Apple iPad Air ME898LL/A (128GB, Wi-Fi, Black ) review

Apple iPad Air ME898LL/A (128GB, Wi-Fi, Black with Space Gray) review

Apple iPad Air ME898LL/A (128GB, Wi-Fi, Black with Space Gray) review

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 "Luddite" 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 daughter 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.

The thing is, "it just works".

What would you use if for?


* Shopping online. Obviously - you could be reading a review on Amazon about the iPad Air!
* Reading News stories. As you can hold it like a book it's great to read the news online (my wife loves the UK Daily Mail newspaper Online - personally I prefer a web digest from free app Zite).
* Reading Books. It's great for reading books from Amazon Kindle or Apple Books with the benefit of 1,000s of online book reviews
* Navigating web pages. Instead of clicking with a mouse, you gently swipe your fingers on screen to scroll around
* Watching Films. I use it to watch Netflix online videos (with an Apple TV you can send stuff to the telly)
* Reading and replying to mail. I use "mailbox" a great free app to read and reply to mails, but there's a free one included
* Showing and organising photos. Any photos on an iPhone are automatically available within minutes in "the cloud"
* Playing games. From fun puzzle games like "Cut the Rope" to fully fledged first person shooters.
* Listening to the Radio. With "Tune in Radio" you can listen to thousands of radio stations world-wide. My personal favourite is London UK based XFM - alternative rock
* Listening to music. I stream mine to an Apple TV, but you can also buy portable speakers or just plug into the AUX socket
* The list goes on and on.

Which model should I buy?

I can't comment about Android tablets (apart from the Google Nexus 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. If you really want an Apple but don't want to spend the cash, buy a 16g WIFI 3rd or 4th generation iPad from eBay. Avoid this one.
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 if you can afford it.
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 iPad available.

Clearly (from my viewpoint) there's only really three options. The iPad Mini, the Mini with retina screen and Air.

What are the Optional add-ons?

Well, assuming you've dropped by the Apple Store (which I would highly recommend - fantastic service), and handled the iPad Mini (with/without retina screen), and iPad Air then your options are around memory size and cellular option.

Memory: Once bought, you can't add memory (space for apps, films, books etc). However, the basic price goes up a huge amount (+$100 for the 16g to 32g iPad Air). But, having owned a 16g and then a 32g iPad - I can safely recommend the 16g unless you really want to store a huge amount of videos and downloads. Only you can decide, and if you're lucky enough that money is no object then splash out. Otherwise, 16g should be fine for most people.

Celular: 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 (for an additional $5-10 a month extra), 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).

Personally I'd buy (and indeed did), the 16Gb iPad Air WIFI.

Do I need anything else?

Most people (me included) buy a cover. Apple (and now several copy-cats) 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.

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 hundreds of pounds you'll want to protect it from scrapes and bangs.

I also invested in a keyboard ($20-$70), as I tend to write a lot of mails and documents (remember it comes with a word processor). I'd recommend the ogitech Ultra Thin iPad Air Case with Keyboard - Space Grey and the ZAGG Keys iPad Air Case Folio with Backlit Keyboard although these are strictly optional unless you want to use your iPad as a proper laptop.

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 stream music or videos from iPad, iPhone or Mac to an Apple TV.

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

How should I set it up?

Well, if you already own an iPad or iPhone it's incredibly easy. Just log in with your existing iTunes and iCloud accounts, and select the option to either set this up as a new iPad or restore from backup.

If you've never owned an iPad before - read on to hear about how to set up an iTunes and iCloud account - it certainly confused me the first time I used them.

+ iTunes account - is how you buy your music, Apps or films from Apple. You register your credit card with them, and protect the account with a secure password

+ iCloud account - is used to identify you as an individual. This gives you 5Gb of backup space (your iPad will be automatically backed up when you charge it), and also means your iPad will work together with your iPhone.

How to set them up:

1) Create a SINGLE iTunes account for your immediate family and children. Then when you buy an App, it's immediately available (for free) to all the family members. Maybe once the children reach 15-16 they'll want their own account (as otherwise they'll end up spending your hard earned cash on your credit card to buy music you don't want). Until then - it's a great way to share the Apps.

2) Create YOUR OWN INDIVIDUAL iCloud account for person. That means if you buy an iPhone you can share data (eg. reminders, notes or calendar events) across both devices. If you're partner (and maybe even children) have their own iCloud account they also have 5Gb of space, and can keep their own notes and documents private.

Easy when you know how.

What's great about the 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
* Pity Apple didn't include the "touch ID" to secure your passwords

Apple iPad Air ME898LL/A (128GB, Wi-Fi, Black with Space Gray) review

Apple iPad Air ME898LL/A (128GB, Wi-Fi, Black with Space Gray) review

Apple iPad Air ME898LL/A (128GB, Wi-Fi, Black with Space Gray) review

Apple iPad Air ME898LL/A (128GB, Wi-Fi, Black with Space Gray) review

Apple iPad Air ME898LL/A (128GB, Wi-Fi, Black with Space Gray) review

No comments

Powered by Blogger.