Review roundup: Apple's new iPad Air is light, powerful with extended battery life

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
The first reviews of Apple's new iPad Air starting coming out on Tuesday, and so far the consensus is incredibly positive, with tech journalists heaping praise on the recently announced tablet.

AllThingsD

The venerable Walt Mossberg praised Apple for keeping battery life a main concern with the iPad Air, and the journalist noted that the new tablet's performance in this regard was the best he has ever tested. Mossberg was able to manage 12 hours of high definition video playback while multitasking with other apps like Mail.

"This new iPad isn't a radical rethinking of what a tablet can be, but it's a major improvement on a successful product," he says. "It is the best tablet I've ever reviewed."

Aside from the long battery life, Mossberg was impressed by the iPad's heft, or lack thereof.

As for downsides, Apple does not provide its own accessories, like a keyboard, for the iPad, and cost may be an issue for those with tight budgets. In the end, however, Mossberg recommended the iPad Air "hands down."

The Loop

Jim Dalrymple of The Loop was one of the first to post his review after the embargo lifted on Tuesday night. He had high hopes for the device, and apparently Apple came through.

"The good news is the iPad Air lives up to all of those expectations and more," Dalrymple writes.

Special attention was paid to how light and powerful the iPad Air is compared to its predecessor. Apple managed to shave half a pound off the new model by slimming down the bezel and battery, while boosting performance with its A7 SoC.

TechCrunch

TechCrunch's Darrell Etherington says the iPad Air "breathes new life into Apple's original slab-style game-changer." He goes on to mention the performance gains enjoyed by the tablet's A7 chip, which gave a significant boost to iOS apps like Apple's own iLife and iWork suites.

Battery life was again a strong point, but Etherington only squeezed Apple's advertised 10 hours over Wi-Fi, and a little less using LTE data.

He notes that the new iPad may convert some users to a larger display, contrary to the recent trend of consumers gravitating toward smaller-screened and more portable tablets.

CNET

Tim Stevens from CNET gave the iPad Air an "Outstanding" 4.5 out of 5 star review, calling it the best full-size tablet on the market. Like Mossberg, Stevens noted the device is priced higher than competitors' offerings, but the performance and design changes could be worth it for many.

"Indeed, pick up an Air and you'll be reminded of the first time you held a Mini," Stevens writes. "It's a 'wow' moment."

As for performance, CNET found the A7 chip clocked at 1.39GHz, slightly higher than the iPhone 5s' 1.29GHz. The added speed comes at the price of heat, though the unit is a bit cooler than the fourth-gen model.

He points out that, while the internals are largely similar to last year's model, the new iPad's aesthetics put it "on another planet."

Endgadget

Engadget's Brad Molen found similar results in battery life and performance tests. The design was especially important for Molen.

"Not every manufacturer can produce a thin and light device without also making it feel cheap or flimsy, but Apple nailed it," he writes.

Molen compares the iPad Air to a larger iPad mini, and despite the mediocre camera performance, finds the tablet to be the best iPad yet.

Other notable reviews

AnandTech
USA Today
Time
Pocket Lint
The New York Times
Fox News
Slashgear
The Telegraph

Sales of the iPad Air will kick off on Friday, with Apple Stores opening early at 8 a.m. for the event. Additionally, those interested can arrange for in-store pickups, with orders thought to start on Nov. 1 at 12:01 a.m. Pacific.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 44
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,571member

    Might upgrade from my faithful first generation iPad. Bought my wife the Mini last Christmas, she has taken to it like a... oh, risk of a label here... she loves it, never far away. :)

  • Reply 2 of 44
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    Quote:

    CNET

    He points out that, while the internals are largely similar to last year's model, the new iPad's aesthetics put it "on another planet."

    Twice the graphics- twice the processor speed- 64 bit- and an extra M7 chip are largely similar internals?

  • Reply 3 of 44
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Wow Tim Stevens over at c|net gave it 4.5/5. Pretty amazing for a site that is so pro-Microsoft.
  • Reply 4 of 44
    herbapouherbapou Posts: 2,207member
    Cant wait to get it.

    The Anandtech GPU benchmarks are very impressive. The Air is a lot faster then the ipad 4 in games framerates
  • Reply 5 of 44
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member

    Those who say that this is the most significant iPad update so far aren't lying. And I don't think that Tim Cook was wrong when he said that he sees an iPad Christmas. 

     

    The iPad Air and the iPad Mini Retina are both killer tablets, and Apple is going to sell a hell of a lot of both models.

