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iPad Air 2 review: Its Finale and Succession

iPad Air 2

Since Apple announced the discontinuation of the iPad Air 2 and no longer sells it on its online store as of March 2017, this is a farewell to the iPad Air 2 as one of the best tablets in the market acknowledged by most tech authorities and a recipient of the Editor’s Choice award.

In the eclipse of iPad Air 2, who will be its successors that can replace its throne? This is a good question that needs an answer.

The iPad’s Chronicle

The first-generation iPad

The first iPad designed and developed by Apple was introduced by the company way back in April 2010 and was highly praised by media and tech reviewers during its phase.

It was openly described by Time magazine as one of the 50 Best Inventions of the Year 2010.

Remarkably, Apple sold more than 15 million first-generation iPads prior to the launch of the iPad 2 in March 2011.

With the release of the iPad 2, the production of the original iPad was discontinued.

Forecasting the needs of the tablet in the market, Apple widened its lineup of tablet and offered various sizes and successively launched 7.9-inch iPad Mini (November 2012), 12.9-inch iPad Pro (November 2015) followed by a smaller 9.7-inch iPad Pro version (March 2016). All models are now upgraded on their respective generations.

Apple then announced on March 21, 2017, its newest iPad model which replaced the iPad Air 2 and is now simply called “iPad”.

iPad 2017
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The new “iPad” otherwise called as “iPad 2017”

The iPad 2017 is the cheapest tablet of Apple offering its market on average consumers. It is not as thin and light as a feather like the iPad Air 2 but its super value and performance is decent and worthy to be desired.

iPad Air 2 Credits

iPad Air 2

With the successful release of the iPad Air, the upgraded iPad Air 2 elevates its position with its predecessor citing as “the best iPad ever made” (TechRadar) and the “most powerful tablet yet, and is incredibly thin and light” (Engadget).

Eventually, it was honored by Cnet as their Editors’ Choice on October 2014 series and after two (2) years, due to its stellar performance, Cnet re-endorsed the iPad Air 2 as their Editors’ Choice on March 2017 for the second time. 

That is very strange and unique for a device to receive such enormous recognition.  Yes, it is a cutting-edge product that sets the gold standard of how a tablet can be perfectly called “thin and light”.   

We’re glad that the iPad Air 2 is still available at Amazon and this will be our last chance to get hold of the device until the stocks last.

Hardware Updates

One of the major changes that Apple introduced with the iPad Air 2 begins with its processor switching from A7 chip (M7 Motion motion coprocessor) to chip to A8X (M8 motion coprocessor). Its Random Access Memory (RAM) jumps from 1GB to 2GB to accelerate the speed of reading data and expanding further its storage offering more space from 16GB and 32GB on the original Air to 16GB, 24GB, and 128GB on the iPad Air 2.

The iPad Air 2 features the same screen size as the original iPad Air which measures 9.7 inches diagonally and has a resolution 2048 x 1536 with a pixel density of 264 ppi (pixels per inch). Its screen maintains fingerprint resistant but most importantly, the iPad Air 2 has a now fully-laminated display with anti-reflective coating and touch ID fingerprint scanner which was not available on the original iPad Air.

iPad Air 2
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The iPad Air 2 is distinctly apart from other iPads due to its thin and light features. Undoubtedly, the iPad Air is entirely thin. Apple still made a clean-cut forging the iPad Air 2 to 6.1 millimeter thick and weighs 437 grams (non-cellular model) compared to the original iPad Air with 7.5 mm thick and 469 grams (non-cellular model).

In perspective, it is just a matter of figures that does not change the performance of the device but with its reduced slimline, the iPad Air 2 is arguably the thinnest and lightest in its era, only later to be rivaled by the iPad Pro 9.7-inch bearing the same size and weight with a more advanced A9X processor.

I am not a fanboy of tablet cameras but nonetheless, the iPad Air 2 increased its rear-facing iSight camera from 5 megapixels (1936 x 2592 resolution) to 8Mp (2448 x 3264 resolution) while its front camera remains the same with 1.2 megapixels. It is a minor upgrade and nothing exceptional but nonetheless, it is functional for casual photography.

Please note also that the iPad Air 2 has no LED flash same as the original iPad Air which is not suitable for use in low-light ambiance.

Lastly, its built-in 27.3-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery remains the same and lasted up to 10 hours in average use.

Other Alternatives

It is sad news that Apple will discontinue selling the iPad Air 2 but there are still some available alternatives that are competitive in performance and stability as the iPad Air 2.

