in Tech Zone

My iPad Air first impressions, pictures and review

Prologue:
There are 3 kinds of people in this world. Firstly there are people who change their wallpapers regularly. Then there are people who go one step ahead and install launchers and make it more funky.
And then the third kind, who don’t give a fuck.

Disclaimer :
Views, first impressions and other bleh mentioned here are entirely mine. I have spent considerate amount of time before writing this review. And I have used iPad 4, iPad Mini, Nexus 7 and Nook Color for fair amount of time. And bit of iPad 3 and Samsung Tab too. And to be honest, I am little biased towards iOS, so you may want to read up few more reviews before making your decision to buy an iPad Air.

I have a pretty good Android tablet, Barnes & Noble Nook Color [stop and read it's review here], but after many months of usage I was hugely disappointed with Android. Or rather I say, with the Nook Color. In the beginning, it was all well and going good. It was very exciting to install CM mods and trying out other firmwares which were doing rounds on XDA-Developers forum. I was experimenting a lot with it. But one day, all of a sudden, I just got bored. I was bored to do same steps all over again in hopes of a more stable device. Seriously. Waiting for the next stable ROM to be released, installing nightlys, flashing the ROMs again and again, was really boring and tiresome. Time waste too. I was so fed up, I just stopped all that non-sense so that I can be more productive and invest my time in other work. I just wished, to have a very stable device for once and for all and which would do everything I expect to.

Did Nook Color failed me entirely? Certainly not. It did well enough, but certainly not upto I was hoping for. Or may be I had the wrong device, expecting something else?

Main reason for me to buy a tablet was to read books, especially PDFs and Graphic novels. Though my 7″ Nook Color did well for PDFs, but reading graphic novels on it wasn’t that of a good experience. 7″ is a small for that, IMO. And reading programming/technical/science journals were even worse. It was all because of small size. So I had made up my mind to go with any 9-10″ tablet.

But major problem was with Android. The sluggishness, crashes were irritating. Lack of many good games, apps optimized for tablet devices were another reasons. Customize the homescreen and lockscreen all you want, but be prepared to feel shit once you open any apps. After buying Nook Color, some 3-4 months later, I had bought myself an iPhone 4[which was kind of a quick switch from my android to iOS]. Back then, Android mobiles were sluggish, buggy, with poor battery back up and they were ugly as fuck. My iPhone was doing amazingly well compared to my tablet. I started liking iOS even though it had (has) many major issues compared to Android. The user experience was just amazing. Damn thing just worked.

But this was all almost 3 years ago. Android has improved a lot. And there are really beautiful looking android mobiles available (yay, finally!). Google Nexass Nexus mobiles are really good (especially Nexus 4/Nexus 5). Before making any concrete decision, I tried Nexus 7 (though I was more inclined towards iPad). Performance wise it was better, but however I still felt same about it’s UX and the usual Android nuances. I don’t think Android will ever figure out that. It still sucks IMO when it comes to tablets. They just can’t get it fucking right.

With my horrible past with Android, I decided to go with iPad and give it a try.

Specs:

  • Display – Retina display, 9.7″ LED-backlit with IPS technology, 2048×1536 resolution at 264 ppi
  • Chipset – Apple A7
  • CPU – Dual-core 1.4 GHz Cyclone (ARM v8-based), 64-bit and M7 motion coprocessor
  • Graphics – PowerVR G6430 (quad-core graphics)
  • Internal memory (RAM) – 1 GB DDR3
  • External memory – 16GB, 12.2GB usable, non-expandable (no SD-card slot :|)
  • Wireless – Wi‑Fi (802.11a/b/g/n); dual channel (2.4GHz and 5GHz) and MIMO, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Camera – 5MP rear camera, 1.2MP front camera, Five-element lens, Hybrid IR filter, ƒ/2.4 aperture 1080p HD video recording, Video stabilization, Face detection

Supported files (Out of Box):

  • Audio: AAC, MP3, AIFF & WAV
  • Video: mp4, mov (No MKV or avi)
  • Documents: jpg, tiff, gif, doc/docx, ppt/pptx, xls/xlsx, key, numbers, pages, pdf, htm/html, txt, rtf, vcs, zip

You can install a third party app like AvPlayer HD for MKV and avi. So yeah, it sucks that no OOB support for MKV or avi.

