on 15 December 2014
User needs: I bought this to take away with me on work abroad so I wanted something very portable, powerful, and which would support things like Skype, word, and allow me to surf the net. This does all of that. And more.
Set up: very easy to set up. Almost a plug-and-play thing going on here. There are next to no written instructions but the onscreen set up guides you pretty well. But I think it helps if you are already IT literature otherwise expect some teething troubles.
Looks: very pretty and neat. It's lovely to handle. Be sure to buy a cover for it however if you want to keep the looks.
Screen: the brightness can be easily adjusted and there isn't too much glare. A screen protector does need to be purchased separately and is advised. You can use your fingers to type onto a virtual keyboard which pops up on screen but a e-pen is also a good idea if you have large fingers.
Internet connectivity: quick and fast. Have used this in a few hotels now without any problems.
Software: comes preloaded with the basics. But things like Word can easily be downloaded from the apple store. I wasn't thrilled by Apple's version of this, but then Microsoft aren't going to make something perfect for Apple are they?
I haven't used this for playing games so I'm not sure how that shapes up, but overall four or so months in I am so glad I bought this. Life really would have been more difficult without it! Worth every penny.
*** What can I do with the iPad? ***
With an iPad, you can do pretty much anything you can do on a laptop/Desktop computer. With the added benefit of it being much more portable.
✓ Shop online
✓ Do online Banking – pretty much all of the main banks have their own apps for iPad's making it even easier to do your day to day banking from your tablet
✓ Read and reply to emails from the comfort of your sofa
✓ View and organise photos – useful for when friends and relatives come around and you want to show off those holiday photos!
✓ Video call using Skype or Apples own Facetime (similar to Skype for use with another Apple Device)
✓ Read or research online
✓ Read books – you can purchase books from Apple's iBooks, the Kindle store and any other book stores which have an app in the Apple Store
✓ Watch films – you can watch Netflix, LoveFilm or any other subscription services which have an app in the Apple Store
✓ Watch TV – there are several apps available for iPad's which will allow you to catchup on TV. There's TVCatchup, BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, Demand 5, you can even order TV shows on demand from iTunes
✓ Play games – there are over 1 million apps in the Apple App Store and many of these are games
✓ Listen to the radio / music – either by streaming music from the internet or playing music stored locally on your iPad
*** What are the cons? ***
- Not all printers are 100% compatible with iPads – ideally you will need a printer that supports AirPrint. However this is becoming more of a standard feature with newer printers.
- You probably won't have as much storage as you would on your PC – however lots more information is now stored online rather than locally on your device, meaning you don't actually need all that much local space
- You can't play CD's/DVD's – so before you scrap your old PC, you may want to convert all those old CD's to mp3's!
- Can't read information from USB sticks – so storing your important files on a cloud backup service is a good idea.
*** How do I know which iPad to get? ***
Picking an iPad can be ridiculously difficult when you consider there are over 50 different variations of the iPad. You've got several different models, memory configurations, colours and different screen sizes.
For the purpose of this review, I'm not going to include the older iPads (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Generation). Although you can still pick them up, they are relatively old models as a result you will often find they have a lower performance and especially with the 1st and 2nd generation iPads, a noticeably lower quality screen.
For that reason, I would personally recommend one of the models mentioned below.
Step 1 – Pick a Size
First step is to pick a size. Either the 7.9” Mini or the 9.7” Air.
Which would you benefit from most? Large screen or portability? Do you want it mainly for using at home to read, watch videos and play games on the sofa, or are you planning on using it on the move, maybe while travelling to work, etc.
You can pay about £80 more for the larger screen. So think carefully!
Step 2 – I've chosen the Mini
There are 3 iPad Mini Models to choose from (The iPad Mini, iPad Mini 2 and iPad Mini 3).
- iPad Mini 3 -
This is the latest iPad Mini. This device is essentially the same as the iPad Mini 2, but with a feature called TouchID. For those fairly new to iPads, you're probably asking yourself what TouchID is, I know I did at first.
Touch ID is Apple's biometric fingerprint authentication technology. With it, the Home button can now unlock your device and authorize your purchases on the iTunes Store, making it impossible for purchases to be made if your device is stolen or if you kids get hold of your tablet!
- iPad Mini 2 -
This is last years iPad Mini, formerly known as the Retina iPad Mini is essentially the same device as the iPad Mini 3 but without the TouchID feature. Don't care about TouchID? Why not save yourself a few quid and go the iPad Mini 2.
