Amazingly, even with its slimmer body and all, the iPad Air puts out the same battery life as its predecessor. In our experience, it’s able to pump out a solid one-day of heavy usage, which is pretty much the standard mark we’ve comfortably become accustomed to expect with today’s tablets. Okay, we’ll admit that it’d been nice to get more out of it, but when it’s packing such a slim body, it’s something we’re forgiving about.

We measure battery life by running a custom web-script, designed to replicate the power consumption of typical real-life usage. All devices that go through the test have their displays set at 200-nit brightness.

hours Higher is better
Apple iPad Air
8h 38 min (Good)
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
5h 59 min (Poor)


The iPad Air follows in the same footsteps as its predecessor, where it’s a fantastic tablet that has a fine balance with everything it has to bring to the table – so you won’t be disappointed by what you get! First and foremost, we can’t deny the obvious here, as it continues to be a stunning looking thing with its updated design. It’s the thinner and lighter, which are the hallmarks of any outstanding successor, but at the same time, we get an updated iOS 7 experience that complements the new looks. Better yet, it’s a speed demon too with its performance – which is something we’ve come to expect with all iPads.

However, we have this nagging feeling that it’s not trying to push the envelope hard enough to widen the gap between itself and the competition. We’ve come to appreciate all the things that come along with the iPad Air, but as a whole, it doesn't necessarily offer tremendous amounts of innovation outside of its industry-leading design and A7 chipset.. That's not really a bad thing per se, since it’s exceptionally equipped in dealing with all of our needs and wants in a tablet.

We do have to mention some of its notable rivals, like the Google Nexus 10, Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition, and Microsoft Surface 2. It's worth noting that the Nexus 10 and Surface 2 are cheaper than the iPad Air, plus they have bigger base storage capacities. The Nexus 10 seems to be a better alternative than the Surface 2 at the moment, though, due to its richer application catalog and lower price ($399 versus $449). The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition retails for $549 for its base 16 GB variant, which is $50 more expensive than the iPad Air, but it does sport an S Pen for those who want to have the ability to draw and take hand-written notes. Like we said, you won’t be disappointed by the iPad Air, but it’s hard not to at least consider the other options that are available.

Software version of the review unit: 7.0.3

Update: You can now read our iPad mini 2 review!


  • Thin & light metal design
  • Solid construction
  • Unsurpassed catalog of tablet-optimized apps


  • Base option is just 16 GB
  • Poor low-lighting performance with its camera

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