Box and Packaging:

-What’s in the box:

  • iPad Air
  • Lightning to USB Cable
  • 12W USB Power Adapter
  • Instruction Manual
  • two cool Apple logo stickers [now I have collected eight of those ;-) ]

First impressions and Out of box experience:

Thanks to it’s amazing display and intuitive UI, iPad Air leaves a great first impression. First thing you would notice is it’s weight and dimensions. Wow, so thin and light weight. And also if you have had used older iPads, you will feel like you are holding a small device. The bigger is now small. Remember the feeling of ‘this shit is so light’ when you first held the iPad Mini? You probably gonna feel same with iPad Air. So yes, you can hold it more comfortably in one hand (as compared to iPad 4).

“…once you hold one in your hand you will understand what a tremendous advancement this is”.

Phil Schiller was right.

Next probably you would drool over it’s design made with aluminium and glass. And it’s Retina Display. However if you are coming from iPad 3/iPad 4, you won’t find any difference, because its same. But you may feel like looking at bigger screen, due to less bezel size so that focus is more on display than the iPad.

Performance wise it’s really good, I felt apps were opening up very quickly. Pages were loading faster in Safari. Tried camera, but wasn’t that happy. I was expecting more.

I started playing bunch of videos, playing few games. It handed everything pretty well, but surprisingly it did not get heated. At all. I have heard people saying iPad 3/iPad 4 getting heated up after bit of gaming or heavy web surfing, but this was not the case with iPad Air.

TLDR; It’s a upsized version of iPad mini with beautiful design, will make you feel so good that you just want to keep using.

Dimensions:

Going by numbers, iPad Air is 20 percent thinner and 28 percent lighter than the fourth generation iPad aka iPad 4, and with a 43 percent narrower bezel which makes the iPad Air dramatically thinner.

It weighs slightly less than 1 pound, 469g. The differences may not seem significant, but when you use iPad 4 and iPad Air, you feel the large difference.


Oh yes, it’s thinner than a pencil.

Build and Design:

The best fucking design. Period. It is totally inspired from iPad Mini. It’s like bigger version of iPad Mini. As if Apple just pinch-zoomed the iPad mini and there, you have the new iPad Air with same solid unibody aluminium chasis design. The chamfered, diamond-cut edges gives it a premium stylish look.


But what makes iPad Air more awesome is it’s dimensions. Compared to iPad 4, its a lot thinner, compact and very easy to hold in any position you like, be it portrait or horizontal.

Comparison chart :

 
iPad Air
iPad 4
Galaxy Note 10.1
Xperia Tablet Z
Surface 2
Dimensions9.45 x 6.67 x 0.30 in9.50 x 7.31 x 0.37 in9.57 x 6.75 x 0.31 in10.47 x 6.77 x 0.27 in10.81 x 6.79 x 0.35 in
Screen Size 9.7 inches 9.7 inches10.1 inches10.1 inches10.6 inches
Weight469 g652 g540g495 g675.9 g

On top of iPad, you have lock key/power button. Also 3.5 mm headphone audio jack is located at top edge. While the left side is completely free of buttons, at the right side, it has volume toggle and separated volume rockers.

On the back, you have 5MP iSight camera at top left and on the front 1.2MP camera with an ambient light sensor. Right beside it you have a dual microphone with noise cancellation, which work pretty well.

Backside, like all Apple devices, it has a big Apple logo with mirror finish.

And below details of the iPad.

The bottom of the iPad houses the only Home button.

