The iPad Air Review

by Anand Lal Shimpi on 10/29/2013 9:00 PM EST
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  • over9k - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Two paragraphs in and this is already better than all the other "reviews" out there. Reply
  • Beautyspin - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    You should not really call any review by Anandtech of Apple products as reviews. They are homages paid to their shrine. This is a ritual with them.. Reply
  • Drumsticks - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    I always hear people complaining about bias here and elsewhere for apple products. But what exactly is the reason for that? The majority of the review is seriously objective - you can't argue that apple has some of the best performance in he game right now, and the best display to boot. He only thing rivaling it is probably the higher clocked Z3770, while Qualcomm will probably pass Apple's GPU early next year.

    as far as subjectivity goes, even if you don't like the design, the materials are solid. And it manages to be lighter than every other ten inch tablet on the market (and thinner) withot sacrificing battery life. The only subjective things I could possibly see are maybe the sound quality and the OS itself, of which he criticized a few times. Where does the bias come in?
    Reply
  • Fleeb - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    "and the best display to boot"

    We have yet to wait for the Kindle HDX review but it is lighter, packs more pixels and with 100%RGB gamut.
    Reply
  • darwinosx - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Its lighter because it is cheap plastic. It is also a far more limited device. Really laughable to think it compares to an Air. Reply
  • dsumanik - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Read this review with a grain of salt. Anand lai shimpi is heavenly vested in apple stock, doing everything he can to boost the dismal situation.

    Thinner bezels and light weight do not hide the fact that functionally, this iPad is the same as the previous 2 generations.

    Sent from my ipad3, which will be upgraded when apple actually updates the product line.

    Here's some basic ideas mr cook:

    Wireless charging
    Fingerprint scanner
    Thunderbolt sync or usb3
    Haptic feedback
    NFC
    Reply
  • John2k13 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    You know what's disgusting about your comment, and those similar to yours? That you basically accuse the author of being a liar, a shill, and completely lacking in integrity- without a shred of evidence. I read the entire 10 page review, and it was incredibly detailed, precise, and well-written, something that would be obvious to most sane, rational, objective people.

    "Anand lai shimpi is heavenly vested in apple stock, doing everything he can to boost the dismal situation."

    First of all, what "dismal situation"? Apple stock is up around $130 from a few months ago, or almost a third. Hardly "dismal". Also, do you think a single review from a website visited primarily by tech geeks is going to have any fucking effect on the stock? I mean, are you for real? Don't assume the author holds the same amount of ignorant stupidity that you apparently do, to think for a second this review would have a snowball's chance in hell in affecting stock. You clearly know nothing about how the financial market works.

    "Thinner bezels and light weight do not hide the fact that functionally, this iPad is the same as the previous 2 generations."

    Functionality on a tablet is primarily based on software, and the iPad has 475,000+ optimized apps which are getting more powerful all the time. The hardware simply enables better software. A tablet is basically a blank slate for the software, and better hardware helps in enabling better software. Every single aspect of this iPad is improved, so yes, it is more "functional". That list you made, though, is pretty ridiculous, and obviously a desperate attempt to list anything you can think of that the iPad doesn't have and pretend its significant.

    Wireless charging- why? This makes the device more functional, how?
    Fingerprint scanner- Wow, brilliant "idea". You probably mocked touch ID when it appeared on the 5S. Again, this would be nice to have I guess, but in no way impedes "functionality" of the tablet.
    Thunderbolt sync or usb3- I have no idea what "thunderbolt sync" means, and its pretty ridiculous you're harping on a USB3 port. It will never happen, nor should it.
    Haptic feedback- Utterly useless gimmick, but heym why not, right?
    NFC- I have NFC on my Nexus 4, and not ONCE have I even run into an opportunity or a reason to use it. But yeah, I'm sure you honestly think it's needed or useful on an iPad. Again, another meaningless bulletpoint you were desperate to add mindlessly.

    Next time you want to baselessly accuse an author of being a liar, a shill, a sellout, and having no honesty or integrity, try to make a coherent post that actually contains some intelligent, well thought out information. Otherwise, by attacking the author you just embarrass yourself as you did now. Grow up.
    Reply
  • ABR - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Actually thunderbolt sync is one of the changes I'm really waiting for. Have you ever tried restoring even a 16GB iPad over USB? Slow agony. I can't even imagine what someone w/a 64 or 128GB model must go through. Even ordinary everyday syncs are far slower than what they could or should be. Reply
  • Howard Ellacott - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    You clearly don't realise what thunderbolt is, which is why that's such a stupid suggestion. Yes, faster syncs would be amazing, and restoring a 64gb iPhone is a right pain, but thunderbolt isn't the way. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    USB 2.0 isn't the real bottleneck there, it's NAND. Most eMMC solutions can't even saturate the USB 2.0 link with sequential writes, so Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 would do absolutely. Reply
  • sna2 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    wrong.

    Most flash sticks are eMMC and they operate at 100MB/s to 200MB/s which needs usb3.
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Read speeds can easily exceed 100MB/s because reading from NAND is much faster than writing to it. Write speeds of 32GB or smaller flash devices can barely hit 40MB/s because the NAND itself can't write faster, and it's the write speeds that matter when syncing. Even if we're dealing with a full blown SATA SSD the write performance for 32GB models is around 40MB/s. Performance does scale with capacity so a 64GB or 128GB model will be faster but we are still far away from data rates over 100MB/s. Reply
  • fokka - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    this, so much. i'm always astounded when people bring up that they wanna see (e.g.) usb3 in their next mobile device. as if there are any current devices scratching on the 30MB-mark which would be totally possible with usb2, if manufacturers wouldn't insist on implementing bargain-bin nand and even shittier usb-controllers. Reply
  • FCsean - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    It would be stupid of them to put thunderbolt cables for iOS devices since more than half of the owners don't own a mac. USB 3.0 would be the way to go but not everyone has USB 3.0 so they're not yet wasting their money in manufacturing USB 3.0 cables since it's a lot more expensive to manufacture. I think it's two times more expensive. Reply
  • darkcrayon - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Not only that, but am I the only one who rarely syncs large amounts of data at a time anymore with an iPad? Most of the sync is done wirelessly in small amounts over time. The only time I need a full many gig sync is when I upgrade devices or (extremely rarely) need to do a full wipe. Faster syncing would be nice but it's just not the daily process it used to be. Reply
  • Sushisamurai - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    ...yeah.... I don't know about u guys, but is wireless sync all the time now, either comp to iPad or iPad OTA with iCloud, wiping my device q3-6 months. I have no issues with restoring a full 32GB, and it's pretty quick... Down speeds of 10MB/s wifi, 40MB/s LTE (OTA for both), but if I were to sync via comp, a HDD to NAND is pretty abysmal speeds. Not to mention, if it was TB/USB3 u're going to have a thickness increase, and I'd rather not. Inductive charging, if u recall, is a slow, inefficient form of charging. I'd rather have my full 2A going into my iPad versuses drawing the same 12W but giving me the equivalent of 6W wirelessly. NFC and tablets? Okayyyyyyyy there. Reply
  • petersellers - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Doubly stupid considering that thunderbolt runs on PCI express lanes and PCI express is not present in any of these devices Reply
  • ekotan - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    You can't have Thunderbolt without a corresponding Intel chipset, so forget about it on any ARM tablet. Also, the NAND used by these devices is so slow that having Thunderbolt would be utterly pointless. Most can't even saturate USB 2.0, never mind USB 3.0. Only the most recent Apple mobile devices have NAND fast enough to saturate USB 2.0. Reply
  • abazigal - Saturday, November 02, 2013 - link

    I restored my 5s recently (coming from a 32gb 4s). The whole process took 1-2 minutes at most. Just plug in and click a button. Likewise, few people are so fastidious as to back up their devices via iTunes manually every day. The time savings from going thunderbolt is so minimal that unless your life somehow revolves around restoring thousands of these devices every day, I don't feel the benefits are worth the added cost. Reply
  • iSayuSay - Sunday, November 03, 2013 - link

    And how Thunderbolt sync would help? Did you realize how much is the transfer rate from NAND flash in the iPad/iPhone? No more than 16MB/s, it's not SSD per say. It's a slow internal memory it becomes bottleneck. So as long as Apple do not change those (I doubt it will ever for the next 5 years), there's no point of porting Lightning to Thunderbolt or even USB 3.0 .. Ever. Reply
  • eanazag - Monday, November 04, 2013 - link

    The innovation that the Thunderbolt people are really waiting for is faster eMMC flash on the iPad. USB 3 or Thunderbolt is not going to help the fact that the flash storage is too slow to even make USB 2 sweat. I completely agree that sync and restore via iTunes is painfully slow. I would also argue that WiFi sync on 2 stream N is useless if the iPad still sports slow storage.

    If I had a request for USB 3, it would solely based on higher power specs for charging or docking. I
    Reply
  • mnbob1 - Friday, November 08, 2013 - link

    Apple has put a lot of emphasis on iCloud and backing up to iCloud. I have an iPad and an IPhone and haven't connected either to my computer for over a year. I backup to iCloud and use iTunes Match to access my music library which also gives me ad free iTunes Radio now. I store photos to iCloud because I take advantage of Photo Stream. My documents are backed up to Drop Box. Earlier this year I upgraded from an iPhone 4S to and iPhone 5. With iCloud all of my device settings were restored within a few minutes and my apps were downloaded in the background so I could still use my phone while that was happening. With iTunes Match I was able to see my entire music library of over 7,000 songs and choose what I wanted to download to my phone when I wanted to. I was able to restore my photos quickly and access my documents from Dropbox quickly. The whole process took me less than an hour initially since I don't bog my phone down with a lot of apps that I don't use and I only download the music as I use it. I trying to figure out why you guys think you need to connect up with thunderbolt or USB 3.0 when the iPad Air also has wifi with MIMO capabilities. Stop tethering your portable devices to the desktop because Apple isn't going to do thunderbolt because it would exclude Windows PC's or upgrade to USB 3.0 because the need for data going across that wire becomes less important and it becomes more of a charging port. Reply
  • IUU - Sunday, November 17, 2013 - link

    I am glad you 're feeling so comfortable having your dafa stored on other people's hds.
    I suppose you feel comfortable, storing your food in other people's refrigerators,
    writing your diaries and personal notes on other people's diaries and notebooks.(Marx and Lenin would absolutely fall in love with you).
    And all this, despite the fact that your "entire music library" is laughably small to what an average local storage could offer. Oh I get it, you do this as a future proof policy, because you somehow know
    e storage won't improve in the future, despite the fact that the known laws of nature allow for much much more than zettabytes to be stored locally.
    Like the ignorant chinese peasant, thanking his lords for offering him 200 dollars instead of 100, you thank your cloud bosses for offering you 50 instead of 25gb. Sorry, but trying to convert the data network to a feudal type traditional energy grid won't work, because it's against the ways of nature.
    This energy grid is going to die soon as well, much to the dislike of the last remaining tyrants.
    Reply
  • pojkeboy - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Ha. I love this comment. Reply
  • pdjblum - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Despite the snap 600, the nexus 7.2 is still a wonderful device for a couple of hundred less than a mini with a reasonable amount of storage, not the pittance they offer in the base model. Not sure how he can recommend a mini at all when it is hundreds more than the nexus 7.2? The Verge will do that because they shit crApples, but a so called objective, highly intelligent reviewer should have a problem with that. Reply
  • akdj - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    The Nexus 7.2 is a POS. I returned mine within 3 weeks. 475,000 optimized tablet apps in the App Store, maybe 15 in the Play store. What a joke attempting to surf on the Nex7 in portrait. Decent performance, yeah....but without apps that aren't 'blown up' phone apps, it's a joke. With the mini, you're not just buying a quality built tablet (that is obviously more powerful than the Nex7), but into an extremely active and blossoming eco-system...now $50+ in 'free' productivity and creative apps optimized for the system...and phenomenal post purchase support. Google is selling their tabs right @ the cost of the BOM. Why? They're in it for YOUR personal info...they're miners, data miners. Your information is what they make their money on, not the hardware.
    While the Nex 7.2 maybe a decent choice for some looking to save a bit of cash, if you've got the money, the iPad is THEE only way to buy into the current tablet market. Period.
    Reply
  • pdjblum - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    crApple makes their money on ignorant, entitled, insecure people who want to pay extra to feel good about themselves. Reply
  • Scannall - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Bitter much?

    Fact is, I don't mind paying more for a quality product with great service and support. With the added bonus of having apps I actually use, that have NO Android equivalents. Not to mention 16:9 form factor sucks for my tablet usage.

    I don't buy the cheapest car on the market either.
    Reply
  • jopamo - Sunday, November 03, 2013 - link

    "crApple doesn't make any money from me, yet I am equally ignorant, entitled, and insecure as the people I who claim want to pay extra to feel good about themselves."

    There. Fixed that for you. :)
    Reply
  • akdj - Monday, November 04, 2013 - link

    It's YOUR ignorance that shows---using 'crApple' and for YOU to decide folks' insecurities? I'm thinkin' you might be a bit secure---either that or you Mom said "HELL No!"....."If you want one, get a job, save some money---and buy it yourself!"
    Am I close? Certainly nailed YOUR insecurities...lol, always wonder about the ambiguity of the 'net and what these nay-sayers would actually have the Balls to say to an Apple owner in real life, face to face.
    pdjblum----Silly, Silly Boy
    Reply
  • Ins0mnihack - Friday, November 01, 2013 - link

    As an owner of a 2nd gen Nexus 7 and iPad 3 (soon to be replaced by an iPad Air) I have to largely agree with this. While I wouldn't call the Nexus 7 a "POS", its an inherently cheap device with an incredibly limited selection of tablet optimised apps.

    While I vastly prefer the flexibility and freedom of Android (particurarly when it comes to app intents, and choosing default apps) it still doesn't make up for the severely lacking ecosystem for Android tablets. And while the Nexus 7 does have a nice 1200p display, the Tegra 4 chipset doesn't seem capable of driving Jellybean at a nice frame rate (or maybe it's just the inherent micro-stutters of Android - either way it stutters when scrolling and during quite a few system animations). iOS's touchscreen responsiveness and frame rate are still much better than Android.
    Reply
  • ESC2000 - Sunday, November 03, 2013 - link

    Um I'm really doubting you own a nexus7 based on your comments. It has a Qualcomm snap dragon processor, not tegra 4, and it has 4.3. The processor runs it like a charm. The nexus even has a nicer screen than all the 10 inch iPads including the iPad air not to mention it ismuch more reasonably priced. something all non windows tablets lack is good multitasking. A 10" iPad like the air should be more than a gigantic iPod touch. Reply
  • Lizbeth - Sunday, November 03, 2013 - link

    I dunno. The Amazon HDX is pretty tight and isn't listed in the comparison. They are easy to hack and add full google play functionality even if it does void the warranty. Why is Amazon Fire HDX not listed in the comparison? Reply
  • Walkop - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I like your comment.

    It makes me laugh. :D
    Reply
  • akdj - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    An absolute and collective "AMEN" John2k13! Thanks for the excellent response...a breath of fresh air---and excellent response from the drivel Mr. dsumanik tries to lay down as 'issues'. Unreal.
    Anand....and the rest of the crew, thanks once again---a magnificent review as always! The depth you...and your crew go to is as extensive as it gets and IMO, easily the most 'objective' on the 'web.
    Thanks again....would be nice for the comment section to be a 'paid' or 'donation only' area---where those that have the ability or should I say---the 'privilege' to post would have to donate to your cause;)
    J
    Reply
  • pdjblum - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    lol. Your kidding right? Maybe they could make it so only people who agree to kiss anand's ass should be able to comment. Reply
  • robco - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    *you're Reply
  • akdj - Monday, November 04, 2013 - link

    Not kidding...you're the joker here bud Reply
  • teng029 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Well said. No one is forced to come to Anand's site to read his reviews. Don't like the way he reviews products? Go somewhere else. Most of us actually appreciate the fact that he does a very thorough job of reviewing products that come his way.

    As for those asking for Thunderbolt on an iPad, you seem to forget that Apple does not own Thunderbolt; Intel does. You also seem to forget that iDevices are based on processor technology owned by ARM; Intel's competition. Why would Intel allow their proprietary technology to run on a competitor's platform?
    Reply
  • Djasonw - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Your thoughts and comments mirror mine. Well said. Some people are VERY dumb. Reply
  • superflex - Friday, November 01, 2013 - link

    You can cherry pick timeframes to make their stock look good.
    Over the last year, the stock is down 12%.
    Reply
  • Janette - Saturday, November 02, 2013 - link

    @dsumanik: Yeah, what @John2k13 said. Reply
  • whatsa - Sunday, November 03, 2013 - link

    John,
    you didn't do to bad yourself- lmao
    Reply
  • peterfares - Monday, November 04, 2013 - link

    I'm sure if Apple implements NFC plenty of people will use it. So many people have Apple devices and you won't need to guess or remember if you can send things to each other. NFC is a bit of a mess right now. For contacts and URLs it's standard and should work between any device. But the big use case --files-- is a mess. On Android you basically can only send files between devices of the same manufacture. WP has file transfer standardized but it doesn't work with Android.

    Plus Apple users love to show people they have the latest Apple device and will love to beam things back and fourth.
    Reply
  • Walkop - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    You accuse this guy of bias (which he obviously is, alongside being totally ignorant to one of the best tech reviewers out there (MKB does incredible videos). But you have no idea what you're saying yourself with some areas, and you very clearly have a bias towards the iPad.

    Touch ID is the more of a gimmick than Haptic Feedback. I've used it on the Nexus 10; it makes a BIG DIFFERENCE in the feel of the onscreen keyboard. NFC is very useful if you know others with Android devices; I've used it on various occasions. Wireless charging is extremely convenient, especially if its on your desk and you use your phone on-and-off.

    As for software; yes, the iPad hardware is considerably improved. But on the base level, the OS hasn't really been updated in years save for iOS7. That update added a lot of foward-facing changes, but not really too much functionality that hasn't been around already. iOS multitasking just got bumped up to be closer to Android, but still isn't nearly as flexible. Sharing is still difficult. You can't Bluetooth a group of PDFs to a friend (which I do weekly on my Android device), even!

    Gesture Type. I CANNOT give this up. I can't stand typing on an iPad because the keyboard experience is so sub-par compared to my Nexus 10, and it will only improve with KitKat where you can swipe through the spacebar to combine multiple words in a single gesture.

    You have apps, but so do Android tablets. There are many fantastic applications in every field that do their jobs admirably, and Google's set of tools are fantastic for writing, accessing information, sharing, and editing many formats of information. There aren't as many, but there are a lot of GOOD ones and even phone apps scale very well on a 10" display.

    And the Nexus 10 2013 will very likely bring the most powerful non-Apple SoC to the table: Snapdragon 800. It matches or beats the Apple A7 in many areas, although it is defeated in others. Simply put, it is a VERY competitive chip with the A7 and, really, they are basically equal.

    So please, stop bashing features that really DO matter to a lot of people, and I won't bash the iPad's lack of functionality (at a base level) when compared to Android devices out there. The iPad isn't the "perfect" device, neither is my Nexus 10. But we can't act like either is.
    Reply
  • Brakken - Thursday, November 14, 2013 - link

    Love your response.

