- Jonathan Bray , PC Pro
The iPad is thinner, faster and all-round better than before, maintaining Apple’s lead at the top of the tablet tree.
- Jonathan S. Geller , BGR
The iPad Air 2 feels to me as transformative as the original iPhone...
- Reduced weight and thickness
- Incredibly fast performance
- Beautiful display with vibrant colors and deep blacks
- Potential issues with bending
- 16GB base model not worth the price
- No real improvement in battery life
When the iPad first arrived on the scene it took the world by storm and basically brought the idea of tablets into the mainstream. Now, Apple is facing tough competition from other manufacturers and has seen their sales flatten out in the past couple years. Apple is hoping to regain some of their lost momentum with the release of the iPad Air 2. At first glance, the iPad Air 2 doesn't look much different from the iPad Air. It has the same proportions, polished beveled edges and layout of ports, speakers and buttons. The biggest physical change is its incredible thinness. It is 18 percent thinner than the original Air and lighter. The Verge states, "If there is anything magical about this new iPad it is this, this feeling of impossibility." Still, there is one disadvantage of Apple's push to thinness and that’s the Air 2's build quality. While it does come with the same aluminum chassis as its predecessor, reviewers were able to bend it very easily though they add that it bended back into place afterwards.
Apple was able to achieve this thinness primarily from the new optically-bonded display that eliminates the air gap between the actual display and the top glass. This technology isn't new for Apple as it has been on every iPhone since the iPhone 4 and the iMac has had one for some time. Still, experts praise the incredibly vibrant colors, deep blacks and excellent viewing angles. TechRadar adds, "Pictures really come alive when viewing on the iPad Air 2, markedly so compared to its predecessor." Apple also boasts that the bonded display combined with an anti-reflection coating reduces glare by 56 percent. While critics were able to view it in bright light situations, they still had noticeable glare when reading in the sunlight.
The biggest update is to the Air 2's internal hardware. It comes equipped with Apple's latest A8X triple core 1.5GHz chip and 2GB of RAM. Experts call it "screamingly fast" and state that it is able to handle a number of processor intensive tasks and games. Unsurprisingly, benchmark tests place it above even the iPhone 6. Battery life is equally impressive considering how thin the device is. Critics were able to get almost two days of light to moderate usage before needing to charge and around 11 hours during battery draining tests. Perhaps the biggest disappointment was the 16GB internal storage for base models. Most reviewers suggest foregoing the base and spending the extra for the 64GB model as many apps take up a lot of space. As with previous iPads, the Air 2 comes with a WiFi only and WiFi and Cellular options.
Apple has also boosted the Air 2's camera from 5MP to 8MP. While it doesn't have the same optical image stabilization technology of the iPhone 6 Plus, the specs still match up closely. When experts tested out the camera they noticed that it is able to pick out colors quite well and can compensate for a dark room without enabling HDR mode. It also comes with a new burst mode, which allows users to snap photos in rapid succession and pick the best one from the gallery. Still, they note that while the resolution and pictures are slightly better than previous iPads, it wasn't much better than the original Air.
Although the iPad Air 2 might not necessarily be revolutionary, it still is an improvement over Apple's other tablets. Engadget states, "It may not be a brand-new design, per se, but its thin frame helps keep the tablet looking sleek and exciting..." Ars Technica was a bit more pointed in its assessment stating, "...it can juggle more tabs, load more Facebook…But this could have been the statement device for a productivity-minded iOS, and we're left wondering when Apple will make that specific statement."
Reviews (9.3/10 Avg. rating)
One of the best tablets you can buy
Returns with more power at the expense of battery life
With last year's iPad Air still very much alive and kicking, Apple didn't have to change much to turn out a successful update. True to form, Apple stuck with what worked, including a few hardware advancements that enhance the overall experience in key ways. This year's iPad took an already great tablet and made it just that little bit better.
Of course, staying the course does leave the interesting question for buyers: Why do I want this tablet over the last one? In truth, for the most part last year's Air is just as good as the sequel. The new processor screams, but the Air 2's... Full review
Thinner and lighter, the laminated screen is jaw-dropping
I’m more convinced than ever that I’ll be upgrading to the latest Air 2. It’s easier to hold, easier to type with, and easier to look at thanks to its laminated display. It’s also noticeably quicker than any previous iPad and it has Touch ID to boot.
For some people, these differences won’t matter. The iPad is becoming a two-year to three-year upgrade and many people will look past the Air 2 for this reason alone.
For me, these changes make all the difference. The iPad Air 2 is easily the best iPad yet. If it fits your bill, the iPad Air 2... Full review
Continues to dominate the tablet market with good reason
The iPad Air 2 represents a full generational leap over the 2013 iPad Air, even though that model is still more than a match for the latest 2014 models from the competition. Apple is simply blitzing its tablet competitors by making the absolute best flagship iPad it is capable making, each and every year. To suggest that the iPad Air 2 is merely an incremental upgrade is completely misleading - it may look similar to the iPad Air, but not only has the chassis been slimmed down by 18 percent, it is also a whopping 40 percent faster and offers graphics performance 250 percent faster as well (... Full review
Even slimmer and faster but just as sophisticated
The Apple iPad Air 2 is still a really good tablet that is pleasing with its even slimmer construction and high-quality materials. Unfortunately, the slim construction also results in some drawbacks since the tablet is more sensitive to pressure compared to its predecessor. The display is still one of the best units you can currently get in a tablet. The black value has unfortunately deteriorated slightly, but this is complaining on a very high level. However, thanks to the laminated display, the ghost effect is finally a thing of the past. Only the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 can beat the iP... Full review
Better, faster, stronger, and more impressive than ever before
The story of Apple is one of mainstreaming computing technology — making it more accessible and more inclusive in more ways for more people. The iPad has been an important part of that story. While it’s nowhere near as powerful as a top-of-the-line desktop, it can still be just as empowering. An iPad may not do everything a traditional computer can, but there are folks who use an iPad to accomplish tasks they never could on a traditional computer.
Mainstreaming creativity and productivity is something Apple started doing with the iPad 2 and their “We Believe&rdq... Full review
The best tablet, but it's still missing something
Fantastic user experience but lacks innovation and is expensive
Every year Apple has to tread a fine line, by trying to offer consumers enough of an upgrade over last year’s product without over-promising one year only to under deliver the next. The 4th generation iPad was a misstep in this regards and the Air 2 is sort of in the same boat.
Don’t misinterpret what we’re saying here, the iPad Air 2 is one of the best tablets on the market right now; sure it’s expensive but consumers are well versed in the ways of Apple product pricing. If you’re an iPad 4 or Air owner, there is little to no reason for you to consi... Full review
Offers a major leap in mobility and power
Continues to exude a premium, solid finish
Apple certainly hits it on the mark with the iPad Air 2, seeing that it receives all the incremental upgrades we’d commonly expect to find on any successive device. It’s thinner, lighter, and more powerful than ever before, while still being treated to an even better camera and enhanced platform experience, but we’re not inclined to say that it’s a huge leap forward. Rather, it’s more like a single step forward, which might not sound as compelling, but it’s still some of the best tablet offerings around.
With a starting price of $500 for the ba... Full review
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Manuals / User Guides
- Apple iPad Air 2 Manual (PDF)
Visit the Apple iPad Air 2 Q&A Forum to ask the community a question or help others.Share / Embed