First iPad Air 2 Reviews: ‘Ridiculously Fast’, ‘Vibrant Display’, Thinner Profile Comes at the Cost of Battery Life

Following Apple’s October 16 event that saw the debut of the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3, Apple provided multiple publications with review units. The embargo has now lifted on review posts, so we’ve gathered some of the relevant excerpts from each site in order to highlight general release reactions to the new tablet.

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Apple’s iPad Air 2 is an entire millimeter thinner than the original iPad Air, and Apple has billed it as the thinnest tablet in the world. It offers a new A8X processor, Touch ID fingerprint support, an anti-reflective screen coating, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and an improved 8-megapixel rear camera.

Walt Mossberg, Re/code:

So when Apple brought out new iPads last week, and I had a chance to test them over the past four days, you might think I’d be pretty excited about them — but I’m not. They are, in most respects, the best iPads ever made. But for average users, they represent only a modest evolutionary improvement over last year’s models, not the kind of big change that the first iPad Air or the Retina display iPad mini did last year. [...]

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.

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.

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, and even for all-day computing, should you need it (and it’s easy to imagine an event coordinator, for instance, needing exactly that).

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. Apple’s take on this particular metal color is better than most, but this definitely isn’t my favourite finish. 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. If you’re only using it moderately — say, for casual content creation or consumption — you should get a little over two days. In our video test, in which an HD movie plays through the life of the battery, the Air 2 squeezed out 11 hours and 15 minutes, significantly lower than last year’s Air and about an hour short of the Samsung Tab S. [...]

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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. Your new options are to press and hold the volume down button or go into the Control Center and press the mute key; if you used the switch to lock screen orientation, you’ll need to do that in the Control Center as well. A microphone now sits where the mute switch once was; there’s another one right next to the camera.

Joanna Stern, The Wall Street Journal:

That anti-reflective screen also makes a great, though admittedly ginormous, viewfinder for snapping nature shots with the revamped 8-megapixel camera. It takes much crisper shots than before, and in many cases, ones as good as those I can take with my iPhone 6. But I won’t bring my iPad to some mountain peak, as some Apple promo shots suggest.

Besides, when I set the iPad Air 2 down for a second on a bench, it slid off and hit concrete, shattering the screen. Sure, I’m to blame, but if Apple wants me to climb every mountain armed with nothing but an iPad, ruggedness should be as important as anti-reflectivity.

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.

Lance Ulanoff, Mashable

To get an anecdotal sense of the performance, I installed a pair of console-level games: Asphalt 8 Airborne and Modern Combat 5: Blackout. Each of these games is notable for rich imagery and physics including smoke, water, rain, and reflections. The games looked and worked great on the original iPad Air and worked just as well — if not better — on the iPad Air 2.

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However, 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.

Other Reviews:

Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times
Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian
David Pogue, Yahoo Tech
Chris Davies, Slashgear
Matt Warman, The Telegraph

The iPad Air 2 is currently available for pre-order from Apple’s online store, with prices starting at $499. Apple has not yet revealed when the new tablets will be available in stores, but the first pre-orders will be arriving to customers this week.




The iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 review

It’s a conflicting time for Apple. On one hand, it’s a joyous occasion for the company because its latest iPhones, which come in larger screen sizes than the last, set new sales records worldwide; but on the other hand, its lineup of iPads just…





Buyer’s Guide Deals: Discounts on the Original iPad Air and iPad Mini 2 [iOS Blog]

With the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3 set to hit stores any day now, retailers have begun offering some discounts on the previous-generation iPad Air and Retina iPad mini 2, especially on higher-capacity models that have been discontinued.

On its own website, Apple offers the original iPad Air in 16 and 32GB capacities only, with prices at $399 and $449, respectively, for Wi-Fi models, and $529/$579 for Wi-Fi+ Cellular models. The same is true for the iPad mini 2, which is available in 16 and 32GB capacities at $299/$349 for Wi-Fi and $429/$479 for Wi-Fi + Cellular.

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Retailers are not offering discounts on the iPad Air and iPad mini 2 models that Apple continues to sell, but the discontinued higher capacity 64 and 128GB models are available at lower prices. Customers who don’t care about Touch ID or the new features in the iPad Air 2 but want more storage capacity will be able to get a solid deal on an older-generation model.

iPad Air

The Wi-Fi only 64GB iPad Air in Space Gray can be purchased for $499 from Best Buy, as can the 64GB Silver Wi-Fi model. The Wi-Fi only 128GB iPad Air in Silver can be purchased from B&H Photo for $599.