    So tiring having thoughtless and random posts!
    Reply
  • ivan256 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    That's a pretty uninspired list of proposed features.

    IMO, wireless charging is pointless. Is it really that hard to plug it in? How do you wireless charge while you're using it? It's added cost and size for trivial levels of added convenience.

    USB3 sync would be fine, if it actually sped things up. I'm sure they'll get around to it. Who doesn't wireless sync these days though?

    NFC would be another "me too" for a bandwaggon that is already slowing down. Really, think about the few places where NFC is catching on, and tell me you'd really use a 10" tablet in those situations. It would be almost as bad as the iPad-as-a-tourist-camera people.

    Here are some better ideas:

    Relaxing the iron fist - Let us install our own apps from outside the app store. If Apple wants to sign them first and charge a nominal fee so that they can "prevent piracy," so be it. But I want to install my own stuff. I want iOS to be able to participate in things like the Humble Bundle. I want more iOS OSS.

    Location Spoofing. Let us set location services to lie to apps temporarily. This is useful for a variety of reasons ranging from development to privacy.

    Home screen icon sizes. No further explanation needed.

    Put the good camera on the front. Nobody should be using the rear facing camera in most situations, but you want good low-light performance in FaceTime and Skype. If they could figure out how to center the camera in the middle of the screen through some optics magic, that would be incredible.

    Front facing speakers....

    Most of this boils down to just making the thing something I don't feel like I need to jailbreak. It's hard to improve a device that is almost perfect.
    Reply
  • dmunsie - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    "Location Spoofing. Let us set location services to lie to apps temporarily. This is useful for a variety of reasons ranging from development to privacy."

    Developers can already do this, so what you are really asking is for privacy reasons. And in that case, Apple allows users to turn off location services on a per app basis already. I can tell you already that Apple is not going to allow users to spoof location data to any apps -- either you give an app accurate location data or no location data. Anything else puts their relationships with developers at risk -- for example, MLB would almost certainly pull their app if users could say they were in a different location since they wouldn't be able to enforce the blackout rules (I personally hate the blackout rules, but since they are legal agreements, MLB has to abide by them).
    Reply
  • tigmd99 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    NFC? Dude, get updated! NFC (and Google Wallet) is a dying technology!!

    iBeacon and AirDrop are killing NFC.
    Reply
  • algalli - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    NFC is a dead issue. Most people have IBeacon which should be far more useful to stores and customers than NFC was ever intended to be. It is innovative if not yet widely recognized. Reply
  • algalli - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    typing error meant to say that most people have missed the IBeacon feature in IOS Reply
  • grkhetan - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    dsumanik and beautyspin: you guys have no idea what you are talking about. Anand's reviews are the some of the most objective and in-depth reviews. With your mindset -- it is clear that you hate Apple and have such a strong bias that you are not fit to be a reader of this website. Reply
  • ekotan - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    You have listed a bunch of features which would be either impossible or pointless to implement on an ARM tablet. Apple is not a company who just adds features for the sake of ticking every box, they actually care about how the device will be used and this attention to detail is a major reason why Apple users love their Apple products. Reply
  • errorr - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    NFC will never be supported by Apple. They just aren't interested. Wireless charging is an interesting idea but the design would make it the hardest engineering challenge I can imagine as the aluminum makes that a non starter. Plus if or when the ipad does wireledd charging I'm sure it'll be proprietary. Reply
  • ClemyNX - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    I truly laughed at that.
    Haptic feedback?
    NFC?
    Someone still hasn't understood that NFC is dead.
    Reply
  • darwiniandude - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Why does the review mention frame rate drops and lack of ram then? There is polite negativity in the review where appropriate. Reply
  • steven75 - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Haptic feedback and NFC? Why would they add two technologies that are already on their way out? Reply
  • Walkop - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I love how everyone says NFC is dead when every single credit/debit card out there has recently adopted it for pay-and-tap, and Google Wallet has been revolutionized in that it'll work regardless of carrier through NFC now. Reply
  • Djasonw - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Yes, I definitely see a need for NFC. <smh> Reply
  • whatsa - Friday, November 01, 2013 - link

    I played with the surface variable stand and that works great
    not flapping around

    but yeah I agree with the additions
    (the outdoor screen brightness to be pumped up too)
    Reply
  • jonjonjonj - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    but they are such an innovative company. look they released another iphone with a different size screen. Reply
  • nerd1 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Kindle HDX actually uses magnesium unibody case. Reply
  • Kamus - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    It is really only a "more limited device" just because it is a much newer plataform. Not because Apple is a super-open platform. Also, it is not plastic, but magnesium. And its also 130 dollars cheaper... It wouldnt hurt to get your facts straight before you drop those "knowledge" bombs on us.
    I would have bought one right now if the App Store had more developer support.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    100% RGB gamut means nothing if the display isn't factory calibrated. Actually, it means highly oversaturated colors, as most content is designed for sRGB. Reply
  • Kamus - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Actually, 100% means it should fit the sRGB triangle perfectly. And the reason it does this, is in fact, because it IS factory calibrated. The amount of ignorance and bashing on the HDX is cringe inducing. All the info is right there on the amazon product page. Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    100% color gamut and being properly calibrated are two completely different things. You have no idea what you're talking about. Reply
  • Kamus - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    No... They are not "completley different things". There is grayscale calibration and gamut calibration. If they claim 100% sRGB it suggests that they are gamut calibrated. And again, the reason that i said that the HDX is factory calibrated is because it says so right there on the Amazon product page. All you did is the same thing everyone else is doing by sprouting nonsense with out even bothering in doing any research at all. Reply
  • Boissez - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    One thing is marketing material an another thing is actual reality. By Ars Technicas measurements the HDX covers about 90% of sRGB - the iPad have been at 94% or over ever since the first retina iPad. Reply
  • youmenimum - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    pixel density alone is not a quality to consider. In real comparison kindle tablets are not good at display compared to iPad. which one are you using by the way? Reply
  • Kamus - Monday, November 04, 2013 - link

    It's been settled. The kindle fire HDX 8.9 has the best display on any tablet as of today:
    http://www.displaymate.com/Tablet_ShootOut_3.htm
    Reply
  • Solon - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    The Kindle HDX has a 1920x1200 screen, and the iPad Mini 2 has a 2048x1536 screen. So what does "pack more pixels" mean? Because it doesn't appear to mean more, you know, more pixels. And as far as the packing, the HDX is 323 ppi and the Mini 2 is 326 ppi, which is basically the same. But I guess the Mini 2 has a higher ppi, so it wins here too. Reply
  • Kamus - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    "Pack more pixels" means just that. The Kindle Fire HDX has a 2560x1600 resolution. And it has a 339 PPI, and like the iPad, it is factory calibrated. It is, with out a doubt, a true contender for the best LCD display on a tablet. Reply
  • cheinonen - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    The 8.9" Kindle Fire HDX has a 2560x1600 screen, not the 7". Since the 8.9" hasn't been released yet, all you know are specs on it and we have zero idea if it's calibrated or not. Once it comes out then people can take a look at it. The only numbers I've seen on the Fire HDX are that it encompasses the sRGB gamut which has absolutely nothing to do with accuracy. Reply
  • Morawka - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    yeah he shut up pretty quick after that Reply
  • Bob Todd - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Comparing any Kindle (or any eReader focused device) to a 'real' tablet is a complete waste of time. The software is so incredibly gimped that using them as a general use tablet is frustrating at best. And don't even start on rooting and custom ROMs. Even with stable builds of something as nice as Cyanogenmod, they tend to never work 100% (e.g. Nook HD+ with CM 10.x vs. any Nexus tab) and have a bunch of little goofy things you have to be able to accept because you bought an eReader hoping it would be an awesome cheap tablet. Reply
  • kmmatney - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    I will second that - I have both an iPad2 and a rooted Nook HD+. The screen on the Nook HD+ is good, but Cyanogenmod still has enough bugs to degrade the overall experience. And no matter what, rooting is always a pain in the butt. I learned not to use nightly builds, as one of them bricked by device, and I had to revert back to an older build.

    I also Jailbroke my iPad, but there wasn't really much of a need, so just went back to stock with iOS 7. The iPad2 is just a better device than the Nook HD+, despite the lower screen resolution.
    Reply
  • Lizbeth - Sunday, November 03, 2013 - link

    adding google play to amazaon hd/hdx is fairly simple and you don't need a custom rom, just root it and install the app for the google store... Reply
  • Guspaz - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    The Kindle is also a smaller tablet in terms of screen size, so that's not really a valid comparison... You're looking at 45.2 sqin for the iPad while only 35.6 sqin for the Kindle HDX.

    If you scale the iPad Air's weight by the difference in screen size, you get almost the exact same weight as the Kindle HDX (within 5 grams), indicating that a scaled down iPad Air or a scaled up Kindle HDX would match up very closely.
    Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    The Kindle HDX is lighter because it is plastic, the display isn't properly calibrated like the iPad's, the hardware is much slower, and its software is limited.

    You get what you pay for,
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Everything you just said is factually inaccurate bar the software part. But don't let that stop you saying it! ;) Reply
  • doobydoo - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    The hardware in the HDX is slower, and it is finished in plastic. So which part was inaccurate? Reply
  • melgross - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    There is no such thing as 100% RGB gamut. Which gamut are you talking about? sRGB? Adobe 1998 RGB? Pro RGB? There are a lot of RGB standards out there. Reply
  • Theard - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    what Cindy implied I didn't even know that people can earn $6894 in four weeks on the computer. look at this site ... j­­o­bs­2­3.c­o­m Reply
  • Lizbeth - Sunday, November 03, 2013 - link

    and is several price points less that the ipad air Reply
  • Krysto - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    > is probably the higher clocked Z3770

    I don't see that in any tablets today, let alone smartphones. So don't say it like that, as if it's already happened. As it is, Intel's chips aren't very competitive, in both CPU and GPU performance.

    > while Qualcomm will probably pass Apple's GPU early next year.

    They are equal right now, at least in smartphones. The others, perhaps with the exception of Nvidia, don't really make separate "tablet chips". They make one chip for both smartphones and tablets.
    Reply
  • Speedfriend - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    "As it is, Intel's chips aren't very competitive, in both CPU"

    You obviously have a problem reading, given the Transformer T100 which is very close to the iPhone 5S and iPad Air in the benchmarks above, uses the Atom Z3740, which is only the second fastest. So the Z3770, which is clocked 33% higher, should be at least equal if not better than A7 in CPU benchmarks.

    How in your mind that equates to not competitive I don't know..
    Reply
  • Homeles - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Not to mention that a lot of A7's strength isn't in the silicon, it's in the software stack on top of it. All of the CPU benchmarks are done through the stock web browser -- that's something Apple can fine tune, while Intel cannot. Therefore, the A7 outperforming Atom doesn't point to Atom being weaker at a silicon level, and instead shows the advantages of being able to hand tune your OS and applications and squeeze more out of your hardware. Reply
  • raptorious - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    I'll give you one reason: the fact that Anand omitted the iPad 4 from the latency graph in the "An Update on Apple’s A7: It's Better Than I Thought" page. Why is the iPad 4 in the bandwidth graph and not in the latency graph. I'll tell you why: because the iPad 4 has better latency and Anand doesn't want to make the A7 look bad, so he left it out. No bias? Right. Reply
  • syedjalalt - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Apple iPad is a great product. No doubt. The word selection for writing such important reviews has been good here. IF you go The Verge and see the iPad review, you will notice how biased and predictable they have become. Nilay Patel doesn't know anything. The guys @verge always mock Android and especially Samsung.

    Last year's Nexus 4's review score had 8 for camera and 9 for ecosystem(as far as I remember). This year, ecosystem is 8 and camera is 5. Great!!!1
    Reply
  • doobydoo - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    Yep it's ridiculous that the Nexus 4 got 8 for camera. Should have been 3/4.

    Ecosystem scores can vary over time so don't see the problem there. Android hasn't moved on much in the past year.
    Reply
  • StigtriX - Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - link

    Actually, the new Kindle 8.9 has at least as good a display as the iPad Air, if not better:

    "Amazon’s always touted the displays on its tablets, and the screen it’s using on the HDX 8.9 is a doozy. At a ridiculous 2560 x 1600-pixel resolution and 339ppi, it’s either higher-resolution or more pixel-dense than virtually any other tablet on the market. It also has great viewing angles, excellent color reproduction, and high brightness levels. It’s really just a great screen, whether you’re gaming, watching video, or reading text — it’s right up there with, if not better than, the Retina display on the iPad Air."
    - The Verge

    "While the speakers feel like something of an afterthought, Amazon is clearly waging a battle on the display front. The company keeps upping its game, and indeed, the screen here dazzles, with 2,560 x 1,600 resolution and a pixel density of 339 pixels per inch. That's a big jump up from the HD 8.9's 1,920 x 1,200 display, not to mention the new HDX 7-inch tablet, which has a 1,920 x 1,200 screen. It's even enough to make the iPad Air's 2,048 x 1,536 resolution (264 ppi) seem modest. It's simply a gorgeous thing to behold, making movie watching a downright pleasure. Heck, it even managed to make Sharknado look pretty good, which is no small feat. All in all, images are sharp, the level of detail is impressive and the colors are vibrant."
    - Engadget

    But, I do agree with you that too many let their personal opinions colour their reading of reviews. I prefer Android and PC, but I have an iPad and have tried several Macs. Even though I prefer other units, there is no point in denying the excellent quality and style Apple products come with. They, like Nintendo, only release products "when they are done" - no rushing.
    Reply
  • MassiveTurboLag - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Really? You clearly never looked over one of their Android phone reviews. They are stupidly detailed. Reply
  • dsumanik - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Read this review with a grain of salt. Anand lai shimpi is heavenly vested in apple stock, doing everything he can to boost the dismal situation.

    Thinner bezels and light weight do not hide the fact that functionally, this iPad is the same as the previous 2 generations.

    Sent from my ipad3, which will be upgraded when apple actually updates the product line.

    Here's some basic ideas mr cook:

    Wireless charging
    Fingerprint scanner
    Thunderbolt sync or usb3
    Haptic feedback
    NFC
    Reply
  • Solon - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Wireless charging - deeply inefficient charging; maybe 50% of energy is actually picked up by the device
    Fingerprint scanner - probably getting one next gen
    Thunderbolt sync or USB3 - maybe; and it is possible the hardware already can do this; but Thunderbolt (a PCI-E spec) will never happen
    Haptic feedback - dead concept; no one actually wants this; RIM failed at haptic
    NFS - in a tablet? and is NFC actually used? No, it isn't.
    Reply
  • dishayu - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Agree with your wireless charging argument, but that limits you from charging your iDevice if you don't have your own cable. All android phones use microusb, so it's not hard to find one at all (speaking of the real world here). Apple chose not to afford themselves that luxury.

    Fingerprint scanner : Although I think it's a gimmick and useless for the masses (almost everyone except from corporate users), they could have done it now, since they already have it in 5s. Why wait till next gen?

    Haptic feedback : You probably would have said the same about touchscreens around 2005. I tried staying away from smartphones altogether until the Xperia Pro because there were no decent phone with a proper keyboard. After that I finally gave in an bought the HTC One and I still really miss my physical buttons. Haptic feedback could cure that.

    NFC : I use it as much as I use Bluetooth (which is to say not a whole lot but a very handy feature still and I'd like to have it)
    Reply
  • ws3 - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Yeah. Anyone who wanted to be truly objective would stopping running all of those tests that the iPad Air does so well in. If you want to be truly balanced, you have to run a bunch of tests that the iPad sucks at too, like maybe an .apk loading test or a malware running test. Reply
  • zeagus - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    +lulz Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Perfect Reply
  • pdjblum - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Anand himself has stated where his loyalties lie: He said during a podcast that his advertisers were the motivating force behind the change in the look of the website. Obviously he is a slave to his advertisers who obviously want as much crApple content on the site as possible; of course they want it be overwhelmingly positive. This crApple model generates tons of hits for theverge and it does the same for anandtech. Reply
  • markthema3 - Monday, November 04, 2013 - link

    He changed the layout of the site to better place the advertisments on the page. That's not catering to an individual company. The conclusion that he is therefore a slave to the advertisers is unfounded. Reply
  • GFYantiAppleZealots - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    I signed up just to tell you what a stupid f$&king moron you are. Reply
  • zeagus - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Seriously, just go away. Reply
  • darwinosx - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    No you are just a moron. Reply
  • pdjblum - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    You must feel very threatened and scared to have to resort to name calling. He is entitled to his opinion. Reply
  • abazigal - Saturday, November 02, 2013 - link

    As are we. He wants to post his comments here, he has to be prepared for the negative feedback he knows will surely follow. Reply
  • AceMcLoud - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Agreed. Especially take those benchmarks with a gran of salt. Apple is known to cheat on benchmarks. Oh wait … Reply
  • Da W - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    FUCK YOU Reply
  • michal1980 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    How true. Anand has turned into an iSheep. Anything apple gets 10x the amount of coverage as anything else.

    Wheres the windows 8.1 review? naw, that product that will be used by tens, if not hundreds of millions of people is ignored. But look a new shiny iShit. time to write a novel
    Reply
  • dugbug - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    You dying for another power supply roundup? WTF is wrong with some of you. Reply
  • Homeles - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    They did a pretty extensive review of WIndows 8 preview. But uh, let's ignore that and raise our pitchforks, shall we? Reply
  • michal1980 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Did you read? I was talking about windows 8.1, you know the big upgrade given away 2 weeks ago

    I know that in iSheep land windows doesn't exist.
    Reply
  • abazigal - Saturday, November 02, 2013 - link

    He's probably writing it even as we speak, and it will likely be posted in a matter a time.

    Anand has a ton of devices to review, so they have to set a priority. Not to mention that he has pretty much stated that he works on an iMac, so I imagine using Win8 actually takes away from his productivity time.
    Reply
  • algalli - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Your right Windows 8.1 will be used by tens of people not hundreds of millions of people, at least in the tablet world Reply
  • jecastejon - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    And by the same standard, objectiveness and evidences you present I say you are paid by Apples's competitors. Reply
  • darwiniandude - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Really?? Strange... The detailed review I just read complained (politely) about Apple not letting them dissect (cut open) review (loan) units. It also mentioned GUI performance frame rate drops in the multitasking UI and complained that due to 64bit they really need to ship with 2GB ram rather than the 1GB they come with. I can guarantee most other reviews out there will not mention these particular technical negatives. Anandtech reviews are thorough. Reply
  • Rickschwar - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Although I haven't seen too much Apple bias from AnandTech in the past, this is one of the most biased reviews I have ever read. This is surprising because normally AnandTech is the “gold standard” for all things technical. The reviewer talks about the iPad Air like it’s a revolutionary product, when there is little new about it. Apple was playing catch up in many ways and other tablets have many advantages over it. For example, the iPad 4 was thicker than many Android tablets. In fact, at least ten Android tablets were thinner than the iPad 4. The Air is only 1.9 mm thinner than the iPad 4 and tablets like the older Sony Experia Z are still significantly thinner than the iPad Air is (7.5mm vs. 6.9mm). Of course this wasn't mentioned in the article. Even when it comes to weight, the iPad Air isn’t dramatically lighter than the Experia Z (469g vs. 495g). That’s not mentioned in the article either.

