iPad Air reviews

Those outlets blessed with early iPad Air review units by Apple have now posted their thoughts, feelings, and experiences, and if our iPad Air preview didn't do it for you, these had better!

The Loop's Jim Dalrymple:

From the minute I picked up the iPad Air at Apple's event in San Francisco last week, I knew it was going to be different. Apple set expectations very high by simply using the "Air" moniker for the new iPad, giving users thoughts of a lightweight, powerful, professional device, similar to how they think of the MacBook Air.The good news is the iPad Air lives up to all of those expectations and more.

Fox News's Clayton Morris:

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." Which has been known to happen with the previous generation iPad.

Daring Fireball's John Gruber:

To me, the comparison that is most interesting is to that of my MacBook Air. In exactly three years, Apple has produced an iPad that outperforms a then-brand-new MacBook. Three years is a decent chunk of time in this industry, and the MacBook Air has made great strides since then, but this (a brand-new iPad Air versus a late 2010 MacBook Air) is a credible comparison. In many ways the iPad Air is not just the superior device, but clearly so — it has a retina display, the MacBook Air does not; it gets 10 hours of battery life, the MacBook Air was advertised at just 5 hours back then (and as an old and much-used device, my personal MacBook Air gets significantly less than 5 hours of battery life today).

AnandTech's Anand Lal Shimpi:

The iPad Air changed my perspective on all of that. It really does modernize the big iPad. While I suspect there are still going to be a lot of users who prefer the smaller form factor of the iPad mini with Retina Display, I do feel like there are those users who will continue to appreciate all of the benefits that go along with having a larger display. Text is easier to read, particularly on desktop versions of websites. Photos and videos are larger and thus more engaging as well. In the past there was this complex matrix of tradeoffs that you had to make between iPad and iPad mini. This generation, Apple does away with all of that.

Techpinions's Ben Bajarin:

With the iPad Air, Apple has created the world's thinest and lightest full size tablet. By adding their 64-bit A7 processor, they have made it extremely powerful as well. After using the iPad Air for the past week I'm convinced that the iPad Air is the perfect personal computer for the masses.

CNet's Tim Stevens:

Functionally, the iPad Air is nearly identical to last year's model, offering only faster performance and better video chatting. But factor in design and aesthetics, and the iPad Air is on another planet. It's the best full-size consumer tablet on the market.

Slashgear's Vincent Nguyen:

For some, the more compact iPad mini with Retina display will be the more portable iOS tablet of preference. For others, the wider range of Android tablets, often more affordable will hold greater appeal. Yet, for its combination of connectivity, longevity, power, app selection, and relentlessly pared-back design, the iPad Air ticks the boxes that make it the tablet for the everyman.

AllThingsD's Walt Mossberg:

Bottom line: If you can afford it, the new iPad Air is the tablet I recommend, hands down.

Times's Harry McCracken:

Designwise, this iPad is so much svelter that it almost feels like a new class of Apple tablet, but it remains an iPad — and for now, at least, that continues to be the most important bragging right that any tablet can claim.

Engadget's Brad Molen:

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. Factor in a sizable boost in performance and battery life, and the Air is even more compelling. The last two iPads served up relatively few improvements, but the Air provides people with more of a reason to upgrade or even buy a tablet for the first time.

TechCrunch's Darrell Etherington:

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.

Pocket Lint's Stuart Miles:

Apple has created an experience that far outweighs specs on a spec sheet and that will be hard for the competition to match. That in itself makes it the best tablet on the market in terms of performance, apps, and desirability, until the iPad mini with Retina display comes along, and then the fight over which iPad to get really starts.

New York Times's Damon Darlin:

I am not sure making the iPad Air lighter will be enough to persuade people who have never felt the need to buy one to race to the Apple store. But I bet that even without a beach-reading, dream-catching upgrade, many do.

The Telegraph's Matt Warman:

Its light weight and thin form mean it gets out of the way – you don't notice it, but you notice what you're doing on it. That, potentially, unleashes a new generation of tablet-based productivity. The fact that Apple is now giving away even more software means that perhaps the rebranding is, therefore, more than simply a marketing exercise. Air may yet be the oxygen for a new wave of uses for the iPad.

USA Today (opens in new tab)'s Ed Baig:

In sticking close to the status quo, the iPad Air won't have the seismic impact of the original iPad. But the thin design only enhances what is already the best and most successful tablet on the market.

Associated Press' Anick Jesdanun:

You do pay more for an iPad than most of its rivals, but you get better app selection, ease of use and, with the new Air, an elegant design.

