The design of the iPad Air is very impressive. Yes, it’s totally based on the iPad mini, and the smooth aluminium back is really great to feel in the hand. It’s a shame that most people feel the need to slap a cover on an iPad as soon as it’s bought – while I get the notion of protection, it hides away some cracking design.
In actual operation, though, the design of the iPad Air complements the impressive innards superbly. It’s unsurprisingly not possible to wrap your hand all the way around the edges of the Air, but then again it’s sufficiently light (and comes with the ability to disregard stray thumbs encroaching on the screen, again like the iPad mini) to not make a big difference.
The rest of the buttonry – the top-mounted power key and the silencing rocker switch and volume buttons at the side – haven’t moved far, but protrude nicely to make them very easy to hit no matter where you’re holding the device. Such user-friendliness is often sacrificed in the quest to make tablets look sleeker, so I’m happy Apple has gone the other way here.
Many of you will also be wondering why there’s no Touch ID on board the iPad Air when it was such a big selling point for the iPhone 5S, which launched a month or so before it.
Turns out Apple held it back as one of the ‘big upgrades’ for the iPad Air 2, which certainly raised a few eyebrows. Still, in my experience with the iPad Air 2 I don’t tend to use it much anyway – certainly nowhere near as much as I do on the iPhone 6S. It’s not a massively galling omission on the iPad Air, then.
Make no mistake: Apple finally nailed the tablet with a great combination of specs, power and a decent OS in this option.
It’s a joy to hold the iPad Air, even though it’s now the thickest option in the iPad range. From the clever construction to the perpetually capable processor to the improved user interface, Apple has found an answer to every criticism I had of the older devices, and then some.
The fact it’s not even more expensive than its large-screen brethren is really impressive for an Apple product.
I’d advise that you get the largest-capacity iPad Air your budget can manage – although now that the iPad Air is the entry-level model you no longer get the larger options, which is a shame. What’s more, with rumours of an iPad Air 3 on the horizon, the iPad Air’s days may be numbered.
But we can only review what’s in front of us, not what might be in the future. It’s a device with almost no flaws – and even though the iPad Air 2 is out, it remains one of the best tablets available today.
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