    Since I’m in the market for a new tablet and I’ve owned two iPads in the past, I was hoping for big things with the new iPad, but for me and others it was a “meh” release. The same old display, the same A7 processor, and little real innovation. CNET agrees saying “Functionally, the iPad Air is nearly identical to last year’s model, offering only faster performance and better video chatting.”

    The most ironic part for my is the fact than more 90% of this article is based on benchmarks -- even though AnandTech has made it clear how easy it is to game benchmarks and others (including an article I wrote over a year ago published at Mostly-tech.com) have made compelling cases that benchmarks do not predict real world performance. This article mostly ignores real world performance and pretends that Android tablets don’t exist.

    After this article I will never look at AnandTech the same again. At least the CNET and Engadget reviews covered some of the limitations of this product.

    - Rick
    Reply
  • abazigal - Saturday, November 02, 2013 - link

    The ironic thing about your statement is that for the moment at least, only Android OEMs have been found guilty of gaming benchmarks, not Apple. So doing any benchmark tests at this juncture would actually favour Apple's competitors, despite this being a review of an Apple product. So I don't see what reason you have to complain, when the odds are stacked in Android's favour anyways.

    Besides, Anand has thoroughly dissected the A7 chip in his 5s review, and concluded that it is actually faster and more power-efficient compared to the higher-clocked, quad-core processors found in Android phones and tablets. The fact remains that Android and most mobile apps generally aren't optimised with 4-cores in mind either. So for all intents and purposes, Android tablets may as well not exist, since they will likely lose to the iPad in terms of real-world performance anyways.

    Also, the thing with these products is that they are ultimately a package deal. People don't just look at 1 single defining factor and buy a device based solely on that. Likewise, I am definitely not going to blindly buy the thinnest tablet in the market without first considering other factors like specs and availability of apps. You are not going to find that mythical Android tablet which is thinner, lighter, has a longer battery life, better screen, while boasting a larger market of apps and content.

    I am sorry, but you are not going to find a more objective and detailed review anywhere else. You want the iPad air to be bashed, go hand out at some pro-android forum instead.
    Reply
  • ADGrant - Saturday, November 02, 2013 - link

    "Same old A7 processor". You look like a complete idiot when you post something like that. The A7 was announced less than a month ago. Reply
  • sunflowerfly - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Anand biased? I do not believe that. They have no trouble pointing out Apple's flaws, and every product has them, nothing is perfect. The best products should win, and right now that happens to be Apple a lot of the time. Reply
  • ssiu - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    No 2GB RAM; hope dashed :(

    Does that mean an iPad 4 (which can only run 32-bit code) will end up "less RAM starved" than iPad Air running 64-bit code?
    Reply
  • over9k - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Remember, Mavericks' big focus is RAM management. There's no reason to think iOS 7 also doesn't do some great RAM management. It's just that when talking mobile, that's not the "it" talk. Also, it's important to note that iOS devices have always used lower amounts of memory - they are just very well optimized. Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Mavericks borrowed how iOS already used memory, with background apps being able to be pushed out of memory if need be. iOS7 isn't getting Mavericks memory management, Mavericks is just getting the management iOS already had since its inception. Reply
  • kirsch - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    I think over9k is referring to memory compression introduced in Mavericks. As far as I know this was never in iOS. Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    The compression seems to work on idle apps too though, and iOS would run only one foreground app with most of the memory available to it. I just don't think it will help as much on a mostly single tasking OS. Reply
  • NetMage - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Actually it should help more as the recent Apps on iOS are mostly don't to run at all, but are kept in memory to improve swapping speed - these could be easily compressed with no impact on user experience. Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    People saying Mavericks like compression will help: Anand measured how much RAM was in use under load. If it was compressing something, it would have been factored into how much was used. This is no holy grail here. Reply
  • darwinosx - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    You think it needs 2 GB of ram why? It obviously doesn't. This isn't Windows or Android. Reply
  • DarkXale - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Because Safari is famous for resetting tabs (lost work), and many iOS apps are notorious for dropping undo states the very second you switch out of them. (Which you have to due to the inability to display more than one app at a time)

    Both cause data loss, which is one of the most serious events that can occur in computer systems.

    Both are due to RAM constraints.
    Reply
  • dugbug - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    I have not seen that in ios7, they rewrote that behavior significantly. Would it benefit from more ram? sure. Or they could just rewrite it to cache tabs better. Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Because even with 30% less RAM use on 32 bit iOS, Safari boots tabs out like crazy and has to reload a lot of apps from NAND when switching. Reply
  • Kvaern - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Have you actually tried using iOS 7?

    As dugbug wrote then this behavior has changed dramatically, for the better, in iOS 7.
    Reply
  • errorr - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Well Anand did call it out in the review as a major problem with any background process running. I don't think they have the algorithms just right yet. Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    DERP DERP DERP

    Seriously, somebody needs to set a filter to automatically change your posts to that.
    Reply
  • errorr - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    I think he kinda answered that as a yes. It seems as if the iOS memory management algorithms need some work and may not be tuned for 64bit yet. Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    I think they kind of mislead with the GPU. THey said at the 5S launch that the A7s GPU was twice as fast as the A6, then at the Air launch that it was twice as fast as A6X, so I assumed the Air GPU was twice as fast as the 5S GPU. Clearly not the case. Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    But I was right about the SRAM at least, yay :P Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    This interests me a lot, the Wii U also has an SRAM block and a smaller denser eDRAM block than the 32MB big one on its die, I wonder what that does for performance. Main memory bandwidth is pretty bad for a console, but it has a lot of levels of caches seemingly. Reply
  • et20 - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Why did you assume that?
    That would have made sense only if A6X was twice as fast as A6, which is clearly not true.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Ah, I think I was mistaken then. Still, 2X the iPad 4 vs 2X the iPhone 5 would seem to imply a bigger delta than anything real world is showing, but it's much closer now that I see the A6X performance. Reply
  • mavere - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Apple never claimed the 5s's A7 was equal to the A6X. Their performance guidance was always fluffy and vague within the *same* product line, so trying to extend it across lines is ridiculous. People misled themselves. Reply
  • ssiu - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Still, when Apple claims "up to 2x GPU of iPad 4", usually you will find some aspect of GPU performance that reaches the 2x claim. "40% to 70% better" seem below expectation compared to the claim. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Apple marketing slides vague, misleading, or contrived? NO WAI! Reply
  • FwFred - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    With CPU power going up (eating into turbo/thermal headroom), I wonder where Apple is going to get their next 2x? TSMC/Samsung aren't moving fast enough for them. They have gone from toy CPUs to soon bumping against the limitations of physics. Reply
  • takeship - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    My bet is on them shifting to Intel as a fab on their 16nm, but doing so prior to the A9 (2015) may be a stretch. Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    How much does the GPU throttle? I was somewhat under the assumption that iPhones didn't have to throttle their CPUs as they never chased insane clocks like others (the infamous Nexus 4 throttling problem, also dialing back to 1GHz like here, not that the core performances are the same). Reply
  • errorr - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    They still throttle it just takes longer. The other big advantage is just the pure SIZE of the chip which is what allows the lower clocks. Reply
  • Egg - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Can someone explain the extremely cold display? Is it not true that "closer to 6504k is better" anymore? Reply
  • Psyside - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Yes. Some people prefer over-saturated colors, 6500K is as closes to perfect as one can imagine, what he like or prefer is another story.

    For me 6500 sRGB displays are the only that matter, i can't stand 4500-5000K aka ARGB garbage.
    Reply
  • cheinonen - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    6504K is the reference standard, which is devised from the color temperature of daylight at a certain time (and latitude). Really, it's what colors will look like if you have them outside during a sunny day. During sunrise or sunset, or under clouds, the light spectrum is different, so you see things differently then.

    Getting a display to do 6504K is just that: making what you see on screen be what it looked like when it was shot or designed. If you want it to be warmer (for example, incandescent light bulbs are around 2700K which is a warmer reddish light) or cooler is a personal preference, but if its closer to D65 (the actual white point) it will be more neutral and accurate.
    Reply
  • wiz329 - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    What are your thoughts on the naming scheme @Anand?

    iPad Air is a pretty dumb name unless they're planning on releasing a Pro product.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Agreed, a sub-name only makes sense if a second product is coming out. 12" iPad Platform based system in a MBA form factor, mayhaps? Reply
  • User.Name - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    This device, like so many recent Apple product announcements, is both very exciting, and very disappointing at the same time.

    Dropping 1/3 of the weight from the iPad and making the device smaller while keeping the same display size is a huge improvement over the old hardware.

    But there are so many things I have wanted Apple to address, that they have not.
    1. The display is not bonded to the glass. My television from 2010 has this, so does my notebook, my phone, and Microsoft manage it with the Surface. This needs to change.

    2. Even though moving to 64-bit requires more memory, they stuck with 1GB of RAM. I was already constantly running into a lack of RAM on my iPad 3.

    3. It still starts at 16GB. 16GB on my iPad 2 was tight, and it got worse once apps started coming with retina assets. With no external expansion, 16GB seems awfully tight now.

    4. There's no A7X. Yes, the A7 may be a fast chip, and there are less thermal restrictions inside the iPad than the iPhone, but the demands of the iPad are significantly higher. I suppose with them making the device a lot smaller, this is the compromise they thought best, but it's still disappointing.

    I sold my iPad six weeks ago in preparation of the new tablet devices, fully intending on replacing it with a Surface Pro 2, but after seeing that they just stuck with the old display rather than improving its color accuracy (all they did was load an ICC profile) and the disappointing battery life, I decided against it.

    Being without the iPad for six weeks though, has made me reconsider whether I want one. It was originally my fallback plan if the Surface didn't work out, but now I'm unsure that I want another. The main reason I was moving away from it to begin with was due to the software restrictions, and annoyances such as the screen reflections and lack of RAM, which have not been addressed at all with this update.
    I'm having a very difficult time trying to find something which meets my requirements.
    Reply
  • dugbug - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    "4. There's no A7X. Yes, the A7 may be a fast chip, and there are less thermal restrictions inside the iPad than the iPhone, but the demands of the iPad are significantly higher. I suppose with them making the device a lot smaller, this is the compromise they thought best, but it's still disappointing."

    Why? Why do you need an A7X and why is that disappointing?
    Reply
  • User.Name - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    In some of the tests, it seems to be performing worse than the iPad 4.
    In many of the tests, performance is lower than that of the iPhone 5s - by as much as 50% in some tests.
    I expect better performance from a large tablet device than I do from something which fits in my pocket.

    It means that if a developer does a "simple" port from one device to the other, the iPad version is going to perform worse than the same thing running on an iPhone. I think that's very disappointing, and it's the reason the A5X and A6X existed.
    Reply
  • errorr - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    I don't think there are any apps out there that can stress the A7. I see it more that Apple chose ro put a throttled tablet SOC into a phone. It has way too much power for the 5s screen and will bottleneck elsewhere first. Reply
  • dugbug - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    The A7 has a lot of headroom, way overkill for the phone. seriously, this is such an edge concern. Reply
  • Kvaern - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    I don't quite get the fuss about the 16gb baseline.

    I mean if it isn't enough for you then get a larger model but why would you want to force 32gb on people who needs no more than 16gb?
    Reply
  • User.Name - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Apple seem to operate largely by keeping their prices fixed, and introducing better hardware at the same price point. 16GB is not a lot of storage now, considering what Apple is charging, and when there is no option to expand that.

    As I said in my previous post, I originally purchased a 16GB iPad 2, without knowing how restrictive that would be - you get less than 16GB usable space, and what you may not realize is that you also have to keep 1-2GB free to be able to update apps. (or at least you did at the time; iOS 7 may have changed this?)

    Once apps started adding retina assets, many of them increased 2-3x in size, further reducing the number of apps you could keep on the device, even though the iPad 2 itself had no use for those assets.

    I think the base spec being 16GB really hurts the user experience. I constantly found myself having to remove apps from the device, and couldn't really store any media on the device itself. (even podcasts had to be restricted)
    I then went with a 64GB iPad 3 the next year, and now I would probably recommend that most people buy the 32GB model. I know too many people that bought a 16GB iPad, only to find themselves replacing the device the next year, not because they wanted a faster device, but because it didn't have enough storage for all the apps they wanted to run. (games and educational apps seem to be the worst offenders)

    I'm sure there are some people whose usage is fine with 16GB, but when Apple are charging a premium price, I just don't think 16GB is enough.
    It's a similar situation to the RAM in the device. 64-bit now requires more memory than previous generations of the iPad, but they stuck with 1GB of RAM, making the user experience worse than it was before.
    Reply
  • akdj - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    "64-bit now requires more memory than previous generations of the iPad, but they stuck with 1GB of RAM, making the user experience worse than it was before."
    Hmmm....I read the whole article, didn't notice that mentioned at ALL! Seemingly, overall...Anand's experience with the 'Air' was significantly 'better' than ANY other tablet he's reviewed/used.
    As far as NAND/Storage size....this is ubiquitous throughout the industry. Most OEMs are shipping 16GB models as their 'entry' level device. For folks not interested in downloading games or 'big' apps (My mom loves her iPad 2 16GB and has never run out of space)---that amount is just fine. No other tablets are shipping with 128GB currently, right? You've got choice. Use it. Use your head. Now that you know 16GB isn't enough for you....and 64 is too much, you've finally figured out you need 32GB. Good for you....as I'd also like to see Apple start off with a 32GB iOS device as the minimum, they're not aiming the 16GB model at power users...they offer 4 different sizes with your choice of WiFi or LTE. Same thing, gotta make that choice. I'd love every model to include LTE. It doesn't. You HAVE to make a choice that benefits YOU.
    Everyone uses their tablets differently. With cloud storage (Dropbox, iCloud, Box, Google Drive, et al.), one has the option to store their information outside of the tablet and access it when necessary. Many folks don't game. You can now stream from iTunes Match...no need to d/l the entire movie first. That said...if you want more storage, BUY more storage! Apple is in parity with the rest of the entry level OEMs....16GB is pretty standard, other than some that are still releasing 8GB models (first Nex7?)....or models with only options of 16 or 32GB on board.
    J
    Reply
  • User.Name - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Yes, but other devices shipping with 16GB storage are significantly cheaper, and/or have expandable storage options. (plug in a 64GB SDXC Micro card)

    And to move from 64GB to 128GB (+64GB) costs $100 - the same as moving from 16GB to 32GB. (+16GB)
    I'm quite sure they could offer a 32GB at the current price.

    As for 1GB RAM affecting the user experience, I suppose it depends how you use the device.
    I was constantly running out of RAM on my iPad 3, which also had 1GB - and that is effectively more than the Air has.
    Reply
  • abazigal - Saturday, November 02, 2013 - link

    The A7 chip in the iPad air is clocked higher than on the 5s. I think that it technically counts as the A7X, Apple just decided not to market it as such. Reply
  • ipadair469g - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Like to point out that apple lists the weight of the wifi iPad air as 469 grams on their website, not 450. Seems important on a review that touts the reduced weight so prominently. Reply
  • Drumsticks - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    He already said the LTE model weighs 1.05 pounds. Reply
  • Eug - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    I think Apple's 64-bit iDevices really do need 2 GB RAM. I've been getting the tab reloads in Safari on my iPhone 5s, which is rather annoying, esp. if you're trying to copy from one tab to a text entry box in another tab. Reply
  • dishayu - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    You nailed it. It's an absolute experience killer. Unless I have > 10 tabs open with music player and a couple of downloads in background, random tab reloads are NOT acceptable. Reply
  • PC Perv - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Yet another "Apple can do no wrong and this thing is the best since a sliced bread.. Until the next Apple thing ships, that is." stuff. When the next iPad ships with more memory and GPU resources, you will no doubt gush over how Apple "fixed" the shortcomings of this iPad. You wanted to keep your iPad for longer than a year? Too bad. Tech blogs and the industry are sailing on a same ship and I don't care how much you (consumers) waste as long as my wife is happy.

    Oh, and the obligatory Intel mention is duly noted. lol. This is like a never-ending nightmare around here.
    Reply
  • ws3 - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Translation: I'm vewy vewy angwy because nobody cawes about my ovewcwocked watew-coowed wig anymowe.

    Coda: I'll get you, you wascawy Apple!
    Reply
  • dugbug - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    he he :) Reply
  • ssiu - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    I think that is very harsh. Anandtech does generally like Apple products, but the article does say about the display "The only thing that the iPad Air leaves me wanting on the display front is a lower reflectance stack ....", and a paragraph about "My only complaints are limited to iOS 7, memory size and pricing. ..." Reply
  • pdjblum - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    I totally feel your pain and frustration. Reply
  • dishayu - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    I agree on one tiny point with you. The shortcomings of a device need to be highlighted when it comes out... NOT when the successor is launched. And I've read AnandTech long enough to know that this is not just a problem with Apple reviews. This is the problem with all reviews... Android, PC and storage reviews and so on... As soon as a refresh/next gen product is launched, the previous gen suddenly develops issues/shortcomings. Don't get me wrong, their reviews are still the best and more in-depth than rest of the internet combined, but they seriously need to address this little issue. Reply
  • BlakKW - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    pretty valid observation Reply
  • errorr - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    I'm not sure people really understand the shortcomings when a product comes out. I appreciate when Anand or Brian use a product for a while and their insights are far superior, but initial impressions on a review are still subject to change gradually. Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    How dare a company improve the performance of its products Reply
  • androticus - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    When is that MacBook Pro review coming???? :) Reply
  • FwFred - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Yep, much more excited about that from a device standpoint, though the A7 investigaton was interesting. Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Woah, the Surface charges fast. Reply
  • MarcSP - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Yeah. Ii is not just a little bit, it is half the time! Of course the review somehow tries not to make it look as a really negative thing or at least something to really improve for the next iPad. In fact it says it is GOOD, compared to ipad 3 and 4, that were ludicrously slow in charging.
    Of course, in the Surface 2 review there was no mention at all of this fast charging, only of the "average battery life".

