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Apple really know how to work an audience thanks to their marketing hype and by limiting supplies at launch date. Thankfully they are now readily available and prices are creeping down.
I am no Apple iOS diehard fan. In fact I have several android tablets (including the Nexus 7, which I love). Yet there's no denying that the iPad has revolutionised the computer industry by triggering the tablet era.

This review focuses solely on the iPad Air.

Having owned two other iPads: iPad 1 and iPad 3, I am no novice to the iPad, and have followed the incremental upgrades since it was first introduced .... just 4 years ago!

When my iPad Air finally arrived (had it on pre-order for several months) I thought that the store had made a mistake and got me the iPad mini instead!
I opened the usual premium Apple packaging and was greeted by a lovely, super slim and lightweight gem of a tablet. The side bezels are so much thinner too, no wonder it could be mistaken for a Mini at first glance.

The iPad Air is no incremental upgrade, but a total redesign around the existing iPad 4 screen. (albeit offering better viewing angles)

It really is a pity that I had to buy a protective case, which covers the beautifully crafted aluminium body. Yet it means that your investment will still look like new for years.

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Case options: Skip this part if not interested.

When it comes to cases there is quite a choice. I call these necessary evils, yet one should not skimp on a quality case offering the best protection possible.

I have the original Apple, Invision and the Veo cases for the iPad Air. I cannot comment on cases I do not own which might prove to be actually better.
They weigh 148.7g, 208.5g and 230.7g respectively.
The Apple case is expensive, and the volume and sleep buttons are a nuisance to operate as they are covered in the thick premium leather. The other cases offer easy access to the buttons. However this case offers the best protection and looks great. It takes a lot of patience to remove this cover once it is in place.
The Invision is a very cheap case and a best seller. It looks sturdy and the stitching is top notch, yet I do not particularly like the shiny finish. The iPad is held in place by 4 corner tabs which tend to pop out of place fairly easily.
The Veo is probably the nearest to the Apple as far as looks go. It comes in a mat finish and the iPad is held in place via a plastic strip along the right and 4 corner tabs.
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DOES THE iPad Air LIVE UP TO THE HYPE?

A quick answer is "Yes"! The new zippy 64 bit A7 processor and crisp "Retina display" are the best I've seen on any 10" tablet so far! And even though it sports the same display as the iPad 4, the viewing angle is far superior, probably thanks to the closer proximity of the display to the scratch proof glass.

The Apps further contribute to making this the best iPad to date, as they have been optimized to take full advantage of the powerful 64bit processor. These include iPhoto, iMovie, Numbers, Pages and Keynote which are bundled for free!

Apps written for the iPad are virtually virus free and generally superior to the android version. There are various reasons for this:
○ iPad is also targeted for professional environments
○ Stable and reliable iOS platform
○ Applications are only available through the App Store, thus guaranteeing income to the developer.
○ Other platforms have new tablets springing every other day, sporting different screen sizes and processors.

Pros:
✓ Blazing fast, low consumption A7 (64bit) processor. The fastest to date
✓ Premium build quality with ever so stylish looks thanks to the precision engineered aluminium housing
✓ 30% lighter than iPad4, weighing only 469g for Wi-Fi, and 478g Wi-Fi + Cellular versions
✓ Retina display. Great colour saturation producing stunning images
✓ iWork and iLife software included for free
✓ Vast choice of apps that can mimic laptop/desktop programs
✓ Awesome battery life. No other tablet manufacturer can match as yet
✓ Is widely used in the Aviation industry by pilots*: This gives the iPad the ultimate seal of approval for reliability, performance and stability.

*Jeppesen, the leading Airline chart manufacturer, has been officially endorsed by EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) to provide digital navigation charts on the iPad for use in flight decks by pilots, and is being used by major airlines. This is a first, and truly revolutionary!

Cons:
- Proprietary hardware required. ie: Bluetooth GPS, Airprint printers..
- No expandable memory
- No touch ID

I would have loved to see an improved version of the iPhone's touch ID.

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Probably the most difficult task is choosing the version which best suits your needs and budget:

I will first start with the common denominator. All flavours offer the same A7 chip, retina display and Wi-Fi.

So the options are colour, storage size and cellular:
♦ Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, yet I do suggest a side by side hands on comparison.
♦ Given the fast processor I would say go for the largest available storage you can afford. This might easily be a laptop alternative, given the new 128GB SSD version.
♦ Many think that cellular versions only offer data. This version also sports a GPS chip which works as good as the best GPS receivers. So this has to be taken into consideration when factoring the price difference.

Highly recommend to anyone seeking a versatile, fast and reliable alternative to a laptop.

I hope you find this review helpful. Any comments or queries are welcome, and I will try my best to address.
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on 19 February 2014
I have been changing my mind a few times, do I really need an iPad, the honest answer was no. But then I went for it, the 64 GB version (in for a penny, in for a pound) and I have to say, best decision ever. I really can't imagine how I managed my life before the advent of the Apple iPad Air. I run my life now with my iPad and iPhone. I honestly can recommend both as both are superbly made and function flawlessly. They are not cheap but buying quality always is the more economical choice in the long run.
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on 22 December 2013
This is my second ipad having had the 3rd gen and this is far superior it's faster and lighter and even thoe it states the same battery life it does seem to last longer and charges quicker than my old one.it is an expensive piece of kit but your paying for the quality.
I would recommend this tablet if your looking the best out there !!
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on 11 November 2013
Since Apple announced the iPad Air and the new iPad mini I trully wanted to get my hands on these. Unlike the new iPad mini, the Air is available for anyone who wants to upgrade from the previous generations iPads or get an Apple tablet for the first time. I already own the 4th gen iPad , but I couldn t miss the newer edition for anything in the world, now that I knew it was lighter and more powerful.

