First iPad Air Reviews: 'Ridiculously Small and Light', Apple's Most 'Tempting Tablet Yet'

At its October 22 iPad-centric event, Apple provided multiple publications with iPad Air review units. The embargo on reviews has just been lifted, which means several sites are now posting their thoughts on the thinner, lighter iPad Air. We've gathered some relevant excerpts from each site in order to highlight the general release reaction to Apple's newest iPad.

ipadair
Jim Dalrymple, The Loop

It's very hard to describe how good the iPad Air feels in your hand without actually picking one up. It’s kind of like the first time you saw a Retina display for the first time—shock.

This smaller size is great. If you have decent sized hands you can type with two thumbs on the iPad in portrait, something I wasn’t really able to do with the last generation iPad without a lot of stretching. Clearly a full-size iPad is not something you will be thumb typing with all the time, but it does give you an idea of how much smaller the iPad Air is.

Walt Mossberg, AllThingsD

In a feat of design and engineering, Apple has slashed the iPad’s weight by 28%, made it 20% thinner and 9% narrower, while increasing its speed and retaining the brilliant, 9.7-inch Retina display.

The new iPad weighs just 1 pound, down from 1.4 pounds for the previous top-of-the-line model, the iPad 4, which is being discontinued.

And it has done all this while maintaining the iPad's industry-leading battery life. In my tests, the iPad Air far exceeded Apple's claim of 10 hours of battery life. For over 12 hours, it played high-definition videos, nonstop, with the screen at 75% brightness, with Wi-Fi on and emails pouring in. That’s the best battery life I’ve ever recorded for any tablet.

SONY DSC
Brad Molen, Engadget

Yes, as strange as it may sound, the latest iPad is actually just a larger version of the 7.9-inch mini. It's as if the smaller device -- which launched at the same time as the fourth-gen iPad -- was a pilot test for Jony Ive's new design language. Calling it the "Air" was fitting indeed, since it's ridiculously small and light compared to previous models.

It measures 7.5mm thick and weighs only one pound (1.03 pounds, to be exact), making it 1.9mm thinner and 0.43 pound lighter than the iPad 4. Apple's also trimmed the left and right bezel by roughly 8mm on each side. If that doesn't sound significant, just hold the Air for a minute and then pick up an older iPad; the difference is immediately noticeable. Simply put, the iPad Air is the most comfortable 10-inch tablet we've ever used.

Matt Warman, The Telegraph

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.

Edward Baig, USA Today

As it happens, though, this latest full-size Apple tablet is the most tempting iPad yet, better than its already best of breed predecessors, superior still to each and every rival big screen slate that I've tested. Apple dominates the tablet apps ecosystem. Its tablet remains the easiest to use.

In a side-by-side comparison against its immediate predecessor, the new iPad indeed opened apps more quickly and booted up and shut down slightly faster, though not to such a degree that I expect most people to notice.

Damon Darlin, The New York Times

What you may not know is this: Those 6.4 ounces make all the difference when, as you recline while reading or watching a movie, you conk out and the iPad falls forward to bonk you on the nose. The Air won't hurt you the way the old iPad did.

The weight reduction and a 20 percent slimmer profile provide other benefits, too. My messenger bag strap didn’t dig into my shoulder as deeply when my iPad was in it. My hand didn’t cramp up while grasping the iPad Air for an hour while watching movies or playing games.

Other reviews:

David Pogue
AnandTech
CNET
Fox News
Pocket-lint
Mashable
Bloomberg
T3
TechCrunch

Apple's iPad Air will be available to the public beginning on Friday, November 1, with initial online orders beginning at 12:01 AM Pacific Time in the United States and at varying times in other countries. Apple retail locations will open at 8 AM local time on Friday to begin in-store sales.

Related Roundup: iPad
Buyer's Guide: iPad (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

53kyle Avatar
94 months ago
I want an ipad air so much!
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
haruhiko Avatar
94 months ago
http://www.anandtech.com/show/7460/apple-ipad-air-review

Anadtech's review is here! I'm reading this one!
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AppleScruff1 Avatar
94 months ago

Heh, as usual the sock puppets give glowing reviews...

I mean, what's really that drastically different other than being lighter and thinner?


Anand is hardly anyone's sock puppet. That site provides some of the most unbiased and respected reviews in the industry.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
miazma Avatar
94 months ago
Optimizing

Nice to see how Apple is able to optimize their products to even have more battery life than announced according to AllThingsD, while competitors have to optimize their products to cheat on benchmarks :-D
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Klae17 Avatar
94 months ago
Was going to get the Mini, but now leaning towards the Air. Why do they make these decisions so hard for us?
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bbeagle Avatar
94 months ago

I'm honestly not that excited about this one.