    And BTW I think battery life in Surface 2 should be retested. It is extremely weird that it got less web browsing time than Surface 1 (and that this discrepancy was not even mentioned in the review). If possible use a different Surface 2 device, just in case it had some problem.
    Reply
  • YuLeven - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    And other sites got 14 hours of battery when testing the Surface 2. Reply
  • basroil - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    " The iPad Air crashed a couple of times on me (3 times total during the past week), but no where near as much as earlier devices running iOS 7.0.1. "

    Not a single W8 device I own has ever crashed from system memory issues (one crashes because the GPU was overclocked too hard and graphics memory suffered from it, but that's hardware failure not software)
    Reply
  • zogus - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Well, I've never had an iDevice crash on me , and I've owned iPhones since 2008.You know what they say about anecdotal evidences. Reply
  • darkcrayon - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    I'm not sure if Anand meant a total system crash, or if he meant an app crashing due to memory use (iOS actually kills apps that request too much memory if they go overboard such that the system can't be maintained- since there is no swap file). Reply
  • basroil - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    "It also seemed like 15-inch notebook computers were done for a couple of years ago, then Apple launched the MacBook Pro with Retina Display. "

    The year after, due to poor sales of the 15" model, Apple succumbed to the market and released a 13" model to offset losses.
    Reply
  • blacks329 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Really? So it only took them 4.5 months to go from no plan of ever releasing a 13" inch retina MBP to going through all the processes required to make and release it, because the 15" was losing money? What world do you live in? You have no idea what you're talking about. Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    30% higher memory use is pretty huge, and on the same 1GB, 1GB 32 bit iOS devices already kicked Safari tabs out of memory and forced refreshes far more than I would like. Reply
  • ScottBoone - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Being an original iPad owner, I think the RAM situ on the iPad Air is going to turn out to be its achilles heal, just like the original. And when the original iPad first shipped, nearly ALL the reviewers bought the Apple PR line that "specs don't matter" blah blah blah. And sure enough, specs ABSOLUTELY mattered; the original iPad saw a premature end of life. All of the reviews **EXCEPT Anand's** have completely ignored the question of RAM: completely ignoring the fact that the iPad 3/4 already suffered from more RAM constraint than the 2 (thanks to the increased buffer size needed for the Retina screen), completely ignoring the 20-30% bigger footprint of 64-bit computing, completely ignoring that newer apps/iOS are bigger/hungrier beasts. Apple has a terrible track record of memory efficiency; I can't imagine the newest versions of iMovie and GarageBand using LESS RAM than their predecessors. Forget about the NEXT versions being more frugal. Given that the difference between the original iPad's inability to run iOS 6 (not to mention iOS 7) was 256MB of ram (under iOS 5, the original iPad has ~70MB free after device boot), and compounding the increased footprint of the buffers, iOS usage, and app growth...I can't imagine the iPad Air is going to be a long-term viable device. I'd be surprised if it enjoys a good user experience under iOS 9 (rather like the original iPad under iOS 5). Personally, I don't think Anand hammers Apple's choice of 1GB hard enough here, I guess only time will tell. Reply
  • aliasfox - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    +100

    I'm typing this on an iPad 1. A 32GB iPad 1 with 3G, so a $700+ device. The 256MB of RAM is crippling. Even my iPhone 4, using the same chip but 20% slower and with twice the RAM, is much more usable for a lot of activities. In fact, the Facebook app automatically crashes on the iPad nine times out of ten on the iPad, but is perfectly fine on the iPhone. Aside from RAM, they're just about the same.

    I love using my iPad when it works, but if I'm only going to get three years tops out of a device, you're gonna have a hard time convincing me to spend $700 on one again. Even $500 is a stretch.
    Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Should have sold it when the 2 came out. The iPad 2 is still a viable device after all this time, mainly because of the RAM situation.

    The original iPad is like the original iPhone 3G, good for a year but far surpassed by a predecessor with much more longevity.
    Reply
  • aliasfox - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Would've, should've, could've. Now the resale value of a first generation iPad is less than the difference between a 16GB wifi and a 32GB LTE model. I like having more space and true GPS (not to mention occasional cellular usage), so it would be mildly annoying to go from a cellular model to a wifi only model. Sure, a lot of that could be made up for by the phone (which I got over a year after my iPad), but still...

    Maybe a cheaper iPad mini Retina would work better, despite the smaller screen size.
    Reply
  • darkcrayon - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Yeah the iPad 1 had a premature demise, that was a mistake, but I don't think we're going to see that with the Air- I mean the iPad 2 had a much longer lifespan (hell, it's still being sold). But you could/should just sell your iPad after a year or two and use the money to upgrade. Mobile is clearly on a much faster growth schedule than traditional computers, tablets being somewhere closer to phones than laptops. Reply
  • Kvaern - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    You bought a first generation tech device and if you expected that to bring solid performance to the table for 5-8 years then I'm afraid it's your expectations that are the issue at hand, not the device. Reply
  • aliasfox - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Well, I knew I should've waited for the iPad 2, but I was taking a long trip in the fall of 2010 and it was by far the best option for internet connectivity at the time.

    As for 5-8 years... well, it's more that I expect $700 to last me longer. All of my other 3-4 yr old devices may be beat up, slow, and not great, but unlike the iPad 1 (on iOS5), they are still reasonably usable.
    Reply
  • zogus - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    As an owner of iPad 1 who've found the lack of iOS 6 update frustrating, I understand your sentiment completely, and I'm kind of on the fence myself regarding the new iPads.

    There is one major difference between the iPad 1 situation and iPad Air, however: iPad 1 was followed less than three months later by iPhone 4, which had twice as much RAM, at which point anyone remotely tech-y could see the writing on the wall. iPad Air is not likely to have that kind of upstaging for a couple of years since iPhone 5S is still brand new, and the large number of 512MB units (iPhone 4/4S, iPad 2, iPad mini) need to be taken off the market first. Apple cannot afford to bloat iOS to the point where 1GB is insufficient for a some years to come.
    Reply
  • aliasfox - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    At the time the iPad 1 came out, it had equivalent RAM to the (then top of the line) 3GS, and twice as much as the first two iPhones and first few generations if iPod Touches. Granted, between the iPad 2/3, iPhone 4/4s, and iPad mini they've sold a boatload more 512MB devices, but the difference is a matter of scale. Reply
  • akdj - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Yet with an A7 device (iPhone 5s/iPad Air/iPad mini w/retina) one can now run 32 tracks in Garage Band vs. 16 on the same memory 'starved' iPad 4? More memory will come...it's a non-isssue. The iPad 2 is now in the hands of 10s of thousands of pilots on commercial airlines. Their Jep Charts and approach plates...user manuals and updates to said charts and plates work just fine.
    Guys/Gals....this isn't Windows. This isn't Android. Apple's conservative RAM approach significantly improves battery life...and doesn't at all seem to affect actually running currently available apps that haven't been built with iOS7 in mind, much less 64bit programming! The vast majority of apps currently available are optimized to the A5 processor with 512mb of RAM. You'll be fine...I know I sure am on both my iPad 4 and iPhone 5s. If you need 10 tabs open on Safari while manipulating photos and listening to music, buy a laptop!
    Reply
  • stacey94 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Isn't RAM fairly cheap anyway? It's not consuming that much power either. I don't understand the logic behind skimping on it. Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Planned obsolescence. Simple as that. Reply
  • nedjinski - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 still beats it - sorry. Reply
  • Fly Molo - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    ...That just happened. Reply
  • dragonsqrrl - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    ...yep, unfortunately Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Slower hardware with inferior software beats the faster platform with better software.

    Ok
    Reply
  • akdj - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    So incredibly wrong....unless you (like the commercial) want to talk to the pretty lady @ Amazon, the HDX is a glorified 'color' book reader. It's lack of apps is a joke. All the resolution, power and battery life in the world doesn't do anything if all you can do is read Moby Dick on your tablet. Reply
  • beggerking@yahoo.com - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    same old overpriced icrap.

    a T100 cost less at $399 while being more powerful, uses FULL windows 8.1 os, includes full keyboard.
    Reply
  • Fly Molo - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    ...mmmmm...a plastic chassis and FULL Windows 8.1...at 1366x768. Sounds like super fun in the office. At home on the couch or in bed...not so much. Reply
  • sirfergy - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Yes, the Metro app store is more limited, but you can use that $399 device as both your tablet and work machine. Many people are price sensitive, and a single purpose device is harder to attain. Reply
  • NetMage - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    A couple of hours after your trip with your external GPS kills your battery, you'll be lost and the iPad Air user will still be traveling. Reply
  • quickbunnie - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    GPS on the iPad requires that LTE model furthering the price to $629. It's a totally different price range now. Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Yes, combine the negatives of a tablet and a laptop into one single device, that's sure to be good! Reply
  • darkcrayon - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Nothing wrong with buying what you can afford- but plenty of people would rather have 2 of the best devices for a given task rather than one compromised one that can sort of do both. Reply
  • akdj - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    With a shitty display http://www.anandtech.com/show/7428/asus-transforme...
    Bested basically by EVERY other tablet and netbook on the market
    Inferior graphics in comparison with the year old iPad 4
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/7428/asus-transforme...
    Inferior battery life to the year old iPad 4 and iPad mini (Original)
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/7428/asus-transforme...
    ....seems more like an homage to the Netbooks of old....especially with the display. But...if it works for you, Go Grab it!
    Reply
  • blacks329 - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    The pointless dilemma caused by AnandTech reviews: Do I read it now and spoil all my other reviews, or do I save it for later after reading all the other 'reviews' but feel underwhelmed by reading them.

    I feel like a child wanting to have dessert, except this dessert is actually better for me than the main course, but I'm gonna have the main course anyway because of my OCD with tech reviews.

    (I like reading multiple reviews for a product - even if I have no intent to purchase them)
    Reply
  • ArthurG - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    a bit OT, but more I look at the graphs, more I think SHIELD is a great piece of hardware ! Screen, GPU performance and battery life are top class. And with the last 4.3 update, its coming all together on the software side.
    I'm holding the trigger because I think SHIELD 2 will be the real deal with amazing Logan GPU. But the first iteration is already very tempting...
    Reply
  • Commodus - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Definitely. There's a certain cruel irony to it leading in some tests, because many will skip over it as a matter of course -- it's not a tablet, after all. Reply
  • Arbee - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    I have a Shield (I can't help it, I'm an early adopter) and I think it's an underrated device (although AT's Brian Klug has been pretty positive on it). Weight is a bit excessive, but it's hard to beat for mobile gaming - the controls are better than either the 3DS or Vita, even if the game selection is kind of anemic. For now I don't care though, I have GTA 3 and Vice City with real controls in my carry-on bag. That would've been science fiction 10 years ago. Reply
  • Khato - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Simply awesome to see the greater depth of detail regarding the A7. Many thanks for doing so as most don't seem interested in understanding why it's performing so well. Given the magnitude of the geekbench subscore performance improvements I was convinced that somehow the frequency being reported was incorrect, but instead they made it a surprisingly 'wide' core. (As in, after accounting for the difference in ISA, it may well be comparable to Intel's core line in that respect.)

    Of course this really brings into question how a Baytrail-T (or even Haswell-Y) based tablet compares to the iPad Air in the platform power consumption metric. (Same goes for Snapdragon 800 and Tegra 4 just because it's a useful data point to have when looking forward to these SoCs being used for applications that actually need compute power.) Given that the idle -> load delta for A7 looks to be ~3W for Kraken and ~7W for the maximum...

    Which reminds me, are the power numbers you listed for T-Rex offscreen and Infinity Blade 3 total platform power consumption or the delta? Curious since if it's total that would mean that gaming uses less power than Kraken?
    Reply
  • MrRez - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    The Shield is a beast :) Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    The A7 die shot is labeled with 4 DRAM interfaces. 2 large ones (presumably the main 2x32-bit memory bus) and 2 smaller ones (maybe 16-bit wide each). Any idea what the smaller ones are used for? Reply
  • errorr - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    I would assume they are for all the other peripheral devices or what we used to call a northbridge Reply
  • MykeM - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    The battery time looks awfully nice. Of course, the iPad 4 is no slouch although as I'm holding it, it also makes complete sense that something so heavy should hold a battery that lasts as long.

    iPad Mini is never an option for me. Try running apps like Korg iMS-20 on the Mini: it's a nightmare filled with minuscule knobs and sliders. So a 1 lbs full sized iPad with better battery life and more powerful sounds mighty tempting. I'm hoping Apple would even go bigger- 12, 13 or even 15" iPad (Pro).
    Reply
  • Arbee - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Agreed. A 13" iPad Pro would be awesome for iMS-20, among other things.

    Related to this, I wish Anand would get in touch with how people actually use iPads (e.g. the whole AudioBus and music creation scene). He seems stuck in the "but doing office stuff on it isn't as good as a PC" rut because that's all he uses PCs for, and it's lead him to not understand why the iPad is dominant while Android and Windows tablets struggle.
    Reply
  • MarcSP - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Anand: "the iPad Air really is the best iPad to date"
    I think nobody needs a review to know that "Product x+1" > "Product x", hehe. (With very few exceptions :-))

    Anand: "my only complaints are limited to iOS 7, memory size and pricing"
    Luckily, they are not relevant things for a tablet, or should i say for and iPad? ;-) :-P
    Reply
  • Krysto - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Yeah, no bias at all. Nothing to see here folks! Reply
  • maldoe2 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    this is so weird...Apple clearly said that GPU performance of iPad air is two times faster than iPad4.

    Did they lie about this???
    Reply
  • NetMage - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    They say "up to" so no. Reply
  • dwade123 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    There's no reason to buy an Android tablet when you got this beast out in the wild. Reply
  • Psyside - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    lol.... Reply
  • nerd1 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Let me know when iPad has active digitizer support. The whole reason to use tablet form factor is to scribbling IMO. Reply
  • blacks329 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Well I'm glad you're not the lead designer for a tablet device at a major tech company!

    Would an active digitizer be great? Absolutely.
    Is it the whole reason for a tablet form factor? Not even remotely!
    Reply
  • tdtran1025 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    So agreed with reviewer simply because my eyes favor bigger display of text, period. Reply
  • Devo2007 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Hmm, no "work in progress" pages. Everything is complete by the time the NDA expires. Surprised! Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Which is the difference between having me do something, and having Anand do something. There is a very good reason he's The Boss, after all. He's a machine (figuratively speaking).;-) Reply
  • Krysto - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    > A single CPU core can use up 8GB/s of bandwidth. I’m still vetting other SoCs, but so far I haven’t come across anyone in the ARM camp that can compete with what Apple has built here.

    Didn't Exynos 5250 have 17.5 GB/s bandwidth, according to Samsung's whitepaper? That would be more than 8GB/s per core.
    Reply
  • raptorious - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Maybe if you're talking about L1 or L2 bandwidth, but not DRAM. The DRAM interface on that chip is 2x32 bit and it's clocked at DDR3-1600, which means it can reach a _peak theoretical max_ of 12.8 GB/s. Theoretical bandwidth is one thing, what the CPU can actually sustain to DRAM is a whole different story. Reply
  • AbbyYen - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    the SHIELD is A BEAST!

    well done NVIDIA, now made it into tablet form with those battery. I don't care if it is a cylinder type, protrude the tablet if you have to so it won't lay flat on table and won't need no magic cover!

    iPad for leisure only, play and usefulness is still Android!
    Reply
  • darkcrayon - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Shield is much lower resolution, obviously. Remember also the iPad is (finally) getting official physical controller support, which makes it a potentially much more versatile device than the Shield. And clearly iOS is no slouch when it comes to developer support for games. About the only thing nvidia has here is the willingness to pay for more exclusives. How many people do you think would get a general purpose iPad and use it for awesome games vs buying a one-trick pony like the Shield? Reply
  • ddriver - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    LOL, this is a new high (or low) in manipulative reviews, so now the A7 is faster than a Haswell? With all the money AT pockets in, one would thing they'd at least write a set of in-house REAL CPU benchmarks, especially after all the b1tching about manufacturers cheating in the 3rd party benchmarks that are widely available... Reply
  • Wilco1 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    It's not as unlikely as you think. An old Cortex-A9 gets half the performance of SB on SPECINT, and A15 is much closer still. Apple's A7 is even wider so should be able to beat a low clocked Haswell. That doesn't mean it can beat the 4GHz beasts - for that Apple would need to clock their A7 much higher and increase core counts, and that is unlikely for now.

    However I fully agree with you on Anand's state of benchmarks. That he still keeps using SunSpider (one of the most cheated on benchmarks) while at the same time talking about frequency changes as cheating is beyond me. And the claim of A7 being 6-wide is very dubious, it seems to me it's 4-way - it hasn't that much higher IPC than an A15.
    Reply
  • thunng8 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Not much lower IPC? You've got to be kidding right?

    A 1.9ghz A15 scores 920 in single core geekbench
    A 1.3ghz Apple A7 scores 1400.

    IPC looks to be about double on the Apple A7. In what world is double preset close.

    Your assertion that deliberately changing frequency when detecting benchmark is not cheating is laughable.
    Reply
  • Wilco1 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Actually he 64-bit score includes hardware acceleration of crypto functions which artificially inflate the score. The 32-bit integer score is 1065 for 1.3GHz A7 vs 895 for 1.6GHz 5410. That's about 46% IPC gain, or just one generation. A57 will have almost the same IPC as A7, and is still 3-way OoO.

    Your idea that running a CPU at its designed maximum frequency is cheating is ridiculous. Ever done any benchmarking? I think not. The first thing you do when benchmarking is disable DVFS so you get meaningful and repeatable results at the maximum frequency.
    Reply
  • errorr - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    But how does that make benchmarks worthwhile if DVFS is disabled? I want to know if an aggressive throttle is applied in situations. If the DVFS table throttles in the middle of a benchmark the problem is the table.

    This just shows where ARM needs the most help compared to the other players. Intel and AMD are way ahead in power managment and the newer graphics even throttle much more intelligently, quicker, and with better granularity than any ARM chip. This is one of the last low hanging fruits in performance for such power limited chips. On die voltage regulation is a must for future generations.
    Reply
  • Wilco1 - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Typically you run benchmarks at the maximum performance so you can compare different devices at known frequencies. A long running benchmark will always run at the maximum frequency - as long as there is no thermal throttling. So DVFS only has an effect on benchmarks which run for very short times (milliseconds like SunSpider, AnTuTu etc). This means the results are random based on the DVFS settings (hardware/software) and what you did just before starting the benchmark. That makes it hard to make fair comparisons. So setting the frequency before running a benchmark makes the results more useful.

    If you want to benchmark the DVFS then you need something more specific - I'm not aware of benchmarks which accurately try to measure DVFS, it's reaction speed, the power/performance tradeoff and effect on GUI interaction. The closest one is Anand's battery-life test which has idle periods followed by high activity bursts. Unfortunately he doesn't list performance of this test, only battery-life...
    Reply
  • rynite - Friday, November 01, 2013 - link

    "Typically you run benchmarks at the maximum performance so you can compare different devices at known frequencies."

    Oh please. Who decides how a benchmark is run? You? Or the actual benchmark authors like Anand and Futuremark, who publicly oppose this sort of behavior?
    Reply
  • Wilco1 - Sunday, November 03, 2013 - link

    Anand doesn't have a clue unfortunately. If INtel's turbo is not cheating then it is certainly not cheating to use the maximum frequency. Reply
  • Gondalf - Saturday, November 02, 2013 - link

    Hei Wilco. IPC apart....without a SPEC submission it's hard to give a final judgment, what about A7 is only dualcore??? Anand says that A7 is the best around, but it's an absurdity !! In a multitasking workload A7 is clearly doomed by Snapdragon, Tegra, Baytrail. IMO this review is biased, A7 is good yes but only in light multithread, very bad in a serious usage, and looking at the selling price a customer is only a victim of Apple Marketing Reply
  • Wilco1 - Sunday, November 03, 2013 - link

    Yes, in terms of throughput A7 would be slower than most of the quad cores, however having the fastest single threaded performance is equally important. Reply
  • someonethinks - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    iPad Air2 please

    Apple does it again, it will sell but device is not quite as good as it should be, do they care about the users or just the profit?

