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 (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

53kyle Avatar
98 months ago
I want an ipad air so much!
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
haruhiko Avatar
98 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
98 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
98 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
98 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
98 months ago
I'm honestly not that excited about this one.

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

Top Stories

april 2021 event coverage feature

Apple Event Live Coverage: New iPads, AirTags, and More Expected [Event Over]

Tuesday April 20, 2021 9:07 am PDT by
Apple's virtual "Spring Loaded" event kicks off today at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, with Apple expected to debut updated iPad models and perhaps some other hardware such as AirTags or iMac models based on Apple silicon. Apple is providing a live video stream on its website, on YouTube, and in the company's TV app across its platforms. We will also be updating this article with live blog...
m1 imac colors

Apple Announces Redesigned iMac With M1 Chip and Seven Color Options

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has announced a new, redesigned 24-inch iMac, featuring an M1 chip, a 4.5K display, and a range of color options, as well as an improved cooling system, front-facing camera, speaker system, microphones, power connector, and peripherals. The new iMac features a completely new compact design, and comes in a range of seven striking colors, including green, yellow, orange, pink, purple,...
iphone 12 preorder purple

Apple Launching iPhone 12 and 12 Mini in New Purple Color on April 30

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:08 am PDT by
Apple today announced that the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini will be available in a new purple color starting April 30, with pre-orders starting this Friday. Apple is also releasing a new MagSafe Leather Case and Leather Sleeve in Deep Violet, a Silicone Case in Capri Blue, Pistachio, Cantaloupe, or Amethyst, and a Leather Wallet in Arizona, all available to order beginning today. iPhone...
14

Apple Says iOS 14.5 Will Be Released 'Next Week'

Tuesday April 20, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Apple today in a press release about its new AirTag item tracker announced that iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 will be available starting "next week." iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 are packed with new features, including the ability for iPhone users who are wearing an Apple Watch to unlock the iPhone with Face ID while wearing a mask. iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 will also be the minimum software versions...
ipad pro with m1 chip

Apple Introduces Next-Generation iPad Pro With M1 Chip, Thunderbolt, 5G, XDR Display, and More

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:40 am PDT by
Apple today announced the next-generation iPad Pro with the same M1 chip found in the latest Macs, Thunderbolt and USB4 support, 5G connectivity on cellular models with mmWave support in the United States, and more. With an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, Apple says the M1 chip in the new iPad Pro provides up to 50% faster performance and up to 40% faster graphics compared to the A12Z Bionic chip ...
f1618938547

Apple Announces AirTag Tracking Devices Starting At $29 Each

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today announced AirTag, a Tile-like Bluetooth tracking device that's designed to be attached to items like keys and wallets for tracking purposes, letting you find them right in the Find My app. AirTags are accessories for attaching to backpacks, luggage, and other items. Any U1 device like the iPhone 12 can be used for precision finding to guide you right to the item you're looking...
Ports 2021 MacBook Pro Mockup Feature 1 copy

Stolen MacBook Pro Schematics Confirm Apple's Plans to Add More Ports and Remove Touch Bar

Wednesday April 21, 2021 10:31 am PDT by
Schematics stolen from Apple supplier Quanta Computer outline Apple's plans for the next-generation MacBook Pro models that are expected in 2021, and clearly confirm plans for additional ports and a return to MagSafe. MacRumors saw the schematics after they were leaked online, and some of them feature the logic board of the next-generation MacBook Pro. On the right side of the machine,...
iPad Pro

New 12.9-Inch iPad Pro Will Be 0.5mm Thicker to Accommodate Mini-LED Display

Monday April 19, 2021 11:30 am PDT by
The upcoming 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be thicker than the previous-generation version, likely due to the inclusion of the mini-LED display. We've heard several rumors about the change in thickness, and now leaked design images have confirmed it. A source that designs accessories for Apple devices sent MacRumors a series of photos that feature exact dimensions for the new iPad Pro models, and...
iPad Pro Feature Orange

Wedbush Analysts Say 'Spring Loaded' Event Will Debut New iPads With 'Modest Price Increase,' Along With 'a Few Surprises'

Monday April 19, 2021 6:37 am PDT by
Apple is planning to launch a new entry-level iPad, iPad mini, and iPad Pro at its "Spring Loaded" event tomorrow, along with "a few surprises," according to Wedbush analysts. In a new note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Wedbush analysts Daniel Ives and Strecker Backe explained that the iPad will be the main focus of Apple's "Spring Loaded" event, with new entry-level iPad, iPad mini, and ...
maxresdefault

Apple Event 2021: Everything Apple Announced at Its 'Spring Loaded' Event in Just 6 Minutes

Tuesday April 20, 2021 4:23 pm PDT by
Apple today held its first event of 2021, and it was one of the most exciting events that we've seen in some time. Apple announced a whole slew of new products, including an M1 iMac, an M1 iPad Pro, a refreshed 4K Apple TV, and the long-awaited AirTags. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. It took Apple an hour to introduce all of the new devices during its virtual...