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- by Edward Choi

Apple iPad Air

Apple iPad Air

reviewPADD rating: 4
Consumer review: 3
Review Apple iPad Air »
Apple introduced the next generation of iPad, the iPad Air.

As the name suggests, it is thinner and lighter - 20% thinner and 28% lighter, to be precise. The iPad Air now only weighs a tad over one pound (1.03 pounds). Apple must have been pressured by Sony's Xperia Tablet Z, which weighs 1.09 pounds. But the Xperia sports a 10.1 inch screen, whereas the iPad Air comes with a 9.7 inch screen. And Sony Xperia Tablet Z is still thinner at 0.27 inches, whereas iPad Air is 0.29 inches thick. But the new iPad has better screen resolution than the Xperia.

Between Sony and Apple, it is a give and take when it comes to hardware specifications. There are tablets galore to choose from, and comparing the top brands' flagship models is always interesting and helpful. Throwing into the pot the Samsung's latest Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) makes the comparison a bit more interesting, as Samsung offers better screen resolution than Apple.

Here is a quick breakdown of comparisons:
Apple iPad Air: 1.03 lbs. (WINNER)
Sony Xperia: 1.09 lbs.
Samsung Galaxy Note: 1.18 lbs.

Apple iPad Air: 0.29 in.
Sony Xperia: 0.27 in. (WINNER)
Samsung Galaxy Note: 0.31 in.

Apple iPad Air: 9.7 in.; 2048 x 1536
Sony Xperia: 10.1 in.; 1920 x 1200
Samsung Galaxy Note: 10.1 in.; 2560 X 1600 (WINNER)

In terms of the processor, Apple's 64-bit A7 chip set with M7 motion coprocessor would run faster than Samsung's 32-bit 1.9GHz octa-core processor, but a rigorous test needs to be done on performing different sets of tasks. (Sony falls badly behind on processing unit, but wait until their next iteration.)

And there are other specs that cannot be compared side-by-side because of the intangibles. All three makers boast great cameras, and they all take decent pictures using slightly different hardware and software technology. Same goes with the sound system and other subjective matters. Software features are all pretty similar, but Apple continues to execute on somewhat simplistic approach to UI/UX that people seem to prefer. As unique features, Sony's tablet comes in waterproof body, and Samsung comes with the S-pen, which is incredibly helpful in performing different tasks.

The iPad Air looks and feels fantastic, but it is a much needed update on Apple's part to keep up with its competitors. Had they waited any longer, they may have started to see some consumer defections to "the next big thing" that "is already here." It would not be surprising to see, in coming weeks, Apple sell more iPads than ever before, because Apple fans have been waiting for an update, rather impatiently.

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