    I would like
    2GB and 32GB min
    smooth transitions that can also be turned off / reduced

    I have an iPad 2 and was looking to replace but the memory is really a big issue to future proof it, so I am VERY disappointed as I don't buy something like this every year.

    With the original, I waited for the iPad 2 and was very pleased, it looks like I need to do the same again or maybe I now just go elsewhere.
    Reply
  • xype - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Ooooor you could assume that the iPad Air is actually good enough. Because it is. Go and try it with some apps at a store and then decide; the whole making assumptions based on articles is not really helpful. Compared to an iPad 2, the iPad Air will absolutely blow you away. Reply
  • aliasfox - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Good enough? Yes. But for my money, "good enough" in 2013-2014 isn't enough - I want my devices to be "good enough" for a long time, especially at $500+. I kept my laptop for eight years, my previous digital camera lasted eight years, the shortest I've kept a cell phone is three and a half years, and my current desktop is seven years old with just a GPU and storage upograde (granted, that was a high end machine when it came out).

    Buying a device that has deficiencies *now* is questionable if you want to keep it for a while.

    And don't think this is coming from a PC fanboy, either. iPad 1, iPhone 4, and Mac Pro are my primary devices.
    Reply
  • KPOM - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    By that logic, though, any Android device today has "questionable" specs since undoubtedly in a year or so most high-end Androids will have 64-bit processors. The iPad AIr, new iPad mini and iPhone 5s already have them.

    I think, also, that since all 3 have the same internals, we'll see developers write to those specs. I.e. lack of RAM won't be a significant issue because it isn't as if developers will be writing for devices with significantly more RAM.
    Reply
  • suman0011 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    At every one knows apple has the leading market share in the android phones but now a days companies like Samsung are exploring the market at present Samsung has the major share in the android phone segment if i am right.in order to that apple has to found news to gain their place in the android market

    as in most of the people use android phones that to Samsung phones
    here you can find a link why Samsung why Samsung is in 1st place
    http://indiahomedepot.com/samsung-galaxy-tab-t-211...
    just look at only the specification and you can compare with apple ipad
    of course all the features available in the apple also available in the Samsung can some tell why Samsung is first and Apple is trying hard to get first place?
    Reply
  • rituraj - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    What? Reply
  • dugbug - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    astroturf Reply
  • Kevin G - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Whoa, 6 issue architecture in a phone/tablet? Apple wasn't kidding when they said 'desktop class' performance. I'm wondering what low level power management voodoo they have going to pull that off.

    The flip side is that if Apple wanted to build a real desktop/server class chip, they look like they could pull it off and be competitive with Intel. Disable Turbo and throttle down a Haswell to 1.4 Ghz and do a performance and performance per watt comparison. I fathom that Intel still leads but Apple's A7 design will be seriously competitive.

    I am in agreement that Apple should have moved to 2 GB of memory here. One could argue the merits of keeping with 2 GB on the phone but in the age of retina displays on tablets, it'll seem constrained over the long term. This would have been an ideal way to distinguish the iPad's hardware from the iPhone in terms of hardware features/performance. Ditto for not going with a 128 bit wide memory interface. Hell, it would have made sense for Apple to build the die with a 128 bit wide bus but only use the full width in the iPad.
    Reply
  • ananduser - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Intel's Atom runs a full size desktop OS. That's more of a load on it than simple mobile software like ios. The best ARM can muster is not even close to Intel. Reply
  • Arbee - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    iOS is OS X (true BSD UNIX) with a different top level GUI. Similarly, Android is creeping towards feature parity with desktop Linux, although they have farther to go on audio and MIDI, and Windows Phone runs the real NT kernel. They're all a lot less different from a "full size desktop OS" than you seem to think. Reply
  • Kevin G - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    There is an Android port for x86 which would put Atom SoC's like Baytrail on equal footing.

    The thing is that the Cyclone core is wider than even Haswell: 6 vs. 4. (For reference Silvermont is 2 issue.) Haswell likely has a higher throughput of instructions considering its x86 ISA (more load/stores for example) and different balance of execution units.
    Reply
  • errorr - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    It is reportedly a very buggy port and DALVIK is broken which means it is useless. Plus it is not 64bit enabled yet which hurts bay trail. Reply
  • Wilco1 - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Cyclone may well be 6-issue, but that's not unusual: Cortex-A15 is 8-issue. This is a design decision based on whether to use a single big issue queue or multiple separate issue queues (there are advantages/disadvantages either way). However it seems likely it is 4-way decode, just like Haswell. And the decode rate determines the sustained performance. Reply
  • KPOM - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Perhaps battery life came into play. Remember, Apple doesn't add specs for the sake of winning spec wars. They may also be trying to discourage developers from simply writing RAM-hungry apps that will leave the iPhone 5c and iPad 2 behind. 64-bit is supposed to be a smooth transition.

    Plus, I'm sure they're looking to keep some reasons to upgrade to an "iPad Air 2" or "iPad Pro" next year. 2GB would be nice, but I don't think 1GB will be a problem for most users.
    Reply
  • YuLeven - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    As we're kindly reminded in every other tablet's review about things like 'this tablet is good, but it don't have the number of tablet optimized that the iPad has', I would kindly like to remind you a couple of small... well, shortcomings of the iPad. Ups, I said that.

    The iPad is good, but it can't open two apps at once.
    The iPad screen is great and sharp, but it's 4:3 aspect ratio is far worse than 16:9 for video watching, specially TV (Netflix, Hulu) shows.
    The iPad is bright, but its far more reflexive than Surface's.
    The iPad is good, but you don't have USB mass storage mode.
    The iPad is good, but you can't expand your memory.
    The iPad is good, but you can't use your external HD, pendrive, printer, mouse and other hardware stuff via USB port.
    The iPad is good, but office experience on it falls short of the one on Windows RT.
    The iPad is good, but you can't have a browser running on the background, for exemple for listening to some youtube music video while you have two other apps running on the front end.
    The iPad gestures are good, but multitasking by a simple swype from the left feels better than having to using four finger at once.
    The iPad is light and it's ok to use the cover as a stand, but it feels less confortable than having a real, sturdy quickstand.
    The iPad thousands of apps are great, but some of them are worse than using the actual website: Facebook and Pandora, for example.
    The iPad is good, but its experience using a remote desktop is worse than on other tablets.

    Well, the list goes on.

    Not that the iPad is a bad tablet, quite the opposite actually. But as reviews usually like to remind us of things that Android/Windows RT tablets can't do - and the iPad always can, as a matter of fact -, I wanted to recall some things that Android/Windows RT do superbly - and the iPad don't, as a matter of fact -.
    Reply
  • darkcrayon - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    You actually used the aspect ratio of the Surface as an advantage over the iPad? The 16:9 aspect ratio is fairly poor in landscape mode for "computing" tasks (not enough vertical real estate, same problem on modern desktop computers except at least there is so much more physical space there to make up for it), but it's absolutely comical in portrait mode. The iPad's aspect ratio is far more versatile for portrait or landscape, doing any kinds of tasks people typically do on computing devices. Video is the only place it's not as good, because it makes the video smaller. But it's funny you'd mention a bunch of supposed "power user" features for a device incredibly (comparatively) poor for viewing standard documents. Reply
  • YuLeven - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    'Is far worse than 16:9 for video watching'

    I did not say that 16:9 makes 16:9's tablets better, I said it's better for video watching. Is there any lie about it?

    Wether scrolling more when reading a document rends a tablet poor for that, it's up to you to decide. On my personal opinion, software has more to do with document viewing prowess than the aspect ratio. And if it stents to writing, well, actual multitasking is a bless.

    -

    As you can see my post is about things that other tablets do better and that do not receive attention on an iPad review, despite of in other tablets reviews lots of features of the iPad are brought as an comparition standard.
    Reply
  • ADGrant - Saturday, November 02, 2013 - link

    16:9 is only better for video if you hate black bars. a 4:3 tablet is better for document viewing because, in portrait orientation, the aspect ratio is similar to that of a paper document. Reply
  • guidryp - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    The iPad is a tablet, you seem to have bought into the Microsoft argument that tablets should be laptops.

    Really they shouldn't. Microsoft takes the tablet idea and does a mashup that is a poor laptop and a poor tablet.

    If you want a laptop, buy a laptop, if you want a tablet buy a tablet. You get a better experience that way.
    Reply
  • YuLeven - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    In which part Windows tablets feels like a poor tablet experience? Have you actually used Windows 8.1/RT as a tablet?
    It feels great. The gestures are simple, the multitasking is easily handled with fingers.

    Or perhaps you're refering to the type cover? Well, if that's the case you should notice that's optional and the onscreen keyboard on Windows is superb.

    Real multitasking, with two apps at once plus background apps as in a desktop, is alone enough to the Windows RT to be a contender to Apple's offerings. Compared to that, the iPad feels more or less like a toy/media consumption only device.

    Atom Windows 8.1 devices and Windows RT hardly are 'poor tablet and laptop mashups'. They are tablets, weigh like tablets, behave like tablets.

    Tablets shouldn't be laptops, but also, tablet's shouldn't be a device that strongly limits you due lack of capability of bringing new ways to interact with the device.

    -

    The iPad wins handsdown on apps number, but not necessarely that is a definitive feature for everyone. After all, pandora feels better using the browser version - which can run on the background, no need for paying for the premium account/app in order to listen your musics while you do other stuff -, facebook also feels better on browser. The list goes on.
    Reply
  • guidryp - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Why does Surface suck as a tablet?

    Bigger, heavier, nearly useless for portrait orientation with 16:9 screen.

    Do a Google Image search on the Surface. You likely have a hard time finding an image of it being used in portrait mode, because it is nearly unusable in that mode.

    In fact you have a hard time finding image of it used as a tablet at all. It is mostly used as a laptop.
    Reply
  • YuLeven - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Heavy and big? It's as thick and heavy as an iPad 4. Is the iPad 4 useless? Don't mistake the Surface 2 for the Surface Pro 2.

    And yes, it is made for landscape mode. Do is the Nexus 10 and Galaxy Note 10.1, are they fail as tablets in some extent? Tablet does not equal portrait usage.
    Reply
  • ADGrant - Saturday, November 02, 2013 - link

    Once you add the keyboard the Surface is about twice as heavy as an iPad Air and it doesn't have any apps. Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    It is useless in landscape mode too. 16:9 is bad for small screens and it is terrible for web browsing on a tablet 10" or smaller. Reply
  • YuLeven - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Well, I see your point. You don't like it. But considering that the last numbers show us that two thirds of the tablet shipments in Q3 2013 now belongs to Android (which is 16:9 in 99% of the cases) and others (which include Windows, also 16:9), I can wonder that for a massive chunk of the consumer basis 16:9 orientation isn't such an issue that makes its devices 'terrible'. Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    "After all, pandora feels better using the browser version - which can run on the background, no need for paying for the premium account/app in order to listen your musics while you do other stuff -, facebook also feels better on browser. The list goes on."

    Nonsense, neither of these are better in browser than they are in a native app, plus Pandora will also run in the background.
    Reply
  • YuLeven - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Many services are better on their browser incarnation. As today, Pandora is better on browser as it can run on the background. So is Youtube. Facebook also has a better feel at browser.

    Notice thats on a real browser, with full support ranging from flash to any other service we'd have on a desktop, not a crippled tablet version.
    Reply
  • tgibbs - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    So most of your complaints boil down to, "But it's not a PC!"
    We used to hear this a lot. Back then it was, "But it's not a netbook!" (remember them?)
    So now it's "But it's not a netbook that's also kinda-sorta a tablet!"
    Maybe. We'll see.

    Personally, I like my tablet to be a tablet and my PC to be a PC.
    But then, I don't own a Swiss Army knife either, but I hear some people like them.
    Reply
  • YuLeven - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    So it's OK to accept the lack of these features on the iPad while Microsoft's tablets have them covered because '' it's a tablet and tablet have to be limited in order to be a tablet'.

    Weird way of thinking.
    Reply
  • KPOM - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Part of it is how Microsoft advertises the Surface. They basically say it is a "no compromises" machine when clearly it isn't. iPad doesn't pretend to be a Mac, at least not yet. Reply
  • YuLeven - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    When it comes down to chosing a machine, I hardly think that the intentions of its developer is relevant.

    When Toyota sells they new SUV as a 'mud car', who's to judge me for using it on a boring suburb life?

    The whole point is what I can do and what I can't do with a tablet. Windows RT gives me more possibilities than iOS, as does Windows 8.1/RT related hardware in comparison to iOS hardware. I choose upon investigating that, not the manufacturer will for the product.
    Reply
  • ADGrant - Saturday, November 02, 2013 - link

    I have a Surface Pro and an iPad. The iPad is far more useful as a tablet. I mostly use the Surface Pro as a crappy laptop. Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Thank you for bringing absolutely nothing of value to the discussion. Reply
  • User.Name - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    I have to disagree with the notion that a 16:9 screen is better for video than 4:3.
    To get it out of the way, can we all agree that a 4:3 screen is much better for all other non-video tasks?

    But here's why I don't see the iPad's 4:3 aspect ratio as a detriment: almost nothing I watch is 16:9.
    With my iPad, I was either watching streaming video, which meant older TV shows I had missed - those are all 4:3 - or I was watching films, which are all 21:9.
    If I'm going to have letterboxing anyway, I don't care whether it's a 4:3 or 16:9 display.

    With a 4:3 display, no matter what aspect ratio the content you are watching is, you have a constant image width.
    With a 16:9 display, you have a mixture of letterboxing and pillarboxing. I think it's a far worse experience.

    My ideal tablet would have a 1920x1440 display (or 3840x2880) so that video could be 1:1 mapped for perfect sharpness, but you have a 4:3 aspect ratio which makes it a far more useful device as a tablet.
    Reply
  • YuLeven - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    4:3 is great for a bunch of things, indeed. But 16:9 victory isn't video related only, it's better for multitasking too. Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    No, we can't all agree that. Because it's not.

    You're also confusing "letterboxing" with "massive loss of picture size". Because yes, you get letterboxing on 21:9 (not the majority) content with a 16:9 display. But the absolutely vast quantity of space lost on a 4:3 tablet means you are getting something closer to a 7" diagonal. So why bother carrying a 10" tablet?

    Also, since when was constant width an automatic plus?

    Feel free to trot out lots of other personal preferences like they're a logical argument, but they genuinely are not.
    Reply
  • MarcSP - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    I think your posts is one of the most sensible and well informed around. I was going to say more or less the same you said, but you already did a superb job in explaining that iPad, as good as it is, is not the golden standard or the perfect machine all other tablets must be measured to.

    It seems that for some people the thinking is "if tablet X =!= iPad, then it is shit, because iPad represents perfection". But, "if tablet X = iPad, then it is an immoral copycat". :-P

    +100 for you!
    Reply
  • YuLeven - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Thank you, Marcs.

    I don't have anything against Apple or its iPad. I even owned one and although it is a good loonking, great tablet, it failed me when I tried to do a lil' more than killing some free time.

    When people justify that tablets don't need all the stuff that Google and Microsoft are bringing through their systems, they're basically saying that if the iPad don't do such, than it's not really a tablet function.

    So this is it. I'm not on the market for a tablet anymore, i'm on the market for this 'terrible, horrendous mashup of netbook and tablet' that feel great for having fun and working.
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Agreed. The fact that all of the people who've been descending upon any /remotely/ critical post flocked right to it to say how wrong he was provides an amusing measure of the post's quality. :) Reply
  • hlovatt - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Great review in incredible detail. The review rarely offers an opinion, it measures performance and ranks the results.

    Can't understand all the negative comments, I guess people have bought other devices and are now trying to justify that choice - as much to themselves as anyone else.

    I don't know how Anand and the other reviewers feel, they are working incredibly hard to get such a detailed review out so quickly and then people make wild unsubstantiated comments and general slurs on their character. If I was them I would feel pretty slighted.

    Anyway, just wanted to say how much I appreciated their hard work and to suggest that if you really think the reviews are biased you would be better off reading less objective reviews that pander to your biases.
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Here's an example:
    "An interesting side effect of Apple’s pricing structure is that the cost for NAND upgrades actually gets pretty reasonable at the higher capacities."

    Here's another way of putting it:
    Apple are still charging the same amount for a 16GB to 32GB upgrade while the flash inside the devices has halved in price twice since the iPad 1 was released. $300 is well above the value of an extra 112GB of eMMC NAND flash in 2013.

    But hey, whatever floats your boat. Focus on the positives..?
    Reply
  • Braumin - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Good point. I won't slam Anand too much on this review because overall I thought it was pretty good, but this sentence is for sure a joke.

    "actually gets pretty reasonable at the higher capacities"

    No, it doesn't. Unless you ignore the fact that you were just raped on the first 48 GB.

    And another thing that's a joke is the LTE version costs $130 more. For a $5 antennae.

    I mean I know they need to keep their margins, and that's fine for shareholders, but it needs to be pointed out in a review that both the LTE and NAND are completely gouging you.
    Reply
  • MarcSP - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Sadly, Apple is not alone in this absurd practice. Surface does the same, although at least its base model has 32 GB (up to 21 free with full Office installed) for 50$ less than iPad 16 (about 14 GB free without any extra apps).

    And then we have to realize that it is 100$ for 32 GB more (32-->64GB model), not 100$ for 16 more like the iPad (16-->32), so it's half the cost actually.

    Still, Anandtech said Surface is too expensive and should give you free acesories. :-/
    Reply
  • MarcSP - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Of course, I also would prefer Surface to be free, to give away all the accesories and to include a troup of dancing girls :-P Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Yes, there's a very odd set of different standards being applied there. The thing is, I don't disagree with the overall tone and conclusions of either review. It just annoys me when I see weird double-standards like that in the copy. Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Precisely. I really don't think Anand's reviews are bad or invalid and I love the depth they go into, but there is a tendency to reflect lightly upon some of the more glaring annoyances involved with Apple products, especially when they regard the cost of upgrades. Reply
  • MarcSP - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    Agree. Anadtech reviews are above anything else 99% of the time, but at the same time they still keep some weird bias and double standards that are hard to understand. Reply
  • BillBear - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    I just don't think this model air or the equivalent mini will prove to be very future proof when it comes to OS updates. Not updating the RAM along side such a large update to the CPU is going to make this device lack longevity in the same way the original iPad's 256k of RAM did.

    Also, it's really gotten to be time to start hammering Apple on just how ridiculous it is to still offer 16 Gigs of Flash as a baseline. Charging a hundred dollars to add an additional 16 Gigs is just ludicrous. Enterprise pricing indeed.
    Reply
  • darkcrayon - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Granted, I would've like to have seen 2 GB, but look how long the iPad 2 lasted. It's from 2011 with 512 MB and they still sell it- and the mini with the same hardware came out in 2012 and they still sell that. Both are still actively being supported with new OS updates and new apps. I'm pretty sure the Air will be fine for at least 2-3 years even though its RAM wasn't increased. Reply
  • BillBear - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    The CPU and amount of RAM are going to be very obvious limiting factors when it comes to future updates. Why on earth go through such a quantum leap on one without simultaneously updating the other?

    This is a premium device. There is no reason to be so chintzy with updates that would cause such a minimal change in the cost of building the device.