There are no other physical buttons. A pair of speakers are located on the bottom edge flanking the Lightning connector.

In earlier models, iPad had mono speaker located at back left side. Speakers are pretty good, producing clean, crisp and loud sound. When I was gaming in landscape, I often found myself blocking the speakers. Not cool.

Display:

This is the best part of iPad. The iPad Air display is just gorgeous. iPad Air display is made up of glass, has a 9.7″ Retina Display with 2048 x 1536 resolution at 264 PPI. Last 2 generations of iPad (iPad 3/iPad 4) also have same display specs. Text looks pretty sharp as it can get. Also there are other android devices with greater resolution and higher PPI, so iPad Air’s display ain’t superior in market.

Direct viewing under sunlight is not so pleasant. Since the screen is glossy, it can become reflective or washed out. Do not buy an iPad if you want an e-reader to read under direct sunlight. A Kindle would be a better choice.

Performance:

The iPad Air comes with new Apple A7 chipset with Dual-core 64-bit CPU clocked at 1.4 GHz and M7 motion coprocessor. It has the same chip one which is running in company’s current flagship device, iPhone 5S, but it is clocked at slightly higher clockspeed. It’s Apple’s new ‘Cyclone’ architecture and the first to feature on 64-bit ARM chip. It’s one of the first tablet in the world to have 64-bit architecture. But current apps which are in 32-bit have to be re-written and re-compiled in 64-bit so that they make full use of the new 64-bit architecture.

Apple claims it is twice as fast as compared to iPad 4.

and yeah, Apple delivers.

A7 chip includes an Imagination Technologies G6430 GPU, which is based on new “Rougue” architecture. It is more powerful compared to older iPads, power efficient and now supports OpenGL ES 3.0. It has 1GB internal RAM which is paired via 64-bit memory interface.

Apps open up very quickly, pages load a lot faster in Safari and graphic intensive games like Infinity Blade or Asphalt 8 play smoothly. But developers also need to make use of this beast release new games. Currently only Infinity Blade is a such game which can push iPad Air to fullest.

But the best part is, it is not only faster but highly power efficient also. Older iPads comes with 42.5Wh battery, but iPad Air comes with only 32.5Wh battery and still manages to deliver same amount of battery, thanks to it’s power efficient A7 chip.

iPad Air is clearly ahead of iPad 3/4 in benchmarks, however for normal daily usage you wouldn’t notice any difference.

M7 motion sensor:

As Apple says, M7 coprocessor is a sidekick to the A7 chip. It’s designed specifically to measure motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass. All these tasks were done by the main A-series chip earlier.

So what does this mean to user? Since now iPad Air has a dedicated motion coprocessor, the main chip can do other tasks or take rest. M7 uses lot less power compared to A7, so it makes iPad Air more power efficient, giving more battery back up. M7 knows when you’re walking, running, or even driving. Health, fitness or map/GPS apps can make use of M7 for tracking physical activity.

In short, it makes tracking your movements easier & precise, but still less load on battery.

iOS 7:

The iPad Air comes with iOS 7 which is a major overhaul & redesign of iOS. It has new icon set, control center, transparent menus and flat design. Unlike earlier iOS versions, clock icon is now finally live. I did not like iOS 7 when I had installed it on my iPhone, but I fallen in love with iOS 7 on iPad Air. All of the iOS 7 animations are smooth as butter. iOS is probably the major strength of iPads (or iPhones). It’s snappy, fluid, responsive and works awesomely. Something which Android is missing badly, IMO.

Still iOS7 is same as earlier iOS, you have a homescreen with full of apps, clock, wifi etc at the top bar and dock at the bottom. Dock is restricted to have only 6 apps. Lockscreen no longer has ‘Side to unlock’ bar instead you can swipe anywhere to get in. Swipe from top to bottom at the top bar, you get revamped notification center and at the bottom, if you swipe the other way, you have control center.

