Apple iPad Air MD785LL/A (16GB, Wi-FI, Black with Space Gray)
Size: 16 GBShape: Wi-FiColor: BlackChange
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1,077 of 1,129 people found the following review helpful
While this is NOT the absolute latest iPad Air available, (an upgraded "iPad Air 2" was announced in October 2014), it's still one of the slimmest and lightest "tablet computers" available, and a fantastic bargain. It's so beautifully easy to use (my one year old granddaughter loves playing with it), it's almost doesn't feel like a computer at all.

A word of warning - this review is written for people who've never owned an iPad before - and are wondering what all the fuss is about.

If however you want to compare models (including the very latest one), search again for "iPad".

Just what's all the fuss about?
I used to own a laptop for work, and (very occasionally), it'd sit on my lap on the sofa, and I'd use it for pleasure (eMail, watching films or playing the odd game). Then I bought my first iPad, and the laptop became redundant, a boring "work device". Hard to explain, but the fact the iPad is so small and light, and you navigate around with your finger by pointing and gently swiping the screen makes the whole experience a lot easier - a lot more fun.

Even my most "technophobe" of friends have been won over.

It's incredibly simple and easy to use (it only has one main button), and everyone from my one year old granddaughter to my 85 year old dad have taken to without problems. It's size and shape also support using it like a book (literally to read a book or web page), but you can also watch TV and films.

Personally I'm also paranoid about my password getting "hacked", and someone running up a huge Amazon bill or buying stuff with my credit card on eBay. Well one of the benefits of the iPad (and iPhone) is it's "almost impossible" to get a virus - one of the most common ways to get hacked. This doesn't mean you shouldn't use strong passwords, (both Sony and Adobe got hacked), but it's reassuring to leave the Windows world behind.

Finally, I love the way these devices (iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, Apple Mac), increasingly work together. The fact you can start a Pages document on your Mac and edit it on your iPad, or take photos on the iPhone, and in seconds see them on the iPad or Mac and display them on the Apple TV.

Equally, you don't "need" to buy into the Apple dream. I also run a Google Nexus 5 (Android) phone, and a PC. Lots of programs (see below) can be used on the iPhone, iPad, Android and PC.

The thing about the iPad is, "it just works".

How about Apps?
Firstly, an App, is a small "application" (a program) that runs on your iPad, and there's literally thousands available from the "App Store", with the most important ones (web browser, mail, music player, word processor, spreadsheet etc) are pre-installed or free to download.

Many apps cost $1, and loads are free (frequently advertising funded with the option to "add on" stuff - but beware you can run up a huge bill).

Here's my favourites:-

* Mailbox. Incredibly slick mail app (or use the built in Apple App) (Free)
* Photo & iPhoto. Built in apps to take/view/edit photos (Free)
* Skype. Chat to the family for free using a video call (Free)
* Netflix. For a small monthly fee watch a huge collection of films online. (Free)
* Evernote. Write and organise notes. Edit them on your Android, iPhone, iPad, PC or Mac (Free)
* DropBox. Access your files, documents and photos on Android, iPhone, iPad, PC or Mac. (Free)
* Spotify. Stream music for £5 a month (or free with ads). Brilliant! (Free)
* eBay. Buy and sell your stuff online. (Free)
* Zite. Online web magazine that learns what you like. Terrific! (Free)
* Movies by Flixter. Read reviews of films on cinema and DVD. (Free)
* Kindle. Read your books from Amazon Kindle bookstore. (Free)
* QuickOffice. Edit Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents (Free)
* Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Apple's version of MS Office. Edit/save documents in Word, Excel andPowerpoint format. (Free)
* MS Office. a yearly subscription charge applies for 3-4 PCs, Macs or an iPad or "read only" for free. (Free)

Personally, I tend to use it for Mail, watching TV (Netflix or Amazon Instant Video), or shopping using the built in browser - Safari. Having said that, I'm writing this review (using an external keyboard) on Pages - so it can (with a stretch) do "most" of what you can do on a PC or Mac.

