The iPad Air is without a doubt one of Apple’s most marvelous engineering feats to date. It features a huge screen with a slimmer bezel than previous full sized iPads. It provides an immersive experience that just can’t be achieved on the minuscule iPad mini.
It’s also much lighter than its predecessors, which is obviously something desirable to anyone who’s held a full sized iPad in their hands for any nominal length of time. It’s not just lighter and slimmer and thinner — it feels like a completely different product.
But before I take it too far, let me just say outright that regular iPad mini users won’t be as impressed by the weight loss. It’s still significantly larger, heavier, and harder to handle than the iPad mini, which may lead to disappointment for the looking into getting back into full sized iPads.
I too, suffered from such disappointment, but it was short lived after I took the time to appreciate that the iPad Air isn’t the mini, and never pretended it was. It’s a full sized tablet in a marvelously well put together package, and it’s definitely something you should consider picking up if you want the “true” iPad experience.
As primal as it may seem, there’s just something to be said about using a device whose screen is large and in charge. The iPad Air is sort of like holding a television in your hands, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, given its slimness and light weight.
If you’ve yet to take the plunge, then what should you do? Should you go into the Apple Store and compare both side by side? Should you give Apple’s 14 day return policy a go, and spend some quality time with the Air? Check inside for my opinions on the matter.
It’s been reiterated a few times already, but it basically boils down to this: if you own any full sized iPad, and you’re considering upgrading, stop reading this now, and go to the Apple Store immediately; don’t even ask questions, just walk in, and buy your new iPad Air.
If you currently own an iPad mini, then your decision is admittedly a bit tougher. If portability matters to you more than anything else, then stick with the mini. If you can’t fathom holding a device even slightly heavier than the mini, then keep the mini. But if none of the aforementioned scenarios apply to you, check out the iPad Air,
In most cases, if you’re using the iPad as your only computer, then the Air is a no-brainer. Its new form factor, coupled with the vast improvements that iOS 7 brings to the table, make it so much more of a true laptop replacement than iPads of old.
Some of the new features to debut in iOS 7 really shine when using your iPad as a laptop replacement. Things like Control Center make it so much easier to manage your iPad’s settings while remaining in the current app. But my favorite new feature that iOS 7 adds is iCloud Keychain.
iCloud Keychain is an unheralded new addition to iOS, which acts as password manager for the Safari Browser. It allows you to sync saved passwords across iOS devices and Macs, making it easy to login to your favorite sites. This addition means so much to people like me, who blog for a living.
And then there’s the performance. I’m still a bit disappointed that Apple has yet to break the 1GB threshold when it comes to RAM. Having Safari tabs constantly refresh due to lack of RAM is an annoyance that shouldn’t be happening on such a mature piece of hardware. I do understand that adding more RAM could potentially have serious battery implications, so it’s a fine line that Apple is treading here.
Outside of the RAM issue, I have no complaints with the hardware; this thing screams from a pure processing perspective. The 64-bit A7 processor lives up to the hype in both benchmarks and real world usage.
If you’re truly intending for the iPad to be a laptop replacement, then I recommend opting for the cellular version. T-Mobile’s data plans, despite the shenanigans from this weekend, are still some of the best deals in the business. While it’s true that you can always tether your iPad to your phone’s data connection, there’s just something to be said about having a true always on pipe to the web. It makes working much more frictionless, and is one less excuse to start procrastinating.
In conclusion, the iPad Air is a near-perfect device that’s worth upgrading to, regardless of how new your current iPad is. The reduction in weight alone is enough to warrant a serious look, but it, combined with the added processing power and iOS 7, makes for an experience that’s absolutely second to none.