Notification center now has three tabs : Today, All and Missed, but functionality is pretty much same.

Though control center works, it’s pretty much restricted. You cannot add any app’s control here. And also it lacks Location Services control button. For someone who cares about battery, I would like to turn off Location services whenever possible. Control panel also features rotation lock.

People from iOS 6 might find spotlight missing, but it is not. Just swipe down anywhere on the screen, it shows up.

With earlier iOS versions, there was restriction about number of apps you can put within a folder. Now there isn’t. And also you got a new cool animation with the folders when they open up. You can finally put the fucking newsstand app away in a folder. (Believe it, earlier it was not possible). Stocks, Weather apps now is removed from iPad Air. A stock ticker on the notification bar would be cool. And also (since iOS 5), no Google Maps come pre-installed and the Apple Maps sucks.

iOS 7 now supports multi-tasking for all apps, as opposed to earlier versions where it was restricted only to navigation and music apps. Now this will drain the battery faster for sure, but Apple has come up with a new way of doing this. Even though apps support multi-tasking, based on your usage pattern, iOS suspends them. Let’s say you read a news reader app every morning. iOS learns this and suspends the app rest of the time, but in morning it will start working in background and pulling all the news for you. So by the time you open the app, you already have the updated news, giving you the illusion that app was running all the time in background.

Keyboard works fine, you can undock it and move anywhere and also split it. Split keyboard is more comfortable while typing in portrait mode. It also supports dictation with Siri.

Siri also gets a redesign with real time voice graph.

Now it is more powerful then ever, now also integrated with Wikipedia and no longer in beta. It can do much more things. When it fails to understand, you can edit your voice request with the keyboard provided.

Dictation works well enough, but still it does bad job working with my Indian accent. Heck, even Micromax Aisha did a better job understanding what I was saying. [yeah, being understood is highly underrated :( ]

Icons and folders, notification center and control panel now adapt to background prevailing the theme color. Looks neat. iOS 7 also got a parallax effect (finding it irritating? disable from General -> Accessibility -> Reduce Motion) which you can see and enjoy everywhere in iOS 7. Finally iOS supports live wallpapers, but there seems to be no way to add them manually. Currently Apple provides bunch of them, which are not bad.

Another biggest advantage is AppStore, having 500,000+ apps specially optimized for iPad, which Apple boasts. I have never seen Android advertising the same. And also many Android tablet optimized apps just look like their upscaled mobile version apps. Android severely lacks tablet optimized apps. A tablet optimized app not only mean it works on tablet, but also it makes use of big screen of tablet, with a different UX, giving you a tablety experience.

Worse part is, some awesome apps which are not at all available on Android, like Infinity Blade, Blek, Paper, Clumsy Ninja, Marvin or any app close to Garageband.

With new iPad Air, you also get iWork and iLife app suites for absolutely free.

I do not use Garageband, but the users claim that it is one of awesomest iPad App. In total you get 6 cool apps which are totally optimized for iOS7 and totally work fine on iCloud, seamlessly. Honestly, I may not use them frequently, but still they could come in handy on the go.

iTunes U also gets a new iOS 7 design and it is a really good companion for online iTunes courses. The sidebar navigation makes it easy to browse and you can add notes, links etc along with the courses. I highly recommend this app for people who are interested in discovering new courses and learning something new.

iTunes Trailers is also a good app. It supports both SD and HD trailers, however it doesn’t have much social network sharing capabilities. You can only favorite any trailers, thats all.

Safari:

Safari is an excellent mobile internet browser, which comes with iOS 7. It has got new looks and some new noteworthy features. Safari now has a omnibar, in a single bar where you can search or open any url. Safari now supports more than 8 tabs(yeh, finally). Safari also now supports a gesture, a right swipe across the screen will take you back to the previously opened page. Safari also supports private browsing, switching the browser top bar to dark gray color scheme.