Which model should I buy?
I can't comment about Android tablets (apart from the Google Nexus 7 which is well regarded), but in terms of the Apple tablet line-up in order of cost:-

1. Avoid the Apple iPad 2, it's a relatively old model, under-powered and with a lower resolution screen.
2. iPad 3rd or 4th Generation. Not quite as light, fast or thin, but if you're on a budget (and who isn't), a great alternative.
2. iPad mini is a lovely tablet. A 7.9 inch screen and astonishingly light and remarkably thin - it feels like a light-weight book.
3. iPad mini with retina screen. Again 7.9 inch screen, but with the blazingly fast A7 chip, and a "retina" (high definition) screen. Worth the upgrade from the "mini".
4. iPad Air. Much larger screen size (9.7 inches - doesn't sound much but it makes a huge difference). Same fast (A7) chip as the Mini with Retina - the latest and fastest full size iPad available.
5. iPad Air 2. Same 9.7 inch screen, but blisteringly fast A8X chip, and "Touch ID" (fingerprint to unlock/secure your iPad).

If you want a small tablet (eg. to read one handed on the train), I'd go for the iPad Mini 2 or the latest one (iPad Mini 3).

In terms of a full size tablet, the Air 2 is the fastest, lightest and thinnest, followed by the "iPad Air 1" and 4th Generation iPad - and all are available on Amazon. It depends upon your budget.

What are the Optional add-ons?
Well, firstly I'd recommend you drop by the Apple Store or electronics retailler, and handle the iPad Mini, and iPad Air. Once you've decided upon the "physical size" then your options are around memory size and cellular option.

Memory: Important! Once bought, you can't add memory (space for apps, films, books, photos etc). Only you can decide, and if you think you'll need the space, then buy the bigger model. If it's your first iPad and you're unlikely to store lots of photos or videos, then 16g will be fine.

Cellular: Allows you to connect to the internet while you're out and about. This will add an additional $100 to the price and means you can slip in a mobile phone SIM card. This means ($10 a month on contract), you can access the internet on the move. Alternatively, you can opt for the WIFI option, and use it at home or at at "hot spot" (eg. Starbucks, most rail stations and hotels etc).

Note: If you have a "smartphone" (Android, iPhone or whatever), you may have the option of "tethering" your WIFI iPad to your smartphone. Effectively, this means using your smartphone's data connection to connect to the internet, and broadcast a local WIFI signal. You connect your iPad to this (password protected) signal, and then use your WIFI based iPad to connect when you're out and about.

Sounds difficult, but even tying your shoe-laces was difficult first time. If you need advice, drop by the Apple store or search You Tube and I'm sure you'll find some help.

Be aware, you may need to pay extra for tethering, but a great option to avoid the additional cost of the "Cellular" option if you've aready got a smartphone.

Personally I'd buy (and indeed did), the 16Gb iPad Air WIFI, but I will upgrade to the 64Gb iPad Air 2 with WIFI. Just be aware, these are key decisions.

Do I need anything else?
Most people (me included) buy a cover. Apple (and now hundreds of others) make a "smart-cover" which automatically shuts down the iPad when you close it, and switches it on when you open it. There's versions which cover the back, or just the screen. Apple charge from $35 to $65 for their (admittedly) high quality fabric or leather covers, but there's many available from $10. Be aware, you do get what you pay for, but "Swees Ultraslim" (about $10), has excellent reviews on Amazon.

Personally,I think it's a pity to cover the beautiful aluminium industrial design of the iPad with a cover - but if you've spent literally hundreds of dollars, you'll want to protect it from scrapes and bangs.

I also invested in a keyboard ($25-80), as I tend to write a lot of mails and documents (remember it comes with a word processor). I'd recommend the Logitech Ultra Thin iPad Air Case with Keyboard - Space Grey. Be aware, a keyboard is strictly optional unless you want to use your iPad as a proper laptop.

You can also buy a rechargeable wireless bluetooth speaker. It's a fantastic way to boost the sound quality and volume from an tablet, phone or PC. I'd recommend the JBL Flip (from $49), the Bose Soundlink Mini ($169) or the top end Bose Soundlink III ($250). Personally, I listen to music (Spotify or iTunes) or the radio on my wireless speakers every day. It's just brilliant.

Finally, if you have another Apple device (eg. an iPhone, Apple TV or Mac) you'll find these work together beautifully. For example, you can create a reminder on your iPad and it appears on your iPhone. Equally, photos taken on your iPhone appear on your iPad, and you can send music or videos from iPad, iPhone or Mac to an Apple TV.

