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Reviews: iPad Air is 'best iPad ever,' a triumph for Apple

updated 02:10 am EDT, Wed October 30, 2013

Critics rave over battery life, weight, engineering, more

The initial wave of reviews of Apple's latest full-size iPad, the iPad Air, have pronounced the 9.7-inch tablet an unqualified hit. Reviewers from across a wide array of publications and sites found themselves hard-pressed to come up with any serious criticism of the device, and in particular praised the exceptional battery life and reduction of weight (by nearly a half-pound from the previous model). Without exception that we could find, reviewers called it a "must buy."

Well-known critics Walt Mossberg (AllThingsD) and David Pogue (The New York Times) were both positive, with Mossberg astounded at getting more than 12 hours out of the battery during his "tough tablet test" in which he disables all power-saving features, plays videos while checking email and keeps Wi-Fi on. Bloomberg's review also mentioned the exceptional battery life.

Pogue was more conservative, praising the accomplishments of Apple engineering but saying that recent iPad buyers shouldn't feel the need to upgrade. He did add, however, that for those who were coming from the first two iPads or new buyers, "you'll find the Air a fantastic leap into the future."

Tim Stevens from CNet gave the iPad Air 4.5 out of 5 as a score, and echoed all the other critics in calling it the best full-size tablet on the market. "The iPad Air is worth getting excited about," he wrote. "It's the exterior design, however, that really impresses ... pick up an Air and you'll be reminded of the first time you held an [iPad] mini ... it's a 'wow' moment." He did note, however, that "we can't help being disappointed about the lack of Touch ID."

The more hardware-minded AnandTech analyzed the machine deeply, noting slight increases in CPU speed and increased instruction cache. Anand Lal Shimpi called the Air "a true successor to the iPad 2" and said the Mini and Air were now equal apart from screen size, leaving buyers with only one decision they have to make when choosing which to buy.

Britain's The Telegraph newspaper gave it a flat five stars and declared the Air "Apple's finest tablet." The reviewer said that the Air had "totally replaced" the iPad mini in his life, and said it was the "best tablet on the market."

USA Today's Edward Baig called the Air "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." He added that the iPad "remains the easiest to use," though he had a small "wish list" of features he'd like to see, most drawn from Apple's other products, along with the parental time limits of the Kindle Fire HDX and the kickstand of Microsoft's Surface 2.

Mobile specialist site PocketLint summarized almost all other reviews with the simple " rel='nofollow'Apple has done it again." The site added that "things just work," noting that "this is Apple creating the ultimate experience rather than focusing on specs for specs' sake." The biggest complaint was that now that the full-size and mini iPad models were so similar, it would be more difficult to choose which one to buy.

Lance Ulanoff of Mashable summed up his view by saying "for me, the new iPad Air is close to everything a consumer tablet should be: Light, fast, fun, beautiful and a little bit like the future."




By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. revco

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 05-10-05

    Best iPad ever. Only let down by worst iOS ever.

  1. pairof9s

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 01-03-08

    I too have to say I'm disappointed with no Touch ID. Having it on my new iPhone 5S, I am completely sold. Perhaps the iPad's form factor is not as conducive for Touch ID as the iPhone, in Apple's opinion.

    IMO, iOS 7 is great, revco...to each, their own.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Yeah, touch ID is great. Surprisingly, to me - thought it would be a gimmick, but it's actually a killer feature.

    One can surmise that either supply issues or cost (the latter possibly arising from the former if yield is too low) kept it out of this year's iPads.

  1. Mixotic

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 04-29-05

    Spheric Harlot, I don't think either of those is the issue...

    In my experience, iPads are far more communal devices. My wife and I use both of ours interchangeably, and our children use them as well. This would mean setting everyone up with a finger to use on the devices. And since authentication is tied to purchases, it would be very easy for anyone with access to buy anything from the store.

    I'm sure we will get multi-user TouchID at some point, but it's Apple's style to start small with features like these and then build out the usage as customers get familiar/comfortable with it.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Good points!

  1. xomniron

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-17-13

    @revco - I'd be interested to know what you don't like about iOS 7. I prefer the skeuomorphic UI design of iOS 6 (and the apps) and was not expecting to like iOS 7's "flat" look. I was pleasantly surprised. Even on my wife's older iPhone 4 it runs well and the battery life is noticeably better. The zoomy motion is a little intrusive, but not annoyingly so.

  1. yannickraw

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 01-12-10

    Guess what? the next best iPad ever is only 355 days away!! :) ...this time with touch id and a new processor twice as powerfull!

  1. Feathers

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: 10-09-99

    Of course, undeniably the best feature that Apple could add to the iPad is a lower price. I'd prefer that my wallet was fatter than my iPad thinner.

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