Last week, Apple kicked off the iPad Air sales in India through its regional distribution partners and we have been bombarded with promotions and advertisements urging us to buy the latest iPad. Is the iPad Air all that? We pit it against some of the competition to find out whether the iPad Air is indeed the ‘thinnest, lightest, most powerful’ tablet ever and also pitted the Air’s Retina display against competition. For the record, we compared it to the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition and the Google Nexus 10, which are the closest competition to the iPad Air in terms of size and specs.
How do Apple's iPad Air claims stand up against the competition?
We have to give the iPad Air this one. Its 7.5mm ‘thick’ frame is easily the slimmest waistline among the competition. While the Note 10.1 (7.9mm) and the HDX 8.9 (7.8mm) come closest, the Air wins by a narrow margin.
Not a chance. The Kindle Fire HDX clocks in at 374g for the Wi-Fi model and 384 g for the LTE variant. The iPad is nearly 100 g heavier at 469 g for Wi-Fi and 478 g for the 3G/LTE variant. At least Apple’s tablet beats Samsung and Google’s offering, with the latter weighing the most (603 g) among the four big slates.
Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is lighter than the Air
With Snapdragon 800 powering the Note 10.1 and the Amazon tablet, there’s enough oomph in both these tablets to compete with Apple’s A7 from a real world usage point of view. As we know most high-end smartphones and tablets have very little difference in performance. In most cases you won’t find anything amiss in terms of performance.
Apple high-resolution displays are a thing to behold even though Retina may just be a marketing term. Apple has not made any changes in the resolution of the display since the first showing it to us with the ‘New iPad’ or iPad 3. Since then the competition has caught up and surpassed Apple. All three competitors have higher resolution displays. The Kindle Fire HDX has a smaller size display too, but the higher 2560×1600 pixel resolution gives it a higher pixel density than the iPad Air’s 9.7-inch, 1536×2048 display. The Nexus 10 and the Note 10.1 likely have the same panel with a resolution of 2560×1600 pixels.
Last year's Nexus 10 has a higher-resolution display
So as it turns out, the iPad Air’s competition isn’t all that far behind the new Apple tablet. What surprises us the most is that there’s nary a mention of all the great iPad apps on the App Store in any of Apple’s promotions. This for us is still the biggest advantage the iPad has over any of its competition. And it’s the one thing you won’t hear spoken about in Apple’s India campaign.