Several sites are also offering deals on the higher-capacity Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad Air models. The 64GB Cellular iPad Air in Silver from AT&T is available for $599 from Adorama. The 64GB Cellular iPad Air in Space Gray from AT&T is also available for $599, from Amazon, Adorama, and B&H Photo.

Verizon models are slightly more expensive, with both the 64GB Silver Cellular iPad and 64GB Space Gray iPad available for $629 from Best Buy.

The 128GB Cellular iPad Air in Silver from AT&T is available for $829.99 from Best Buy and the 128GB Space Gray AT&T Cellular iPad is available for $699 from Adorama, a hefty discount of $230 off the original price.

128GB models from Verizon are priced similarly, with the 128GB Silver version available from Adorama for $699 and the Space Gray version available for $729 from B&H Photo.

iPad mini 2

Higher-capacity iPad mini 2 models are also available at steep discounts, and these iPads are a particularly good deal as the only difference between the mini 2 and the mini 3 is Touch ID and a gold color option.

The 64GB Wi-Fi only iPad mini 2 in Silver is available for $399 from Best Buy and Adorama. The Space Gray Wi-Fi only iPad mini 2 is also available for $399 from Best Buy and Adorama.

The 128GB Wi-Fi only iPad mini 2 in Silver is available for $499 from Best Buy, while the Space Gray version is available for $499 from Best Buy and Adorama.

The 64GB AT&T Cellular iPad mini 2 in Silver is available for $529.99 from Best Buy, while the Space Gray model is available for $529.99 from Best Buy, Amazon, and Adorama.

64GB Verizon Cellular iPad mini 2 models in Silver are available for $529.99 from Best Buy and the Space Gray model is available from Best Buy for the same price.

The 128GB Cellular AT&T iPad mini 2 in Silver is available for $629 from Amazon and Adorama. The AT&T Space Gray model in 128GB is also available for $629 from Amazon and Adorama.

The 128GB Cellular Verizon iPad mini 2 in silver is available for $629 from Adorama. The Space Gray version is also available for $629 from Best Buy and Adorama.

Trade-ins

Though sites have not yet begun offering discounts on the current-generation iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, Best Buy is accepting older iPads as trade-ins towards the cost of a new iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3. The company is guaranteeing a minimum of $175 towards the iPad mini 3 with the trade in of an iPad 2 or newer, and a minimum of $200 towards the iPad Air 2 with the trade in of an iPad 2 or newer.

There are several other sites that allow users to send in their older iPads for cash that can be used towards the purchase of a new iPad, including Gazelle, Amazon, Target, Glyde, and more.

It remains unclear when the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 will be available in stores, but Apple continues to offer pre-orders for the devices on its website, with prices beginning at $499 and $399, respectively.

MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors.




T-Mobile to Offer $0 Down iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3 Pre-Orders Tomorrow [iOS Blog]

tmobilepreorderT-Mobile today announced plans to begin accepting pre-orders for the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3 on Wednesday, October 22, offering its 16GB entry-level models for $0 down and $26.24 per month for qualified Simple Choice customers.

T-Mobile’s customers who have a Simple Choice plan can add a tablet to their plan for $10 per month, getting up to 5GB of data based on their existing plan.

The company has set up pre-registration pages for the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3, letting customers sign up to be notified via email when the tablets become available for pre-order. As outlined by Tmonews, here are the planned prices for the Cellular + WiFi tablets the company will offer to consumers:

iPad Air 2 pricing
16GB – $0 down, 24 monthly payments of $26.24
64GB – $99 down, 24 monthly payments of $26.24
128GB – $199 down, 24 monthly payments of $26.24

iPad mini 3 pricing
16GB – $0 down, 24 monthly payments of $22.08
64GB – $99 down, 24 monthly payments of $22.08
128GB – $199 down, 24 monthly payments of $22.08

While T-Mobile will begin accepting pre-orders on October 22, it remains unclear when the tablets will actually be available in stores for purchase. According to T-Mobile, regular sales of the iPad will kick off “within a week.”




Apple CEO Tim Cook Addresses The iPad’s Continued Lack Of Sales Growth

ipad-air-2-3 During today’s earnings call for Apple’s fiscal Q4 2014, CEO Tim Cook took time to address the iPad’s performance at length. Cook referred to a lot of the general kinds of negative feeling around iPad performance circulating around media and analysts, and brought up his own perspective on the product category. “I take a step back on iPad,” he said. “I know… Read More