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Apple iPad Air Review

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Interface and Functionality


By now, the updated iOS 7 experience has made its way to several Apple devices, so there aren’t any surprises here folks – even more if you’re already using an older iPad with the new software. We’ve covered the experience extensively in our review of the iPhone 5s, but to sum it all up here with the iPad Air, we’re pleased to know that the updated visuals help to complement the fact that this is a totally redesigned iPad that we’re dealing with. In addition to the overhaul found with the visual presentation of the platform, it still keeps in mind all of the core foundational aspects of the platform that we all know and continue to appreciate – like its simplified and straightforward approach.

On the surface, the look and feel of iOS 7 on the iPad Air is very familiar, as the grid-style layout of its interface has been a constant staple. As for those iPad centric features, like the various gestures it uses for navigation, they haven’t really changed at all. Specifically, they include the 5-finger pinch gesture that “minimizes” an app, and the other 5-finger swipe left/right that allows us to switch between opened apps. Sure, the animations that accompany those gestures look pretty much identical from before, but nevertheless, they’re both features that help us to get around with ease.

At the end of the day, it’s just the visuals that change here with iOS 7. It’s something that we naturally appreciate, but we were kind of hoping to see some additional gestures, or other features that greatly differentiate it from the iPhone experience.

Messaging


There’s nothing particularly new here with the messaging experience with the iPad Air, well, to its credit, iOS 7 features a different color theme for the keyboard. Besides that, everything else is identical to last year’s unit. Naturally, the landscape option is by far the best option to go with, seeing that its spacious layout allows us to use it much like a regular keyboard. With the portrait option, we recommend relying on the split-style option – mainly because our thumbs are better able to encompass the layout.

Using the default email app, it’s yet again a familiar one that only sees a subtle change with its visual presentation. Indeed, it’s more than equipped to help us organize our various accounts, but it still doesn’t have the depth of functionality we see with the Gmail experience over on Android – albeit, the official Gmail app for the iPad is pretty darn good on its own.

Organizer


Checking out the usual array of core organizer apps on the iPad Air, it’s again the visuals that are new here with the experience. Beyond that, though, there’s nothing out of the ordinary with any of them, since they pack along the usual features and functions we’ve come to expect to find. Still, it’s nice that they’re all optimized to make great use of the extra real estate with the tablet’s display. Interestingly enough, iOS 7 does adds this new feature called iCloud Keychain, which allows us to share various passwords and credit card information between approved iOS 7 devices.

Processor and Memory


Although the iPad Air shares the same 64-bit based dual-core Apple A7 chip that’s also used by the iPhone 5s, its clock speed is higher at 1.4GHz – whereas it’s 1.3GHz with the iPhone 5s. As expected, the iPad Air just flies with all tasks and operations thrown at it, which is something that’s been constant with the tablet. Heck, even processor intensive tasks, like playing some serious 3D games, don’t slow this one at all! Still, the availability of apps and games that are optimized to make use of the 64-bit processor is a small listing at the moment, but the momentum should shift into higher gear over the next few months.

To tell you the truth, it really pains us to see that Apple is just so stubborn when it comes to storage capacity with the iPad Air. As usual, it’s available in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities, which are priced at $500, $600, and $700 respectively for the Wi-Fi versions. Seriously, we were hoping to see the trio consist of 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB versions. It’s just called keeping up with the times!

Internet and Connectivity


Safari on the iPad Air acts much the same as what we’ve seen previously, but it sees a new feature that enables us to perform back/forward functions by simply swiping with one finger from its left/right edges. Honestly, we can’t complain about the experience, since it’s rich with so many lovable qualities that makes the tablet great for the occasion – like its speedy page loads, super smooth navigational controls, instant page rendering, and lots of crisp details thanks to its high resolution screen.

Lessening the need to make different iPads to accommodate the various networks around the world, the iPad Air stands out for its support of 14 LTE bands – so that it will be compatible to work with your wireless carrier of choice, even if you’re uncertain about your operator’s network settings. Aside from that, it features the same connectivity features as before, which includes aGPS, Bluetooth 4.0, and dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi. Yeah, it doesn’t have NFC on board, but iOS 7 allows us to share content with its AirDrop functionality. In terms of video-out functionality, it requires the purchase of an adapter to gain that feature.