Some people think this "locks you in" - but it's your choice.

What's great about the iPad Air?
* Lighter (30%) and thinner than the previous version (469g from 650g)
* Even faster A7 chip. Blazingly fast!
* Improved sound (compared to the iPad 4)
* Software including
+ iMovie - edit and publish home made movies
+ Numbers - Fully functional Excel for the iPad
+ Pages - Word processor
+ GarageBand - Play a piano or a drum kit
+ iPhoto - Edit and organise your photos

What's not so great?
* The change in physical size means you'll need a new keyboard or replacement cover if you're upgrading from a previous model
* Pity Apple didn't include the "touch ID" to secure your passwords - but I'm pleased to say they did starting with the "iPad Air 2" and the new iPad Mini

Overall Opinion
It's hard to believe the iPad version 1 was released in January 2010, and there's a huge raft of "me too" tablet computers to choose from, but the Apple iPad Air is still the one to beat. As "Which?" magazine put it - "...the best tablet we've ever tested. Apple packs a beautiful screen and lightning fast processor into a slimmer-than-ever shell, and battery life is very impressive".

Yes, there are cheaper Android based alternatives, but the quality, design and beauty of this tablet just sets it apart. If it were a car it'd be a top of the range Mercedes or a BMW 5i.

Highly Recommended. Buy it.
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814 of 880 people found the following review helpful
I use an Apple iPad about 6 to 8 hours a day. I own an iPad 2 and 3 and now this new iPad Air version. My main reasons for updating were that I literally fill up my 64 GIG iPad every day or two with videos and photos that I shoot. Having this larger version at 128 GIG allows me to work longer and add more to my iPad. In addition this new version is much lighter and easier to use all day long. Even though the battery is smaller in capacity than my iPad 3 the battery life is longer and it is very noticeable. This is because the faster A7 CPU and the motion chip actually use less power.

Please watch my video as I go into more details in it.

I immediately noticed the increase in speed. The unit connects to the WIFI faster, synchs with iTunes faster, downloads emails faster and speeds up your web browsing. The differences are very noticeable and enjoyable as a user. The dual speakers are a nice change but I also use a lot of Bluetooth speakers to enhance the sound of the iPad.

In my video I do a size and weight comparison to an iPad 2, an iPad 3 and the iPad Air. I also show how the basic set up takes place and for advanced users you can just speed through that portion of the video. The iPad 2 weighs 1 pound 5 1/8 ounces, the iPad 3 weighs 1 pound 7 1/8 ounces, and the iPad Air weighs 1 pound and ¼ ounce. The iPad Air is narrower but has the same screen size. The left and right edges of the iPad are thinner on the sides of the useable screen and you can see that in the video.

Here are the key improvements for me:
* Much lighter in weight
* Thinner, smaller design with the same screen size
* Much faster when synching with iTunes
* Much faster when browsing the web
* Much faster when downloading emails
* Stronger WIFI connection and faster WIFI synching
* A more powerful AC wall adapter with 5.2 VDC and an output of 2.4 Amps. It charges at 12 watts of power. It operates at 100 to 240 VAC and 50/60 Hz and it is UL approved. It features folding AC wall plugs for easy packing when traveling.
* Lower CPU and motion chip power consumption that makes the smaller/lighter internal battery last longer! This is very noticeable!
* As usual a beautiful high resolution retina screen with 2048 by 1536 resolution at 264 pixels per inch. You can see the difference in the photos, videos and reading quality of the screen.
* Dual speakers in the bottom
* Free high quality Apps
* iPhoto
* iMovie
* GarageBand
* Pages
* Keynote
* Remember to download these from Apple!

Overall this is a superior product that really outperforms the older iPads that I have. I was disappointed that the new iPad Air did not have the home button with the fingerprint sensor built in. Since I have used it with my iPhone 5S I have really become attached to it and it just seems like a way to cheapen the unit and be more competitive instead of showing and using the enhanced technology. I would have paid a little more for the iPad Air with that sensor.

This is still a 5 star product and I recommend it as a very good tablet.
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363 of 416 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2013
I have owned several Apple products, and the iPad is the most distinguished among Apple's line up relative to its competition. The most compelling aspects of this tablet are the beautiful design, and the 10 hour battery life. These are the two features that made me decide to purchase another Apple product irrespective of their business practices which try to squeeze money out of their customers by not supporting devices properly after they are released.

