Apple iPad Air: A review

Apple came out with the smaller iPad last year and suddenly the original version seemed heavy and bulky. The iPad Mini could fit more easily in pockets and bags and even felt more comfortable in the hands. Moreover, it was much cheaper than the full-sized version.

But the release of the iPad Air last week, and a price increase for the new Mini model, bridges these gaps between the two models.

The iPad Air weighs just 1 pound and has been made almost 28 percent lighter than the fourth generation iPad. It weighs only quarter of a pound more than the new iPad Mini which would be coming next week.

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The screen size remains the same, i.e., 9.7 inches diagonally, but the frame has been trimmed down by almost three-quarters of an inch vertically. The overall volume of the tablet has been reduced by 24 percent. iPad Air starts at $499.

To reduce the thickness of the iPad Air by almost 20 percent, Apple had to shrink the front glass, the touch sensor, the display, the battery and even the Aluminum back.

Besides changing the design and making the iPad Air lighter, Apple gave it more power by powering it with a A7 processor chip, same as that in the new iPhone 5S. It is complemented by a M7 companion processor to improve battery life for motion related sensor data.

The iPad Air is fitted with two antennas that work to deliver twice the speed. A second stereo grill has been provided for much better sound balance.

The cellular version of the Air is offered for $130 more and works very well with a greater number of 4G LTE frequency bands. The battery size has been reduced by almost 24 percent but Apple claims that there has been no change in the battery life and it still delivers about 10 hours for Wi-Fi web surfing.