David Pogue, writing on his Tumblr blog:

So that's the iPad Air for you: No longer alone in the marketplace, no longer the only right choice, no breakthrough new features. But it's smaller, lighter, and faster than ever, with a much bigger catalog of apps—and much better ones—than the competition. If you want a big tablet, this is the one that will make you happiest.Put another way, there really is something in the Air.

Seems like Apple has another - albeit lighter, thinner, and much, much faster - hit on their hands. And in ours. Any of the reviews change your mind, or did Apple have you at Air?

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • I now have the ipad 2 and ready to get the air, I just wished they added the touch ID and the eight megapixel camera, better retina display,and it would be better worth of a buy. Sent from the iMore App
  • You wanted a better retina display? Why, so it looks even more obscene on a spec sheet and degrades graphics performance by having to push that many more pixels? There is literally no benefit to an even sharper retina display. Not unless they make a larger ipad.
  • I did hear a rumor that Apple is working on a 12 inch iPad for next year? Sent from the iMore App
  • No one knows, but as the other person mentioned - you really do NOT want a better retina display. Due to how software works, the only way they can go without creating a true calamity among the app developers is by quadrupling the pixels again. That means 4x the power consumption to drive the display. This would significantly degrade battery life, performance, etc. And the current display is already super crisp. Perhaps one day, years into the future, they'll do this - but for years to come, it would simply be a horrible trade-off with very little benefit (arguably none at all).
  • What would a "better" Retina display be? @3x? That's likely beyond the scope of current technology ;) Hopefully we'll get Touch ID next year when the sensor supply is plentiful.
  • The lack of the Touch ID is the deal breaker for me. Don't care about a "more megapixel" camera or a "better" (not sure what you mean by that) retina display. I'll be sticking with my iPad 3 until next year.
  • I'd rather have more battery life than a "better" retina display. Unless Apple made a 15-inch iPad, pushing more pixels wouldn't even be noticeable. It would be a waste of resources.
  • 1 day, 22 hours, 25 minutes and 0 seconds or, 167,100 seconds, 2785 minutes. Not that I'm counting!! Sent from the iMore App
  • So counting!
  • While it may not be a necessary the retina display could be better. While it's a beautiful screen, at closer distances the pixels become very visible. Would I prefer a better screen if battery life or preformance took a hit? No. However, I do think there is room for improvement. My personal 2 biggest gripes about the ipad are currently weight and the sound quality (one of which the ipad air is rectifying).
  • The sound issue is important, the Air had stereo speakers should be better than the one mono speaker they use now, Friday we will see or hear? Sent from the iMore App
  • Has, not had! Sent from the iMore App
  • Ok now Rene. Please explain to us how come all these news outlets, some of them not even tech ones, received the new iPad from Apple and iMore didn't. When I want to read Apple news, this site is the one I first look at. Did you do anything close to what Leo did to them to deserve such a treatment?
  • Haha! No idea! We'll just keep doing the best job we can do either way!
  • Great point, by the way what did Leo do to upset Apple? I do love twit now Rene has a regular spot it's even better...
  • I believe he was secretly recording one of their keynotes and sending recordings to his studio. Apple of course found it out and never invited him to another.
  • Yup. He's on their permanent ban list for that. I don't think it was much of a secret though. He wasn't trying to hide the fact that he was live streaming it, and nobody at the event tried to stop him. It wasn't until after the fact that he got banned.
  • I need one now! I've never owned one, only MacBooks, iMacs and Iphones. I always thought to myself, why would I need an iPad? My Macbook is portable, and I have and Iphone which is basically a small scale iPad with a phone. Why would I need something in between? But my macbook recently got stolen and I decided to get the new iMac instead. (and I am loving every inch of this screen!) But now I need that in-between device from my iphone to my iMac. So I can't wait to get my hands on the new iPad air. Hadn't been this excited for a product to come out since the iPhone 5.
  • Agree! Sent from the iMore App
  • They're writing to the heavens!
  • Apple pulled a pimp move that no one has talked about yet. Why keep the iPad 2? Because that and iPad mini are pretty much the same machine. Same deal with the Air and retina mini. They managed to diversify, yet still keep it simple for manufacturing purposes. Sent from the iMore App
  • The iPad 2 is the entry level iPad. Still a strong seller. But it really will be an iPad Christmas. Apple hit the sweet spot with a thinner iPad.
  • I skipped the 4th gen when it was launched, because i already had the 3rd gen model for couple of months back then. It's time now for an upgrade that's really worth it! I Made my mind last year that i'll be upgrading my iPad every two life cycles. So bye-bye 3rd gen and hello 5th gen!
  • I sold my iPad 3 and never intended to get another full size iPad until I tried out the Mini. I wasn't going to get the Mini until it went Retina but now with these reviews talking about the light weight I'm really tempted to go against my promise to myself. Only time will tell :)