Review: The iPad Air

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2013)

A few weeks ago, Apple released its newest product, the iPad Air, and as the name implies, it is the lightest iPad to date, weighing in at one pound, or less than a loaf of bread. It’s got new design features, a more compact frame, and better, faster hardware. We’re going to go over the salient points in more detail, to see if the iPad Air is worth the price tag (more on that in a bit).

The iPad Air has a smooth back design, thinner bezel and more attractive speakers at the bottom of the phone, and comes in two colors — Space Gray and Silver.  It also has machined buttons that don’t feel loose when shaking, bringing up the premium feel to the device.

iPad Air

The iPad 3 (left) next to the newer, thinner, and lighter iPad Air.

As for the interior, it holds Apple’s A7 chip, just as the iPhones 5C and 5S carry, bringing with it 64-bit processing power, enabling it to work seamlessly with the new iOS 7, maximizing its power potential. It also allows for battery saving techniques to keep your tablet going even longer in day-to-day use. It’s also got a 9.7-inch retina display, which features over 3.1 million pixels — a million more than an HDTV, as the Apple site boasts.

As for that price tag . . . it’s really not bad at all. Consider that the WiFi-only models range from $499 to $799 ($499 for the 16GB, $599 for 32GB, $699 for 64GB, and $799 for 128GB), while the WiFi + Cellular models range from $629 to $929 for the same memory. Factor in that there’s a lot of useful software added into the stock purchase, and you’re looking at a reasonable price for a sleek and functional machine.

A few things the Air doesn’t have — it doesn’t come with the TouchID that was so prominently touted during the release of the iPhone 5S. Why? I haven’t read of a sufficient reason, other than people speculating that Apple will release it with the next model, as it has sometimes done with new technology.

The Air doesn’t come with a keyboard either (like the rest of the iPads) but there are some cool accessories you can purchase that will add the keyboard to it, for those who prefer the laptop-style addition to tablets. Belkin were the first to release iPad Air extras – including covers and keyboards.

The Qode Ultimate Keyboard Case leads the brand’s parade of new accessories, and sports a black or silver aluminum body and an impressive 264 hours of active battery life for $130. Alternatively, there’s the Qode ThinType Keyboard Case for $100 with 79 hours of battery life.For $80 there is the Qode Slim Style keyboard case – in black, red, topaz, purple and sorbet. They are all available to pre-order today, but are not available yet.

Ultimately, is the iPad Air worth it? Yes. The 128 GB is a step above other Android tablets, and with the A7 chip, the retina display, and the cell phone capability, the iPad Air is still is in a class of its own.