I got my hands on an iPad Air for the first time this weekend! What were my first impressions? Well…a mixed bag. Is it possible to be both impressed and underwhelmed?
First, the ‘impressed’ part: the Air is impressively slim and light. The Beloved did an impromptu weight test and assures me it’s not quite as light as my Mini, but it is noticeably more comfortable to hold than my iPad 2.
On the ‘underwhelmed’ front though, I really didn’t feel like it added any features I didn’t have already. The cameras made the iPad 2 a worthy upgrade from the iPad 1. For some people, the retina screen made the iPad 3 a must-have (I personally have never found the retina screen all that compelling and have happily stuck with my iPad 2.) But this one didn’t offer anything new other than the form factor. It was my iPad 2, only smaller. And, while I did like the ‘smaller’ aspect, I didn’t like it $500 worth!
With that said, I think if this would be your first iPad—or if, like my parents, you’ve been soldiering on with the iPad 1—you’ll like this model a lot. I also think that if you really want an ultra-light because you plan to do a lot of reading, this or the Mini would be equally worthy choices, depending on the screen size you prefer.
Personally, I don’t do much reading on my iPad 2. I use it for work, as a laptop replacement with a wireless keyboard, or to play learning games with my students. When I want ‘light and small,’ I use the Mini. And when I consider my upgrading path, I think the Mini’s form factor makes more sense for me. I plan to replace my aging Macbook with an ultra-light laptop, and then use the Mini as my tablet companion once my iPad 2 goes.