Great han­dling. Strong app ecosys­tem. Smooth in­ter­face. No ex­pand­able mem­ory. Pre­mium price.

HWM (Singapore) - - Test -

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.

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