I apologize to everyone for this article coming out much later than I would have liked. My initial plan was to get my hands on an iPad Air on the day of release, November 1st, and spend a day with it and give you my findings. I am still working on getting an iPad Air, and when I do I will put up an in-depth review of it. For now, I can give you my reactions to Apple’s new iPad line-up as well as some first impressions.
When Apple announced the iPad Air, people weren’t really shocked to see that the next generation of iPad would take it’s design cues from the iPad mini, including smaller bezels on the sides and overall thinner back. The real surprises were the name and the benchmarks for the new Apple A7 chip that runs the new iPad.
But that wasn’t the only surprise we got when it came to the processor. The new iPad mini with Retina Display is running the same A7 chip and, by all accounts, is basically the same iPad as the Air just in a smaller package.
I spoke to a close friend and Apple certified technician who told me that he was highly impressed with the iPad Air’s speed and weight, but he said that he does not feel that the iPad Air is a “one-handed” kind of device the way the iPad mini is.
So if the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina Display are really the same thing under the hood, what do you buy? Both are small and light, the Air weighing in at 1.0 lbs and the iPad mini with Retina weighs 0.73 lbs. which is negligible for most people. Both iPads boast the same 2048 x 1536 resolution display. Both have the A7 chip with 64-bit architecture which, according to Primate Labs‘ Geekbench score absolutely smokes the 4th Gen iPad and makes my iPad mini look like a toy.
The choice for me is made even more difficult because I have been using an iPad mini since it’s launch in November 2012, and have really loved the form factor. It’s been great for carrying around, much less intrusive than a full size iPad would have been. But then, now the Air is smaller than the previous 9.7 inch iPads, so it would be easier to carry also. And now the mini has a Retina Display and a fast processor, unlike the first generation which ran on the A5. But the iPad mini is much better for reading eBooks on thanks to it’s size and weight. Decisions decisions….
For me it’s going to come down to a couple of deciding factors. I like to use my iPad for work, and have found myself wishing for a larger screen in the past year. Like I said, I love the mini for reading books, but recently I’ve been getting back into reading comic books and when I read comics on an iPad it’s much better done on the 9.7 inch screen.
My best advice to anyone out there who isn’t sure is to go to your local Apple Store or Apple Authorized Retailer and get your hands on the new iPad for yourself. The Retina mini isn’t out yet, but if you’re needing to compare size and weight you can hold both and see what will work for you. I would also encourage everyone to consider the mini seriously. I, along with many others, have gotten “real work” done on the iPad mini for more than a year now and it deserves your consideration.
So for me it’s going to be the iPad Air.