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Apple iPad Air 2 review

iPad Air 2
Another millimeter thinner, the new iPad Air 2 has a body that's even more befitting the ethereal moniker the iPad bears second year in a row. Outside of that little fact however, the changes may not be as easy to spot. And that's hardly a surprise.

Apple's laser focus on making the best tablet there is keeps the entire tablet industry moving forward. But in their camp, large strides are usually followed by baby steps and not all products end up as the breakthroughs we would have liked to see. One thing's for sure though, Apple certainly likes to keep us on the edge of our seats when it comes to what their next gen devices would look or feel like.

This year, the Air 2 is hardly hitting like an airstrike, but it still does a mighty fine job of keeping up the alpha male image. True, besides the slimmer profile the changes are hard to see. A nice exception is the screen, where the specs may sound the same on paper, but improvements are visible to the naked eye in terms of reflectivity and outdoor legibility.

The iPad Air 2 also has a better camera, an 8 megapixel auto focus unit, for what it's worth on a ten-incher, and as usual, Apple's latest and greatest chipset to make sure things are running faster than ever before.

So that about sums up the noteworthy things the iPad Air 2 brings to the table. But here's the cheat sheet of its key specs anyway and what we didn't quite like at first glance.
Key features
3G/LTE 150Mbps model available as an option (comes with GPS/GLONASS)
9.7" LED-backlit IPS LCD touchscreen, 1536 x 2048 pixels, ~ 264ppi; scratch-resistant, oleophobic coating, 56% less reflectance claimed
Thinner than ever at 6.1 mm and lighter at 437g
A8X 64-bit chipset (rumored as triple-core, 1.5 GHz SoC) with an M8 motion coprocessor with a barometer, 2GB of RAM
16/64/128GB of inbuilt storage
iOS 8.1 with Continuity allows you to take iPhone calls and messages on your iPad
Stereo speakers
8MP auto-focus camera, 1080p video recording at 30fps, 120‑fps slo‑mo, Burst mode, Panorama
1.2MP 720p front camera with a larger f/2.2 aperture
802.11ac Wi Fi connectivity
Dedicated secondary noise reduction microphone for FaceTime calls
TouchID fingerprint sensor
Four and five-finger gestures
Comes with premium set of free Apple apps - Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iMovie, Garage Band, etc.
Available in Gold color option for the first time

Main disadvantages
- Hardware Mute/Rotation lock switch is gone for no practical reason
- No microSD slot
- Pricey storage upgrades, 32GB version should be standard for the asking price
- No enhanced resistance to liquids or dust, while the competition has them
- Tied into iTunes for uploading most of the content
- iOS UI lacks proper screen size optimizations and looks the same on phones and tablets
- No standard microUSB port
- Wi-Fi-only version lacks a GPS receiver


Retail box
Inside the box, you'll find the tablet itself, some leaflets, a set of Apple stickers, a lightning cable and a two-piece A/C adapter (2.5A).

Design and handling
The Apple iPad Air 2 retains the core design and exterior features of its predecessor. It's still built around a 9.7" 1536 x 2048px LED-backlit IPS LCD. The edges are still precision chamfered and the corners still rounded off for a better grip and feel in the palm.

The back is still predominantly flat, but slightly curved towards the edges. The Space Gray is still just as silvery as before but Apple have a new Gold option for their iPad Air 2 as well.


Controls
Everything is where you'd expect it to be on the new iPad Air 2. The front holds the new 9.7" display which is a main reason for the 18% thinner profile. Apple laminated three screen layers into a single sheet, complete with an antireflective coating that promises a better viewing experience outdoors. Apple call this a fully laminated display.

Underneath the display is where the new home button is. The Touch ID is an elaborate fingerprint-scanning device. On the surface of it you have a laser-cut sapphire crystal top and stainless steel ring. The latter detects your finger while the sensor beneath the crystal scans the image and proceeds to unlock your device.

The Touch ID sensor can detect a fingerprint in 360 degrees meaning that every angle you go for will allow you to unlock the tablet. There's also a new FaceTime HD front facing camera. It's the same 1.2MP unit capable of just 720p video but now has gotten a wider f/2.2 aperture that can let more light in.

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About Abula Gist

'Tunde Ojedokun is an Editor working for Lappyphone, he loves technology. You can't see him without a gadget. .

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