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Apple ipad air review, thinner and lighter

Editor Rating: 3.9 / 5

Apple ipad air

Apple makes life difficult for itself by creating amazing products. And while some generational leaps are amazing and incredible and demand an immediate charge to the piggybank, in other cases the urge is not quite so simplistic. For iPhones, jumping from the 3GS to the 4 was a big deal. So was going to the 5, whether you were at the 4 or the 4S. For iPads, moving to retina was a big deal, but honestly, without a magnifying glass or a close three-to-four-inch inspection, the difference is a little bit moot.


Since the third-generation iPad, Apple's 9.7-inch tablets have come with a 2,048-by-1,536 pixel Retina display, and the Air is no different. While the new device is not upping the screen resolution ante, it can be argued that the first Retina iPad was ahead of its time, so a spec bump was not entirely necessary. Color rendition is accurate, contrast is good and viewing angles are top-notch. Apple appears to have brought over the iPad mini's efficient GF2 thin-film touch sensor, which results in an overall decrease in power consumption.

The magnetic covers still turn the display on and off, and folds up into a triangle allowing the iPad to be stood up. The covers are the same as those for the iPad mini, featuring three folding points instead of four, and a newly covered magnetic attachment piece that should prevent scratches when attaching the accessory to the iPad Air.


Externally, a lot has changed from the second, third and fourth iPad iterations. Gone is the steeply-tapered rear chassis, replaced by a design with a substantially flat back that runs into gently rounded edges. Up front, chamfered bevels surround the cover glass.

The iPad Air is a joy to hold. It is light, thin and the construction just feels fantastic. iPad Air is basically just a bigger version of Apple's wildly successful 7.9-inch tablet. But for those who prefer the bigger 9.7-inch display on the full-size iPad, the changes will be welcome. 

Apple shaved nearly a half-pound off of its previous-generation iPad, and it shows. While the old iPad became noticeably heavy to us after prolonged use, this one just feels svelte, earning its Air moniker.The iPad Air comes in at just one pound for the Wi-Fi model, while the cellular capable version with GPS adds on 0.05-pound. That compares to 1.44 pounds and 1.46 pounds for the fourth-generation tablet.

Buttons and Size

The most noticeable visual change from legacy iPads are the bezels. Compared to the fourth-gen iPad, Apple lopped off nearly half of the space sitting on each side of the display. Top and bottom bezels retain similar widths, but Apple is somewhat limited there due to the home button and front-facing camera substructures.

Picking up the iPad Air with one hand, and the iPad mini in another, the difference in weight is negligible. With the Retina iPad mini coming later this month, the only material difference between the 9.7-inch and 7.9-inch tablets is screen size.

Easy to carry

The lighter iPad Air is easier to hold in the hand, and the arms grow less tired. The smaller size also helps, but the small bezels also present a challenge: Less room to hold the thing without introducing spurious commands and accidentally pausing the movie, turning the page, or buying the $300,000 Lamborghini on eBay Motors.

The 43 percent bezel that allows Apple to provide the same screen size as the original iPad with significantly less width and height does enable two-thumb touch typing while holding the device two-handledly.

Advantages of Apple’s new iCloud

iPad Air to include Apple’s new TouchID sensor, which allows you to sign in to a protected iPhone 5S without tapping in your password. And if you want the advantages of Apple’s new iCloud-based Keychain, which allows you to have unique, hard-to-crack passwords across iPhone, iPad, and laptop or desktop, you must have a passcode on your device.


The iPad Air is Apple's fifth-generation full-size tablet. It features the same 9.7-inch Retina display found on the previous third- and fourth-generation models, sports a significantly thinner and lighter design than its predecessors. Apple achieved this in part by reducing the bezel on the sides of the display, giving the full-size tablet a more svelte look and feel. It is the same design that has made Apple's iPad min such a wild success.

Space gray

The iPad Air also comes in two color options: a "space gray," aluminum back with a black front, and a "silver" model with white front. For our review, we tested both the white and space gray models in 32-gigabyte capacities.


The pricing on the iPad Air is the same as it is always been for Apple's full-size tablets. The entry-level, Wi-Fi-only model offers 16-gigabytes of storage, with capacities doubling for $100 extra, up to 128 gigabytes. Models with cellular radios and GPS come with a $130 premium.

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