A major point of differentiation between the original iPad mini and the iPad mini 2 is the display. Both are glossy, use IPS technology, and are LED-backlit, but the original model has a non-retina 7.9-inch 1024x768 display at 163 ppi and the 2 model uses a much higher resolution 7.9-inch 2048x1536 display at 326 ppi.
- iPad Mini -
If you just want an iPad and the slightly improved screen or TouchID don't matter to you, you can pick up the original iPad mini at a more affordable price. Maybe if this is your first iPad purchase, an original iPad mini might suit your needs more than one with several features you probably won't use.
Step 2 – I've chosen the Air
If you've selected the air, its even more straight forward to pick as there are just 2 models (iPad Air & iPad Air 2)
- iPad Air 2 -
The iPad Air 2's performance has been improved - the Air 2 has 12x the processing performance of the original iPad and 180x the graphics performance.
Now has an 8Mp rear facing camera, where as the original Air only has a 5Mp camera.
The Air 2 is just 6.1mm thick, an 18% reduction on the already skinny Air, making it the thinnest tablet in the world.
The Air 2 comes with touchID (the finger printer scanner mentioned earlier in the review).
- iPad Air -
If you're not bothered about the TouchID feature, having an ever so slightly thinner tablet and can cope with a 5Mp camera, then the original iPad Air could be worth considering if you want to try and save a little money.
Step 3 – Need 3G/4G?
This really depends again on how you plan on using your iPad. If think you're going to want internet access on the move and you're not likely to have access to WiFi, this is worth considering, however you will pay extra for this feature.
3G/4G is essentially wireless broadband for your tablet. You will pay a set amount monthly and this will enable you to use the internet on your tablet even when you are not connected to a WiFi network.
Remember that you can often turn your Mobile Phone into a wireless hotspot and piggy back off that anyway. So for some, this feature might not actually be necessary.
Step 4 – Picking how much memory you need
Memory on an iPad is essentially storage space. This will be used to store all your pictures, videos, music, etc. Keep in mind that once you have decided how much memory you need, it can't be updated like a PC, so if its not a lot more money for that extra space, its definitely worth considering!
Also keep in mind that in the future, music and video files will probably become larger and larger as the quality improves. So if you want your tablet to be a little more future proof, you'll probably find more memory is better!
Step 5 – Pick your colour (the easy bit)
This is a personal choice really, so little advice I can give.
With the older models you will only be able to pick between Black/Grey and White/Silver.
With the newer models, you can still have the classic colours, but you also have the choice of White/Gold if you wish (not a personal choice of mine!).
on 29 December 2013
Apologies. It seems Amazon has aggregated products and reviews, and therefore this review simply appears as a duplicate.
You can see my review of the iPad above.
on 24 February 2014
Well I decided after using Android tablets for a year ish to move over to Apple and get an iPad Air and got mine just after Christmas. Went the John Lewis route due to the 2 year warranty. I'm not an Apple fan particularly - in fact this is currently the only Apple device I have.
And I have to say there's just no comparison with other tablets - yes some others have very good screens now, powerful processers etc etc but nothing else just works seemlessly like the iPad. What matters is the experience using it and here Apple is way ahead. By the way I tried out a Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 in John Lewis the other day and sorry apart from a bigger screen the user experience is just poor compared to an iPad.
There is the argument over cost and yes the iPad is expensive but considering the alternatives (Note Pro, Tablet Pro, Sony Tablet Z etc) aren't much cheaper I think it's a no-brainer. Oh and so far to put on all the apps I need day to day from the App store has cost me a whole £3.68!
On the hardware front it's difficult to fault - the screen is perfect and it feels just right for weight. I've put a Knomo case on it to protect it anyway as think if you spend nearly £500 on a device leaving it open to knocks is crazy. No expandable storage is why I went 32GB and yes an extra £80 for 16GB extra is a rip-off but total price is still not significantly more expensive than competitors.
The biggest difference between the iPad and Android tablets is the apps - not numbers as who cares if you've got 1 Billion or 500 million apps - but the difference in quality and usability. A great example of this is my 72 year old mother can use the iPad apps without any help at all but on Android she struggles. The ecosystem for Apple is miles ahead here.
This may change over time - I do expect Android to erode the Apple advantage but there is a massive difference now and if you want the best tablet experience there is just no comparison.
Our laptop at home is gathering dust for internet/email/social media usage - it's totally redundant for these tasks as having a device to just pickup and use that is instantly on and a joy to use is great.