After having used this product for over a month now, I can say it is an improvement over my iPad 1. The browser now crashes on the original to the point of making it worthless. My original iPad had 256 MB of RAM which is not enough to load a lot of modern web pages without the browser crashing. That is why I had hoped the 1 GB of RAM in the iPad Air would be sufficient, and it has improved, yet I still find that the browser crashes on occasion. The scroll latency is very subtle, but noticeable to me. It doesn't really impact my usage, but it could create problems for people who game on their iPads. Putting in 2 GB of RAM (which is what I have in my Nexus 4) does not cost that much, and would improve the performance greatly. For a premium product, I expect the best, and Apple has consistently under-delivered on processing hardware which created the same problems all the way back to the iPhone 1 I purchased on launch day.

I take 1 star off for business practices which burn through your pocket, and the second star is removed for needless low-RAM browser crashes that are still a problem on the latest iteration (which is likely planned to force relegation of old devices and compel new sales.) Still, I can say that this is the best 10 inch tablet available, and android has no viable alternative worth purchasing. If you can overlook the two biggest strikes I have against Apple, you should consider no other 10 inch tablet at this time.

UPDATE 1/17/14

Today I called into Apple support because my browser is crashing frequently. I am now experiencing 5 - 10 browser crashes a day when it was only 2 - 3 times a week when I first purchased it. Speaking with the Apple support technician, he said that they have not received many complaints about this issue yet, so I may be experiencing a rare software or hardware problem. I looked through my crash log (which had over 100 crash reports in it since Nov. 11th) and the vast majority of them were low memory crashes. However, the tablet did not operate this way when I initially purchased it, and it began to increase in frequency about 2 weeks ago. Therefore I suspect that there is a software conflict (I still have 4 GBs of free flash hard drive space, so I doubt it is a conflict with virtual memory, although a RAM hardware problem is possible). I went through some basic procedures the technician recommended, and I was advised to do a system wipe if the problems should persist. I will test the tablet for a few days before wiping everything and starting over. I'll update this review once I am confident of what the issue was.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2014
I bought this as a gift for my aunt. When I received this, I found the iPad was pre-owned. To make sure about this, I also double checked the unique code on the back of iPad on the It showed this iPad was activated on April, 3 months before when I got this. You can tell how disappoint I was.
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2014
Recieved broken and screen shattered
review image
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2014
could not get this produt to work. a call to Apple Support produced a surprise. the product had been sold last Nov., and was repackaged and resold. A bad experience!
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45 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2014
I ordered a "brand new ipad" and it seems like they are repackaging old units and selling them. The box was wrapped with plastic and everything looked brand new, accept for when you turn the box over. There was no imei number listed and the serial number was not valid. I spoke with several people at apple and they told me that this is a fraudulent product. Think twice before you purchase off of amazon. Refund is on the way
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2014
My wife is exceedingly happy with the product it is fast intuitive (more so than the programmers who designed it). Everything worked as advertised except the setup. The online instructions for transferring data and apps from her old Ipad (yes, this is not her first) were pretty simple and basic using the cloud or ITunes. That is until we discovered that the new ipad air had an older operating system than the old one and they weren't compatible. Not a thing would transfer!!!! That meant setting the Ipad Air up as a new ipad and manually transferring apps and data. Now, guess what the first thing the Ipad Air did once it was setup and operable. You guessed it, it updated itself to the version of the operating system on my wife's old one!!! Would it not make sense, since they will sit on a distribution shelf until sold, to program them to update the IOS first then setup. That would have saved us a lot of time and frustration. Except for this we would have rated this product five stars. After almost a month of use my wife is still happy with the apple product, we are not so happy with the seller and Amazon. We had a problem with the unit "freezing" during an update install, which we understand is easily repairable and not uncommon. We took the unit in to an Apple Store to have it "unfrozen". They immediately told us the unit was used and had been in an Apple Store previously for repairs. This is NOT what we purchased, it is not "Brand New Factory Sealed". The Apple Representative told us that "at best it is Factory Refurbished". After checking Amazon's return policy I found they would refund my money (not replace the product which I can understand) after they receive the unit, which means that I am stuck with the return freight. I thought, well, I will contact the actual seller, Wrong again!!! Except for being able to receive a duplicate invoice or thanking them for being able to do business with them it is CONTACT AMAZON!! Guess what, still stuck with the return freight for something that is not my fault (it is either vendor mistake or vendor misrepresentation) and I will have to purchase a new unit and set it up all over again. This really doesn't seem like the best way win friends and influence customers
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290 of 356 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2013
First of let me tell you I am not an apple fanboy. I own and support samsung products. I carry a galaxy note 2 with me every day and would not consider an iPhone until the make some huge changes to it. Last year I bought a nexus 7 and loved it. Now that it's specs are getting a little dated I had to look for an upgrade. The new nexus 7 didn't impress me with it's dated CPU. So I looked to the note 2014 and the iPad air. I used both side by side and researched every detail. I sell these things for a living. The note is very impressive but, for all it's stats and hardware features it still struggles with simple movements. You can point out is 3 gigs of ram and the very good snapdragon 800 quad core CPU. Then you have apples 1 gig of ram with the measly dual core a7 CPU. ????? Now for the real world facts and it pains me to say this because I love android, but the fact is the a7 in the iPad air with it's upgraded clock speed at 1.39 gigs has yet to be matched in any bench mark from another mobile processor including the quad core s 800 by snapdragon. And with the future in mind the 64 bit tech is hard to beat. Them to the 1 gig of ram vs the 3 gigs in the note. If you can't use all that horsepower why put it in there. The air is twice as snappy as the note with no lag what so every. The note on the other hand lags even on swiping through home screens. It all comes down to the operating system apple remains king. Android may be pretty and customizable but that all comes at a cost. That cost is performance. You can take a car with 500 horsepower and put it on a curvy bending road. All that horsepower doesn't mean a thing. The car with 200 horsepower will still win by going straight.
So I bought the air and love it. And must say I have missed iTunes and the more refined apps.
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79 of 95 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2014
I am a college student and got sick of lugging a laptop around with the risk of it getting stolen so I purchased an iPad. I am neither an apple/pc/android fanboy, I use the tool that gets the job done reliably. (Ever have a paper due and your computer breaks down?) I own a macbook, iphone, windows desktop, and had a Nexus 7 for a short time but wanted a tablet with a larger screen.