Safari has a ‘Reader’ mode, just tap of a button strips off all the irrelevant content, ads and displays only the main article which makes really good for reading on web.

Another really useful feature I like most is iCloud Keychain and Safari Password Generator. With iCloud Keychain, you can store all your passwords and credit card info and it is available across all your iCloud enabled devices. That includes my hackintosh, running Mavericks. No need to remember 14 weird characters long passwords now. And if you want more weird looking strong passwords, use Safari Password Generator. When you are signing up on some website, use the Safari Password Generator to generate a strong password and it will be stored on iCloud Keychain. Now when you visit the same site from your computer or iPhone, you don’t need to enter the password at all. It’s all synced on iCloud(and sent to NSA without your knowledge. I am kidding. Not.)

Since iCloud is synced, you have access to the browser history from other iDevices. Its same like Chrome. If you open a page in your iPhone, the same page can be opened in your tablet, just accessing its history. No need of copying or remembering the URL. Also, if you are more of a twitter guy, then all the links shared in your Twitter timeline will be available under Shared Links in History. You can bookmark these or add it to read it later.

And yes, Safari icon sucks ass. Though Apple boasts about 500,000 apps tailored for iPads, their Safari app itself is same as iPhone. So yes, Safari sucks. It’s fast, opens pages quickly yes, but it is same as using in iPhone. I feel they are not fully utilizing the big screen, for example Safari could show thumbnails of all the open tabs in a single, so that switching tabs is easier.

But biggest problem is Safari’s tab refreshes when you open multiple tabs. Let’s say if you open one tab and switch to another. When you go back, the tab is refreshed again. Apple says it happens due to low memory. Well, fuck low memory, I have an iPad Air with 1GB RAM and I cannot open multiple tabs? What the fuck is this? (The problem exists even if you use Chrome) God forbid if one types a blog post and switches to other tab, damn all data is gone in the wind. That sucks! Hopefully Apple listens to this and does something about it. So much for optimization, eh?

I am using Coast by Opera and it doesn’t seem to have the tab refresh problem. And also most of the sites I browse already have a dedicated iPad app.

Another problem is sharing. Even though you have bluetooth, you cannot share files over it. And sharing over social networks other than FB or Twitter is even worse. Though iOS 7 now supports Vimeo & flickr, Android provides a lot greater and wiser flexibility. You can use any app to share stuff within the stock browser. Click share, select the app and hit, done! However on iPad, you have to copy the link over to the app and then you can share. And yeah, AirDrop can fuck itself.

This video is probably a big slap on Samsung and other companies, however, IMO, I believe Apple still has to perfect the iOS7. Many native apps should give different tablet experience rather than bigger iPhone experience. Safari, iBooks needs a major change.

Gestures:
iPad Air supports four/five finger multitasking gestures, which work really smooth and fun to use. Four(five) finger pinch zoom minimizes the running app putting it to background and brings you the homescreen. You can switch between apps by four(five) finger swipes and four(five) finger swipe from bottom to top brings task switcher. With set of all these gestures, you hardly need to use the Home button. Been many days when I last used to Home button since when I discovered multitasking gestures. Only reason for to use Home button now is when you want to remove any apps.

On the homescreen, a swipe down anywhere on screen brings out Spotlight. You can also add custom gestures (from settings > gestures), but it’s not that good and again, restricted.

Reading on iPad Air:

The main reason for me to upgrade from my 7″ tablet to iPad Air was this. 7″ is quite bad for PDFs and graphic novels.

iPad Air does not come pre-installed with iBooks, however you can install it for free. It does amazing job for handling ebooks. It has all the features you need, changing font size, type, switching to sepia/night mode etc.

iOS also comes with a powerful built in dictionary, which you can use in iBooks. Tap on any word, you get it’s meaning in a pop up. You can also install other dictionaries like Oxford, or English to French from settings.

