In terms of the design, the iPad Air 2 is very similar to the previous generation iPad Air, except for the tweaked speaker grill, and the capsule shaped volume buttons. The iPad Air 2 also does not come with a side switch above the volume buttons, which could be configured as a mute switch or orientation lock. If you’re like me who used the mute switch, then it will take you some time getting used to using the controls in the Control Center.
The iPad Air 2 is incredibly thin at 6.1mm (18% thinner than last year’s iPad Air). It is also a little lighter than the original iPad Air. Since an iPad is something that you’ve to hold all the time while you’re using it, lighter and thinner are welcome improvements. Unfortunately, they have their trade-offs as early reviews have indicated that Apple’s obsession to make their devices thinner has come at the cost of battery life, as the iPad Air 2 comes with a smaller capacity battery.
iPad Air 2’s display looks terrific. You can see a noticeable improvement with the display, which has been improved by combining the cover glass, touch sensor and the LCD panel into a single component rather than three separate components, thus eliminating the gaps between the different layers. You can make out the difference between pixels under the glass cover, and pixels on the glass cover. If you’ve using the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus then you’re not going to make out the difference as they come with the same display technology, but the improvement will be noticeable if you’re switching from the previous generation iPad.
The iPad Air 2 also comes with a anti-reflective coating, which is another welcome change. Apple says it reduces the glare by 56 percent, which is probably true as on a dark screen, I could see only a silhouette of myself rather than the reflection of my own face. Having said that, you still won’t be able to use it in bright sunlight.
I think one of my favorite features of the new iPad Air is Touch ID. I’ve got so used to using Touch ID on the iPhone that lack of it in the iPad was becoming quite annoying. Things also feel snappier thanks to Apple’s new faster A8X chip. It felt noticeably faster to load web pages and launch apps than the previous generation iPad Air or Retina iPad mini.
These are some of my first impressions. I will be bring some more interesting tidbits of the iPad Air 2 shortly. Overall, the new iPad Air 2 represents an evolutionary improvement over the original iPad Air. If you’ve the original iPad Air, then I wouldn’t recommend upgrading to the iPad Air 2, however if you’ve an iPad 4, 3 or 2, then the difference would be quite significant (lighter, thinner and faster) and would be worth the upgrade.
Here are our first photos of the 64GB Space Gray Cellular iPad Air 2. I have tried to capture various aspects of the device in addition to the unboxing, so let me know what you think. We will be sharing more photos and hands-on videos as soon as possible so do stay tuned!
If you’ve got your shiny new iPad Air 2, please feel free to share photos of it in the comments and we’ll update the post with the best photos. Let me know if you’ve any questions about the iPad Air 2.