iPad Air back

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.

iPad Air Smart Cover

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.

My recommendations:

IPad chart

  • Maxim∑

    I was so sure the iPad Air would have 2GB of RAM but no..

    • Qiren_94

      2GB for what?

      • Christopher

        Just to brag.

      • Dan

        so that webpages don’t constantly refresh?

      • Maxim∑

        I just assumed he didn’t read the article

      • Qiren_94

        And yeah good sir, I read the whole article the second it was posted. And personally, I haven’t encountered the “refresh issue” on a 1GB RAM device.

      • Qiren_94

        I wonder why the 5 open webpages on my iPhone 5 with only 1GB of RAM doesn’t constantly refresh. Mind explaining?

      • Dan

        Ask the author of the article fanboy

      • jack

        you sound like bill gates in the 80’s

  • MrShutEmDown

    I’m just awaiting the ipad mini retina 128gb. It’s more portable than it’s big brother

    • mehrab

      Mini wont have a 128 gb variant.

      • iHamzaDev

        What are you talking about? Clearly you’re clueless… The Retina iPad Mini DOES come in 128 GB option, along with smaller options as well.

      • chumawumba

        Get lost troll

      • Jonathan

        Go to the Apple store and see for yourself. Check before you speak.

      • mehrab

        Oh lol went with the air this time, price wise i didnt think it was gonna happen neither did i hear some buzz about it likd i did with the 5s and air being 128gb lol

  • izzuanuddin

    Ipad mini 2 screen is more crisp and better than ipad air

    • bn326160

      But you won’t notice that at normal usage.

      • Kurt

        You will notice. Look at phones with 441ppi their screens are noticeably crisper than the iphones 326ppi.

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        IMO performance > graphics quality.

        One question I will ask though to you or anyone else capable of answering. I’m currently typing this comment on an iPad 3 (the now old new iPad – I guess Apple didn’t think it’s name through). This iPad as I’m sure you know has a retina display screen. Is the retina display screen included on the iPad air the same as the one in my iPad 3 or has it been improved?

      • Kartik Dhawan

        It’s exactly the same, same res, same ppi, same size 🙂

      • Christopher

        No they are not.

      • jack

        you notice only if you get the phone closer to your eyes than you would use it normally

      • Kurt

        I understand you love apple. That’s fine. But it’s not true. You notice a difference from sitting at a table with both phones on the table. That’s further then normal distance. It’s very noticeable. I didn’t know a thing about that phone but knew right away it was superior. Went home and checked up the specs it was 441ppi. My note 3 is more crisp. Just cause you can’t see the pixels doesn’t mean sharpness doesn’t increase.

      • bn326160

        Yeah, people care about 26% more sharpness on their consumer devices.. That’s probably the reason why Apple devices sell so badly.

      • Kurt

        What’s wrong with you? 441ppi is more sharp. Are you upset with that? You weirdo

      • Christopher

        You can not defy biology dude. It is fine if you have note 3 and you don’t want to accept the fact that your eyes can not see that many pixels from such a small distance. The only reason note 3 screens seems sharper is because it is ridiculously big with small icons, which would focus your eyes on the wallpaper.

      • Kurt

        use the same picture on both devices. or look at the clock on the top of the iphone and look at the clock on the note 3 or another high res screen. you can see a clear difference. just try it. open your mind and don’t waste peoples time when you are wrong.

      • Christopher

        I have both lol. No need to be upset when people don’t agree with you. Stop being a brain dead like every other fandroid 😉

      • Kurt

        Then you are lying. Because there is a difference. I don’t have superpowers. Or do I? hmm

      • Christopher

        Well, I don’t know about superpowers but you surely are a zombie 😉

      • Christopher

        The note 3 seems crisp because of the small icons and bigger wallpaper arrangement.

  • Darryl Barnes

    I love my mini but will probably upgrade for new screen and processor.

    • Darryl Barnes

      I meant to the mini with retina.

  • Taf Khan

    For me a side by side comparison makes sense…
    But to be honest the moment the mini is in stock online, I intend to order!

  • 5ingularity

    My friend just got an iPad air and it feels very cheap for some unknown reason, the front glass feels almost plasticky and is very loud when its tapped :|, if i’m getting a new iPad, the iPad 4 it is..

    • Anonymouse

      Samsung hired you?

