• Full Review
  • Specifications

Full Review

Apple iPad Air 2 Review - Photo 1

One year after Apple built its slimmest, lightest slate and it’s back with a new tablet that’s even slimmer and lighter. It’s also an improvement in other areas, most notably through the inclusion of Touch ID, but there’s no denying that it’s a remarkably similar tablet to the original iPad Air.

So can it get out of its older siblings shadow or is it destined to disappoint? Read on to find out.

Screen

Apple iPad Air 2 Review - Display

The iPad Air 2 has a 9.7 inch 1536 x 2048 IPS LCD display, with a pixel density of 264 pixels per inch, all of which is exactly the same as last year’s iPad. However while the specs are the same it’s still an improvement, as this time around it’s more vibrant, has better contrast and has an anti-reflection coating which makes it one of the easiest to use outdoors.

While we’re slightly disappointed that Apple didn’t up the resolution any this is still a fantastic screen. It’s not as bright or sharp as some competitors, such as the Galaxy Tab S, but its contrast, colour reproduction and viewing angles are among the best around.

Design

The iPad Air 2 also more or less has the same design as the iPad Air. We say more or less because although they both have a slim metal shell the iPad Air 2 is the thinnest of them, coming in at just 6.1mm making it 18% thinner than the iPad Air.

Apple iPad Air 2 Review - Thin design

 

It’s light too at just 437g and it’s well balanced, making it comfortable to hold for extended periods whether in portrait or landscape. The iPad Air was probably the best looking tablet on the planet when it launched and now the iPad Air 2 by virtue of being even slimmer has taken its crown.

Power

Apple hasn’t gone into too much detail in terms of the power of its latest slate, but we know that it has an A8X chip, which should make it the fastest Apple device around and it certainly seems that way.

In fact according to Apple it has 2.5 times faster graphics and a 40% faster CPU than the original iPad Air, which makes it a spectacularly powerful slate. Certainly nothing seems to slow it down, so you can rest safe in the knowledge that this is a tablet which can easily deal with any computing tasks you might realistically need it to.

Camera

The iPad Air 2 comes with a surprisingly decent camera. Surprising because tablets rarely have good cameras and there’s not much need for them to, but nevertheless, the iPad Air 2 has an 8 megapixel snapper which can shoot video in 1080p at 30fps and both it and the 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera have better sensors than on the original iPad Air.

 Apple iPad Air 2 Review - Camera

To be clear it doesn’t have an amazing camera, but it’s one of the best snappers we’ve ever seen on a slate and if you really feel the need to take photos with something this big the iPad Air 2 won’t disappoint.

Features

The main new feature on the iPad Air 2 is Touch ID. This allows you to unlock the tablet with your fingerprint and in tandem with Apple Pay it also allows you to validate purchases from the App Store, Apple apps and any third party app which has implemented support for it. It’s undeniably useful and every bit as fast and accurate here as it is on the iPhone 6.

Apple iPad Air Review - Touch ID

As well as Touch ID there’s also iOS 8 to consider. The iPad Air 2 comes running it and it’s the latest and greatest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, bringing new features such as third party keyboard support, as well as improvements to almost everything that was already there, such as Siri.

We’ve covered iOS 8 in depth elsewhere but it is the best version of iOS and probably the simplest and slickest mobile operating system around.

Battery life, memory and connectivity

Apple hasn’t stated how big the battery in the iPad Air 2 is but it has confirmed that it should have similar battery life to the original iPad Air, specifically around 10 hours of active use and that sounds about right.

So in other words you can easily spend a day watching videos, browsing the web and using apps almost non-stop before you’ll need to charge it and with lighter use it could last several days.

The iPad Air 2 comes with a choice of 16, 64 or 128GB of storage, so there are a decent number of options and if you opt for a 128GB model you’re not likely to run low, but bear in mind that there’s no microSD card slot and as such the 16GB version is almost pointlessly small, especially as the operating system itself eats up a chunk of that.

Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and if you opt for the right model you can also get 3G and 4G.

Verdict 

The iPad Air 2 is better than the iPad Air, which in turn makes it the best tablet that Apple has yet created as well as probably the best tablet money can buy.

That said it’s not a total victory. With the exception of Touch ID most of the improvements from last year are relatively minor. Yes it’s more powerful and has a marginally better screen, but the iPad Air still feels very powerful as it is, the screen wasn’t in desperate need of improving and the improvements we’ve got are negligible.

It’s questionable whether it really needed to be any slimmer either, though it’s certainly no bad thing and the boost to the camera is appreciated but likely to go unused by the majority of buyers.

So the iPad Air 2 is at once a brilliant slate and a mild disappointment, but then you can’t reinvent the wheel every year. It’s still well worth your money, but if you currently have the original iPad Air maybe wait and see what Apple brings out next year rather than upgrading now.

Our full comprehensive review will be posted here shortly.

Specifications

Specifications

Dimensions : 240 x 169.5 x 6.1mm

Weight: 437 grams

Screen size: 9.7” IPS LCD (1536 x 2048)

Screen Resolution: 1536 x 2048 display resolution

Pixels Per Inch (PPI) : 264

Processor: Dual core application processor

RAM: 1 GB TBC

On-board Memory: 16/64/128GB

Camera: 8MP (rear) 1080p@30fps, (1.2 megapixel front-facing)

Operating system: iOS 8

Ultrafast / 3G / 4G LTE: Yes/ Yes/ Yes

Bluetooth / NFC : Yes/ No

Battery capacity: TBC

Colours: Silver, Gold, Space Grey

Launch Date: Out Now

Price: £399

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