Apple iPad Air 2 ReviewApple iPad Air 2 9
In the tablet world, there’s only one significant name that stands unchallenged in the space – the iPad. Yes, Apple’s tablet continues to have a firm stranglehold of the tablet market, mainly because it’s so versatile in many ways. Last year, the company upped its game with the introduction of the incredibly thin iPad Air, one that obviously continues the tradition of forward thinking design for Apple. Typical to say the least, the iPad Air 2 aims to continue that trend to a higher degree – while being outfitted with some new hardware and features in the process.
Of course, as we all know too well, Apple is notorious for recycling designs, which was profoundly evident between the iPad 2, 3, and 4. On the surface, the iPad Air 2 very much looks like its predecessor, but there are some differences that make it notable in several fronts. Regardless of whatever they are, will it be enough to distance itself from its highly-esteemed predecessor?
The package contains:
- Wall charger
- Lightning cable
- Quick guide
- Apple logo decals
Thinner and lighter, it’s incredible how much more Apple is able to shave off from the iPad Air 2.
Apple surely outdoes itself when we look at the design of the iPad Air 2, which interestingly enough, snags the honor of being the world’s thinnest tablet currently sold on the market. Well, it’s 18% thinner than the last year's iPad Air. Unless you have its predecessor side-by-side to compare, it’s rather tough to admire the design improvements Apple has achieved. Seriously, it’s skinny (6.1mm) and lightweight (444 gr), easily eclipsing its predecessor in the process. That combination alone makes it considerably easier for travel than most laptops, since it’s something that occupies minimal space in a backpack or bag.
The design, of course, is as iconic and familiar as it can get – though, it’s for the most part unmatched in terms of quality. Utilizing the same familiar unibody aluminum construction from before, which gives it that premium quality, it’s a solid offering that gives it a seamless, elegant appearance. This time, however, Apple introduces a new color option into the mix, gold, which has become ubiquitous to say the least. In complementing its sturdy aluminum frame, the front of the tablet is covered in glass – while a subtle tapered bezel around the aluminum frame makes it comfortable for us to hold it around the edges.
All told, there are very few tablets that turn heads, but the iPad Air 2’s updated design clearly indicates that Apple is committed in continuing that trend. Sure, other tablets may offer protection against dust and water with their designs, but at the end of the day, the iPad Air 2 amazes with its balanced portfolio in being extremely attractive, premium constructed, and svelte enough to be inconspicuous for travel.
Although some will find it negligible, Apple has opted to do away with the mute switch (or rotation lock) that’s traditionally found near the volume control, since the toggle for those functions are accessible via the Control Center. Aside from that, the placement of everything else around its trim are in their usual spots – like the power button, separated volume controls, speaker grills, microphones, 3.5mm headset jack, and Lightning port.
At first glance, it’s really tough to notice, but the home button has undergone some changing as well. Many folks were a bit confused by the iPad Air’s lacking of a Touch ID finger print sensor, which was already introduced before by the iPhone 5s, but it thankfully makes its arrival here – giving owners an additional option for securing the tablet. Naturally, it’s incorporated into the home button, which is now uniformly recessed and accented with a metal ring, but its tactility and responsiveness remain the same. By in large, it’s undoubtedly one of the better implementations because it’s accurate and quick at registering our fingerprint(s).
Identical display as last year – a pretty accurate one.
Hardly an unsuspecting thing, the iPad Air 2 utilizes pretty much identical 9.7-inch 2048 x 1536 Retina Display like the one that was first introduced to us by the 3rd generation iPad. Smartphones are undoubtedly pushing the boundaries when it comes to display technologies, but over on tablets, there’s not much of a rush, or focus from manufacturers to bridge the divide. Even with its pixel density count of 264 ppi, the iPad Air 2 still manages to deliver some crisp and clean details – so it’s fantastic for reading, surfing the web, and even watching video. More importantly, the specs are in line to its contemporaries.Our benchmark tests alludes to the obvious here – the quality is exactly the same as last year, no changes whatsoever. In particular, it produces a brightness output of 410 nits, which is a relatively close to the 426 nits delivered by last year’s model. Other similar characteristics include its color temperature of 7001 K (just slightly blueish), perfect 2.22 gamma, and identical color reproduction. With the latter, the display here pretty much hits all of the same measured values for color accuracy achieved by the iPad Air last time around, so the end result once again is a panel that’s pretty accurate.
Superficially, it seems as though Apple has done nothing to the Retina Display of the iPad Air 2, but it’s worth mentioning that it’s now fully laminated – meaning, the layers that normally comprise the panel (LCD, touch sensor, and cover glass) have been eliminated in favor of a complex in-cell technology. So what does that all mean? Essentially, due to less layers standing between the LCD and the outside world, the on-screen image is touted to be less reflective, and with better viewing angles. In all fairness, it’s really tough to gauge, but the end result is the same with this Retina Display – it’s crisp, bright, and quite accurate with its color reproduction.
