Get a free iPad air when you take out a mobile phone contract at TigerMobiles.com. This stunning tablet is as close to perfection as it comes and fuses design, usability and features all into one. Apple have really outdone themselves here and if you’re after a large screened tablet the iPad Air is a must.
What happened to the iPad 5? What’s up with the dramatic Air tag? Yeah, pundits are pretty baffled with the new nomenclature used by Apple but let’s face it, Apple upgrades are usually peculiar. Most of the time they are slight improvements but then there are moments when drastic technology advances are seen like with the 3GS to the iPhone 4. Does the debonair iPad Air therefore deliver anything more to justify its new name?
Quicker 64 Bit processor, excellent battery life, smaller and sleeker with less weight.
No 8MP rear camera, no slo-mo recording and a hefty price tag.
The iPad Air 16GB is at least a fifth slimmer than the iPad 4 with a unibody aluminum girth and 2cm less in the width but it still doesn’t get past the Xperia Tablet Z as the slimmest tablet. However, at just 469g, it definitely steals the tag of the lightest full size tablet. Drawing on the styling of the new iPad Mini 2, the Air features a reduced bezel, larger screen presence, thinner chassis with chamfered edges that give it a sleek look.
Colors for the iPad Air include either Silver or Space Grey and with the Nano-sim slot now present towards the right side edge of the bottom corner. Because of its size and build, users ought to feel comfortable with prolonged usage periods – say 20 minutes ought to be enough to make your arms go to sleep, which is much longer than the previous iPad or the Xperia Z tablet.
Weight reduction is evident and so is the slimmer profile of the Air but is that all? Width wise it even trumps the Nokia 2520 and Nexus 10 at 7.5mm! Basically, in terms of size and build, it has taken Apple to the next level of competition with tablets that look nicer and sexier. However, there is more in store than plain and simple aesthetic jumps.
Considering the fact that the iPad 4 had a Retina display with a dense pixilation of 264ppi, you really can’t ask for a huge improvement. The iPad Air 16GB continues with the same legacy of Retina display albeit with improved vibrancy and color depth. Text is sharper and the contrast feels richer. Add to this the thinner bezel and you get more screen surface to gaze into.
An interesting algorithm update in the iPad Air detects when digits are resting on the screen rather than making an active input, which helps eliminate misfires and accidental usage.
Does the competition have anything better? Nope, the Tab 10.1 loses hands down with anappalling 149ppi density and so does the Tablet Z from Xperia at 224 ppi.
Unfortunately, this is one area that Apple seems reluctant to upgrade. 5MP rear facing 1080p camera is all you get and the same front camera as seen on iPad 4. Thankfully, HDR is now a part of the iPad Air’s portfolio. But this meagre update seems a pebble’s splash in the pond.
Technology wise, the A7 chip with 3x zoom and auto video stabilization does help improve overall camera experience but it is the front camera’s FaceTime HD addition that makes more splashes. A better illumination sensor and bigger pixels with dual mic inputs helps FaceTime experience grow on the user. Mind you, it still records at just 1.2MP and at most 720p.
A7 processor with the M7 co-processor, as seen on the new Mini 2 makes the iPad Air the most powerful large screen tablet from Apple yet. And yes, it too is based on a 64 bit architecture which means it is blazing fast and future ready. Unfortunately, 64 bit apps are yet to harness the raw potential that the Air has to offer so one really cannot test its maximum limits just yet.
Thankfully, the new processor makes iOS 7 feel less lagged while the M7 co-processor makes motion sensing and other gyroscope based activities fluid. The OpenGL ES 3.0 support though is by far the biggest improvement. It helps deliver better graphics and livelier gaming performance allowing multi-tasking at the same time. Unfortunately, iOS 7 continues to be Apple’s kryptonite with crashes and slow-downs still being reported by users – we expect such issues to be resolved by the end of 2014.
iPad Air now comes with MIMO wireless enhancement that lets you broadcast and receive wireless signals faster and better. Even the LTE band compatibility now covers everything under the 4G frequency banner. Home based wi-fi entertainment hasn’t significantly changed but the range of wi-fi has increased. Download speeds remain the same in 4G and 3G. You can now jump from the 16GB to the 32, 64 or 128 GB and although there is a whopping $100 increment per jump, you still pay less per GB as you go higher.
The quoted usage life is 10 hours with music, video and web surfing on a single full charge but the reality is that it is at best around 7 hours with web surfing and 8 hours with video playback (at reduced brightness obviously!) The standby duration has however increased and can go a day or two extra assuming you have the wi-fi turned off.
|Dimensions||9.4 inches x 6.6 inches x 0.3 inches|
|Color||Silver / White, Gray / Black|
|Screen size (diagonal)||9.7 inches|
|Resolution||2048 px x 1536 px|
|Launch OS version||7|
|Internal size||16 GB, 128 GB, 64 GB, 32 GB|
|Wi-Fi support||802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11b, 802.11a|
|802.11n frequencies||5GHz, 2.4GHz|
|Front camera||1.2 megapixels|
|Rear camera||5 megapixels|
|Sensors||Ambient Light, Gyroscope, Accelerometer|
|Battery capacity||32.4 Wh|
|Quoted use time||10 hr|
Pitted against the competition, the iPad Air 16GB wins hands down – it is a premium heavy duty full size tablet with excellent apps and a sexy cosmetic upgrade.
However, the lack of better camera and a significant performance increase means that it doesn’t really improve on iPad 4’s accolades. Well 4G is definitely a welcome addition but that is all.
Basically, if you don’t have a Retina display iPad then this is the best ever iPad from Apple, otherwise it’s mostly an improvement over the iPad 4 and not a generation apart.
by Dan Forster, Mobile Phone Expert
Dan is our mobile phone review expert helping customers make better buying decisions. With a passion for technology and taking things apart Dan single-handedly reviews all the phones listed on the TigerMobiles.com website.