      • Kevin Osborne

        If you ever have anything bad to say about Apple, ever, you clearly *MUST* be paid by Samsung. 😉 #smh

      • T_Will

        It wasn’t the fact that the poster said “anything bad” about Apple. It was the fact that the poster said they would get the iPad 4 over the Air since the Air feels cheap. Lightweight does not equal cheap.

      • WolfgangHoltz

        Did he say that “Lightweight does not equal cheap” then.
        Time for you to buy glasses maybe.

      • Kevin Osborne

        Lightweight does not equal cheap, but a flimsy feeling screen can FEEL cheap, as he had said he FEELS.

      • T_Will

        Ok true, they mentioned a plasticky screen. It would be interesting to see if there is a difference in screen material between the 4 and the Air. I haven’t noticed a difference (between the 3 and Air).

        Sorry, I just thought it woudln’t be a good decision to choose the 4 over the Air (if cost isn’t an issue). :-/

      • 5ingularity

        Finally… a rational person who reads 😀

      • Christopher

        Well, that is why they are paying those fines. 😉

      • Jo

        He’s saying his opinion seriously he’s not hired by samsung

      • 5ingularity

        Seriously, have you tried the ipad air? the screen feels so much more different than the previous gens…feels very hollow and is loud.

      • Anonymouse

        Could have been a manufacturing defect.

        And how hard are you possibly tapping it that you hear sounds? I touch it gently like you touch a baby.

      • 5ingularity

        Nope, they removed a piece of glass to make it thinner, hence the screen sounding louder

      • Christopher

        It is hollow underneath. And that is the reason it breaks easy too.

    • jack

      you should get your senses checked

  • juno

    I purchased iPad Air at 9am this morning from Walmart, took it back by noon. Nice device, but very uncomfortable holding after an extended period of time. Prefer iPad Mini.

    • smtp25

      You couldn’t just try it in store and decide that?

  • Ryan

    I bought an ipad air launch day at Walmart. It’s a beautiful tablet. However it’s still too large to use single handed, and once you put a case on it, it only gets worse. Therefore I will be returning it and getting the ipad mini 2 when it is released.

    • smtp25

      And get a mini sized screen – that’s the trade off

  • appleyay

    mini retina for me.

  • tskwierc

    After using the mini over the past year I would say that the Ipad Air although a great improvement in overall weight and performance, just simply is not my choice anymore. The upgrade on the retina mini was very much needed and with its portability combined with its specs, I think there will be many switching over from the full size Ipad to the mini as their main tablet now.

    • Kurt

      So you carry two devices with you?

      • tskwierc

        No once I bought the Mini I never again used a full size Ipad. I gave it to my wife. A friend picked up the Air on Friday, but again I was not tempted to go back. My wife has been wanting to upgrade to the Air and probably will shortly, I just cant see myself carrying one of those around again.

      • Kurt

        Sorry, I meant your phone. I don’t think the full size iPad is a mobile device. It’s feels like it is just too much to lug around. I prefer a phablet and then at home the full size iPad. I love the large screen. But since I use it at home, I could definitely go bigger. Especially size I use it for work.

  • ✪ aidan harris ✪

    Is there any reason why you recommend the iPad mini 16GB over the iPad 2? Or is it purely personal preference?

    • TDD140

      It’s mainly personal preference. The two tablets have the same internal specs, so it’s a pretty equal in terms of performance. When comparing iPad 2 and iPad Mini 1st gen, it comes down to what size you want the performance in. Hope this helps! (Sorry I’m not Jeff)

  • DG

    We all know that the iphone 6 is going to have a bigger screen so thats why im sticking to the ipad air. I want the ios experience on a bigger screen. The iphone 6 is gonna be that much closer to the mini’s screen size. So theres not gonna be much a difference

  • jack

    This new Mini with Air’s guts just won me

  • twited21

    All I want is a bigger screen it can have the same workings as the ipad 4 but the bigger screen is a must unless it has a bigger screed for me it’s not an upgrade on the ipad 4

    • 3aloo1

      I bet the size screen of an imac

      ipad is already big

  • WolfgangHoltz

    I don’t like the new form factor at all. I tried it in Apple store and decide I don’t buy this one.

  • Gally Dikenson

    The processor is great but I am really not a full-size type of guy…. I’d rather wait for the Mini Retina Display.

  • Jo

    “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.”

    Well the new ipad is still supported and it’s expensive to get a new one. I think if you have an new-ish one to keep it, if you have an older one, get a new one.

  • Hugh Jassol

    Aww, come on Jeff, really? That’s the best reason you can come up with to justify your impulse buy …because it has LTE & using a hotspot is cumbersome?

