Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), on Tuesday, lifted the embargo on reviews about the latest iPad Air, allowing several reviewers to share their initial impressions of the company’s new thinner, lighter and faster fifth-generation iPad.
And, the first reviews of the new flagship tablet reveal that the majority opinion is exceptionally positive and the device has received widespread praise. Here is a roundup of some of the significant reviews, which highlights the general reactions to “the lightest full-sized tablet in the world.”
Walt Mossberg of AllThingsD was impressed with a number of things about the iPad Air, including its extended battery life, its faster speed and the light-weight form factor. According to him, he tested the iPad Air for more than 12 hours by continuously playing high-definition videos with the screen at 75 percent brightness, while keeping the Wi-Fi on and receiving a stream of emails.
“In a feat of design and engineering, Apple has slashed the iPad’s weight by 28 percent, made it 20 percent thinner and 9 percent narrower, while increasing its speed and retaining the brilliant, 9.7-inch Retina display,” Mossberg wrote. “This new iPad isn’t a radical rethinking of what a tablet can be, but it’s a major improvement on a successful product. It is the best tablet I’ve ever reviewed.”
Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch called the iPad Air a game-changer and crowned the device as “a new champion of the large tablet market.” According to Etherington, the iPad Air is more comfortable to hold than the iPad 4, while its A7 chip gives a major boost to iOS apps, such as Apple's own iLife and iWork. He even suggested that the iPad Air’s 9.7-inch Retina display may convince some iPad mini users to consider a shift toward the larger display product.
“Having used primarily an iPad mini for the past year, there’s no question that coming back to the 9.7-inch Retina display was an uplifting experience,” Etherington wrote. “The iPad Air is a huge improvement over the iPad 4th-gen, or the iPad 2… Its form factor is the best currently available for a 10-inch tablet, and it provides a great blend of portability and usability that leans towards the media device end of the spectrum.”
Jim Dalrymple of The Loop paid attention to two special traits about the iPad Air -- its lighter weight and its more powerful processing capability. According to him, Apple has done a remarkable job by reducing half a pound off the new tablet by trimming down the bezel and the battery, and at the same time, managing to enhance the device’s performance with the A7 processor.
“The good news is the iPad Air lives up to all of those expectations and more. When I first picked up the iPad Air, I noticed how light it was. I mean really light,” Dalrymple wrote. “Apple is giving away the OS and now it is giving away all of the apps people need to do work and have fun… It’s not just that the apps are free that’s impressive—it’s that they are really good apps.”
Brad Molen of Engadget, who provided some stunning photos and videos of the iPad Air, also praised the new tablet’s improved battery life and performance, while singling out the device's new thinner design for extra accolades. According to him, the “Air” moniker was quite fitting, thanks to its “ridiculously small and light” design aesthetics.
“Surprise: the iPad Air is the best iPad we've reviewed. In addition, though, it's also the most comfortable 10-inch tablet we've ever tested,” Molen wrote. “Not every manufacturer can produce a thin and light device without also making it feel cheap or flimsy, but Apple nailed it… The last two iPads served up relatively few improvements, but the Air provides people with more of a reason to upgrade or even buy a tablet for the first time.”
Anand Lal Shimpi of AnandTech provided a comprehensive review of all the technical details of the new iPad Air. Impressed with a number of things -- from the device’s smaller and lighter design to its much faster processing speed -- Shimpi noted that the iPad Air is “a significant re-imagining of the original 9.7-inch iPad,” and said it breathes new life into the platform.
“Two weeks ago I had all but written off the bigger iPad. It was too bulky and just nowhere near as portable as the iPad mini,” Shimpi wrote. “Once the latter gets a Retina Display and equal hardware across the board, why would anyone consider the bigger model? The iPad Air changed my perspective on all of that.”
Here are some other notable reviews of the iPad Air:
- Fox News
The iPad Air will be available in silver or space gray starting on Friday, Nov. 1 with the base model -- 16GB with Wi-Fi -- priced at $499 in the U.S. market. Initial online orders are scheduled to begin at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time in the U.S. while Apple retail stores will open at 8 a.m. local time around the world.