Now that the embargo has been lifted on reviews of Apple’s new iPad Air 2, the reviews are hitting the web. Here are some highlights of the (mostly) favorable reviews. Just for a bit of background, Apple’s new iPad offers a much thinner design, while boasting an A8X processor, Touch ID, an improved 8-megapixel camera, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and a new anti-reflective screen coating.
Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch:
“The 6.1 mm chassis just makes all the difference when it comes to the Air feeling like something that you could comfortably hold for long periods of time[…] Our review unit came in Apple’s gold finish, and let me just say that on the iPad, that means there’s a lot of gold going on. […] The Air 2 in either space grey or silver still looks fantastic however, and the gold is definitely going to stand out in a crowd, especially if you’re also using the iPad as a camera.”
Brad Molen, Engadget:
“A thinner profile comes at the expense of battery size. The new Air’s is 5.1Whr smaller than the old one, but Apple still promises that you’ll get the same 10-hour battery life because the A8X is more power-efficient. Real-life use shows that the original Air still rules the roost; after a day of heavy use, I typically went to bed with around 20 percent left in the tank.
“The Air 2 also doesn’t have a mute switch, which I didn’t think would be a huge loss until I actually found myself trying to use it and becoming frustrated more frequently than I expected. […] A microphone now sits where the mute switch once was; there’s another one right next to the camera.”
Nilay Patel, The Verge:
“The Air 2 has a vibrant, sharp display that looks almost painted on. Apple says the new antireflective coating on the Air 2 reduces glare by 56 percent, but I didn’t really notice it making a huge difference; you definitely can’t use it in bright sunlight. […] Inside the iPad Air 2 lies Apple’s new A8X chip, which is a variant of the A8 found in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus with additional graphics capabilities. It’s ridiculously fast — noticeably faster to load web pages and launch apps than my iPad Air, and it has so much graphics headroom that I’m eager to see how game developers take advantage of it.”
Chris Davies, SlashGear:
“Its surge forward in speed and the convenience of the refined form-factor and Touch ID leaves the iPad Air 2 feeling like the true iPad for power users.”
Walt Mossberg, Re/code:
“The Air 2 didn’t allow me to hold or carry the tablet longer and more comfortably than the Air. Its weight of 0.96 pounds isn’t discernibly lighter than the Air’s weight of one pound. And its thickness of 0.24 inches is a barely noticeable reduction from the Air’s 0.29 inches.”
Lance Ulanoff, Mashable:
“… Apple isn’t just blowing smoke when it says the A8X is more powerful. I ran Geekbench 3 on both Airs and found that that Apple’s A8X has 3 cores (the A7 had 2) and that the multicore score for the iPad Air 2 is nearly double that of the original Air. The singlecore score for the iPad Air 2 is only slightly better than that of the iPad Air.”
Harry McCracken, Fast Company:
“The weirdest fact about the iPad Air 2 is that Apple isn’t publicizing (or even acknowledging) one of its best new features. The tablet now has 2GB of RAM, up from the rather cramped 1GB allotment in the original iPad Air. (Some competitors, like the Galaxy Tab 10.1, have even more.)
“Doubling the RAM means that the iPad can keep more apps and browser tabs in memory without having to reload anything. That results in a speed boost which which is very apparent as you hop between apps and load new web pages.”
The iPad Air 2 is currently available for pre-order from Apple’s online store, with prices starting at $499 for a 16GB Wi-fi model.