However iBooks does not have advanced features for handling PDFs. You cannot annotate, highlight or make notes. For that you have to rely on third party apps. I have not explored much, but Adobe Reader (Free on Appstore) and PDF Master ($9.99 on Appstore) seems good.

Reading comics is a absolute bliss. With such gorgeous display, text/images look sharp and it is very pleasing to read. There is no ‘Apple’ app for reading comics, but I like Comixology (open source and free on AppStore).

Well comparing these apps this beyond the scope of this review, I might write up another post on them.

Camera:

While Cameras in Tablets may not be used as much as phones, but I am not that happy with iPad Air’s camera. I may not use the camera much, but it may come handy in some situations. I was hoping something better than earlier iPads. Overall image quality is ain’t bad, but it is same like old gen iPads. The quality is slightly better than my 3 year old iPhone 4. iPad Air with 8MP camera like iPhone 5 or 5S would have been made this device killer.

No flash, say bye to low-light / night time photography. It also lacks panorama, burst mode and slow motion.

Front camera is still same 1.2MP camera, which can shoot upto 720p. Well this ain’t bad, however I doubt if Apple tries to bump this, because this may mean higher data transfers for Facetime.

Video recording is same as old devices, dual mics may help for better voice in the video. The quality is smooth and is capable of producing 1080p videos.

Thus iPad Air camera may be good for usual selfies or your cooking pics to upload on Facebook. (But please don’t do it. Seeing cooking pics on FB or bad selfies, makes people eye hurt and has a prolonged ill side effects)

Music, Video playback and Streaming:

A great new addition to iOS 7 is iTunes Radio which really a nice way to discover music. Though it is free, it requires paid subscription for ad-free experience. Music playback is really good, the speakers are good and audio jack output quality is also good.

iPad Air comes with a video player, but it only plays MP4 videos (and other iPad/iTunes compatible videos). Adding new videos is easy, connect to iTunes and sync the videos. But out of the box iPad does not support MKVs. Apple may never add support for these formats, however there are many apps on AppStore which does play MKVs without any issues. My favorite video player is AvPlayerHD. Throw any video, any format or resolution, this app handles everything smoothly. It supports subtitles also.

Video Streaming is very essential as iPad does not have support for expandable memory. There is no way you can increase the memory (other than buying a higher memory iPad -_-). If you have 16GB iPad, but your movies are of size 13GB-15GB, there is no way you can copy them to your iPad and play. Another option would be converting each of them to the iPad compatible format (and reducing file size) and then copying them using iTunes. But when you have a large collection of movies, conversion is not a good idea for a one time watch movie. And also keeping movies in iPad will eat up more space.

You can stream your entire iTunes library using Home Sharing. It works smoothly, there are many issues again, you can stream only iTunes compatible videos. So, no mkv or avi. However with 3rd party apps, you can stream any video format you want and iPad Air plays everything smoothly. You can set up your own media server and play them, for free, without need of any paid app. I streamed a MKV 1080p video of size 16GB with DTS audio, iPad played smoothly and minimal CPU usage on server. Here is the tutorial, explaining how to set up. If you feeling lazy, AirVideoHD ($1.99 on AppStore) is surely a good option or nPlayer which supports many options other than UPnP.

Gaming:

The form factor and performance takes gaming experience on iPad Air to a whole lot awesome new level. Games don’t lag at all, you get the response as you tap on the screen, even in highly graphic intensive games. Levels load up pretty quickly, with very less/negligible waiting time. The graphic chip renders everything amazingly, shadows, glare from environment, details etc.

Infinity Blade III is the first game on AppStore to support A7’s 64-bit architecture. It is flawless, stunning, amazingly butter smooth. iPad Air handles Asphalt 8 smoothly which is highly graphic intensive, available for both iOS and Android. Smoke, tire marks, detailing of the car, side mirror, crashes everything is so accurate it can get. Sky Gamblers, Modern Combat, Shadowgun, Real Racing are some other graphic intensive games.