Drawbacks? Well not much to customise is both good and bad - if you are a tinkerer then go Android but I'm fairly technical and I find after a month of playing with a device you quickly settle into 'normal' usage so just having a device that works out of the box exactly as you expect is actually better.
And being Apple connectivity is more locked down (I don't like iTunes!) but I've had no trouble integrating everything with my Nexus 5 Android phone (Not a fan of iPhone 5 - it's just too expensive).
Apart from that I just can't fault it - I really wish I could in one sense as I do wonder how Apple can improve this in future. It's just about perfect for the vast majority of people and I guess that's why it sells in such vast numbers. A big thumbs up from me.
I have debated whether to get an iPad or not for a while, trying carefully to weigh the benefits. The first thing I would say is that this is not a laptop and is not as versatile in its use, the ability to plug it into other devices is greatly limited by the absence of a USB port. I could not therefore imagine using it for any serious productivity, typing or work. In effect it is like a large iPhone.
The iPad is best seen as a tool for recreation rather than work. The sort of thing you could use to watch a film or television show with your feet up on the sofa, or for looking at your photographs, listening to music or just idly surfing the internet. Of course there are the many, many, MANY games that can be found on the App Store. Though I wondered for some time, this has been a delight to use and I consider the money very well spent. Just bear in mind that when you buy this, what you buy it for.
on 9 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!
+ Lighter & smaller
+ New faster 64 bit A7 chip
+ Free iLife & iWork suite
- No rear camera improvement
- No Touch Id
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?
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 mine 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. This is no incremental upgrade, but a total redesign around the existing iPad 4 screen. (albeit screen offers 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.
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.
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!
Virtually virus free Apps available for the iPad are 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.
✓ 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!
- 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.
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 processor, 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.
on 16 September 2014
I was not a die-hard Apple customer, and until I bought an iPad mini two years ago, had only ever been familiar with one of their products; an iPod.
Until 2012, I rigidly stuck with all things Android and Windows: Sony or Samsung phones and HP or Dell laptops.
But then after having what can only be described as an anti-climactic experience with the much-lauded Kindle Fire HD, I took the plunge and bought the entry-level iPad mini.
There was to be no going back.
Quite simply, to compare Android with Apple is to compare excrement with cream. Sure, Apple products are pricey, but sometimes you just get what you pay for. From the user interface to overall performance, an iPad is the Champions league-winning team, whilst a Samsung tablet is at best, a mid-table humdrum.
Apple aren't without their faults, of course. They turn the financial screws quite severely for every gigabyte of memory you require, and their operating system lacks compatibility with some popular non-Apple software.
But, as they say, no-one is perfect. Though some are more perfect than others.
And this iPad - like its predecessors - is worth the extra pennies because it truly is class in a class of its own.
on 5 January 2014
Had to return this.
My 3 stars are for my buying experience - the IPad Air is undoubtedly a 5 star tablet but the purchase experience I had wasn't 5 star. The return and refund arrangements were prompt and straightforward - but I shouldn't really have had to go through al of that just before Christmas!
The seller had sent what I think was a product packaged for the US market - the adaptor actually in the pack was a 2 flat-pin adaptor.
This purchase was from a seller whose sales were fulfilled by Amazon.
There is a significant difference between this arrangement and one where Amazon are the seller.
The seller had to be perfectly fair to them included an additional UK 3 pin adaptor but it was rated 10 W
I queried this online with Amazon, requesting simply a replacement for the adaptor.
May sound a tad picky but the 12w adaptor that should be provided charges the IPAD quicker than 10W and anyway, it should have come with a 12w in the first place!
I made Amazon my first point of contact since they processed my payment.
I didn't contact the seller directly so perhaps I didn't give them a chance to make things right.
However, I really didn't have the time to be making this more complicated than I thought it should be.
Unfortunately, I was told by an attentive Amazon (live text) person that my options were either to accept the whole package or return it all.
No provision to provide simply a replacement adaptor!!
Had to be returned
Amazon returns' arrangements and promptness usually excel but on this occasion it did seem a shame - I suppose this was due to the order being fulfilled by Amazon!
However, It hadn't been made clear in the 'blurb' that this wasn't going to be a purchase of an item actually intended for the UK market so overall I'm a tad disappointed.
on 5 May 2014
As with other devices Apple, it looks cool & does a brilliant job. Really light and easy to handle, it has rapidly become the centre of my digital universe, more convenient often than the desktop, the range of free Apps offered with it cover most of the essential functions of any computer. No need for 3/4G if you have an iPhone, streams easily to an Apple TV box using Airplay. The choice of memory depends on how much material you wish to store at any given point.