No offence to the Android community, this iPad is hands down the best tablet in its category. Continue reading below and some of you may agree with me. :)

The latest generation of iPad, the iPad Air, took its name because of its weight and its form factor in general. Apple decided to reduce the weight and the bezel around the screen, managing to create a bigger...ipad mini. A sleek design of aluminum, packs a 9.7 inches display with the same retina resolution as the previous ones. The colours look alive and the photos look crispier as ever. The screen is responsive in every command without glitches or lagging; after all i can t remember of any Apple touchscreen product that ever had lagging issues.

Rear camera remain the same while the front camera is packing a 1.2 MP lens recording in 30fps. For some the same rear camera and the lack of a flash is a drawback while for others it doesn t matter at all. Personally, I would enjoy a flash on the iPad Air since there are moments I use it in darker environments where I want to take photos or record a video. Also, the lack of the slow motion recording that the iPhone 5s camera packs is a thing that its missing and will be probably added in the next gen.

In terms of audio quality, Apple added stereo speakers on this device, although you won t enjoy stereo surround when you hold the tablet in landscape since both of the speakers are located on the bottom side of the tablet. I think that not only iPad Air but tablets in general didn t do huge leaps improving sound quality.

Apple claims that iPad Air is twice as fast as the previous generation and believe me, it is! The new 64 bit A7 is really fast! Before I sell my beloved and long used iPad 4th gen I had the chance to compare them side by side. The difference in terms of speed is huge, while the battery holds the same 10 hour efficiency. iOs is operating beautifully under this new beast and free iWork & iLife apps is a welcome addition for any new owner of iPad air.

One of the biggest let downs is the lack of the touch id that is supported in iPhone 5s. Why do tablet owners always have to wait for next generation to get features which already exist in the latest smartphones? The technology is there and they can use it. For the money that iPad Air cost, they should have packed Touch id! Period!

PROS:
+ Lighter & smaller
+ New faster 64 bit A7 chip
+ Free iLife & iWork suite

CONS:
- No rear camera improvement
- No Touch Id

OVERALL:
Besides the drawbacks, this is the best tablet available in the market at the moment. If you love Apple's ecosystem, go for it. If you ve never been a part of it, this is your best chance!

*Forgot to mention: iPad Air is available in 16 flavors in total -> wifi & wifi + 4g X 2 colours (silver & space grey) X 4 storage options (16,32,64 & 128 GB ). Personally, I prefer the space grey colour and for my needs the 16 GB - wifi + 4G. What about you?
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on 25 March 2014
I am not convinced by IPAD's in general. I miss the MS Office software and dont' use any of the apps. For surfing I find it OK but when doing my Tescos online shop, the boxes get in each others way and I prefer to use my laptop. That said, I love the instant startup and it is very light and portable. My children love it and it works fine.
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on 10 October 2014
Love it. No more noisy, cumbersome and hot laptop on my lap whilst hubby watching sci-fi on TV. Extremely portable with a mega lightweight finish considering the size of the memory. I'm not into the technology side of it all so cannot tell you about that but I love the music quality through my headphones compared to my iPhone. It also was a necessity as I used to spend all my time using my iPhone to access emails, Facebook and photos etc but I have finally succumbed to wearing glasses for reading and now I don't need them with the iPad 😄 and my photos are great to look at now! husband is jealous too! Looking forward to taking it away this weekend on a flight; something to do!
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on 19 July 2014
Received my new IPad Air 64gb very prompmtly. All went well until day 2 when it just gave up! It went to sleep and stayed asleep and I could do nothing to wake it up again so very frustratiing and disappointing. Amazon were great though and a full refund was duly received on return of the defective iPad.
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on 20 August 2014
Like the other few million or so people who already have these, I can't praise the IPAD air enough - I love it! Never had one before (which might seem strange as had a Mac for a number of years) and it already love it. Do I wish I'd bought one before? No actually as previously was quite happy with my Kindle fire but this is so much better with the larger screen and its complete integration with the Mac which had now for a few years. If you are umming and arring over size then getting the 64GB is frankly a no brainer - additional space is so vey useful for films etc especially if you travel a lot.
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on 13 May 2014
It is good to see an Apple product that has a price not far away from the competition. Had it not been comparable I would of bought one of the many other similar tablets that are around. This is my first Apple product and so this has its ups as well as its downs.

Ups - well designed, very user friendly (within its own boundaries) and lots of functionality. Wi-Fi works exceptionally well even in low reception areas of the house. Apps store is very good but watch out for the small print of the Free apps (i.e. you sometimes need to buy things once you have downloaded it). Such Apps need to come with a bold warning not the tiny font that currently exists.

Downs - Instructions on how to use the thing are not easily found. I have had it for over a month now and whilst I am told that instructions are there I cannot find them! Whilst I don't expect a book I would of expected an App entitled "How to use my iPad" or similar. Interfacing the iPad with the outside world may be great if you have other Apple products but at the price they charge for a PC I won't be doing that in a hurry. Hence the transferring of notes etc. between iPad and non-Apple PC is laborious and really should of been simplified by how. You are OK with iTunes but not with other software. If you are using the iPad for tasks other than playing games, looking at e-mails or a quick look at an internet site this is a major "Down". In fact it is so major that I almost wish that I had bought a different tablet.

Buyer beware!
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on 23 November 2013
I got an iPad Air Wifi 64GB space grey, to replace my third gen iPad and I have to say it is so much lighter making it more portable and the apps load a lot faster.
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