APPLE IPAD AIR
Great handling. Strong app ecosystem. Smooth interface. No expandable memory. Premium price.
The Air is the thinnest and lightest full-sized iPad yet; it measures close to 2mm thinner (7.5mm) and about 200g lighter (478g) than its predecessor. In addition, the Air sports a new edge and back design that’s similar to the 7.9-inch iPad Mini – the edges are no longer slopped to form the curved rear backing as it did on all previous 9.7-inch iPads. Combined with a narrower screen bezel, improved design, the Air sports a modern look and improved handling.
Apple retains the same display size (9.7-inch) and resolution (2,048 x 1,536 pixels) on the iPad Air. This works out to a pixel density of 264ppi, which is a tad lower than the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 (299pi), but higher than the Microsoft Surface 2 (208ppi). The slight difference in pixel count is purely a specs comparison, and in the case of the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1, did not translate into a superior viewing experience.
The Air is loaded with iOS 7, which is Apple’s first major overhaul to the interface with a flattened look, new system icons and features. Two key features worth mentioning here are the Control and Notification Centres; the former giving you access to quick settings/ apps and the latter collating notifications (emails, missed calls, to-dos and calendar) into one central location for easy viewing.
In terms of value, Apple made its iWork productivity suite (Pages, Numbers and Keynote) and iLife creativity suite (iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand) free for download on the App Store for any new iOS 7 device. iWork replicates most of the features you’d want in productivity apps, but their interface may require some time to adapt. If you’re used to the Office experience, you can choose to download Office for iPad and pay an annual subscription fee to create and edit Office documents.
Powering the Air is a 1.4GHz 64-bit A7 dual-core processor and 1GB RAM. While the A7 chipset may seem inferior to the quad-core counterparts in the Surface 2 and Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1, Apple’s tight integration and optimizations give it more than enough chops to compete and even surpass its competitors in both benchmark and actual use experience.
In terms of storage capacity, the Air comes with 16/32/64/128GB options. There is no memory card slot and USB port to increase storage space or transfer files.