Apple iPad Air 2 is the sixth version of Apple’s 10in tablet in four years, so it’s still easy to be indifferent to the technological wonders. In a metal cover, a computer, camera and camcorder that weighs only 437g and connects to the Internet from wireless, will be unsafe a few years ago.
It’s also an entry level 9.7in iPad. Thanks to the release of iPad Pro 9.7in, iPad Air 2 has been superseded in the form of the top of the iPad line in this size. But, as we will see, it is still a great device and one is worth considering.
iPad Air 2 Quality, performance and battery creation
Air 2 looks almost identical to its predecessor, but it is 1 mm thin before and only 30 grams is light. We attacked such small changes in the dimensions on paper, but they are amazingly noticeable in the meat. With its lightweight, more uniformly distributed weight and thin profile, Air 2 is more comfortable than its pre-slim predecessor – especially for long periods of time.
We were also doubting about Apple’s claims that the 10in screen is less reflective, but the difference was once again noticeable. Compared to other tablet screens, it was significantly less reflective of both the halogen light and fluorescent office light strips. This means that to avoid viewing your reflection while trying to read or watch a video, just have to change the status of your sitting or turn off the lights. Contrast and color accuracy are both excellent – the only tablet display is as good as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 which has more vibrant colors.
There is no True Tone display of iPad Pro 9.7in, which actively adjusts the color based on the state of light. However, it is still a great screen, and it takes advantage of the Night Shift feature, which was introduced in iOS 9 for the first time, which automatically changes color temperature based on the time of day.
Thin construction of Air 2 means that the battery is slightly smaller than before, which we are afraid of, which results in a very low battery life. Although this was not the case, while the battery plays for two and a half hours while playing the video – the same long score achieved by the original iPad Air. However, rival tablets can also last for a long time – Tab S 10.5 runs for 14 hours and 20 minutes, for example, while the Sony Xperia Z2 tablet lasted 16 hours.
iPad Air 2 hardware, performance and connectivity
The reason for the Air 2’s long battery life is its power-efficient, triple-core processor, 1.4 GHz A8X. This is also very fast in our app and webpage loading benchmark, along with our 3D graphics tests. Added to 2 GB memory, it makes Air 2 one of the fastest tablets we have seen, so there should be no problem in seeking the app for some time to come.
We suspect that most people will choose the WiFi-only version of Air 2, but if you select the 4G version then there is a potentially easy new feature called Apple SIM. This SIM card can, in theory, be used with any mobile network so that you can benefit from the best mobile broadband deals by selecting the desired network and package in the Settings app instead of ordering, waiting and swapping the SIM card.
However, now the only UK network to work with Apple SIM is EE, while Americans have almost all major nationwide mobile networks in the US. Hopefully other UK networks will soon be compatible with Apple SIM. You can of course use a standard Nano SIM with a 4G Air 2 and if you are traveling in America and want a mobile broadband then Apple SIM is still useful because British Visitor T-Mobile is with US Sign up for one month plans.
Although the new fingerprint reader is not useful on an iPhone here, which is more likely to be lost or stolen due to its small size, it is a useful feature on the iPad. Whether you are worried about data security or just want a more flexible way to unlock your tablet, the fingerprint reader works out in a rude manner.
iPad Air 2 Camera, iCloud and iOS 8.1
We make pictures very clear using the tablet, but many others do not share this kind of barrier. We have seen the pills used in the Jordnian desert as cameras from the streets of London and Rome. The Air 2 camera captured the surprisingly fast and detailed pictures, competing well in brightly lit situations. This is not as good as the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus for low light photography, where its photos are not fast or well lit and have noisy noise, but Air 2 is still a respectable camera to fall back.
On release, there are many new features on Airbus embedded on the launch of Apple’s latest mobile operating system iOS 8, and one of our favorites is the continuation. It lets you use various iOS devices more efficiently and now also works with Mac. For example, now you can immediately share Air 2’s 4G connection with your Mac without tilting it with settings and you can reply to iMessages using your Mac’s keyboard.