    You could kind of see it when the RAM was stacked on top of the CPU and there was limited room, but not now that they are using separate components.
    Reply
  • solipsism - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    BillBeaer wrote, "Charging a hundred dollars to add an additional 16 Gigs is just ludicrous."

    What should they charge? $25? How does that make sense? How many people will then decide to pay $75 to go from 16GB to 128GB? I'd say nearly everyone which will then create an issue with selling the other models which then causes undue constraints on the 128GB versions and unsold product on the every so slightly models.

    But this wouldn't happen because Apple figures out what is the ideal profit margin for the product category and then prices them which means they would /at least/ keep the 128GB at the price of $800 that it is now and then drop the prices by $25 for the others which means the 16GB model would cost $725. But, hey, you got you them to charge you *less* for a capacity increase¡

    But that won't happen either because it alienates too many users if they were to start at $225 more than they currently do. Starting at below $500 opens the door for a lot more buyers.

    So basically what you want is for Apple to make stupid business decisions that go against any rational business practices so you can pay less than what is asked. Nothing wrong with /wanting/ to pay less but your reasoning leaves something to be desired.
    Reply
  • BillBear - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Have you priced a 16 Gig flash drive at retail lately? We're talking somewhere between ten and twenty bucks, depending on brand.

    Bare in mind that instead of just Apple's incremental cost of higher capacity Flash chips, those Flash drives must also include the cost of the Flash controller, USB interface, the device's case, retail packaging, and retail markup on top of all of that.

    Anand is well justified in pointing out just how overpriced the one hundred dollar upgrade from 16 to 32 Gigs is.
    Reply
  • solipsism - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    BillBear, completely ignoring the concept of economics, wrote, "Have you priced a 16 Gig flash drive at retail lately? We're talking somewhere between ten and twenty bucks, depending on brand."

    Fine, have it your way, let's do $10 stepping for doubling flash storage. Now the iPad Air is $769 for 16GB, $779 for 32GB, $789 for 64GB, and $799 for 128GB.

    Do you really think it does you or Apple any favours to start at $769 instead of $499? Oh wait, you probably think 16GB is too lo
    Reply
  • solipsism - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    … is too low for anyone and Apple should start with 32GB which means $779.

    Or are you saying all multiples of 16GB should cost the user $10, not a doubling? So now you get Now the iPad Air is $729 for 16GB, $739 for 32GB, $759 for 64GB, and $799 for 128GB. Do you really think it does you or Apple any favours to start at $729 instead of $499? I didn't think so.
    Reply
  • Braumin - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Um, I think you forgot your meds this morning.

    If an iPad can cost $499 for 16GB, and we all know that another 16GB is going to be somewhere around a couple of dollars of cost, why would they have to start at $779?

    Maybe you can think back to the days of the PC. My first PC cost $2000 and came with a 20GB hard drive. With your scar-o-nomics model, my PC that I have now with a 2TB drive should cost $2,000,000. In fact, I can now buy an entire PC with 1 very large hard drive for less than it cost to just buy the 20GB drive back then.

    But I like your scar-o-nomics let's just ignore the fact that technology gets cheaper over time.
    Reply
  • solipsism - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Braumin, try to pay attention as this is simple economics. Apple sets their profit margin average. If you take that away from the higher-end then they ill make that up which means the other end from which you and BillBear claim *should* happen. That means, to follow your $10-15 difference between 16GB you would need to start at a much higher price.

    This is all before you consider what such a small price disparity would do to the sales of the other items. You really need to consider how Apple will make the same profit margin and overall net profit for the iPad category if the 128GB is now only in the $5xx range. This isn't rocket science.
    Reply
  • BillBear - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Nobody is claiming Apple isn't entitled to a profit.

    However, charging 100 dollars for something that costs them less than 15 dollars is obscene, no matter how you try to spin it.

    I seriously cannot believe people are willing to get so derpy defending a 666% markup.

    Is it just for Halloween?
    Reply
  • solipsism - Saturday, November 02, 2013 - link

    BillBear wrote, "I seriously cannot believe people are willing to get so derpy defending a 666% markup."

    I'm defending a free market system. If I don't like what Apple charges I don't buy it. It's really that simple. Your entitlement is sickening and your presumption of net component costs is grossly inaccurate.

    ssiu wrote, "It could be something more proportional like
    16GB $499
    32GB $549
    64GB $639
    128GB $799

    I would've gotten a 32GB instead of 16GB iPad 4 last year with a more reasonable price structure like that. Apple would've made more profit from me, and I would have better satisfaction."

    You don't know what profit they would have made off you all you know is what revenue they would have earned off you. They are very different.

    Again, you would have jumped to the 32GB model because the difference in price was halved. Do you not see how this can be a tactic disadvantage to a company trying to profit from that same capacity at $599? Do you not see how you might think Apple is getting more money is in fact $50 less per person that would have bought the 32GB model, regardless, which could lead to dramatically less profit? Do you not see how it could bump a huge number of people to double their NAND capacity which Apple might not be able to get enough of if the prices are too low and the demand for higher capacity is too high?

    It's fine that you two want things to be less expensive and offer more features and options yada yada yada. We all do! But most people I encounter have at least a rudimentary understanding of supply and demand, and the complexities in designing price points that will maximize profits. Why even say it should ONLY $50 more or ONLY $15 more? Why not say they make enough profit on the other HW that they could should give me the capacity I want? One could certainly make that argument and based on their profit margins be completely accurate, but I do think you two have at least a little comprehension as to why that isn't a sound business decision as very few people would choose the 16GB over the 128GB version.
    Reply
  • ssiu - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    It could be something more proportional like
    16GB $499
    32GB $549
    64GB $639
    128GB $799

    I would've gotten a 32GB instead of 16GB iPad 4 last year with a more reasonable price structure like that. Apple would've made more profit from me, and I would have better satisfaction.
    Reply
  • tgibbs - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    I don't get the point. For almost any electronics product you buy, the components are far cheaper than the finished, assembled product. But unless you are going to manufacture your own home-brew device, that's irrelevant.

    From a consumer point of view, the only valid question is whether the additional value for the consumer is concordant with the price. And considering how well the larger capacity devices are selling, the answer seems to be yes.
    Reply
  • BillBear - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    The point is that Apple is charging 100 dollars for components that add less than fifteen bucks to the build of materials for the device. That is an obscene profit margin.

    (iSuppli put the cost of both the RAM and 16 Gigs of Flash in the iPad mini at $15.50 last year.)

    http://www.isuppli.com/Teardowns/News/Pages/Low-En...
    Reply
  • solipsism - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Now you're quoting iSuppli? Seriously?! Reply
  • BillBear - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Both iSuppli and Flash drives at retail agree. We're talking about components that cost less than fifteen dollars being sold for one hundred dollars. Reply
  • solipsism - Saturday, November 02, 2013 - link

    All NAND are not created equal.

    I bet you are the guy that tried to convince people that a netbook was just as capable, if not better, than other laptops.
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    No, they're not, but even the most expensive NAND does not cost what Apple are charging. Reply
  • solipsism - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Spunjji wrote, "o, they're not, but even the most expensive NAND does not cost what Apple are charging."

    Why would you think they would sell it to you at their bulk component cost? Ridiculous!
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    So what you're saying is that the economics of the situation justifies them fucking the consumer.

    That's cool, go with it. It's certainly their logic. I'm just reserving my right to call it bullshit.
    Reply
  • solipsism - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Spunjji wrote, "So what you're saying is that the economics of the situation justifies them fucking the consumer."

    How are you being fucked by choosing whether to buy or not buy? You really need to read up on how a free market works.
    Reply
  • ChrisHogg - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    What is that background on the iPad Air? Can you please post the file or the link? Thanks. Reply
  • apaceeee - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    1GB RAM is really deficient in reality. The more resolution it has, the more RAM it request. In fact, 1GB RAM is easily crashed in some APPs even if in iOS6.1.X, How about iOS7 ? I know the processes are false in the background, it's not Android. But the reality is many APPs will take much more RAM than we considered, even if a large PPT opened in QuickOffice HD Pro can crash. I can't believe that the HUGE-RAM-Taking can be fixed in iOS7 . Reply
  • Zoolookuk - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    The 3Dmark physics score is explained as follows: The Physics test is uses Bullet, and practically the whole CPU time is spent in the soft body solver, PSolve_links. If you pull this function out of Bullet and bench it separately, you do see a 2x speed increase [over Swift]. However, once it's inside the physics engine, you see nothing.

    The result seems to be that if the soft bodies are arranged in memory so that the CPU can access them in a sequential fashion, you get a 2x to 3x increase in speed. This is higher if it can run up the memory, a bit lower if it runs down. The way bullet places the bodies in the memory is a lot more random and they are accesses in a jump-back-and-forth manner. When memory is accessed in this way, all speed gains are lost.

    A6 shows none of this behaviour. It is realistic to assume that in the new A7 we see the new prefetch in action, but it cannot gain traction with a random memory access pattern.
    Reply
  • Da W - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    I JUST CAN'T STAND THOSE gSHEEPS and Nvidia FANBOIS that blast Anand everytime he posts a review on an Apple or AMD product.
    GET A FUCKING LIFE PEOPLE!
    This is by far the best tech review website i've seen ANYWHERE on the web, and i find the guy goes out of his way to be as neutral and unbiased as one can be!
    A good product is a good product. Just because you don't like the company (for whatever reason, as long as you don't work there or are not a stock holder you should just shut the fuck up) doesn't mean the reviewer is bad!
    I also find most of these people are Google/Samsung zealots. I wonder if there's a secret google team that spoil anti-apple/microsoft shit everywhere on the web. they sure got the money, and they control the web. I've seen it in politics.

    Look i'll make things simple:
    1) Apple makes good product and tens of millions of people care about theses products and search the web for reviews for their latest products. Its only natural for a REVIEW SITE to post reviews on the topic.
    2) It so happen that AMD's GPU are not pure crap. They heat more than Nvidia this generation, but cost less, they ARE an alternative.
    3) I've seen reviews of Windows and Surface on day one here on Anandtech. The review is usualy on par with the market: cute, but doesn't sell.
    4) Anandtech usually praise Samsung, HTC and other Android products too.

    So all of you people, GET A LIFE. Or a challenge you to build a review site more unbiased that this one. Do it yourself and stop crying.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    A lot of disgruntled iPad 1 owners will tell you lack of RAM is it's achilles heel, I hope this 30% increase in its RAM use with no increase in capacity doesn't hurt it.

    People saying Mavericks like compression will help: Anand measured how much RAM was in use under load. If it was compressing something, it would have been factored into how much was used. This is no holy grail here.
    Reply
  • Justin216 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    The problem was that the original iPad's memory was somewhat anemic from the get-go, even for the limited apps that were available at release.

    Since I've yet to have any memory issues on my 5s (iOS7 seems to do pretty good memory management, better than iOS6 did for me on my iP5), so I don't anticipate I'll have any with a new iPad Air.

    Would I have liked more? Yep. Should they have added more? Probably. I'm just not overly put off by it having 1GB RAM. Reality is, app devs work within their hardware constraints, and make great use of the specs they have. We've had the Xbox 360 on the market, what, 8 years? It has 512MB RAM, and developers still managed to make great software under those constraints. Apples to oranges there of course, but the basic concept still stands.

    Now, if we were talking flagship Android tablets, I'd never buy one with 1GB RAM. For several technical reasons, Android is RAM hungry, and the general experience improves dramatically with more RAM.
    Reply
  • Kvaern - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Time will show if the airpad will become obsolete prematurely because of its ram but those disgruntled iPad 1 users apparently fail to realize you don't both get to be a tech pioneer and get product longevity. Reply
  • lilo777 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Or maybe they realized that product longevity is more important to them especially when other tech pioneers can provide both. Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    The 5S throttles to 75% after just two minutes of load? I'm not sure why that would be considered an ok thing. The Nexus 4 was criticized a lot for throttling. Reply
  • Zoolookuk - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Battery life... the initial 2 mins is just like turbo boost. It's not permanent. Reply
  • Justin216 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    The Nexus 4 was throttling under normal or typical use -- the throttling shown in this review is under extreme situations that wouldn't normally or reasonably occur. Reply
  • Spunjji - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Incorrect, it throttles under benches too. Never seen my partner's Nexus 4 show throttling behaviour under normal use. That said, we do live in England... Reply
  • stacey94 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Well you wouldn't notice it unless he was playing a game. With mpdecision the Nexus 4 runs at 1026 MHz or slightly higher after touch input anyway, and that's also the loading throttling frequency. Reply
  • darkich - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Soo..we just saw the A7 stomping all over the most powerful Bay Trail.
    Now will you FINALY drop your Intel bias, Anand?
    Reply
  • VengenceIsMineX - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    ASUS T100 is lower Bay Trail SKU, not the higher speed one and ASUS really cut things like memory quality and storage to the bone to hit that price point. Anand hasn't done a review of a top tier Bay Trail product like the upcoming Dell Venue Pro 11 yet. Reply
  • VengenceIsMineX - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Also, the benchmarks Anand chose for this are almost all javascript based, not compiled code which is where traditionally Intel has performed better vis a vis ARM. It's still to early to call this fight yet until we see the higher end Bay Trail sku's in action and better benchmarks, the ones Anand chose to perform would be expected to tilt toward the A7 but compiled code benchmarks like Geekbench will likely slant toward Intel. Reply
  • Braumin - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    To be fair to Anand, it's just tough to compare anything cross-platform. Unfortunately browser tests are one of the few cross-platform things you can even run, even if it's ultimately a test of the browser more than anything.

    Even if you had native code it would be different on every platform and therefore not an equal test.

    I look at the JS benchmarks and find them interesting more in how far everyone has come rather than actually compare them across platforms. The only thing Kraken tells you is how that particular OS/chip runs Kraken. For sure it's fair to compare, say Surface RT and Surface 2 on Kraken, but that's about where it ends.
    Reply
  • errorr - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Kraken isn't as bad a some others. I'm convinced Anand includes sunspider for laughs more than anything. Reply
  • thunng8 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    I have doubts that Javascript benchmarks have a tilt on the A7.

    Safari's javascript engine is the weakest of the 3 major ones available on OS X Mavericks. I did a few benchmarks on my MacBook Pro 2.2Ghz Quad i7 (2011):

    Chrome 30, Firefox 24, Safari 7

    Sunspider 1.01 163, 169, 163

    Lower is better .. they are about equivalent

    Kraken 1.1 1471, 1692, 2212

    Lower is better .. Chrome is about 50% faster than Safari in Kraken

    Octane 1.0 19250, 15488, 14801

    Higher is better.. Chroms is ~30% better than Safari

    As iOs7 uses the same Javascript engine as Mavericks, Safari's engine is mediocre at best.
    Reply
  • darkich - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Also, about the power consumption, Anand's notion about it probably being higher than that of the A6X is just horrendous - it is definitely clear that the A7 is much easier on battery than the A6X.
    Apple themeselves stated that the decrease in the iPad Air's battery size was possible because of the A7's power efficiency, Anand!
    Reply
  • evilspoons - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    It IS higher - when it is stressed to the maximum. It is capable of dissipating more power, period.

    However, because of the concept of race-to-idle, it finishes tasks faster and can go into a low-power state faster than the A6X, therefore using less power on average, resulting in longer battery life for a given battery capacity.
    Reply
  • solipsism - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    There also seems to be power savings with the display components. I wonder if IGZO is /finally/ utilized; although I would have expected Apple to dropped this buzz-word if they had finally incorporated that process. Reply
  • evilspoons - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Thank you for the comprehensive, high-quality review. Great job.

    I won't be buying an iPad Air as the value-per-dollar of the Nexus 7 is just too tempting for me, but I can safely recommend it to friends and family if they're interested. Looks like Apple did a really good job this time around.
    Reply
  • jwdav - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Per square inch of screen, the Nexus 7 is 35% more expensive than the iPad:

    Apple’s iPad mini has a 7.9-inch display boasting 29.96 sq. inches of display area. That is 36% larger than Google’s plastic Nexus 7′s tiny 7-inch display’s 22.02 sq. inches. Google’s Nexus 7 offers a display that’s just 64% of Apple’s iPad mini. 64% of Apple’s $299 iPad mini price is $191.36, not $230.

    So, why is Google’s tiny-screen Nexus 7 priced so high?
    Reply
  • Braumin - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    $299 mini - junk internals with an old 1024x768 screen
    $229 Nexus 7 - 1920x1200 screen, new internals.

    What you meant to do was compare it to the mini retina, which is $399. Using your "logic" then the Nexus 7 should be $255, but it's not it's only $229. It gets real ugly after that if you try to compare the 32GB SKUs so don't.

    I'm not a Nexus fan by any means but you look to be doing self-justification. That's a real thing check it out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-justification
    Reply
  • MarkWebb - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    I think the iPad Air is mind-blowing. It's the tiny microPad, the Touch, that I feel sorry for, chugging along on an A5.... Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    I so want an A7 touch. Reply
  • ancientarcher - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Great review Anand!

    Looking at the comments it seems that you just can't satisfy everyone. Well done though. Good job!

    Having said that, let me now put forward my complaints. Why do you only have javascript benchmarks for the CPU?? I understand there is no ideal CPU benchmark, but what harm will it do to include a few. Nothing is perfect, but if you watch out for the usual tricks that the OEMs/chip suppliers play, you should be able to capture most if not all. Would love to see Geekbench at least in the benchmark set, for both the processor and single core results.
    Reply
  • errorr - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Um, what cross platform benchmark exists? I don't really see any valid possibilities out there right now and nobody is more vocal about it than Anand seems to be. Reply
  • Spunjji - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    "An interesting side effect of Apple’s pricing structure is that the cost for NAND upgrades actually gets pretty reasonable at the higher capacities."

    That actually made me laugh. I guess that's one way to look at it. From my perspective it's still a rip-off no matter which way you shake it...
    Reply
  • VengenceIsMineX - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Seriously. While it is interesting, this is the one point where I think Anand's affection for Apple products has seriously affected his judgement. He would be just hammering ANY other manufacturer for charging $100 for 16 gb of NAND at today's prices but he not only gives them a pass on that, he bends over backward to point out that 64 GB to 128 GB is "only" another $100. Come on Anand, you are better than that. Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Precisely! Thank you. I can understand the "it's their pricing structure" argument for why they charge that much (people still buy it, so why not) but there's no need to try to make it sound generous when it quite clearly is not. Reply
  • VengenceIsMineX - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Interesting iteration of hardware, particularly the SOC and a very solid technical review but I think in all fairness Anand, you didn't address the elephant in the room which is Apple's adherence to the $499 full size ipad price point, shameless storage & LTE gouging & what sort of value this offers. With the evolution of great smaller 7" tablets on the Android side and Windows 8.1 Bay Trail devices like the ASUS T100 coming in at prices of less than $230 and $349 respectively, you have to address what sort of value this thing offers for people who will consider it from a value perspective. Sure the Apple faithful will buy it but should those who aren't invested in Apple's ecosystem consider what is a very, very steep price in today's market? You address this in other reviews, why not here?