68 Comments
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posted on 04 Nov 2013, 06:12 11

1. HASHTAG (unregistered)


"Poor low-lighting performance with its camera," which 9/10 users would actually give a dam*.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 07:01 10

9. mas11 (Posts: 1028; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


Especially because most Apple users love to talk about their camera and take pictures with their iPads.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 11:28

41. Commentator (Posts: 2386; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


Every tablet review here has the token "the camera could be better" con.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 06:15 7

2. darkkjedii (Posts: 10966; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Great tablet, I'm waiting for the mini 2 though. The air is sooo tempting man, I just want a smaller form factor.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 06:24 14

3. xperiaDROID (limited) (Posts: 5399; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


Do you have to buy every new Apple products? Don't you feel happy for what you have? Next year, when the iPhone 6 going to launch, you will say "Bring it on Apple, I'm gonna sell my iPhone 5s on eBay and line up with my wife to buy the iPhone 6 for me and my wife, with two new iPads for me and my wife."

I know it's your money, but you should feel happy for what you have.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 06:28 3

4. pokedude750 (Posts: 28; Member since: 10 Aug 2012)


IMPLYING THE DARKJEDDI SPENDING TRAIN EVER ENDS.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 06:37 4

5. rawbow (Posts: 418; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


are you really bashing on someone for upgrading on a site that banks on upgrades to run??? per your logic the companies should just stop making products unless you are ready to buy em

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 06:44 12

7. xperiaDROID (limited) (Posts: 5399; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


Can you see what he post on Apple articles? All I can say is that he is showing off. Yes, we can express our opinions, but why would you even mention where and when you will buy it, how many you're gonna buy, who will you buy for? This is not Facebook.

I'm not bashing him, I'm just telling him to feel happy for what he have.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 08:52 3

18. quadrazeus (Posts: 359; Member since: 03 May 2013)


Ooo..I smell jealousy.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 10:14 2

33. darkkjedii (Posts: 10966; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


So do I quad +1. All of a sudden I'm a show off on a site where all we so is brag about what we have, and diss others for their choice, but I'm a show off oooooookayyyyyyy...

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 09:27

22. Sakeem (Posts: 136; Member since: 05 Sep 2012)


Is this really about him being happy with what he has already or just annoyance over him posting the same thing on every Apple article? Or is there a hint of jealousy? Just asking. Not bashing.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 10:15 3

34. darkkjedii (Posts: 10966; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


You post on every Apple article as well as I do, but your posts are always negative and bashing other people for their choices. Why don't you get a life get some maturity and let people simply enjoy what they want to enjoy. Pointblank plain and simple you are now worse than Troll was

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 10:09 1

29. darkkjedii (Posts: 10966; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


His post made absolutely no sense bro. It's like I'm being greedy and unappreciative for wanting to upgrade. How many people on here couldn't wait to upgrade to the note 3(which is a helluva device BTW) and now brag about it? C'mon dude get real. +1 man

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 10:56 1

38. Sakeem (Posts: 136; Member since: 05 Sep 2012)


Jedii, there was only one thing you did on this site that made me raise an eyebrow and say to myself "what is he doing?" That was when someone, dont remember who, was trolling you super hard, relentlessly hard. You went on to say how much you make in a year, what your wife does for a living, things about your son....etc....just to prove a point. I thought at the time that there was no need to share that info with people that i'm sure you could care less about. Other than that, do you. Sometimes the best response to a troll is no response. Starve em.......then they will eventually die off.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 11:50 1

42. darkkjedii (Posts: 10966; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


That's true, I've learned that bro +1

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 06:45 8

8. WHoyton1 (Posts: 1619; Member since: 21 Feb 2013)


Darkkjedii can spend his money on whatever HE wants not what other people think...simple as that

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 07:12 3

12. Miracles (Posts: 480; Member since: 31 Aug 2013)


Yes he can spend it on whatever he likes cuz its a free country. But the point is that he should be happy with what he owns already, cuz you never know something's value until its gone. So xperiaDROID just gave him some advise to not spend his money for useless things..I mean what can the previous iPad not do, which is in the Air.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 08:39 7

17. WHoyton1 (Posts: 1619; Member since: 21 Feb 2013)


i don't think a grown up married man needs money advice from a teenager...

