Product iPad Air
Specifications 9.7in 2048x1536 IPS LCD Retina display, 64-bit A7 processor, M7 coprocessor, 5MP rear-facing camera with HD 1080p video, 1.2MP front-facing camera, 16GB/32GB/64/128GB internal storage, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, 4G LTE support, 10 hour battery life, iOS 7 mobile operating system, 240x170x7.5mm, 478g
Price From £399
GADGET DESIGNER Apple's iPad Air is the firm's fifth generation tablet, and while many were expecting a slightly updated iPad 5 to be launched in its place, Apple surprised those at its October press conference by unveiling what it claims is the thinnest and lightest full-sized tablet in the world.
As well as being thinner and lighter than Apple's previous generation tablets, the iPad Air features the same 64-bit A7 chip as the iPhone 5S.
However, it lacks the Touch ID fingerprint sensor found on Apple's latest flagship smartphone device, and it does not feature upgrades to the display or camera - leading buyers to wonder whether it's worth ditching their old iPad for an iPad Air.
Apple was right when it said the design of the iPad Air cannot be appreciated until it is seen. We've been using the iPad Air for a few days, and it's astonishing how much more comfortable it is to use than Apple's third generation iPad, for example.
The iPad Air measures 7.5mm thick and weighs 478g. It also looks much more like Apple's iPad Mini than the firm's previous tablets, with the firm having shrunk the bezel by 43 percent, despite the tablet having the same 9.7in display as before.
Of course, the iPad Air isn't feather light, but calling it the Air is definitely fitting. Long periods of gaming on the tablet don't lead to the same arm ache as before, and we found ourselves comfortably holding the tablet for hours without a struggle while viewing a movie on the tablet. As a result, those who pick up an iPad Air are unlikely to want to go back to using their previous generation Apple tablet.
While it's a lot smaller than previous iPads, the iPad Air doesn't feel flimsy. We were still worried about potentially scuffing the tablet's aluminium back, but we were never concerned about its ability to take a knock or two. It sits in the hand much more comfortably than Apple's previous tablets, so we weren't that worried about dropping it.
Some might be disappointed, given its upgrades in other areas, that the iPad Air does not feature an improved screen. You shouldn't be, though, as Apple's 9.7in 1536x2048 resolution Retina display remains among the best on the tablet market today, challenged only by the slightly higher resolution screen found on the Google Nexus 10 tablet.
Text remains crisp, the viewing angles are still great and colours are exceptionally vibrant. However, outdoor visibility still remains an issue with the iPad Air's in-plane switching (IPS) LCD display, but we suppose we can't have it all.
Next: Performance, operating system.
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