Display measurements and quality
|Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better||Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better||Contrast Higher is better||Color temperature (Kelvins)||Gamma||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Apple iPad Air||426
|Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet||417
|Apple iPad Air 2||410
|Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5||395
The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.
|Maximum brightness Lower is better||Minimum brightness Lower is better||Contrast Lower is better||Color temperature Lower is better||Gamma Lower is better||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5||52.2%
|Apple iPad Air 2||78.3%
|Apple iPad Air||80%
|Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet||81.1%
The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
3. vincelongman (Posts: 4104; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)
Na bending shouldn't be a problem with the iPads since you dont put it in your pocket
43. curtiseverett (Posts: 1; Member since: 29 Oct 2014)
Can't understand these high scores for all the iProducts these days. The software on it's own is enough of a reason to make it a no go. Using their products was aesthetically brilliant but functionally tragic and limited. I felt as if they treated me like I was somehow mentally handicapped. These are great gadgets for showing off in front of your friends and getting stripped off your money thou...
45. E.N. (Posts: 2610; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)
Other tablets still can't even touch the iPad when it comes to 3rd party applications. Which means you're just watching videos, browsing the web, or using the few apps/games you have available while iPad users are using powerful video and photo editing applications, note taking and handwriting apps, playing optimized games, using apps for sketching/drawing, cooking etc. There's just no competition.
8. DogeShibe (Posts: 1110; Member since: 10 Jan 2014)
Please stop this stupid bending jokes.
Real tired of it.
28. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4808; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
It's no joke the iPad Air 2 bends very easily. Don't put it in a book-bag & bump into something, cause you WILL regret it.
I like the review, it was very fair, I just don't get how the iPad Air 2 didn't get more points taken off for WORSE battery life than the iPad Air & also not having continuous auto focus while shooting 1080p HD videos. Also when will the iPad Air 2 be able to shoot 4K videos?
This is no 9.0, I would put it at a 8.5 to a 8.7 range. You should never get a 9.0 if the battery is WORSE than last years model. That is a CLEAR negative, thus resulting in something less than a 9.0.
38. strudelz100 (Posts: 644; Member since: 20 Aug 2014)
Don't be jealous all Android tablets suck. Errrrr Giant Android devices I mean. Since the tablet app ecosystem is non-existent.
You can thank the iPad for that too, monopolizing the tablet space since day 1, keeping developers away indefinitely.
Stop fretting about review scores. Scores are relative. Compared to its competition, the iPad stands out.
31. jeff327 (Posts: 84; Member since: 28 Feb 2012)
Sorry you a really tired of it. So, I apologize on behalf of anyone telling bend jokes. Come one people Dog Shibe is tired of these jokes so you have to stop.
35. jeff327 (Posts: 84; Member since: 28 Feb 2012)
Sorry Doge Once again do not want to make you angry. You have already had enough anger of the bendgate jokes. With that being said I so bad want to say you came up with a very clever response but I do not get the muppet reference. Come on Doge even Papa John comes up with better comebacks.
26. Vinayakn73 (Posts: 191; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)
looks like the lady in first picture wants to address us that, one can hide his/her face behind iPad in unwanted conditions.
46. Pongchat.M (Posts: 3; Member since: 02 Nov 2014)
Don't see much improvement on former models..
2. abhi12345 (Posts: 14; Member since: 16 Sep 2013)
Surprised to see android tablets blown away by ipad air 2 in benchmarks. Even latest and greatest android tablet nexus 9 is slower than this tablet.
http :// browser. primatelabs. com/geekbench3/1071403
ipad air 2
http :// browser. primatelabs. com/geekbench3/1061742
5. vincelongman (Posts: 4104; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)
Not really that surprising since last year's A7 had far better than single core performance than every Android
Also this is a tricore vs a dual core, so the A8X should win the multicore
But those are actually different benchmarks
"Geekbench 3.2.2 for iOS AArch64"
"Geekbench 3.2.2 for Android AArch32"
We need to wait for the Android AArch64 results first before a proper comparison. Geekbench will probably update to AArch64 once Lollipop is properly released
11. vincelongman (Posts: 4104; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)
Examples of the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit geekbench results
iPhone 5S 64-bit: single = ~1400 multi = ~2500
iPhone 5S 32-bit: single = ~1000 multi = ~1800
iPad Air 32-bit: single = ~1050 multi = ~1900
I haven't been able to find and iPad Air 2 32-bit results or iPhone 6/6+ 32-bit results
30. peanut (Posts: 4; Member since: 23 Sep 2014)
If the device can do 64-bit, then why shouldn't it be tested with a 64-bit software? Ok well here's new rules: Android-devices aren't allowed to use no more then 50 % of their prosessor capability in this test, for no reason...