     

    Since they're both basically identical, it all comes down to size. Do you want the larger size screen or do you want the smaller screen and portability of the Mini? Either way, Apple has what you want. And if anybody has anything to say about the price, then they shouldn't even bother to comment, because Apple is going to move a ton of units at $399 for the Mini Retina and $499 for the Air. $399 for an A7 iPad that's retina is crazy cheap, and I imagine that it's going to be hard to get one in time for the holidays, as demand will be through the roof, and production will not be able to meet the initial demand.

     

    The iPad Air is the best large tablet ever made, it's powerful, it's smaller than before, it's thinner, it's crazy light, and it's 64 bit. Apple is going to sell boatloads of them. The weight reduction is just insane, and coming in at one pound is a huge difference VS all previous iPads.

     

    It took three generations for Apple to be able to make a retina 9.7" tablet like the iPad Air, and the results are well worth the wait.

     

    I see an iPad Air in my future.

  • Reply 6 of 44
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

     

    Do you want the larger size screen or do you want the smaller screen and portability of the Mini?


    I'll take both- one of each.  Can't wait.

  • Reply 7 of 44
    andysol wrote: »
    Twice the graphics- twice the processor speed- 64 bit- and an extra M7 chip are largely similar internals?

    Yeah, they are all little black rectangles to the steaming masses, aren't they??
  • Reply 8 of 44
    apple ][ wrote: »
    The iPad Air and the iPad Mini Retina are both killer tablets, and Apple is going to sell a hell of a lot of both models.

    Women will go for the mini because it will fit easily into their purses. Men will go for the large iPad because... well, because size matters...
  • Reply 9 of 44
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Best reviews an iPad has received yet. And only dual core with 1GB ram. Best iPad design yet and didn't happen on Steve Jobs' watch. I hope the haters don't slit their wrists tonight. :D
  • Reply 10 of 44
    The first reviews of Apple's new iPad Air starting coming out on Tuesday, and so far the consensus is incredibly positive, with tech journalists heaping praise on the recently announced tablet.

    <h2>AllThingsD</h2>

    The venerable Walt Mossberg <a href="http://allthingsd.com/20131029/speed-and-power-packed-into-a-thin-ipad-air/">praised Apple</a> for keeping battery life a main concern with the iPad Air, and the journalist noted that the new tablet's performance in this regard was the best he has ever tested. Mossberg was able to manage 12 hours of high definition video playback while multitasking with other apps like Mail.

    "This new iPad isn't a radical rethinking of what a tablet can be, but it's a major improvement on a successful product," he says. "It is the best tablet I've ever reviewed."

    Aside from the long battery life, Mossberg was impressed by the iPad's heft, or lack thereof.

    As for downsides, Apple does not provide its own accessories, like a keyboard, for the iPad, and cost may be an issue for those with tight budgets. In the end, however, Mossberg recommended the iPad Air "hands down."

    Are we all in agreement that "hands down" is the same as "thumbs up?"
  • Reply 11 of 44
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    Wow Tim Stevens over at c|net gave it 4.5/5. Pretty amazing for a site that is so pro-Microsoft.

    I emailed him twice while he was editor of Engadget due to what I perceive as an obnoxious anti-apple bias over there. I was really impressed that both times he gave a thoughtful response, although he didn't quite convince me that the bias wasn't there.

  • Reply 12 of 44
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    Wow Tim Stevens over at c|net gave it 4.5/5. Pretty amazing for a site that is so pro-Microsoft.

     

    Yeah, but steer clear of the comments section.  :wow: 

  • Reply 13 of 44
    Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

    Are we all in agreement that "hands down" is the same as "thumbs up?"

     

    I was going to post a picture of hands down and thumbs up simultaneously, but then I remembered I only have two hands and can’t take a picture with my mouth.

  • Reply 14 of 44
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    I emailed him twice while he was editor of Engadget due to what I perceive as an obnoxious anti-apple bias over there. I was really impressed that both times he gave a thoughtful response, although he didn't quite convince me that the bias wasn't there.
    I actually think the Verge is more anti-Apple than Engadget these days (though the Verge usually gives Apple products good reviews), but the comments sections of all these sites blow big time. Obviously Apple fans have better things to do than troll tech site comment sections.
  • Reply 15 of 44

    "The SIM slot, meanwhile, has been trimmed down to support nano-SIMs (instead of micro-SIM)".

     

    Might be an issue for some.

  • Reply 16 of 44

    Yes it is Ultra light..

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  • Reply 18 of 44
    It is very Light so it is easy to carry
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