Apple iPad Air reviews are in: World's best tablet gets even better

Apple iPad Air reviews are in: World's best tablet gets even better

Summary: The Apple iPad Air launches this week and the reviews have been posted. The iPad Air is universally praised and there doesn't seem to be any downside, except for the high price.

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TOPICS: Mobility, Apple, iOS, iPad, Tablets
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Apple iPad Air reviews are in: World's best tablet gets even better
(Image: Apple)

The reviews for the latest full size Apple tablet, the iPad Air, are in.

As you can read in the following reviews from around the Web, the iPad Air is universally praised for Apple's ability to make a fantastic large tablet narrower, lighter, and faster.

CNET's Tim Stevens is new to the network, welcome Tim, and offers up a solid review and video walk-through while echoing my disappointment in the lack of Touch ID.

If you found yourself tuning out the last few generations of iPad thanks to their extreme familiarity, it’s time to get yourself dialed back in. The iPad Air is worth getting excited about.

AnandTech's Anand Lal Shimpi presented us with yet another comprehensive review and if you want to dive into all the technical details of the new iPad Air and get the scoop on the latest and greatest technology then check out the detailed 10-page review.

Two weeks ago I had all but written off the bigger iPad. It was too bulky and just no where near as portable as the iPad mini. Once the latter gets a Retina Display and equal hardware across the board, why would anyone consider the bigger model? The iPad Air changed my perspective on all of that.

Fox News' Clayton Morris centered his article on the size and weight of the new iPad Air.

At 1 pound, the new iPad Air is impressively light, barely heavier than the iPad mini. My toddler can waddle around the house with it a lot more easily, and I can now use it in bed without worrying that it will smack me in the forehead if I doze off while reading Frank Miller’s "The Dark Knight Returns."

My friend, Vincent Nguyen, from SlashGear gave the global LTE support in the iPad Air a real test and successfully toured with it in Tokyo.

The iPad Air is the no-compromise tablet. Beautiful display, crisp design, premium build quality: it’s the gold-standard by which tablets are judged, and rightly so. If Apple’s full-sized slates had fallen into the shadow of their mini brethren over the past twelve months, the iPad Air brings the larger tablet right back into the spotlight.

Time's Harry McCracken made statements comparing the older generation iPads that may help convince me to pick up the new iPad Air.

No, the iPad Air’s best feature is the 475,000 third-party offerings tailored for it in the App Store, still by far the most bountiful collection of tablet software in quantity, quality and sheer diversity, from entertainment to Web tools to education to mundane business stuff. No competing model has anything like it, which is the single biggest reason why no other full-sized model has made much of an impact on the market.

Engadget's Brad Molen provides some great photos, videos, and detailed testing results in his thorough review.

Surprise: the iPad Air is the best iPad we've reviewed. In addition, though, it's also the most comfortable 10-inch tablet we've ever tested. Not every manufacturer can produce a thin and light device without also making it feel cheap or flimsy, but Apple nailed it.

TechCrunch's Darrell Etherington walked through all of the specifications and functions, along with showing photos of the cases. His screenshot of a 128GB model has me drooling.

The iPad Air is a huge improvement over the iPad 4th-gen, or the iPad 2, pictured in the gallery. Its form factor is the best currently available for a 10-inch tablet, and it provides a great blend of portability and usability that leans towards the media device end of the spectrum.

I currently own the 3rd generation full size iPad and use it daily for media consumption, email, surfing the Web, and writing during my daily commute. It works very well for me and I haven't ever though to myself that something needs to improve for my usage scenarios. Thus, as much as I would love to pick up another LTE iPad, I think I will be skipping the iPad Air for now.

Then again, with T-Mobile's new payment plan and data option you may just read a Tweet from me on Friday that I am at my local T-Mobile store.

Related ZDNet iPad Air coverage

Topics: Mobility, Apple, iOS, iPad, Tablets

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69 comments
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  • Outstanding!

    I will upgrade to 128gig
    1,2,3
    • Huge price premium, competitors allow microSD

      Problem with iPhone or iPads, the base price is never unreasonable, but to get decent memory, and no SD option is a lot!
      HenselM
  • iOS 7

    My biggest problem, and the image at the top of this article shows it clearly, is the schizophrenic nature of iOS 7. The final version is a bit better than the early beta versions, but you still have the nice, modern layout of certain apps, like the calendar and mail apps, but the telephone pad on the iPhone looks like it was designed by a different team, that didn't get the memo.

    Likewise, the homescreen doesn't pass to the new modern look. It is cleaner than the old version, but it still has rounded edges and faux 3D, whilst the newer apps are clean, flat and sharp.

    In fact, the calendar and mail apps would look more at home on a Windows 8 tablet than they do on the current iPad. Which is a shame. If they had kept the same clean lines they have in the new apps, like Calendar and Mail, then it would be a much more harmonious experience.
    wright_is
    • I have no idea what you are talking

      and I certainly cannot see what you see.
      1,2,3
      • If you can't see it

        Then I suggest you see about getting some better glasses and not the rose tinted ones you have now.
        Moosehouse
    • I have to agree here.

      The OS7 interface is a let down compared to 6. While I enjoy the increased functionality, using it is more difficult. Buttons have been replaced by words with no defined edges and sometimes need to be read to interpret, this is a step back from a graphical interface.

      Color is a personal preference but I hate the white, it is harder to read in sun light and harder on the eyes in the dark. Also I just dislike a white color scheme.