37. vincelongman (Posts: 4104; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)
Android Lollipop isn't officially released yet
ART hasn't been finalized yet, there were already many changes from Dev Preview 1 to Dev Preview 2
Devs are waiting for the final version of ART before updating their apps
Otherwise they'll update their app for Dev Preview 2, then the final version of Lollipop will be released and they will have to redo that work to update it again
The Dev Previews will give devs a good head start though, so I think 64-bit geekbench on Android will be release a week or so after Lollipop is officially released
39. strudelz100 (Posts: 644; Member since: 20 Aug 2014)
I've been saying 64bit is a big deal since last year. Of course I was s**t on by idiots worshipping Qualcomm's 3 year old Krait re-hash of the day: but facts are facts.
ARMv8 registers increase performance by 20-30%. Faster performance = more battery life as well. Race to sleep.
There are no Air 2 or iPhone 6/6+ 32bit results because the 32bit version was only available while iOS 7 was in beta.
Watching the benchmark scores jump on the Note 4 (Exynos) will be the ultimate vindication of what I've been saying for the last year.
42. Furbal (Posts: 921; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)
64bit and armv8 performance increases are not the same.
15. naganannan (Posts: 1; Member since: 27 Oct 2014)
The less you have in the box the easier it is to carry...
20. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
Not surprising as it does not have to do as much as an Android device. Custom processor specifically designed for Apple products.
4. twens (Posts: 955; Member since: 25 Feb 2012)
The best combination for me is iPad Air 2 and note 4. My oh mine. Wish I had the money to buy both. IOS is more fun on iPad than on iPhone. I have never been attracted to android tablets. I feel android is supreme when it's on a phone such as the note 4. Nothing beats that phone hands down.
17. Charly.S (unregistered)
welcome to my world! that is the combination i just got 2 days ago :))) and it is a killer one! i feel exactly the same as you.
25. DBounce (Posts: 144; Member since: 26 Apr 2014)
Yes, Android wins for phones and phablets, iOS wins for tablets... So far. Lolipop just might change that. We will know soon enough.
51. navysandsquid (Posts: 2; Member since: 04 Nov 2014)
when did android win phones?? im confused.
6. shiv179 (Posts: 22; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)
What was the need for a tri-core CPU and 2 GB of RAM?
I would have expected some sort of split screen multitasking.
16. vincelongman (Posts: 4104; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)
Still great since more apps and webpages can be stored in memory and wont need to reload when you switch back
Though still disappointed there's no split screen multitasking (also needs to be properly added to Lollipop as well)
29. LiquidGalaxy (Posts: 327; Member since: 03 Jul 2013)
For when devs start to produce quality gaming experiences using Metal and the like...
40. strudelz100 (Posts: 644; Member since: 20 Aug 2014)
Future proofing. Continuity and Handoff is the defining feature of iOS 8. Split screen will likely come in iOS 9 when larger devices on iOS are the norm.
7. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3689; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)
Best tablet at the moment period.
The nexus 9 is a close second though.
12. emadshiny (Posts: 1144; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)
There is just one reason for the worse battery performance: iOS8
14. vincelongman (Posts: 4104; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)
Not the main reason
Apple put a slightly smaller battery compared to last years
27.6 Wh vs 32.9 Wh
Probably because they made it thinner
22. vincelongman (Posts: 4104; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)
Agreed, I wont really notice its 1mm thinner
But I'll definitely notice extra battery life :)
41. strudelz100 (Posts: 644; Member since: 20 Aug 2014)
Yes shrinking battery capacity is clearly NOT the cause.....
18. Sreddy (unregistered)
glad to see, people actually giving credit where it is due. however im waiting to see the note lineup of tablets, hopefully its out soon!!!
34. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3689; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)
iPads deserve the praise and respect, because they are indeed the real tablets. iPhones have fallen behind the curve, and are inferior to android flagships' hardware.
21. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
Nexus tablets are still the better value.
23. colinkiama (Posts: 59; Member since: 23 Nov 2013)
Where is the lumia 730/735 and 830 review?
27. twens (Posts: 955; Member since: 25 Feb 2012)
The note line of tablets coming out soon will definitely be great since sammy is working to slim down touchwiz but the issue is this. Would you have a note or an android device and still own an android tablet?
47. Furbal (Posts: 921; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)
Bestbuy and Target were out of the 64gb cellular version or I would have had one tonight -_-
44. DBounce (Posts: 144; Member since: 26 Apr 2014)
After living with the iPad Air 2 for a week, i can honesty tell you it is no longer the king of tablets. Radio reception is poor, system lags. Redraws are slow. I have experienced crashes. Not the performance i expected from a top spec, 128 gb LTE version iPad Air 2. Just as well, i will be returning this unit. Looking forward to the new 64 bit offerings from Samsung. Their road map states they will launch 4k screened tablets by years end. Sorry Apple your new iPad is a day late and a dollar short.
52. navysandsquid (Posts: 2; Member since: 04 Nov 2014)
I also have the LTE 128 GB air 2 and dont notice the lags and reception. usually my tablet has better reception then my phone.
57. Aleishia1 (Posts: 1; Member since: 25 Apr 2015)
I honestly love the iPad air 2 but always have been a Apple fan. I use it for everything. I love every featured and feel its a great product for its price. I only had one problem with mine shutting on and off in the beginning of owning. But stopped after running updates later.