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 09:05 4

20. Sauce (unregistered)


BOOOOOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 10:11 3

31. darkkjedii (Posts: 10966; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


+1,000,000,000,000 WH1 thank you

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 16:09

47. Miracles (Posts: 480; Member since: 31 Aug 2013)


Its meaningless to change devices when the old one does the same job as the new one. If his old iPad was broken, then totally different situation. Its a stupid misconception that your old iPad is now worth less because a new one came out. Its not.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 09:38 1

24. greathero1 (Posts: 468; Member since: 13 Jun 2008)


Well if XperiaDroid would go around calling everybody else out about what they are going to purchase then maybe I would say he was being consistent. Fact is, he is singling out one person who was upgrading a device for himself and his wife. Considering Darkkjedi is still rocking the iPad 3, what's wrong with upgrading a device after 20 months of use? Saying you are going to buy a device for you and your wife does not equate to bragging. IMO it shows that he is excited about this year's crop of fruit products. No different than my excitement for the HTC One, Nexus 4, and Nexus 5. All of which I own now with the Nexus 5 expected to arrive in 2-3 weeks.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 09:41

25. Sauce (unregistered)


Well said. Well said.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 10:18 2

35. darkkjedii (Posts: 10966; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Well said. I simply want a mini2. Is that a crime lol? It's just not what he likes so there lies the problem. +1 gh1

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 10:06 2

26. darkkjedii (Posts: 10966; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


How can I put this as respectful ad possible? First off I upgrade my phone every year, but not my tablet. I still have my iPad 3, so I'm looking forward to an upgrade. I go to work everyday, provide for my family, and take care of business so what's the issue with spending a little and enjoying things? I don't drink gamble, or use drugs, so my vice is technology. After my family is taken care of, it's tech time. Oh and FYI, I'm not buying it the mrs. is. Thanx for your concern.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 10:22

36. greathero1 (Posts: 468; Member since: 13 Jun 2008)


Im surprised that you even replied back. If you were buying Android stuff then this wouldn't have been an issue. What he really has an issue with is you spending your hard earned money on what he doesn't want you to. It's bragging when you want to upgrade but all is peachy when us Android folks speak of upgrading to numerous phones per year. I think he failed to realize that this is a tech site and these phones and tablets are all of our vices. I buy 3 to 4 phones a year so he probably thinks I am loco lol.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 10:47 2

37. darkkjedii (Posts: 10966; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Lol +1 tech out dude. I do...

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 12:23 1

64. vanquished (Posts: 3; Member since: 15 Apr 2012)


It's in their nature. Spending 3 times more than needed. Buying phones without an upgrade. Getting an ipad every year. Apple banks on never getting any new customers. Just relying on the iSheep to come back for more each quarter.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 06:38 4

6. alaw.14 (Posts: 131; Member since: 10 Sep 2013)


If this has a 9.2 the galaxy note 10.1 2014 edition should at lease had the same score

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 07:08 4

11. joey_sfb (Posts: 2877; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


The reviewer seem bored and his write out seem "yeah.. Its a iPad 10 hours battery life with acceptable camera quality for a tablet. It a last resort kind of thing... "

Score, Tat.da!.. 9.2 lol...

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 07:08 8

10. pyradark (Posts: 767; Member since: 10 Jun 2012)


so it gets 9.2 for only slim and small!!!

yuck yuck yuck
hahaha

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 07:23 2

13. sorcio46 (Posts: 395; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)


Cons: pricey (in Europe)

posted on 13 Nov 2013, 21:59

65. TechCrazyedBoy (Posts: 129; Member since: 12 Nov 2013)


and in Malaysia...

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 07:41 8

14. ilia1986 (unregistered)


"Incremental improvements". Direct fracking quote.

And yet still 9.2/10

I can point to at least a dozen products of other companies on different categories which introduced truly revolutionary and unique features only to fall between 6.5 to 7.5 score.

The funny thing is that none of the editors ever denied the clear apple favoritism going on this site since 2007..

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 08:02 2

15. sniper1087 (Posts: 365; Member since: 31 Dec 2011)


9.2 because even though is an ipad and very simplistic, from my experience using a lot of android tablets and some windows RT and pro, the ipad is by far the best of any mobile platform, as far as performance, better apps and battery life in mobile of course, not counting windows 8 pro. even the new note 10.1 has huge problems with lag which people even reported. favoritism? any other website still gives the ipad high scores, because is a great device, now they made it thinner lighter and faster than before which a lot of people appreciate.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 08:35 7

16. ilia1986 (unregistered)


And still it doesn't deserve a 9.2!!

The Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 got a 8.5 FFS!! And it's an insane improvement over it's predecessor, offers 60000x times more functionality than the ipad, has a higher res. screen, MicroSD slot, actual stero speakers, IR blaster, better camera front and rear, insanely better CPU, and it's still 8.5!! Yes it,s a bit more expensive but you get 600000000000000x more stuff!