A feature that works with Windows is the iCloud Drive, which is equivalent to online storage services like Apple Dropbox and is used to share files between Air 2 and your other computers. You get 5 GB free, but it is shared with any other ICloud services you use, such as iCloud email. The additional storage is reasonable price for proper 20 GB starting from 79P per month.
However, there are some odd limits in the iCloud drive. Although it works with Windows 7 and 8, it only works with Mac OS X Yosemate and does not have older versions of Apple’s own desktop operating system. Apart from this, there is no way to share a large file with non-iCloud drive users by creating a link with Dropbox. There is no reason to use it in any case if you already use other storage services because updated apps for iOS 8 can now access other storage services more easily than ever before. Also, if you want to share files between your iOS 8 device and Mac without using the Internet, then you can do this by using the modified AirDrop Wireless File Sharing feature.
iPad Air 2 Conclusion
The new features of each iPad Air 2 seem to be minor on paper, but they are taken together, they all add it to help make one of the best tablets available – it is only happy to use. If you want the longest possible battery life or if you want waterproofing, the Sony Xperia Z2 tablet is a better option despite your lower screen and camera.
Should you buy 9.7in iPad Pro instead? The cheapest iPad Air 2 – a 16 GB WiFi-only model – will cost you £ 349 compared to the cheapest iPad Pro, which is worth £ 499, but includes 32 GB of storage. There is nothing to sneak up to £ 150, and the performance of iPad Air 2 is good enough for everyday use.
But for the extra £ 150, you are getting a lot. IPad Pro 9.7in includes the option to use double storage, a better screen, faster RAM (2GB LPDDR3, compared to 2GB LPDDR3), desktop class processor and smart keyboard and apple pencil. IPad Air 2 is still a great tablet, but iPad Pro 9.7in is better in almost every region. It earns £ 150 worth of money – if you are not on a very strict budget.
One feature which does work with Windows is iCloud Drive, Apple’s equivalent to online storage services such as Dropbox and is used for sharing files between the Air 2 and your other computers. You get 5GB free, but this is shared with any other iCloud services you use such as iCloud email. Extra storage is reasonably priced starting at 79p per month for an extra 20GB.
However, iCloud Drive does have some odd limitations. While it works with Windows 7 and 8, it only works with Mac OS X Yosemite and not any older versions of Apple’s own desktop operating system. Plus, there’s no currently no way to share a large file with non-iCloud Drive users by creating a link as you can with Dropbox. In any case there’s little reason to use it if you already use other storage services as apps updated for iOS 8 can now access other storage services more easily than ever before. Plus, if you want to share files between your iOS 8 devices and Macs without using the internet you can do so using the revamped AirDrop wireless file sharing feature.
iPad Air 2 conclusions
Each of the iPad Air 2’s new features seem minor on paper, but taken together they all add up to help make it one of the best tablets available – it’s simply a joy to use. If you want the longest possible battery life though or if you want waterproofing then the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is a better pick despite its inferior screen and camera.
Should you buy a 9.7in iPad Pro instead? The cheapest iPad Air 2 – a 16Gb WiFi-only model – will cost you £349, compared to the cheapest iPad Pro which is priced at £499, but includes 32GB of storage. £150 is nothing to be sneezed at, and the performance of the iPad Air 2 is still more than good enough for everyday use.
But for the extra £150, you’re getting a lot. The iPad Pro 9.7in includes double the storage, a better screen, faster RAM (2GB LPDDR4, compared to 2GB LPDDR3), a desktop-class processor, and the option of using the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil. The iPad Air 2 is still a very good tablet, but the iPad Pro 9.7in is better in almost every area. That makes the £150 worth the money – if you’re not on a very tight budget.
- OS: iOS 8.1
- Display: 9.7in 2048 x 1536 display
- CPU: 1.4GHz Apple A8X triple core processor
- RAM: 2GB
- Storage: 16GB
- Dimensions: (WxHxD) 170 x 240 x 6mm
- Weight: 437g