iPad Air 2 reviews started making the rounds yesterday and, as one might expect, the reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Below is a quick roundup from some of the more notable hands-on reviews.
Brad Molen of Engadget:
Strap on your seat belts, kids -- the iPad Air 2 is speedy. The irony is not lost on me as I say it, given that we seem to say the same thing with every new iPad. Indeed, the Air 2 fits that bill perfectly: It's predictably more powerful than its predecessor, thanks to the A8X chipset inside, but there's a bit more to the tablet's oomph this time around. Apple's making a jump from a dual-core processor to one with three cores; the CPU is clocked at 1.5GHz, a 100MHz bump from the original Air; the L2 cache doubled from 1MB to 2MB; and it also comes with 2GB of RAM, twice as much as the last few iPads. It's no surprise, then, why the company is boasting a 40 percent boost in CPU performance and an increase in graphics prowess by a factor of 2.5.
Inside the iPad Air 2 lies Apple's new A8X chip, which is a variant of the A8 found in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus with additional graphics capabilities. It's ridiculously fast - noticeably faster to load web pages and launch apps than my iPad Air, and it has so much graphics headroom that I'm eager to see how game developers take advantage of it.
You'd expect a thinner device with a more powerful chip to take a hit on battery life, but the Air 2 lasted just as long as any of my other iPads - I went a full weekend of using it on LTE and Wi-Fi without charging it, finally plugging it in at 34 percent.
On the iPad Air, the LCD, cover glass, and the touch sensor are all separate. The iPad Air 2 fuses them into one, doing away with the gaps in-between.
That means a big reduction in internal reflectance - where light bounces between the reflective surfaces of each layer - and the result is a step up in clarity. It's subtle: you don't necessarily clock that there's been an improvement in color quality, or contrast range, but simply that the screen seems clearer and more lively. At times, it almost feels like graphics are popping out, or floating just above the surface of the cover glass.
Walt Mossberg of Re/Code liked the device overall, but had one minor gripe:
The problem was this: I couldn't tell the difference between the Air and Air 2 while doing these things. The new model didn't seem faster or smoother while running all my apps, perhaps because - like most people - I don't use my iPad for the most demanding video-editing apps or high-end games. It registered pretty much the same network speeds as my Air.
The Air 2 didn't allow me to hold or carry the tablet longer and more comfortably than the Air. Its weight of 0.96 pounds isn't discernibly lighter than the Air's weight of one pound. And its thickness of 0.24 inches is a barely noticeable reduction from the Air's 0.29 inches.