Here are the top 3 on my list.

# 1 – iPad Mini 4

iPad mini 4
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I liked the iPad Mini 4 because it has a smaller 7.9-inch screen size but it also sports the same specifications with iPad Air 2 featuring the same 2048 x 1536 with more pixel density of 326 ppi beating the iPad Air 2 with 264 ppi.

It also has a 10-hour battery life but a lower A8 processor missing the “X” with iPad Air 2’s A8X processor which enhanced GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) and CPU (Central Processing Unit) performance due to one extra core and higher frequency.

Briefly, the iPad Mini 4 is the smaller version of iPad Air 2.

It is a personal preference that I preferred iPad Mini 4 because it offers portability. If you were always on the go and need a tablet that fits best with your bag, Mini 4 would be a better choice.

The iPad Mini 4 is a Best-buy from ExpertReviews as their Editors’ Choice pick. 

If its smaller 7.9-inch screen size would not become an issue and if you need a tablet for web surfing, casual gaming, reading eBooks, and social media like Facebook, iPad Mini 4 might be useful for you.

# 2 – iPad Pro 9.7-inch

iPad Pro 9.7-inch
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For those who do not want to compromise the screen size of iPad Air 2, there is nothing better to replace the iPad Air 2 when it comes to its solid performance than the iPad Pro 9.7-inch, and it’s gotten even better.

The weight and dimensions of the Ipad Air 2 and iPad Pro are precisely the same but iPad Pro has a superior A9X chip and an improved 12 megapixels back camera and 5 megapixels in front (now includes a rear flash). The iPad Pro has bigger storage options from 32GB to 128GB and 256GB.

More interestingly, the iPad Pro 9.7-inch features the pencil supports compatibility with Apple’s Pencil stylus (sold separately) and Smart Connector that automatically pairs any compatible accessory using a magnetic port. iPad Pro’s four-speaker setup also offered a better audio experience.

iPad Pro 9.7-inch was favored by Cnet as their Editors’ Choice in March 2016 edition.

# 3 – Microsoft Surface Pro 4

Microsoft Surface Pro 4
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It is the shortcoming of Apple that iPads were designed not as a hybrid laptop. The iPads are still a tablet that cannot be equaled to the productivity offered by the Microsoft Surface Pro 4.

Of course, you can do a word processing and spreadsheet through its Pages and Numbers apps but as the years go by, the innovations moved fast. Competitors such as Microsoft advanced its position in the tablet – a hybrid class – that can function as a full-fledged laptop with its Surface line of product particularly the Surface Pro 4. It’s dedicated Surface Type Cover is the best attachable keyboard I’ve ever seen to a tablet.

It is not as thin and light as the iPad but if your work demands great productivity, the Surface Pro 4 would satisfy your need. It might cause you more bucks but it is surely a wise investment.

I can explain it to you further if you have much time to read my review on Surface Pro 4.

The Bottom Line 

It’s been seven (7) years from now since iPad Air 2 was released in 2010. It was a stunning device that may surprise you once you hold it in your hands. It is absolutely thin and light. Before the founding of the iPad Pro model, the iPad Air 2 is incomparable to any tablet ever created.

Today, it is a story to tell that iPad Air 2, in some point of time, changed our perspective in technology that tablets could be as thin and light as the iPad Air 2 – not some sort of fiction but a dream and legacy that Steve Jobs accomplished during his lifetime.

As Apple discontinued its production and selling of the iPad Air 2, we are comforted to learn that the iPad Air 2 is not the last of its kind as the thinnest and lightest tablet in the world. Even its successors and other alternatives are good enough to match the charm of the iPad Air 2.

About the author

DEL

Del is an affiliate marketer and has a personal interest in web design. His quest is to find remarkable consumer electronic devices and determine its capability and usefulness. Though serious, he is quite funny and curious. Good attitude, fairness, and simplicity are characters that matter to him most.  

14 Comments

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  • Hi,
    I enjoyed reading your article on the iPad Air 2 and Apples discontinuation of online sales of this product.The information you have provided about the Air 2 was very useful. I found the section on other alternatives very helpful and will now know what to look for if I am in need of a new iPad.

    • Thanks Clancy for reading.

      We are here to provide informative materials about tech.  Though Apple discontinued the iPad Air 2, the new iPad 2017 is quite interesting to try.  It replaces the iPad Air 2 for some reasons.  It is not as thin and light as the iPad Air 2 but Apple offers its brand in a low-cost product that can be afforded by most consumers.  After all, Apple is still a name that you can rely on.  

