iPad Air and iPad Mini First Impressions
Yesterday Apple unveiled the new iPad Air and the new iPad Mini with Retina Display, today we have collected some of the most popular first impressions from different gadget giants. Be sure to check back after the release to check our reviews of the new devices.
Long story short: it looks and feels like a larger (but not that much larger) iPad mini, and that’s mostly a really good thing. It’s really beautiful, with cleaner bezels, a much thinner profile, and sharper, boxier edges. Along with the new A7 processor and a handful of under-the-hood improvements, this is just about the upgrade we expected, but more than ever the iPad Air feels like you’re just holding a big screen full of the internet. That’s probably a good thing.
The slimmed down bezels on the sides make a considerable difference to how it feels in your hand, leaving the tablet as a whole feeling somewhere in-between the 4:3 aspect of its display and the 16:9 of most rival Android slates. There’s still enough room to grip it, however, without overlapping the display too considerably. It’s the little details that you notice after a while, however. The chamfering to the casing where it meets the toughened glass of the fascia, for instance, or the slimline side controls and lock-switch. Unfortunately there’s no Touch ID embedded into the home button, but we can see ourselves holding the iPad Air for longer periods since the 1-pound weight is almost a third reduction on the old model.
Naturally, iOS 7 looks great on that Retina display – but you knew that already right? What’s really notable here, however, is just how zippy things are, thanks to the inclusion of an A7 chip, the same one introduced on the iPhone 5s. You really notice that speed when launching apps like iMovie, which boots up in an an instant. With a chip like this, you should be getting around the new free version of iLife pretty swiftly.
For the first time, you can comfortably hold a full-sized iPad in one hand with no strain whatsoever. It’s also 20% slimmer, but I found you just don’t sense that unless you look at the side. It’s the weight that’s really noticeable. Indeed, the only problem with the iPad Air is, where does Apple go from here? If this is the Platonic perfection of the interactive screen, the company is going to have an awfully hard time making future innovation stand out. Much like the thickness change on this one, it seems destined to fade into the background.
iPad Mini with Retina Display:
There isn’t much on the outside that we haven’t seen before – in fact, it still sports the same home button, indicating that it doesn’t feature Touch ID – but there is one glaring exception: the Retina display. When compared to the original iPad mini that came out last year, this is a rather significant bump in pixel density, and we came away much more impressed with the mini as a result.
However, while it feels great, it’s all about that screen. And given the Mini’s smaller 7.9-inch size, it looks even sharper than the full-size iPad Air. But to take advantage of the new pixel-dense screen, you will be paying up over last year’s Mini. It’s gorgeous, though, so I’d imagine the new premium will definitely be worth it to some people.
The same 7.9-inch display now features four times the pixels, a full 2048 x 1536 resolution, which makes text sharp and readable. Just as importantly, it makes iOS 7 look much better than it does on the original iPad mini, which often feels a little out of place on lower resolutions. iOS 7 also benefits from the iPad mini’s new 64-bit A7 processor, making scrolling and everything else notably faster and smoother.
he eye-boggling 2048 x 1536 screen looks excellent in person, and for anyone coming from a generation one device it’s going to be a dramatic change. The iPad mini itself is very slightly thicker and heavier than its predecessor to accommodate the Retina Display with the same battery life, adding 0.01 inches and 0.05 pounds to the specs of the original, but that makes minimal difference to the actual feel of the product in the hand.