final rating

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Criteria Comments Rating
  • Features Super fast A7, good camera, M7 co-processor, lightening port and retina display. All fantastic features. good
  • Display Best in the business. Excellent color and sharpness. great!
  • Battery life No real improvement over iPad 4. Still amazing for the size. good
  • Ease of use iOS7 is a mixed bag. Still fairly easy to use, but inconsistencies can make it confusing for newbies. great!
  • Storage capacity I would rate this higher, but the incremental cost to increase storage is nuts. good
  • Design and form factor Jony Ive is the real deal when it comes to design. The build quality is amazing. great!
  • Portability (size / weight) I would rate this higher, but the Retina Mini is a much better device in terms of portability. good
  • Durability Apple's quality is still the best. great!
Detailed review
I am a huge Apple fan and was looking forward to a redesign of the iPad. I was excited to get my hands on the Air. After using the Air for almost 2 weeks, i made the decision to go with the Retina Mini. The Air does a lot of things very well, but it is still a two handed device. Even though it is only one pound, it is still not as easy to use as the Mini and reading at night is still much better on the Mini.

Being an Apple nerd, I typically find all of their products to be fantastic. But I won't lie, Apple really dropped the ball on iOS7 for the iPad. The inconsistencies are significant and the metro design while nice for phone's appears bland and boring on the iPad. A good example is the lack of a consistent keyboard across apps. While this could be a developer issue, Apple should have helped deploy this across all apps so that it isn't so apparent. Another good example of this is the Today Screen. The amount of useless space is almost annoying. The lack of a stock weather and stocks app is also puzzling. How Apple can manage to include apps like Photo Booth but leave out stocks and weather is simply ridiculous. The iPad has been out since 2010; I would think they could get this fixed by now.

But that is iOS7 and this is a review of the Air. Apple did an amazing job with the Air in terms of design and if you are looking for a good full size tablet, the Air does the trick. Sadly, the market seems to be trending away from larger tablets which explains why Apple made the decision to include the same processor and memory in the Mini that they did in the Air. If 2013 sales are any indicator, the full size iPad may be a thing of the past in three years with the Mini becoming the flagship.