The iPad air by that logic deserves no more than a 7.5.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 10:08 1

27. Pedro0x (Posts: 271; Member since: 19 Oct 2012)


Ipad Air : better GPU performance, way better single core performance and almost equal multicore score even though it is only dual core and clocked at lower GHz, better CPU and GPU architecture. Way better calibrated screen, significantly better battery life. Better apps. And much better build quality, apple has the best build quality. Much lower charge time.
The Note is only better if you really can´t stand the IOS, or if you are an anvanced user, IOS is only for a normal user and that is about 99.999% of all the people buying these devices.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 10:11

30. sniper1087 (Posts: 365; Member since: 31 Dec 2011)


Yes while it gets more functionality it also hinders user experience, when you see your tablet freeze between other bugs, while I dont blame android for those issues, but samsung alone. I dont use the rear facing camera at all, but the front camera on the ipad, if you see facetime you would notice a huge difference from other devices of course only works with apple devices. I will be testing a side by side today because I am looking for a tablet and well the only way to judge them is to use them, might even go with the windows 8 pro version. O and if you like prompt updates apple has definitely kept customers happy with that.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 21:48

51. darkkjedii (Posts: 10966; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


How about you just by a note 10.1, and not give a crap about someone's rating. It's your tablet rate it yourself, and post it. Dude you sound more and more, like a jealous immature little fanboy. These guys are here to do a job, not satisfy you. Get a life dude. SMDH.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 07:56 1

57. YuLeven (Posts: 49; Member since: 14 May 2013)


Than why don't you go and buy your iPad instead of bitching for someone disagreeing with your views on your beloved tablet?

This guys are here to do a job, indeed: Apple PR.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 09:02 5

19. cR203 (Posts: 188; Member since: 27 Jan 2013)


I'm still not getting how this scored higher than the galaxy note 2014 edition. The galaxy note 2014 edition was a huge improvement over its predecessor and it only scored an 8.5.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 09:34 1

23. Sauce (unregistered)


You have to ask yourself why you think the n2014 edition scored an 8.5 and not a 9.2, instead of asking why the Air scored higher. Stuff on paper will always look better, but printed specs are not always better. Don't get me wrong, I completely agree with you - a great improvement from its predecessor. But what could the note 2014 do better to improve its overall rating? User experience, build quality and comfort of holding, software, etc etc, what ever it may be. Until someone utilizes each compared tablet to their full potential and daily use (like these guys do), then there isn't any room for that. Anyway, both are great tablets and deserve great scores (including a better score for the n2014 edition).

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 11:05 1

40. cR203 (Posts: 188; Member since: 27 Jan 2013)


I understand everything your saying but we both agree the n2014 edition could've had a better score.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 10:09

28. Pedro0x (Posts: 271; Member since: 19 Oct 2012)


An improvement yes but it is is not enough.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 12:35

43. SuperMaoriBro (Posts: 291; Member since: 23 Jun 2012)


"Nexus 10 and Surface 2 are cheaper than the iPad Air, plus they have higher-resolution displays"... Um surface 2 has 1920x1080 res, ipad air has 2048x1536 resolution. Therefore surface2 may be cheaper but it certainly hasnt got a higher res display

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 13:09

45. zekes (Posts: 207; Member since: 14 Aug 2012)


You have to be slightly stupid The iPad clearly has a higher resolution display than the surface two even the surface Pro I think

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 07:04

53. PhoneArena Team (Posts: 238; Member since: 27 Jun 2006)


It was a language mistake. We corrected the text.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 12:43 1

44. kabhijeet.16 (Posts: 633; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)


Great Device.... Awesome performance....
But I have only one thing against Apple products...Its the PRICE...
They cost toooooo much.... Very expensive....
I cant afford....
In India when I see the price of iPhone, I start thinking that should I buy iPhone or should I get a bike.???.!!!!!

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 07:55 1

56. mobilespecs.pk (banned) (Posts: 45; Member since: 15 Dec 2012)


Ipad Air is a good device but, it can't compete with Galaxy Note 10 2013.
http://goo.gl/ucE67Q

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 15:19 2

46. woodshop20 (Posts: 459; Member since: 14 Sep 2013)


If this already gets a 9.2 then they really need to change their scoring system. Otherwise the Nexus 5 and iPad Mini 2 will go off the scales!