    (you do mention the storage pricing but honestly, I think at this point given NAND prices, you would be calling ANY other manufacturer to account for charging $100 for an additional 16 GB of storage, instead you bend over backward to point out how affordable the jump from 64 to 128 is. Really??? That's your take on this????)
    Reply
  • darkcrayon - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    I think your assertion about "Apple faithful" is a bit outdated. At the numbers the iPad sells, it's hard to say only a small subset of "special" people who only like Apple are buying them. Obviously a lot of people think the iPad is still worth $500, and you're not going to see a price drop until that changes. I do agree a comparison with inexpensive Windows based tablets is in order though. Reply
  • friendlystanger - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    I am new user of this site and I am nost sure what 2 wide system means. Can anyone clarify this ? Reply
  • errorr - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    It has to do with how many instructions van be processed by a single core on each cycle. It is a major bottleneck but comes with a huge power penalty to go wider usually.

    Just adding extra cores is only one way to increase parallelism.
    Reply
  • friendlystanger - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Where can I learn more about these things? Any book,tutorial ? BTW thank you very much for your reply. Reply
  • AldenG - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Not including the Kindle Fire HDX in the comparison does seem to be a glaring oversight as other sites have posted benchmarks that show it is roughly 2x the power of the Nexus 7. I actually read this review trying to decide between them, and this makes it really hard. As an iPad owner AND Amazon Prime subscriber, I'm on the fence, and was hoping this review would tip the balance. Anand, please update with Kindle specs, too. Reply
  • coolhardware - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    It is pretty crazy that the tablet line that introduced the 'retina' moniker is not in the top 10 anymore in pixel density:
    http://pixensity.com/list/tablet/

    I understand many people say pixel density beyond Apple's dictated/calculated points is irrelevant, but from a technical standpoint it is really cool to see these other ultra high res displays out there :-)

    Regardless, Apple does make nice tablets and I do plan on replacing my wife's iPad 3 with an iPad Air (mainly since her iPad 3 has been laggy since upgrading to iOS 7).
    Reply
  • ssiu - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    The 7" Kindle Fire HDX is not in the list (should be #3 at 323 PPI) Reply
  • coolhardware - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Good call! You can submit a device here: http://pixensity.com/add/

    Along those same lines of new tablets, I am excited to see the new HDX 8.9 and the new Nexus 10 (maybe Nov 5th?)
    Reply
  • choch0 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    does anyone know where Anand got the colored triangle wallpaper he used on his ipad air for the review photos? i love the wallpaper! any help/feedback would be greatly appreciated. Reply
  • Commodus - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    That's actually built into iOS 7 (not the default). Reply
  • deathBOB - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Anand, what has changed to drop display power usage? Reply
  • lilo777 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    "You can see the 5s throttles back its CPU frequency to about 1GHz after the 2 minute mark. The crazy thing is that until that point the 5s manages to run at full frequency without so much as a hiccup for two full minutes, running an incredibly power hungry task. Given that most iOS apps aren’t this power intensive for such a sustained period of time, iPhone 5s users should almost always see the A7 running at a full 1.3GHz. Pretty crazy."

    Also crazy is the fact that somehow Anand decided not to call this benchmark cheating unlike what he did with Android tests.
    Reply
  • carbonsx - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    "Also crazy is the fact that somehow Anand decided not to call this benchmark cheating unlike what he did with Android tests."

    Isn't it though... There is no way that the A7 will always be running at a full 1.3GHz for thermal and battery life reasons, other than during a benchmark. This statement makes absolutely no sense:
    "Given that most iOS apps aren’t this power intensive for such a sustained period of time, iPhone 5s users should almost always see the A7 running at a full 1.3GHz. Pretty crazy."

    Pretty crazy indeed.
    Reply
  • tgibbs - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Benchmark cheating is not the processor throttling down when driven hard for a period of time--in fact, it is the exact opposite. Benchmark cheating is the device recognizing a benchmarking app and entering a special mode where it does *not* throttle down--even though it would do so if any other app were hitting the processor that hard. Reply
  • Wilco1 - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    The "cheats" do not prevent thermal throttling down at all - they simply switch to maximum frequency immediately. The issue is that many of the popular benchmarks run for such short periods (~10 milliseconds) that the DVFS has no time to switch to maximum frequency. A long running benchmark always runs at the maximum frequency. Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    CPU throttling for thermal reasons, one of the most common functions in CPUs and GPUs, is the exact opposite of an application boosting clock speed based on triggers from specific benchmarks and applications in order to game performance numbers.

    Blown away by the lack of thinking in the comments
    Reply
  • KPOM - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Maybe because he had previously commented that Apple, Motorola, and Google don't cheat on benchmarks. Reply
  • Graag - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Look, lilo, we all know that you're an anti-Apple shill based on your posting history, so it's probably too much for you to actually understand what you're writing.

    The kind of cheating you are incorrectly remembering occurred when a device that *usually* throttled its frequency to save battery power did not throttle its frequency when it detected that a benchmark program was running.

    Obviously, that's not what's going on here.
    Reply
  • tential - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Dunno where all the hate is on this review.
    I read the Engadget review first, and was meh about it. I come here and I read a full hardware review. It's just amazing the amount of effort that goes into these reviews.
    My only complaint is that anandtech doesn't review more products! Haha. I'd really like to see some ultrabook/lower end laptops reviewed. Some more routers as well. This is a great review though, I realy don't even want to waste my money now on a new tablet/phone when apple seems to have went full steam ahead to destroy competition in performance. it's too bad the average consumer knows nothing about this stuff though.
    Reply
  • tential - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    To further elaborate since people are saying this review favors Apple. The review of the Nexus 7 was also VERY NICE in terms of what google did. Anandtech is praising apple in this review, but they praise companies that do a good job period. I don't hitnk this review favors apple at all. It does point outa number of short comings as well.

    I think the Ipad Air is great, but Google NExus 7 definitely holds its own at the price point given and clearly there is an advantage for Apple with it's focus on its own ARM processor development because they develop their own processor for their own new OS while SnapDragon and Google work independently (to my knowledge at least).
    Reply
  • Streamlined - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    It's because the web is full of paid shills who post comments for money from Apples competitors. Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Its because tech forums are filled with paid shills from Apple's competitors and anti-Apple fanboys who will jump through as many mental hoops as possible to deny any positives their products and ecosystem has Reply
  • prashy21 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Anand,
    A very nice and detailed review ( as always ).
    I have couple of points
    "Touch ID" should have been part of it ( it's deal breaker for me to upgrade my 3rd gen iPad ).
    As you pointed out 32GB should be norm now as Apple charges premium for their product.
    Reply
  • azazel1024 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Good overall review.

    However, I have to disagree a lot with the comment on speaker location.

    Yes, you have trade-offs between both on top or bottom if held in portrait postion or one on top one on the bottom in portrait position. However, I do think Apple choose poorly with this. I can't believe I am the only one who pretty much watches movies 100% in landscape postion. On top of that probably 90% of my gaming is in landscape with the rare exception of a game that is only portrait (cut the rope for example). Probably more than 75% of my music listening is also in landscape (either because it is on a stand in landscape, or I am browsing the web in lanscape).

    So for me personally, and I'd bet most other users, the times they'd be using the speakers, they are going to be using their iPad in landscape mode...which means they get no stereo.

    The RF window could have been relocated to what is the side in portrait mode, or top when in landscape to accomodate repositioning of the speakers. Well, it should have anyway, though it might not be feasible with the internal layout of battery and boards.

    One of those things that interests me in the T100 (other than, well, full windows) is proper placement of the speakers for stereo sound when I'd actually be using the speakers 90+% of the time (and better speakers it sounds like?).

    Apple has kind of lost me through no real fault of their own though. The iPad was amazing when it first came out. The iPad 2 was great. The Retina iPad 3 had some big trade offs but an amazing screen (weight and charging time). The iPad 4 is...uh...an increment. The Air looks great and seems to be a huge improvement over the iPad 3/4.

    The problem is that others have improved their game. Android has gotten much better as an OS over the intervening years and OEM/ODMs have really stepped up their game in Android tablet designs.

    Windows 8 was an okay touch OS. 8.1 was a better (if not great, an okay) touch OS. Intel finally came out with a good enough (and in some ways, damned good) x86 Atom processor in Silvermont/Bay Trail.

    iOS just doesn't have productivity potential in the areas I am interested in and zero compatibility with the productivity apps I use on the desktop/laptop (Lightroom being one of the main ones). For general content consumption, Android is cheaper with some rather good designs. Windows tablets, with the T100...are also cheaper and so much more productivity potential when needed.

    I'll keep my iPhone, thank you very much. For a phone and phone OS, iPhones and iOS are great IMHO. For a tablet though, now that the hardware has continuously improved, I feel like it can finally deliver on productivity like I've always wanted it to. So an "appliance" operating system is no longer appropriate to me in a tablet (well, not a tablet I'd buy). The hardware is great, but the OS not so much anymore (for a tablet).
    Reply
  • esterhasz - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    I completely fell out of love with iOS after getting the new Nexus 7, but this is still an awesome piece of engineering. Reply
  • spbcat - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Hi,
    can you please weigh both the new smart cover and the new smart case and post the weight here? (preferably in grams) Thanks!
    Reply
  • Brutalizer - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    What is "iPad 4"? Do they mean "New iPad"? Why dont Anandtech use the correct name so people will not get confused? Reply
  • ws3 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    No one is confused by "iPad 4" Reply
  • darwiniandude - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Really?
    iPad 3rd gen launch title:
    "The new iPad"
    iPad 4th gen launch title:
    "iPad with retina display"
    (They both have a retina display)

    Calling them 3 or 4 is the only sensible thing to do in retrospect.
    Reply
  • dwade123 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    The new iPad is very beautiful with a screen that none can compete. And the software catalog is significantly better than Android. Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    dwade123 - Your logic has no place here. Obviously the platform with slower hardware and inferior software is better.

    Because you know... it isn't Apple

    /s
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    If you need a 3:4 aspect ratio, iOS and/or a large tablet and money isn't an issue, this is a good upgrade. But for a large tablet, I have to say the 8.9" HDX from Amazon sounds a lot better. Minus the crappy software. 85€ cheaper for 16GB, 125€ cheaper for 32GB, 165€ cheaper for 64GB and 100€ extra for LTE instead of 120€. If I needed a large tablet (I don't Nexus 7 gets much more use than my last 10.1" tablet), I'd either wait for the specs of the Nexus 7, learn to live with a 8.9" HDX or try my luck with the custom ROM market for the HDX. Reply
  • stefstef - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Looks like a decent successor to the iPad 4. yet apple is quite comfortable as their product range still fits the demands of the customers and there isn't much to do about it. but Microsoft already (although a Little hasty) has set itself as a strong competitor for the future. surely the pc will be history in the future and Microsoft has prepared: Gamers go console, People in Need of average computing power (the vast majority) go Surface or Surface pro and with Nokia they have a decent Company für the Gadget market. one day the Windows 8 concept will pay of. that will be the day apple wont get away with decent successors. new ideas will be needed. but see what the future brings ... Reply
  • ssiu - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    How come there are no storage benchmarks, like we had for Android tablets reviews? e.g. http://www.anandtech.com/show/7231/the-nexus-7-201... Reply
  • Fx1 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    The only issue i have with this review is that you took 10 whole pages to basically review the same ipad that has been around for years which is just slightly faster and slimmer than last years. Its a locked down boring tablet for kiddy users. Reply
  • Streamlined - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    That's funny because I'm a financial analyst and the most popular tablet among professionals who use their tablet for WORK in Fortune 500 level companies is the ipad. Reply
  • darkcrayon - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Right, the tablet with the most compelling apps and arguably the most powerful hardware is surely boring and for kiddy users. By your laughable standard, pretty much any computer in any category is the same as the last several. Reply
  • gattacaDNA - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    As far as I know, Apple has not begun printing US currency. So everyone is entitled to spend their $ on whatever tablet or other device strokes their fancy / fantasies. All this lambasting and "mine's bigger than yours" is a childish waste of time. Nearly every review in every medium has some sort of bias. Hell you demonstrate bias every day when you choose who to eat a meal with - get over it. Buy what devices you want and the market and stock prices will decide what futures are delivered - all are viable until proven otherwise. Peace. Reply
  • gnx - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    1 lbs is the threshold for easy to hold in hand. I felt so after using a iPad and a Galaxy Tab 10.1 and then Galaxy Tab 8.9 and iPad2.

    In terms of form factor, personally, I though Samsung already had the best product in 2011 with the Galaxy Tab 8.9: screen real estate comparable to an iPad/iPad2 (the same height in portrait, just a bit more compact in width) but lighter and thinner (under 1 lbs). So I was dismayed to see Samsung not follow up with a successor to the Galaxy Tab 8.9, while Apple went for heavier and thicker with iPad3 & iPad4. Smaller tablets like the Galaxy Tab 7.7, Nexus 7 and iPad Mini (7.9)/Galaxy Note 8.0 all sacrificed screen space too much, for someone like me who reads a lot of documents on them.

    Personally, cause I'm frustrated with the lack of widgets on iOS, I am partial to Android. But if Google or Samsung or Asus don't come up with a 8.9 or 10.1 under 1lbs, the iPad Air may be my only choice for an upgrade .....
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Amazon HDX 8.9" not for you? :) The software does have issues, but it checks all the right boxes. Might work for you. Either the last one for price and good-enough performance of this years with higher prices (still lower than iPad) and higher performance, better specs to go with it. Reply
  • gnx - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    I also love the form factor of the Kindle HDX 8.9 - superb dimensions and weight in my opinion. But I have to sadly admit I am also tied to several google apps, namely, gmail, google voice, google calendar and a few others, and though both iOS and Android provide support, forked Amazon Fire OS doesn't ... this is more Google's call than Amazon's fault, but admittedly, it limits my choice to an iPad or Nexus/Samsung/Asus etc ... Reply
  • solipsism - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Comparable? The Galaxy 8.9 is closer to the display are of the iPad MINI than to the iPad (Air). Reply
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    If my math isn't wrong and the screen size calculator I used is correct (on draperin.com), then the HDX 8.9" has 231cm² display surface, the iPad Mini 172cm² and the iPad Air 243cm², which seems to invalidate your statement. Reply
  • thunng8 - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Your math is wrong. Not sure if you accounted for different aspects ratios

    By my calculations (LxW=Area (cm^2):

    iPad mini=16x12=192
    Fire HDX=19.15x12=230
    iPad Air=19.7x14.8=292
    Reply
  • Krysto - Friday, November 01, 2013 - link

    Why would the aspect ratio matter in calculating the surface area? Reply
  • thunng8 - Friday, November 01, 2013 - link

    Of course aspect ratio affects area

    Take an extreme example a tablet of length 25cm and width of 1cm. Surface area is 25cm^2. Diagonal is still 25cm. ( to be more precise 25.02cm).
    Reply
  • gnx - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    As I mentioned, I find both a 7.9 inch ipad mini and galaxy note 8.0 (which is really closer to iPad Mini) both too cramped and small, as I use the table for foremost as a document reader on the go. And just to add, the Galaxy Tab 8.9 was 1280:800, thus 16:10, making even overall space closer to an iPad.

    Finally, for practically reasons, the Galaxy Tab 8.9 was nice, since because it's height in portrait mode was almost identical to an iPad 2/3/4, just narrower in breath, I could chose from most iPad accessories such as any carrying cases, pouches, bluetooth keyboard, etc.
    Reply
  • yoshi1080 - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    I still love my iPad 3, but I'm thinking about upgrading. I do a lot of stuff on it and sometimes I wish it'd be faster. The iPad Air should be around 3–4x faster, right?

    Two of the most demanding tasks where I wish my iPad was faster are photo and video editing. I've already read that iMovie is supposed to be really fast on the iPad Air, so that's a clear advantage. My iPad's speed is sufficient for JPEG editing, but RAW processing (with PiRAWnha) is practically unusable. Processing RAW photos on my iPad would be my dream because photo editing on it is just so much more fun than on my iMac with the dreadfully slow Aperture – I'd be happy with getting 90% of the quality, but RAW is mandatory for me.

    Up until now I thought the iPad Air would be much better suited for PiRAWnha. But now Anand writes about the RAM bottleneck due to the 64bit architecture and this makes me wonder: On the original iPad, the app often complained about too little available RAM and eventually crashed. I feel like the 1GB RAM on the iPad 3 is the reasonable minimum – would the Air be a disappointment in that regard? On the other hand, Adobe is working on bringing Lightroom and those smart DNGs to the iPad, and the beta version has even been shown running on an old iPad 2.
    Reply
  • darkcrayon - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Apps just don't need as much RAM as we think they do, especially mobile versions. Sometimes I'm surprised what can still run just fine on an iPad 2 (also helps of course that only one foreground app needs to run at a time). The Air should be 4 times faster than the iPad 3- should be no contest, especially in CPU. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Well, using one app at a time is fine, but browsing the web with a few tabs open and then switching to one or two other apps gets Apple device quickly ejecting stuff from RAM, where my Nexus devices are still having the pages loaded. :) Reply
  • fteoath64 - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Thanks for the detailed review!. As I suspected the A7 behavior would have been rather different to wring out more performance out for the iPad as compared to the iphone. As you stated in the power consumption measurements, it seems the A7 is rather power hungry and only aggressive power management gets the battery life it needs. I am sure, it would be waiting for the TSMC 20nm process node as it seems this chip is just at the brink of 28nm as it is today. In making, the battery last so long without negatively impacting user performance, Apple has done a great job to achieve the balance using software. From the power draw alone, I figured out why it was clocked at such speeds instead of 1.6Ghz or 1.8Ghz. It cannot afford the power budget associated with it!. Reply
  • iwod - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Sk Hynix Just announced a 6Gb LPDDR3. A Maximum of 3GB when 4 of them Stacked, Interesting isn't it?
    How about 2 Channel use? 1.5GB of Memory? May be a big company / customer would like / require this ?
    While I hope Apple will give us 2GB in next generation. The reality may very well be we get 1.5GB of memory only.
    Reply
  • bigup - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    is the 1GB RAM really a deal breaker? sold my ipad 3 to buy the iPad Air but now having seconds thoughts - what do you think? Reply
  • darkcrayon - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    It's not a deal breaker. You could argue in 2 years it would be better with more, but you're already the type of person that sells their less than 2 year old iPad for the latest, so... ;) Reply
  • stevenvmc - Friday, November 01, 2013 - link

    Yes, it is a deal breaker for me. I'm using iPad 4 with 1GB RAM and it keeps getting low memory. When I open several tabs in Safari (5-6 tabs), when switching among the tabs Safari will refresh the content which will cost data bandwidth if on 4G. And the thing is they may release another iPad Air with 2GB RAM in 6 months. Reply
  • Desplow - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    I still think the most significant iPad upgrade was the iPad 3 with retina display. Reply
  • jelloboy - Saturday, November 02, 2013 - link

    I had the original iPad, the iPad 2 and the iPad 3 and now the Air. I will completely agree with the review - in your hand this is a HUGE upgrade over the 3. On paper it's not overly impressive, but it's something you have to hold to really appreciate it. I was on the fence about getting the Air but decided to go ahead and get one today after reading this review last night. I'm very impressed with the Air - I'd say got and see one yourself and then see what you think.