So lets get down to it- initial impression was "Wow!" and I never realized how chunky or laggy the Nexus 7 was. The resolution, animations, user interface, and general build quality is superb in my opinion. It feels like a device "that will get work done". Unfortunately, the iPad out of the box feels like a digital storefront for the App store as opposed to something I can do school work on. Bluntly, the device is unnecessarily handicapped. For me to put my own videos on it, I have to use Handbrake and waste 3-4 hours to convert the movie to something the iPad can play. The Nexus 7 played almost any format out of the box. Using textbook PDFs is horrible, there are only a few quality apps that offer continuous scrolling. If your course requires mymathlabs, webassign, or one of those other edu-gimmicks to do homework, good luck, most of them require Flash which is unsupported. Then I went to use safari.. advertisements everywhere! Same with every free app, constant advertisements! Occasionally I have to download PDF to read for course work. Ain't happening in safari- there is no way to download and the page will refresh if you close the app. Good luck reading where there is no wifi.

Then I jailbroke it, installed f.lux, adblockerNetworks, safari downloader, nitrous, retinapad, vplayer video player, and videopane. That took care of the blinding blue light at night time, killed off 90% of advertisements, I can download files now, iPhone only apps are now in HD, I can watch almost any format of video too. Now the device is useful!
After that, I installed DocsToGo to read PDFs with continuous scrolling and to write papers. I also HIGHLY recommend Notes Plus if you intend on hand writing notes. Lastly, I would suggest getting the "Papers" app (no typo) to read PDFs with multiple columns.

Overall, iPad has a lot of potential but is held back by Apples walled garden. After jailbreaking and eliminating the majority of the artificial handicaps, I feel OK with heading to school only with it and not worrying about it not being capable of doing something. Remember- iPad is not a device for creation, it is for consumption and is essentially just a storefront to iTunes. If you keep these limits in mind, you won't be as disappointed as I was.
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