      The Graphics are a joke, if I wanted kindergarten icons I would have gone with the Win Phone.

      This OS is a step back words in my opinion.
      KBabcock75
      • I have never denied that ...

        ... harware of Apple is good. On the other hand i have never denied how bad operation systems Apple is using. They are terrible big mess or crap as Mr Torvalds has mentioned.

        And i will never stop wondering what kind of American religious cult Apple really is (" I love my Mac halleluja...").
        MacBroderick
    • Completely agree: iOS7 is a huge step backwards

      I usually like Apple's devices and software. They may not always have the latest and greatest technologies in them, but what they do put in, they typically get spot-on, in terms of design and usability.

      Not so with iOS 7.

      The design is not consistent. It flip-flops from dark backgrounds like the lock and passcode screens to blinding white on things like Mail or Calendar or Notes.

      Many things got more convoluted in iOS 7: In iOS 6 Messages, when viewing a message thread, if I wanted to call the person (like when I'm driving), I just touched the top of the screen to jump to the top, then hit the "call" button and confirm it. Now, I have to touch the tiny "contact" button, then find the even-tinier "phone" icon, then confirm to call it. I have to look at the device much more closely, and be much more accurate about where I touch.

      And the generified white interface makes entry and management screens in Contacts, Notes, Calendar and even Visual Voicemail horrendous to use, as there is little delineation between "fields" of data. And, as someone else pointed out, many buttons have been replaced with smaller, harder-to-find text links. And, maybe it's just me or my iPhone 5, but I often have to touch them several times to get them to do their thing.

      I could go on and on.

      Overall, I'm really looking forward to iOS 7.5 or iOS 8, when they'll hopefully restore harmony to the interface and apps.
      imalugnut
      • About things that you find too difficult in iOS 7...

        Use Siri.

        No searching for supposedly "tiny" buttons: just push one button on your headphones' wire and say "Call Bill Smith on mobile."

        Using _any_ GUI interface - rather than a voice interface, like Siri - when you're driving is irresponsible

        Using a GUI while driving is worse than driving drunk with a blood alcohol level of 0.09% - as many studies have shown.

        If you really have an iPhone then, shape up and turn on Siri!

        If you don't have an iPhone, most Android phones have some sort of voice recognition (albeit less integrated with the OS and less accurate) which should allow you to make calls.

        Otherwise, pull over and stop before making a phone call. It may be inconvenient, but it's better than killing someone, even if the death is only your own.
        StandardPerson
      • Has OS X/ iOS never been decent systems?

        No. Actually they are worst of all "descents of UNIX". Maybe even worse than Windows.

        Apple-ecosystem: decent hardware, terrible bad OS.
        MacBroderick
    • What "schizophrenic nature"?

      While I'll grant that it's a little different from the previous versions, by no means is it any more difficult to use--in fact, it's easier.

      As for the icons, that really depends on the app developers themselves. If they don't want to change them, why should they?

      No, the schizophrenic nature is an unreasoning fear of Change by those who simply do not like change.
      Vulpinemac
      • I was looking forward

        to the change in iOS7. But asnI said above, what they have done is inconsistent. I like the calendar app, Mail etc. but the Telephone app just doesn't seem to fit in with the rest and the home screen also doesn't pass to the new look on the apps.

        I think bits of it are better than iOS6, but on other areas they seem to have lost the courage of their convictions, as if they were scared of alienating existing users.
        wright_is
    • Many Apple users dislike iOS7

      Many colleagues have complained about iOS 7 being a downgrade from previous, more so on iPhones. Personally, I enjoy the all new BlackBerry BB10 OS which I find more intuitive than band aid Apple and Android updates
      HenselM
    • I much prefer iOS 7 to 6

      iOS 6 looks very old. To me, iOS 7 looks much cleaner and neater.
      snowbooks423
  • I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE the surface! BUT@@@

    BUT, It cannot replace my dang iPad right now. I love having windows in front of me (RT). I love the feel of the tablet.

    But when I go to do active directory editing, there is no app.
    When I go to do a good network scan, there is not a worthwhile app.
    When I go to do email, the email app sucks.
    When I go find good productivity apps, they all suck compared to apple store.

    I love the surface, but really need better apps. Also a little peeved by pro price. But then again if I get the pro I lose the battery!
    bin00010111
    • solution is:

      solution is simple: iPad with LogMeIn Ignition to connect to a real computer remotely. They even have RDP client for iPads. Problem resolved for me.
      dcdavy
      • Mouse?

        How does mousing around the screen work on an iPad with an RDP client?
        kstap
        • You don't

          You don't. Thats why I think you'd have to be mighty desperate to use an iPad as some sort of Windows client. At least Android has mouse support. You'd think Apple, seeing how desperate people are trying to turn the iPad into a productivity machine would at least give us mouse support. But you know how Big Brother only gives you what you think he needs.
          oxHanoverxo
    • why not use a laptop?

      I really don't understand the desire to use a Surface. It seems like an attempt to squeeze a laptop into a tablet. By the time you add the components needed to make it fully functional, you have in essence a laptop. There are really small and light laptops out there. Why use a Surface?
      Perhaps that is why the Surface has yet to find much of an audience.
      james.strange@...
      • size and weight

        Please name all the laptops that have the same weight and size and features and abilities as the Surface Pro regardless of price. I've found one that costs more and so far none that cost less.
        mswift@...