Battery:
Another best part of iPad, whopping 10 hours of battery as Apple claims. I watched videos, browsed web and read books and still I was managed to get 13 full hours of battery. That’s pretty freaking impressive! As mentioned earlier, iPad Air now comes with 32.4Wh battery compared to earlier models its pretty less, earlier iPads come with 42.5Wh (or 11560 mAh to 8827 mAh). However you would still get same 10 hours of battery, thanks to it’s power efficient A7 chip. While every Samsung and other companies come up with new tablets with higher and more battery capacities to keep up the same battery backup, here is Apple.

Since I bought my iPad I have only charged it thrice and still I don’t have to worry about it’s battery. iPad Air’s battery longevity FTW!

iPad Air vs Nook Color:
Probably not a fair comparison, but as I have spent significant amount of time I couldn’t resist myself to say a few words. So if you are coming from Android and thinking to buy an iPad, then first forget about all the cool customizations you did on your Android. You have no funky animated wallpapers, lockscreens, homescreen customizations or widgets. And yeah, no file managers or cracked .apks. Its easy to pirate on Android, but on iOS its nearly impossible unless there is a jailbreak available for it. However lots of people who migrated from Android tablets to iPad, are very happy about their decision.

iPad Air vs iPad 4:
If I had an iPad 4, then I probably wouldn’t upgrade to iPad Air. The display is same and there is no much difference performance difference in daily usage. Probably following are the right reasons to upgrade:

  • Has monies to spend
  • Want the latest tablet
  • Want the lightest and thinnest tablet

If not, keep the iPad 4. You better next year with iPad Light/iPad Air 2/ iPad Air S, whatever. It hopefully may feature touch ID and more RAM.

iPad Air vs iPad 3 or earlier:
For people who have older gen iPad, then it’s a no brainer upgrade. There is a lot of performance difference, pages load a lot faster, amazing graphics in games etc. However you get the same amount of battery juice, but at a higher performance.

iPad Air vs iPad Mini Retina:
iPad Mini Retina is the best competitor for iPad Air. Packed with exact same hardware except the screen size, Mini is one hell of a tablet. However, I wouldn’t buy mini since screen size is a major factor for me.

But this is probably the difficult choice to make for the people who are still thinking to go for a bigger screen or smaller. All the best.

iPad Air vs Nexus 7/10:
I have not used Nexus 10, so I cannot say anything much here. Nexus 7 is same as Nook Color except it comes with a upgraded hardware. So if I had a choice of Nexus or iPad from my Nook Color, I would still go with iPad, thanks to Android.

Nexus 10 comes as a close competitor as it is priced a lot less and comes with a superior display. If you don’t want a iOS tablet, Nexus 10 is pretty good.

iPad Air vs Any Windows tablet:
I personally hate Windows Tablets, however their UI/UX is pretty good (and snappier than Android). Windows guys have pretty much figured how the user experience should be. However lack of many good apps and games, is the reason I stay away from it. If you are the kind who just want facebook, twitter and bit of daily browsing and videos Windows tablet should be fine.

Windows tablets also have some pretty good features, great hardware. One of the features I like most is Snap multi tasking. But it’s not the alone reason enough for me to buy a Windows tablet. (However I just want Apple to rip off snap feature of Windows, it would be cool.)

And they have the coolest gesture.

Benchmarks:
No review is complete without benchmarks and those sexy looking graphs, they quantify and make life easier for comparison. Since I do not have any other tablets, I cannot do comparison tests. (or else, I have to pick up graphs from somewhere else and copy-paste my results into that, which is not cul). Anandtech has done extensive benchmark and testing and I suggest you visit it once.

Geekbench 3:
Download the benchmark results file.