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 18:51

50. Pancholo (Posts: 377; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


Surface Pro 2 = 8.5/10

iPad Air = 9.2/10

What hell? I don't even...

I demand a revision of the current PhoneArena's scoring system.

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 12:39

62. iGeek (Posts: 145; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)


The Nexus 5 got 9.5 ohhh everyone one loved it !!! Go cry out loud outta here boy, this is the tablets king :)

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 23:31

52. Diezparda (Posts: 208; Member since: 23 Oct 2013)


Can anyone tell me what the advantage of 64bit architecture processor with only 1gigs of ram? It obviously iPad air is faster than the iPad 4 but how much faster? i read the verge review and they said it's not significantly different...

Maybe it's wiser to purchase older model mabye iPad 3/4 if they are much cheaper or maybe iPad mini 2?

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 07:52 1

54. mobilespecs.pk (banned) (Posts: 45; Member since: 15 Dec 2012)


Ipad Air is light but Samsung galaxy Note 10 2013 has more functionality.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 07:52 7

55. YuLeven (Posts: 49; Member since: 14 May 2013)


Opening two apps at once? Who needs that? The iPad is the best tablet ever made.

Expandable storage. Who needs that? The iPad is the best tablet ever made.

Using pendrives, printers, mouses, keyboards, external HDs and any sort of legacy hardware that works with Windows 8 and RT. Who needs that? The iPad is the best tablet ever made.

Even though you have thousands of great apps, some are better on Android. A personal example? JED. It’s a far better and simpler dictionary than what you have on iOS. But… studying Japanese? A tablet is for playing Candy Crush, for goodness sake! Who needs Japanese? The iPad is the best tablet ever made.

Simple swyping from the left side to bring multitask? Who needs that? The iPad is the best tablet ever made. Use your 5 fingers at once!

A quickstand? Who needs that? The iPad is the best tablet ever made.

A decent keyboard case? Who needs that? The iPad is the best tablet ever made.

Running browser tabs in the background (for listening to their sound, for example) Who needs that? The iPad is the best tablet ever made.

Flash? Who needs that? The iPad is the best tablet ever made.

Bluetooth file sharing? Who needs that? The iPad is the best tablet ever made.

Widgets or live tiles? Who needs that? The iPad is the best tablet ever made.

Easy file sharing? Who needs that? The iPad is the best tablet ever made.

A pressure aware, hovering capable stylus? Who needs that? The iPad is the best tablet ever made.

USB Mass Storage Mode? Who needs that? The iPad is the best tablet ever made.

Being able to just drag on drop your files? Who needs that? The iPad is the best tablet ever made. We have iTunes!

Being able to watch every movie in every codec? Who needs that? The iPad is the best tablet ever made. iTunes converts it in a coupe of hours.

Watching Netflix without blackbars? Who needs that? The iPad is the best tablet ever made.

Being able to do smal checks on the browser or other app while you watch a video or some sort of thing? Who needs that? The iPad is the best tablet ever made.

Customization? Who needs that? The iPad is the best tablet ever made.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 15:29

59. rherro12 (Posts: 1; Member since: 05 Nov 2013)


This is hilarious! Every Apple product review on PhoneArena sounds exactly like that.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 21:57 1

60. Pancholo (Posts: 377; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


You need to spam this in every iPad review on the planet.

Please.

posted on 10 Jan 2014, 01:49

66. rizwanazad (Posts: 12; Member since: 30 Nov 2013)


Ha Ha Ha! Hilariously true! You just nailed it.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 15:00 1

58. 21babydoll12 (Posts: 42; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)


Looking back at what all the apple mobile device reviews have been its no suprise. I was expecting a 9.4 or higher. But it is there opinion and they are entitled to it. Besides, "IF" the tablet is provided to them for review purposes. Why upset your provider??? Furthermore, PA allows the user to give their own reviews. Consumers will look into these for more everday usage. Regardless of the "bias" score, lets all move on shall we:)

CES 2014!!!

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 01:46

61. jimmykrion (Posts: 1; Member since: 06 Nov 2013)


I bought the new iPad Air to replace new iPad and I could not be happier. The decision was made easier since my parents pushed me to get one so they can have me!

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Display9.7 inches, 2048 x 1536 pixels (264 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera5 megapixels
Hardware
Apple A7 with 64-bit architecture, Dual core, 1400 MHz, Cyclone processor
1024 MB RAM
Size9.45 x 6.67 x 0.30 inches
(240 x 169.5 x 7.5 mm)
16.86 oz  (478 g)

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