    If thats the reason….than, I’m perfectly content staying jailbroken using MyWi OnDemand. I never have to turn a hotspot on. Just unlock my ipad and it auto connects within 5 seconds.

    Its laughable how everyone at these Apple events with there oohs & aahs seem like paid infomercial actors but I guess its working. How easily people have succumb to Apple’s power of coercion. If these trends continue, it seems as if IDB will eventually stop promting anything jailbreak related altogether. For the sake of jailbreaking, I hope I’m wrong.

  • batongxue

    iPad Air at home and iPad mini on the go would be a nice option.
    Well, just means less money in your pocket….

    • ɑղժɾҽա

      It’s either one or the other. No one has that much money.

  • daniel duarte

    I got the iPad Air since friday , and i really like it.. But there is something that is annoying me: blue colors look almost purple. I’ve read some people notice the same problem, but i’m not sure is just color calibration difference for all the new air model, or it’s my ipad wrong calibrated.. So please, if anyone has the same problem, would be nice to read it. (I want to know if i should change it for another one or if all the Airs are the same “purplish”). Thanks

    • ɑղժɾҽա

      I must be lucky. My air has a better screen than my iPad 3.

      • daniel duarte

        The screen looks great, but some blues (for example the safari links) looks more purple than blue. I just want to know if this is something general or just affects to mine ipad

  • Blip dude

    Actually, going from the Mini to the Air was not a Major difference in terms of weight. I’ve been wanting a Redesign for the iPad especially after seeing the Mini’s thin Bazel design. I must say that was one of the Main reasons why I got the Air, in addition to how light it is. The only thing pissing me off is the whole iOS 7 or 64-bit issue (I believe). Freaking apps crash almost immediately after opening them sometimes.

    • 3aloo1

      Crash because of overload of the ipad speed (kidding)

  • Chris Gilmore

    I have never owned any iPad at all. But definitely am considering either the iPad Air or new iPad mini retina. What do y’all suggest for me?

    I have a iPhone 5 and MacBook Pro 2011.

    • 3aloo1

      What exactly you want to use it on?

      • Chris Gilmore

        Taking it to FSU classes instead of my MacBook Pro, twitter, internet surfing. Taking notes, etc.

      • ɑղժɾҽա

        Definitely the iPad Air. The extra inches are really useful when you’re typing or viewing content. The device is also very light and thin, making it almost as portable as the iPad Mini.

  • ɑղժɾҽա

    I love my iPad Air.

  • Rot Kelfer

    I didn’t notice any loss of performance because of the 1GB of RAM. I wouldn’t have noticed it if you hadn’t told me.

    I sold my 3rd gen today and got Air in return – which was the plan all along. I use iPad to read mostly and I have to admit, the old one was getting heavy and uncomfortable after mere 15 minutes.

    I’m in love with Air, it seems like a completely different piece of hardware. It feels like half of my own iPad.

  • myname iswithheld

    Bought my wife an iPad Air for her birthday as an upgrade from her iPad 1. I’m horribly disappointed with the cheap, plasticy feel of the screen. OMG. Facepalm. I feel like I’ve been ripped off after paying $800 for 32GB with LTE.

    I clearly remember the days of all the cheap tablets and mini tablets, especially those from China, Taiwan, and other places. They all had that gross, plastic feeling as you slid your finger across the screen. Most were cap-touch screens, they were the cheaper resistive touch screens. I recall vividly how the cool hard glass felt on my fingers vs. the others, and that’s when you knew you had purchased a premium Apple product and it was sooo worth it. Not anymore. The iPad Air screen touch feeling is just awful. Its sounds plastic and dull, and if its on the table under a light, just push anywhere and watch the thin plastic screen covering warble and bend at the slightest touch. They should have kept the bonded glass and LCD construction they had and not fooled with it by using thin glass sandwiched between two layers of cheap plastic. I don’t care what fancy name they call the plastic, if it feels list plastic, it is plastic. I now know why they call it the “iPad Air” – its because of the freaking air gap you feel when you touch the plastic layer.

    I am so angry Apple did this to their flagship product. No doubt it save a few pennies in their bill of materials. A tactical gain for stockholders, a strategic blunder for their loyal customers. Very sad day. I wholeheartedly agree with others who have wistfully mentioned that SJ would never have let this kind of shit out the door. First iOS 7, and now this crap? Apple, whyyyyy!!!! Quickly losing faith. 🙁