A couple of weeks ago, Apple released the brand new iPad Air 2; a thinner, lighter and faster version of the iPad Air. Now is this all marketing talk to make you want to buy the next generation iPad Air or is this really a great iPad to buy? So welcome to the full review of the Apple iPad Air 2 right here on PhoneDog.com.
It seems like every year, we hear thinner, lighter, and faster whenever we hear about a new Apple product and to be completely honest, I’m downright done listening to that. We know it will be faster. We know companies have this weird vision of making the thinnest and lightest product the world has seen. But does that truly matter these days? I think a lot of people have started to pick up that battery life is the most important type of spec of any portable piece of technology. I would compromise a millimeter or two if it meant adding 20 or 30% more battery life. So let’s see how this new iPad Air 2 does when it tries to do everything while shaving off size and weight.
The new design of the iPad Air 2 is nearly identical to the iPad Air. It has the same length and width. But they’ve managed to shave off 1.4mm. The new iPad Air 2 is 6.1mm thick, which is really crazy thin. In the hand, you’ll definitely notice the new profile. You also may or may not notice the lack of a mute and orientation locks, which is now gone on the iPad Air 2. For someone like me, I’ll miss quickly muting my notifications.
Next is the display, which is exactly the same as the first generation iPad Air. It’s the same 9.7-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 2048x1536. The key difference on the iPad Air 2 display is the illumination process that illuminates the air gap between the digitizer and the glass panel. This gives the display an added clarity that is really surreal. The new iPad Air 2 has probably one of the best displays I’ve seen on any tablet. Text and content simply looks painted on top of the panel. Also new for this year is an anti-reflective coating which suggests that you can use the iPad Air 2 outside in direct sunlight. I suppose it helped out a tiny bit but it’s still very difficult to read it outside. Plus it adds this really strange blue sheen to the top of the panel.
The iPad Air 2 also has some upgrades in the hardware department. For starters, Touch ID has now finally arrived on the iPad. Also processor-wise, it’s running Apple’s new A8X chip which turns out to be a triple-core processor and 2GB of RAM. Benchmarks show the iPad Air 2 as the most powerful of all Apple’s mobile products. And just like expected, the performance of the iPad Air 2 is pretty stellar. Websites load beautifully, games play beautifully and all is well in the world of using iPad Air 2.
The software is iOS 8.1, which is an improved version of the recent release of iOS 8. It’s added things like Passbook and Apple Pay to the iPad Air 2 and it has improved a lot of the built-in applications, including Mail and Calendar. Basically, all the improvements on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and iOS 8 is now on iPad Air 2.
Also an improvement for the iPad Air 2 is the camera. Up from a 5MP iSight camera, its 8MP camera on the iPad Air 2 is pretty nice. Apple spoke about people using the iPad for taking photographs and while I may not agree with that, I do see people taking photos on iPads. The iPad Air 2 takes some decent photographs for a tablet. Also added to the camera is slow motion video and time lapse.
And the last thing I want to talk about is battery life. The iPad Air 2 has a slightly smaller battery than the first generation iPad Air. Apple still claims a 10-hour battery life and on my recent trip to Singapore, in airplane mode, I managed to watch 4 hours of movies and it only drained about 8%. I’m not sure if it was a fluke or not, but that was really impressive. But here at home, browsing the web and social feeds, I probably average around 10-11 hours of on-screen time before the iPad Air is completely dead.
So here we are, the end of this review. If you’re looking for a pretty bow-tie statement saying this is the best iPad to buy, well prepare it for the first time ever, not to receive it. This new iPad is exactly what we thought it was going to be. This isn’t innovating. It’s just a really good iPad and it happens to be the best iPad you can buy. And for what it’s worth, I’m not going to say drop everything and go buy one if you already have an iPad Air. If you’re new to the iPad and you want the best of the best, then go ahead buy it. The first generation iPad Air with iOS 8.1 delivers nearly the same experience minus the Touch ID and increased graphics performance.
So there you have it, the iPad Air 2. It’s not the best iPad Air for the money, it’s just the best iPad money can buy.