At 6.1mm thick, the Apple iPad Air 2 is still one of the slimmest tablets on the market. It’s not actually the thinnest, but we’re at the point now where fractions of a millimetre really don’t matter.Thinness for its own sake can be an error – there is a point of diminishing returns where only marginal improvements can be achieved, at the cost of structural integrity, battery life and overall performance – but Apple hasn’t reached that point yet. The iPad Air 2 feels like a very solid tablet that can be held easily for hours without it getting uncomfortable. The iPad Air 2 is hardly a big tablet, but the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is both smaller and lighter with the same size display.Where the Apple device wins though is the overall packaging. Samsung’s option is good, but clearly an assemblage of distinct parts. The plastic back, the larger-bezelled screen and the rim are all competing parts, where the iPad Air 2 is a complete package, smooth and easy to hold in one hand.I was almost loath to put it in a case – it needs to be protected if you’re going to be running it around town, as that back and chamfered edges will scuff up eventually – but if you’re going to be a sofa-warrior with your new tablet, the Smart Cover will do just fine and won’t obscure the impressive design.
The sad thing here is the loss of the silencing switch, which has departed due to size restrictions. Apple would argue that this is because the new Control Center makes the option available throughout the OS with just a flick of the hand, but in truth I’m really going to miss being able to silence the tablet without even looking.The power button remains at the top and the volume keys have shuffled a little upwards now free of the silence key, but otherwise the only real design changes are the speaker grill at the bottom of the tablet (now a single row of holes, rather than the two before) and the Touch ID on the home key.You’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Air without a spotter’s guide, but the iPad Air 2 has a deeper black bezel which helps enhance the picture – plus it now comes in gold to join space gray and silver.The camera stays where it has been, both front and back, with the new 8MP iSight snapper not jutting out as it does on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The fact no tablet camera needs to be that high res, nor should people be taking pics with a tablet anyway, is something to discuss in another article.Does the iPad Air 2’s design warrant the high price tag? Yes, more than any other tablet on the market. It brings a premium build, quality finish, great looks and while it doesn’t need to be this thin, the structure doesn’t seem to have had an effect on the actual performance of the tablet, and does add something in the palm.
Apple decided to go for design over battery life with the iPad Air 2, and while this is a bugbear of mine when it comes smartphones I don’t mind it here, it’s less of a hindrance in a tablet.The battery life of 10 hours of web browsing or watching video has been ported over to the new iPad Air from the original, but given that had a thicker chassis it’s really impressive that the power has been preserved, which is largely down to that improved A8X chip chugging along at the heart of things.The screen is still as hungry as ever before, as the battery test was pretty power-sucking compared to its rivals. The iPad mini 2 only took down 16% in the looped video test last year (a Full HD 90 minute video from 100% at full brightness), where the iPad Air 2 went down by 21%.It’s not a terrible result though – while you’ll lose about 20% watching streamed video at full brightness over 80 minutes’ use, the general power consumption when out and about is bordering on negligible.I’ve left the tablet in a bag for a quite a few hours and come back to only find 2% gone, so Apple’s really worked on making sure apps don’t chew down power without you looking.It’s a slightly different scenario when it comes to gaming, as the longer sessions really take it out of the power pack, especially with the higher-power titles.It’s not terrible, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking the iPad Air 2 on a long haul flight if I was thinking of playing Real Racing 3 for three hours. Mostly because I would have played too much of one game, but also because my battery would be in danger of running out.While I’ve yet to find out the official numbers of how big the battery is in the iPad Air 2, for most people the battery on the new tablet, even if browsing the web or using the tablet as a laptop replacement, is pretty good indeed.I don’t think battery life is that much of a worry for most tablet users given than you’ll have to be pretty forgetful to not plug it into power once in a while before it runs completely dry.
I wish I could somehow type the long sigh I emit whenever I begin to talk about the camera on any tablet – and Apple’s only gone and made the camera better here, which makes things worse for people like me trying to hold off the barbarians.Like the selfie phenomenon, the idea of bringing a tablet as main camera to important events suddenly seems to be acceptable. I’ve seen people taking pictures of a bride walking down the aisle with an iPad mini, and missed a big goal at a football match because someone thought it the right time to try and take a picture of themselves on a tablet.The problem is, companies like Apple are extolling the virtues of using the large screen as a more ample viewfinder.No. Use a phone screen if you must, or even get a proper camera. But don’t use a tablet. While you’ll get acceptable shots with the iPad Air 2, and the resolution gives a clearer picture, it’s still not a great experience – and you break a basic law of civilization in the process.But if you must use the camera, at least Apple has imbued the iPad Air 2 with some of the higher-power tricks.
Slow motion video is included this time around (although only to 120 frames per second (fps), not the super smooth 240 fps that comes with both the new iPhones).There’s time lapse mode, burst mode (front and back cameras) and a larger panorama mode making it easy to take wider pictures of over 40MP using the tablet screen.I don’t mind the idea of using this for time lapse, as the larger screen and longer battery are actually pretty handy for setting up a shot – but why you’d have a tablet at a beautiful landscape which might require a panorama is beyond me. Group shots, maybe.The other win here is the built in editing suite in the Photos app – it’s good on the iPhone, but with the larger screen it’s great for touching up photos.The new iCloud shared photo stream is also a really handy way of sharing photos between an iPhone and an iPad – simply have both devices logged into the same iCloud account, favorite something on one and it will instantly appear on the other.The overall camera prowess of the iPad Air 2 isn’t that bad, but it’s nothing special. In side by side comparisons with the iPad Air, the photos have very little difference bar sharpness, and the low light capabilities are nothing to write home about, and certainly not in the iPhone 6’s league.
Apple iPad Air 2 tablet was launched in October 2014. The tablet comes with a 9.70-inch display with a resolution of 1536 pixels by 2048 pixels at a PPI of 264 pixels per inch. Apple iPad Air 2 price in India starts from Rs. 23,500.
- Brilliant new design
- Great for gaming
- Best camera on a tablet
- Continuity on iOS
- No multi-window
- No split-screen
- Maximum volume causes reverberation
|Model Name||iPad Air 2 MGH72HN/A|
|Operating System Version||8.1|
|Display Resolution Type||Quad HD|
|Display Size||9.7 inch|
|Display Resolution||2048x1536 Pixels|
|Primary Camera||8 megapixels|
|Internal Storage||16 GB|
|Processor Speed||1.5 GHz|
|Sim Type||No Sim|
|3G via Dongle||No|