GFXBench:

Ice Storm:

Ice Storm Extreme:

Ice Storm Unlimited:

Sun Spider:

Google Octane:

Kraken:

Browsermark:

WebXPRT:

Pros:

  • Design, just beautiful
  • Thin and light weight
  • And it just works.
  • Design, again
  • Fast performance, twice as fast from older iPads
  • iOS
  • Tailored tablet apps
  • Great battery life (average 12+ hours)
  • Good stereo speakers
  • Free iWork and iLife

Cons:

  • Price
  • Lack of homescreen/lockscreen customizations
  • Ability to share files easily (bluetooth, social network etc)
  • No Touch ID
  • Prone to fingerprints
  • No expandable memory (no SD-card)
  • Comes without any Stylus (and no ‘Apple’ stylus either)
  • Lack of USB
  • No file manager
  • Costly accessories
  • No GPS, goodluck using it as a car map

Conclusion:

Apple has successfully pulled off again. iPad Air is arguably the best and comfortable 9.7″ tablet. With device this thin and so light, with a beautiful unibody aluminium chassis, iPad Air is far ahead of it’s competitors IMO.

“If you can afford one, buy one. If you can’t afford one, don’t try one: you’ll end up in debt.” 9to5 Mac.

Packed with beastly processor, portable form factor and with 12+ hours of phenomenal battery life, it’s very tempting to buy. Pair it with equally powerful accessory, like Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard, you have a light, thin and powerful cheap alternative to laptop.

Be it daily browsing, watching videos or any office work, iPad Air works well. It’s a great device for a content consumption and as well for content creation*.

Has iPad reached a stage, where it can completely replace PC for average Joe’s needs? Probably yes. But for power user out there? Probably no. Steve Jobs once made statement comparing PCs to trucks and Tablets to cars. I still think it will take a lot of time to reach there.

If you are still undecided and thinking, you could also have a look at Samsuck Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.0 which comes with incredible and promising S-pen. It has more powerful processor, RAM and even more sharp looking display. But then again, it’s Samsung.

Finally it all boils down to you, your preferences and usage. It depends on what do you expecting from the device (or from eco system). Do you want a device with complete freedom, freedom to change every aspect of the OS Or be in a walled garden with a device that just works. If you are a kind of person who likes to have funky app launcher or invisible keylock pattern, then iPad is definitely NOT for you. Please do not buy. iOS comes with lots of restrictions and shit, so unless you are completely okay with them, please do NOT consider buying it. For me, iOS suits well. Been 8 months since I last changed my iPhone’s wallpaper. Or its lock screen. iOS devices are highly optimized, gives you great performance and very good battery life. I get around 12+ hours of continuous usage battery back up on my iPad Air. Apple devices will last longer, they have the great built and they just look beautiful. Again, its all perspective and depends on person. Go out, go to Wallmart, see the devices for yourself. Try the touch interfaces of both Android and iOS tablets, compare it, see it yourself. Ask your friends about their Android tablets and how they use it, what apps they have etc. Look up online about things you can do with iPad and all the restrictions and shit that comes with it.

*we are alive because it’s Morgan Freeman who is narrating our life.
PS : Again, please do not use iPad for stupid selfies or your cooking pics. They suck. kthxbi.
PS2 : Android developer bitchies, wake up and make some good apps.

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  1. great review, very comprehensive
    apple reverted to google maps, and it changed in 6, not 5. so its not the sucky apple maps anymore
    maps app with native google maps is still there in 5

    to push games to max, try
    -Neon Shadow
    -Call of Duty Strike Team
    -SW : KOTOR
    -NFS Shift
    -Injustice : gods among us
    -Galaxy on Fire II
    -Deus Ex
    -Horn
    -Bloodmasque
    -Frozen Synapse
    -Dark Meadow

    • Thank you very much!

      I don’t think Apple reverted back to Google maps. iPad Air did not come with Google maps. And yes, I just checked, it happened with iOS 6, not iOS 5. I will try those games you mentioned.