      Just drop me a some message if I can help you further. 

  • Thanks for this very informative article on the ipad Air 2. Apple makes great products and the many benefits and upgrades from the original Air that you list should encourage people to buy this tablet. Increased storage up to 128GB, anti-reflective coating and fingerprint scanning are great upgrades that would be of interest to many technology fans. New technology appears almost daily making it very difficult to keep up. That’s why an article like this would be very helpful to anyone looking for a tablet

    • I really appreciate your comprehension Peter.

      We as consumers are always in quandary to find the right product for ourselves because of the fast-changing world of technology.  Detechtors always do their best to find the right one for everyone and recommend a product that worth for every buck. 

      We will be glad to hear from you again. 

  • Hey Del,

    Good review on the legend, Ipad Air 2. My mom has one of those lol. It’s definitely a good tablet and I didn’t know they had discontinued it.

    That was bold of you to put a Microsoft product as a recommendation. You know that an Apple fan would never venture that direction 😛 Just teasing though. I think the Surface would be a great alternative to the Ipad these days.

    Looking forward to your next article!

    Wilson

    • Thanks, Wilson for taking your time to read our article.

      I am not also an Apple fan but I love gadgets that promise quality standards and live with it. 

      Microsoft with its flagship Surface is tracking on its path to reign as the king of the hybrid tablet.  By far, they are now taking its lead in the territory of convertible 2-in-1 devices.   

      We love to hear from you again as soon as we take a review with Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and its latest release Surface Go.  

  • HI DELL
    I am very impressed how you have done a chronological order of apples I pads.
    I am not a fun of iPad, but you have made me learn something .I like the idea that the iPad air 2 is very thin as well as light.
    seen that apple has discontinued the production of the the iPad Air 2.
    is it possible that the available ones at Amazon can be shipped to Lusaka Zambia?

    • I am glad to hear from you Themba.

      Yes, Amazon ships  worldwide including Zambia.  

      What I loved about the Apple’s iPad is their build quality.  It is tough and tested to last for years.  Though there are now some new brands that can rival the lightness and thinnest of iPads, you can never be wrong to spend your money on the Apple brand.  It is a trusted brand.  
       

  • Technically the iPad was developed by Star Trek: The Next Generation designers (PADD) for the show, lol.

    iPad is indeed thin and light. I have a Kindle Fire 8 and although it’s a good machine and small, it does start to feel heavy after a while. I wish they would make a lighter one.

    I am not an Apple fan (don’t ask) which is a shame because I do respect their products and I love this thin and light iPad 2017.

    There’s quite a lot of information there however could you recommend some alternatives not manufactured by Apple?

    Thanks,
    Michael.

    • Thanks, Michael for dropping by.

      I remember the first tablet I owned which is the Google Nexus 7 2013. It was undoubtedly an impressive device. It is deadly thin and light that can rival the iPads. In fact, despite the lapsed of five years since it released in 2013, Nexus 7 is still one of the most popular tablets in the world.

      I will take a personal review in the coming days of Nexus 7 2013. Please stay tuned.

  • I really like technology and fun devices like the iPad. I remember when we first got to use one and it was like magic.
    After this, we got to see Apple go even further by bringing out the iPad Air and iPad air 2 with those tiny frames and suped-up features.
    Apart from being very useful and practical for work and school, the iPad is also fun to use and my favourite app of all time has to be Garage Band.

    • Apple really hit it big with their iPad line. The devices are great for media consumption, and also offer some good options if you decide to use them for productivity. Hopefully we’ll see more of them in the future.

      Thank you for commenting!

  • I know that Apple products are premium and of very good quality but not that a fan since I preferred the less inexpensive ones such as its competitor Samsung tablets. However, I agree that the IPad Air2 is the best tablet out there. Yes, it may be discontinued by Apple but I am sure they are developing better versions not just the specs but also they may be considering the price to stay competitive in the tablet market. As we all know, its competitors are offering less expensive devices that are almost equal to Apple’s performance.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Dan.

      Yes, some competitors are catching up with Apple, in terms of specs and build quality as well. But as you said, they might start considering competitive pricing, although we have to wait and see if they make it happen.

      The ipad air 2 is unique in its class, although discontinued, it can still provide good performance for what one may need from an Apple tablet.

      Thanks again!