    Also the iPad 2 might have been the biggest upgrade - the speed difference between that and the first was greatly needed. By the time I got rid of my original iPad for an iPad 2 I was ready to throw the thing through a window because it just seemed so laggy. The iPad 3 obviously had the Retina screen, but basically is an iPad 2 in terms of performance. That's my opinion anyways.
    Reply
  • shermanx - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    when is the MBP review coming out? really curious whether this time Apple has fixed the ghosting for Retina screens, which is not really mentioned in reviews available now. Reply
  • LittleB69 - Friday, November 01, 2013 - link

    Great so this time they got it right!

    So now it runs Java and Flash without problems and can have other browsers installed that are not based on the safari rotkit. Support for more codecs, IR blaster for remote control, USB and NFC support and ....... or did they just make a thinner faster product with the same functionality as all the other devices?
    Reply
  • Charles K - Friday, November 01, 2013 - link

    Hello everyone, new here, sorry for the long (first) post and my english.

    I just wanted to say: I just bought the iPad air this morning after returning my nexus 7.2 for having a horrible aspect ratio, google asking for all my information in every app and just general lagginess.
    Don't get me wrong, the device itself is fast, but there is a lot of input lag, and little freezes all the time when using chrome or just when navigating the play store. I had gotten it because it was definitely cheaper, but the device even crashed a few times in less than two days, and coming from the iPad Mini (which I absolutely loved but gave my girlfriend), this just won't do.

    So now I figure, let's just shell out the extra cash and get the new iPad Air. I get the 16Gb "space gray", which looks much, much better on the iPhone, but still a beautifull device.
    I fire it up, play a bit with it and boom, (first-world) problems.

    There is a lot of screen input lag. I can't say precisely but definitely at least 100ms.It's still pretty fast, but using the tablet mainly for drawing and internet browsing, it really bothers me on such an expensive device.

    My question is: I really didn't feel input lag to be that slow on the iPad Mini, and I don't know if it's due to the much higher resolution, or just iOS 7 itself, buit does anyone feel it too, and do you think it could be adressed by a future software update? Because i'm thinking of returning the device and just get another iPad Mini without retina display. I don't reaaally need the extra power and resolution, and size/weight is really what's more important to me. That and speed (not power if it makes sense)

    Thank y'all, and great review Anan!!
    Reply
  • ADGrant - Saturday, November 02, 2013 - link

    If size and weight are your priority then you should get a Mini.

    As for lag, I haven't experienced any though I don't do much drawing. However, there is not a faster ARM tablet on the market and iOS has been measured as having much lower screen lag than Android.
    Reply
  • Ken Esq - Friday, November 01, 2013 - link

    I think Apple did a great job of cutting the weight down. Unfortunately, no matter how good their hardware is it's strangled by the overly simplistic iOS. I wish I could run Android or Win 8 on the iPad hardware. Reply
  • Ken Esq - Friday, November 01, 2013 - link

    Although...it would be nice if reviewers made it very clear that Apple does not supply a GPS chip on any of the WiFi only iPads. I guess they save themselves a few cents. Reply
  • beggerking@yahoo.com - Saturday, November 02, 2013 - link

    There are tons of tablets running full windows 8 for much less and work much better.

    Asus t100
    Surface pro
    Dell venue 8
    Reply
  • stingerman - Sunday, November 03, 2013 - link

    Yes, I haven't even seen one of those in use other than commercials. Real failures... Reply
  • stingerman - Sunday, November 03, 2013 - link

    lol, you're hilarious! iOS is Unix plus all the major OS X frameworks plus all the new iOS frameworks... It maybe light because of its elegance, but it's a light nuclear weapon... Reply
  • lilo777 - Sunday, November 03, 2013 - link

    LOL. Do you know any version of Unix that does not have a file system (exposed to user)? Reply
  • Krysto - Friday, November 01, 2013 - link

    Offtopic, but Anand, the announcement of Mali T760 is suspiciously missing from this site.

    Over 300 GFLOPS, which is more than PS3 and should make it pretty competitive with mobile Kepler, along with ASTC compression by default, much more efficient, and has some interesting features like hardware assisted global illumination.

    ARM's announcement:

    http://community.arm.com/groups/arm-mali-graphics/...
    Reply
  • michael2k - Friday, November 01, 2013 - link

    Yeah, the T700 series is for next generation devices, or in other words, products in the next 12 months. The PowerVR6 series is available now for this generation and up to 1000 GFLOPS. Reply
  • Krysto - Saturday, November 02, 2013 - link

    Do you see that 1000 GBFLOPS in any smartphone? Just because it can be scaled that much, doesn't mean they WILL for smartphones. This GPU will be used in smartphones a year from now. What does the GPU in Apple's A7 have now? ~100 GFLOPS?

    Anyway, the Mali T760 seems very competitive with what will be out there a year from now, and Anandtech usually writes about these sort of announcements.
    Reply
  • michael2k - Monday, November 04, 2013 - link

    I think you've missed the point.
    1) We aren't in a smartphone thread
    2) The PowerVR6 will scale to 1000 GFLOPs; so when the T700 comes out next year, the PowerVR will be ready
    3) The Air is at about 115 GFLOPs, about 2x the outgoing iPad 4, and will therefore be approximately 230 GFLOPs in the A8 next year, if 2x, or 340 GFLOPs if 3x

    So you are correct that the Mali T760 will be competitive next year, but this article is about this year.
    Reply
  • michael2k - Monday, November 04, 2013 - link

    You've missed the point.

    The PVR6 is 115GF today in the Air, and when needed to compete with the T700 can hit 300GF.

    Likewise, we are in a thread about tablets, where it is much more likely to scale to the needed 300GF.
    Reply
  • Krysto - Saturday, November 02, 2013 - link

    What you said also reminded me of how Intel promoted "Haswell graphics".

    "Hey, look, out "Haswell GPU" (Iris Pro 5200) is 3x faster than IVB!" - and then you only see crappy 4600 in most devices, including the Surface Pro, which is only 20 percent faster than last year's IVB GPU.

    Or "look at our awesome new 2.6 Ghz Silvermont CPU's! - and then you only see 1.3 ghz Silvemont for tablets, because the 2.6 Ghz ones are not viable either because of too high TDP or price, which makes them pretty irrelevant. What's relevant is what will be in the market, not their pie-in-the-sky CPU's that never get on the shelves.
    Reply
  • ashleyuv - Saturday, November 02, 2013 - link

    This is a very interesting review, even for someone without the tech or IT background to follow all of it. In particular, I like the way, in the last part, you show how the increase to 64-bit and the DRAM size (remaining the same), while seeming like a no-brainer and conservative decisions, respectively, are actually a smart play, albeit one with consequences.

    In agreement with one of your readers, I'd have to say that "review" is really the wrong word for this. It is all but a scientific study. But again, it's written for people who may not have an extensive tech background.

    Thank you! I will be reading more in the future (just discovered your site).
    Reply
  • jelloboy - Saturday, November 02, 2013 - link

    I've been coming here for many years. Their breakdown of products are fantastic, I always checkout what they have to say about something before picking it up. Reply
  • beggerking@yahoo.com - Saturday, November 02, 2013 - link

    Where is the nexus 5 review? Why is it not up yet? Reply
  • golem - Sunday, November 03, 2013 - link

    Why are you expecting one so soon? Most major outlets only have previews or first impressions and Anandtech's reviews usually come late anyway. Reply
  • jelloboy - Saturday, November 02, 2013 - link

    I just got my Air today, I'm upgrading from an iPad 3 and it's actually quite impressive in your hand, much more so than I thought it would be. Very comfortable and light to hold but still feels like an Apple product (which is a good thing) - very fast and the biggest thing I was worried about isn't an issue. I was worried since they cut some width off the sides that you might run into an issue of not having anyplace to rest your thumbs - however this isn't an issue at all. Since the iPad Air is a good amount lighter you don't to use as much leverage - plus I guess the software has some sort of thumb reject stuff in it - regardless it works.

    Obviously the unit is much faster than the iPad 3 - just generally usage is much more enjoyable on the Air. The iPad 3 wasn't slow, but it certainly wasn't as fast as my iPhone 5 - the Air obviously doesn't have the issue.

    So I wasn't sure if this new iPad would really be all that different, if the size and weight changes would be as dramatic as what I've read about here and other places - but I'm happy to say it really is quite an improvement.

    Also Android fanboys before you start crying, so you know I have 4 Sony Google TVs (which I love), and Nvidia Shield (which is awesome) and I've owned 3 different Android tablets over the years (Transformer TF100, Nexus 7, Transformer TF300). For the record the Android tablets are awful, terrible - slow, crappy software, lots of bugs. Meanwhile the Shield, which thinks it's a phone, actually runs very well. Anyways my point is Android has a long long long long long long way to go to be competitive in the tablet market. A long way.
    Reply
  • Gadgetmanjohn - Sunday, November 03, 2013 - link

    I'm an Apple fan, I have an iPad 1 and 3 but skipped 4 as it came out too soon after I'd purchased the 3rd gen. However, having tried the iPad air in the shop I was completely put off by the sound vibrations through the chassis. You can feel it all the way from the bottom to the top, very off putting when watching video or playing music whilst holding it. I just can't believe more people aren't talking about it, let's hope the mini doesn't suffer the same problem. Reply
  • Origin64 - Monday, November 04, 2013 - link

    You guys still pretending this is anything new? Same rectangle, different day. Reply
  • Chrispy_ - Monday, November 04, 2013 - link

    No matter how good this device may be, I can't get over the fact that iOS7 is such a blatant copy for the visual style of Android. The default wallpaper on this reminds me of several of the 4.2 JellyBean wallpapers:

    http://www.smartkeitai.com/wp-content/uploads/2012...
    http://www.smartkeitai.com/wp-content/uploads/2012...
    Reply
  • Brakken - Thursday, November 14, 2013 - link

    I was able to skin my android in iOS7 five months before iOS7 was released. Who's copying who now, huh? Huh?! Reply
  • nasqb112 - Monday, November 04, 2013 - link

    Great review (as always) as this looks like an awesome device. I want to get an opinion from the Anandtech crowd:

    I currently have a MacBook Air (2011) and a Nexus 7 and want to consolidate.

    I was thinking Surface Pro 2 or iPad Air with keyboard case (similar to the Surface keyboard blades) as I need to be productive on the device. I'd also watch movies, surf the web, game while traveling, etc.

    Can anyone offer their thoughts on iWork vs Office (particularly for spreadsheets/data analysis and presentations?). I know what Office is supposedly coming to iPad, but I'll believe it when I see it.

    So what would you choose, Surface Pro 2 or iPad Air with keyboard and why? Thanks all!
    Reply
  • tripleverbosity - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    If your biggest concern is running office I don't think the iPad Air with keyboard would be a good fit for you. Who knows when Office actually shows up for iOS and what level of functionality Microsoft will expose. As for iWork, it definitely isn't as comprehensive of an offering as Office at this point. That said, there's no way I'd buy a Surface Pro 2. If you can fit in into your budget, spend a couple hundred more and upgrade to the latest Macbook Air. It seems like you are trying to replace the laptop experience with a tablet/keyboard combo. Why not just go with a great laptop like the Air? You'll get better performance, better software capabilities, a superior keyboard and trackpad, and the best battery life out in the segment. Reply
  • tetsuk - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    The Macbook Air is great. However, as you mentioned, iWork is not comparable to Office. Since bootcamp works really well, it could still be an option. Reply
  • syedjalalt - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    AnandTech reviews are so unbiased and true unlike The Verge(iSheeps). They go as much deeper as possible to get the best out of their reviews and articles. This is real journalism. Hats off. Reply
  • johned - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I have a Nexus 4 (soon to be 5) a Nexus 7 first gen and an iPad 2 (soon to be Air). Sometimes I find all the partisan bickering about this stuff hilarious. I like a good row as much as the next guy but I'm a geek. I just love to play with the stuff. I prefer Android to iOS for my daily driver phone, but come on. Anand seems like he's just like me. He loves the tech, all of it, and if had could articulate the way he does, I probably would've started a website like this myself.
    I will say this, I really don't understand why people think NFC is dead. I use it at least once a day with Google Wallet on my phone. Both major grocery store chains in my area take it. McDonald's takes it. Now, the carrier based service is tanking because they were greedy and botched it. Google wallet I find very useful, though.

    Also, I've never had problems transferring files with it. My brother-in-law has a VZW Droid M and I have Nexus devices and I've sent him files from both my tablet and my phone. The most useful thing about it compared to Apple's Air Drop service is that I can do this without needing a wifi connection.

    I can honestly say, that the one thing keeping me from an iPhone right now is NFC because I use it so much. If the 5s had included it, I would be sporting one right now. Google Wallet is already available for iOS.

    I keep seeing somebody in here sounding like the Apple App Store marketing manager spewing the tired old line about 400blah blah thousand "iPad optimized" apps. This is nice that they are doing that but I observe two things.

    1) Google is trying to standardize apps so that 1 app needs to be made for all devices. Since all current Nexus devices have either a 720p or 1080p display, this is easy. This is simply a different approach than Apple is taking.
    2)This means that I only need to buy every app 1 time instead of buying it once for my phone and again (usually for a higher price) on my tablet. Apple could mitigate this buy shipping a standard hi-def resolution on the iPhone which they seem reluctant to do.

    Back to the original point. We are all geeks here. I appreciate technology. I have opinions about what I like and don't like, but I come to Anandtech because I like to stay current on everything going on. This site also stays largely unpolitical and sticks to the tech, which is why I don't read Ars as much anymore.
    Reply
  • JTravers - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    Not sure what you mean about needing a wifi connection for AirDrop. Is having your wifi turned on an issue? AirDrop uses wifi direct, so although you do need to have your wifi turned on you don't need to be connected to a wifi hotspot. Reply
  • nedjinski - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    but wait - there's more -

    http://www.displaymate.com/Tablet_ShootOut_3.htm
    Reply
  • Mayuyu - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    IGZO display instead of IPS. The chart here is wrong. Reply
  • cheshirster - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    Windows tablets are going to suppress ipads sales in coming months.
    Still no mention in conclusion. That's hilarious, at some point.
    Reply
  • AngryCorgi - Thursday, November 14, 2013 - link

    Again, you are listing the #s for GFLOPS/core, not the total GPU GFLOPS on the Rogue chips. You need to clarify that. And the older 554MP4 was 21.6 GFLOPS @ 300MHz (14.4 GFLOPS @ 200MHz, as ID'd by Imagination Tech). Reply
  • Atlink - Saturday, November 30, 2013 - link

    I'm truly not trying to stir the pot at all, but I am curious about NFC. I understand what it is, and its possible application, however, I'm not seeing anyone really clamor for it. This whole NFC deal seems like the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray war all over again. Neither side really had a lead until Sony began to tip the scales in their favor due to the PS3's exclusive use of Blu-Ray discs for games.

    I understand that NFC can be used to do some neat things: pay for food, verify a subway ticket, check into a hotel, etc. The problem that I'm seeing is one that anyone without a NFC phone can see: the lack of NFC-enabled terminals. I would say that Apple is dropping the ball something fierce if there were NFC terminals to scan this and that almost everywhere, but like QR codes, they seem almost like a novelty. I *could* scan that code with my phone by either downloading an application that can do it, and then hoping that the code can be read by the program, and hoping that the URL is worth looking at... or I could just type in the URL right below it (yes, I know not everything has a short URL below it). I *could* use NFC by sitting down with my credit cards in advance, creating an account, punching in the numbers, verifying data, opening the app when needed, sorting through the cards I plan to use, selecting the correct one, ensuring the transaction was accepted by the POS... or I could just use my debit card like I have been doing for years now, swipe once, punch in my PIN, and be done with it.

    Like I said, I do think that NFC is a really neat idea, and I would love the saturation to become more prevalent in the US, but as of now, it's kind of a neat idea with no real, practical application. I guess the problem I'm having is trying to understand the importance of having it NOW. Some people use NFC as a selling point, and that just seems odd.

    I think that when NFC catches on, and you begin seeing it almost everywhere, then we'll start seeing it in Apple products. No point in putting something in if you aren't going to be able to use it, right?
    Reply
  • divps - Saturday, November 30, 2013 - link

    I have a Nexus 7 and use an iPhone 5. We also have the iPads, a Nexus 4, a Nexus 5 and a Galaxy Nexus phones in the household. I use the Nexus 7 as my tablet for the things that it is strong at and use the nice iOS ecosystem for Apps that I need and that's generally good enough for me. I like the idea of wireless charging and I'm going to get a wireless charger for the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5. The Micro-USB connector isn't the easiest thing to connect without a little effort and the connector can get fatigued over time. It's also nice if you can just come home and put the phone on the platform and pick it up when you need it. The Apple connector is a lot easier for me to put in but wireless charging would mean that I wouldn't need as many lightning cables at home.

    The Apple ecosystem is generally smoother and nicer. I recently upgraded my Nexus 7 to KitKat and it ran like a dog and I tried a bunch of things and eventually had to do a factory reset which means that I lost a bunch of things and had to re-add them. There are several threads on this on the Phandroid Nexus 7 forums. The iOS 7 upgrade was a piece of cake compared to the KitKat upgrade. I also found UI differences for some simple things between the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 on KitKat. On the Nexus 7, you do left and right pulldown for notifications and settings. On the Nexus 7, you do one-finger and two-finger pulldowns for notifications and settings. I had thought that the UIs would be the same but I guess not.

    I'm extremely impressed with the Nexus 5 hardware - it's very, very fast, great screen, very thin, good feel in hand. I don't like the layout of the volume control and it has known problems with shutter lag and audio output (which I hope will be fixed with software). It's an incredible value for the money.

    The thing that I like about Android is the ease of copying content over to them. You just plug them into a PC and drag and drop your files and the Apps will find them on the device. With iOS, I have to convert videos to MP4, or documents to an iBooks compatible format.

    I think that the music player and email apps on iOS are far better than the OS provided ones on Android. Google should have done a better job copying iOS Apps there.
    Reply
  • Ashok_90 - Thursday, December 05, 2013 - link

    I recently ordered an iPad Air Cellular from SPRINT. I didn't really care about the carrier while ordering because I'm taking the device to India and will be using a local SIM there. All I wanted to know is...

    Do I need to activate with Sprint first and get it unlocked to be used outside the US, or I can simply remove the Sprint SIM (without even activating) and replace with my local nano-SIM?

    Please advise...
    Reply
  • casualphoenix - Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - link

    Hi Anand,

    Hope you're doing well today. My name is Nate Humphries and I'm the Tech/Science editor at CultureMass.com.

    I've been reading through your iPhone 5S and iPad Air articles in preparation for an article about the A7 chip, and it's been an extremely informative read. I wanted to ask if I could use your benchmark charts in my article if I provide proper citation back to your article. I think they would be very helpful for our readers.

    Let me know how that sounds, and I look forward to hearing back from you.

    Thanks,

    Nate Humphries
    Tech/Science Editor | CultureMass
    nate.humphries@culturemass.com
    Reply
  • Tom620 - Saturday, February 01, 2014 - link

    Very in-depth and high quality review. Reply

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