7 chip for motion however I can not find nearly as many ways to use it as the iPhone and even the iPad Mini seems to use it more.


The Size:

The more I use Apple Products the more I value how thin and light the products I buy are. The iPad Air gets its name based off the size and weight (and because there are rumors of an iPad Pro). The Air certainly lives up to its name; not only is it the lightest full size iPad ever, it is also only .27 pounds heavier than the iPad Mini with Retina display, an iPad that is 2 inches smaller (diagonal). While the weight of the iPad, or lack there of, allows me to use it with more ease in different locations, I would not carry it with me nearly as much if it was not so thin. This iPad is 20% thinner than the iPad 4 and 17% thinner than the iPad 2. While that does not sound like a lot it makes a world of difference. Its the same type of chance we saw when Apple came out with the Macbook Air to replace the Macbook. The bottom line as far as specs go the new iPad is 1 pound and 7.5mm thin which is a crucial component for ease of use.


Design:

Apple gave me exactly what I wanted, when I reviewed the iPad Mini I said I either wanted the same exact device with a retina display, or a full size iPad with the same design; turns out Apple delivered on both! I love this design and even after owning this iPad for a month I still admire the beauty of it everyday. Even without a smart cover the device is miraculous and I absolutely love it. I agreed with Nilay Patel when he said "Apple has this way with hardware design that makes you just want to buy their products." So what makes this iPad so beautiful? First Apple got rid of the same aluminum body with black Apple logo that has been present since the first iPad; they replaced it with a sleek space grey or silver metal finish with a mirrored Apple Logo. The bezels on the iPad Air are all smaller but most notably on the right and left where the Air picks up on the Mini's thin side bezels so that the device seems thinner. The sides are now chamfered rather than beveled, which is much comfier in the hand. If you look closely there are even more changes to the iPad, but the bottom line is that I love the design of the Air and without a doubt it is the most beautiful tablet on the market!


The Screen:

Ever since I got my first look at a retina display back on the iPhone 4S I have been a pixel guy! I own an iPhone 5S and I previously owned an iPod Touch 5th Gen, both devices have 326ppi. Last time I bought an iPad (the iPad Mini) I returned it because the screen was not dense enough at only 129ppi. I had already purchased the new iPad Mini with Retina Display for fear that Apple would run out and then the reviews came in; while the density of the Mini's
display is higher than the Air the color reproduction and saturation is not as good. My fears got the best of me and I returned my mini, so really the screen is the reason why I own an Air. I am glad I made the choice because the Air's screen is BEAUTIFUL! Color reproduction is spot on, saturation is amazing, and it is so bright I only need it on at 50%. To this day I say the screen is the most important part of any device; it is the feature that makes an experience immersive and it allows the hardware to melt away. The iPad Air has an industry leading display that you will never forget.


The Speakers:

If you have read or watched any of my past reviews you probably know that I am demanding when it comes to speakers in mobile devices. Obviously the tiny holes drilled into an extremely thin device are not going to be studio quality, but there is no reason for a premium tablet to not have premium sound for a mobile device. The iPad Air's audio is not perfect but it is certainly acceptable. The stereo speakers on the bottom are an improvement from previous generations but the iPad is still a little quiet, and the audio still only comes from the bottom of the device. That is the trend with all Apple devices and it is one I would like to see a change in. The Air is some pretty thick top and bottom bezels and I would love to see some from front facing speakers like in the Nexus 10 (2012-2013 model). The only downside I could find with this change to the device is, that the design might not look as beautiful when a line of speaker interrupts the beautiful glass, and I would never want to screw up Apple's glorious design.


Battery Life:

While a new phone is invented everyday, and technologies inside them see huge leaps each year, such as screen progression from 540p-720p-1080p-2K in a 4.7 inch phone. On the other hand battery research is slow and has had a lack of breakthroughs for years. This means the only way to improve battery life in devices is to make the components energy efficient. That is the story with the iPhone 5S, the iPad Mini with Retina Display, and the iPad Air. All three of these devices have a more power efficient processor and screen. This means that even though these devices are thinner than usual they still have great battery life, in this case we are talking mainly about the iPad Air, the device that saw the most drastic decrease in size. I have learned that batteries are unreliable, the perfect example is my MacBook Air that use to have 15 hour battery life and now has 9 hour battery life; I get a full days use from the iPad at this point in time and I hope it will stay that way for years!


Smart Cover:

The large ecosystem that iPad is a part of is not limited to software. There are a large amount of covers and cases that work with iPad Air. I chose to get an Apple Smart Cover because I trust the company and I have used one before. My opinions on the purchase are very simple, the cover works well, even though it is a little more fragile with three bars across rather than four. The case looks good and keeps the screen clean as well, but at $40 I think it is too expensive. The case is even worse at $80. Both the cover and the case have the great features of this cover such as sleep/wake control of the device the only difference is the price and the fact that the case has a back to protect your device. I plan on getting a Logitech Keyboard cover in the future but for right now the Smart Cover is just fine.



Conclusion:

The iPad Air is a truly elite and intuitive piece of technology. This tablet is on a level unmet by any device other than possibly the Nexus 7 or iPad Mini With Retina Display. Its powerful, beautiful, and above all else its fun! At this point in time I can not recommend the iPad Air enough!

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