One in every crowd
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

lg wing

LG Considering Exit From Smartphone Business, Halts LCD Production for iPhone

Wednesday January 20, 2021 5:38 am PST by
LG is considering exiting the smartphone business entirely amid declining shipments and accrued losses of $4.5 billion over the past five years (via The Korea Herald). LG CEO Kwon Bong-Seok cautioned staff earlier today that the company is re-evaluating its presence in the smartphone industry: Since the competition in the global market for mobile devices is getting fiercer, it is about...
2019 mac pro side and front

Tim Cook Gifted Donald Trump 'First' 2019 Mac Pro

Wednesday January 20, 2021 5:45 pm PST by
Apple CEO Tim Cook gifted former United States President Donald Trump with the first 2019 Mac Pro that came off of the assembly line in Austin, Texas, according to a financial disclosure report that was released today (via The Verge). "Mac Pro Computer, the first created at the Flex Factory in Austin, Texas," reads the entry, which values the machine at $5,999, the base price for a Mac Pro....
Apple VR Feature

Bloomberg: Apple's First AR/VR Headset 'Pricey, Niche Precursor' to More Ambitious AR Glasses and Could Launch Next Year

Thursday January 21, 2021 3:27 am PST by
Apple's first virtual reality headset will be a "pricey, niche precursor" to a more ambitious augmented reality product, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. As a mostly virtual reality device, it will display an all-encompassing 3-D digital environment for gaming, watching video and communicating. AR functionality, the ability to overlay images and information over a view...
Flat MacBook Air Feature

Bloomberg: Apple Working on 'Thinner and Lighter' High-End MacBook Air With MagSafe, Could Launch in Second Half of 2021

Friday January 22, 2021 3:34 am PST by
Apple is working on a "thinner and lighter" version of the MacBook Air that the company plans to release during the second half of this year at the earliest or in 2022, according to a new report by well-connected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. It will include Apple's MagSafe charging technology and a next-generation version of the company's in-house Mac processors. Apple has discussed...
iOS 15 icon mock banner

iOS 15 Rumored to Drop Support for iPhone 6s and 2016 iPhone SE

Thursday January 21, 2021 11:58 am PST by
Apple's upcoming iOS 15 operating system, which we expect to see unveiled in June, is rumored to be dropping support for a few of Apple's older iPhones. According to French site iPhoneSoft, iOS 15 will not be able to be installed on the iPhone 6s, the iPhone 6s Plus, or the 2016 iPhone SE, all of which have an A9 chip. The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were introduced in 2015 and are now more...
iphone 12 vs iphone 12 mini

Apple Shifting Some Production From iPhone 12 mini to iPhone 12 Pro to Meet Demand

Wednesday January 20, 2021 8:12 am PST by
Apple has reportedly cut production of the iPhone 12 mini by two million units to create more manufacturing capacity for the iPhone 12 Pro, according to a new Morgan Stanley investment note seen by PED30. Apple is believed to have made the switch for the first quarter of 2021 in an effort to combat continuing lead times for the more popular iPhone 12 Pro. iPhone 12 Pro lead times remain ...
iPhone 13 Notch Feature

iPhone 13 Rumored to Feature Smaller Notch, Pro Model Cameras to Use Larger Image Sensor

Thursday January 21, 2021 1:38 am PST by
Apple's iPhone 13 series will feature a redesigned Face ID system that will allow for a smaller notch at the top of the screen, according to a new report today. The rumor comes via hit-and-miss Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes, whose supply chain sources also claim that the ultra wide-angle lens in Apple's next-generation iPhones is due for an upgrade. The next-generation iPhones'...
maxresdefault

Video Demos macOS Catalina Running on iPad Pro via x86 Emulation

Thursday January 21, 2021 11:36 am PST by
A video demonstrating macOS Catalina running on a current 2020 iPad Pro has been shared on YouTube, giving us a look at an interesting hack that has a Mac OS up and working on one of Apple's iPads. There's limited information about how the process of getting macOS Catalina on an iPad Pro works, but it uses x86 emulation and was done through the UTM software that allows virtual machines to...
iOS 14

Apple Seeds iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 Release Candidate to Developers and Public Beta Testers

Thursday January 21, 2021 10:14 am PST by
Apple today seeded the RC version of upcoming iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new betas coming a week after Apple released the second betas. iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. Paired with the HomePod 14.4 beta that is...
iPhone OIS Feature2

Sensor-Shift Camera Stabilization Rumored to Expand to Entire iPhone 13 Lineup

Wednesday January 20, 2021 7:46 am PST by
The entire iPhone 13 lineup will feature sensor-shift optical image stabilization, compared to only the iPhone 12 Pro Max among current models, according to a brief story preview shared today by Taiwanese publication DigiTimes. "Apple's next-generation iPhones slated for launch in the second half of 2021 will all come with sensor-shift stabilization technology, according to industry...