iPad Air Hands-on: Amazingly Light Design Redefines ‘Big’ Tablets

Apple was right to name the iPad 5 the iPad Air, because it redefines how a big-screen tablet feels in your hands. After spending just a few minutes with this 1-pound device, we were amazed with just how comfortable it felt. We could easily see ourselves spending hours with this device reading, playing games and more without the usual strain associated with holding a 9 or 10-inch tablet.

The iPad Air measures just .29 inches thin, compared to .37 inches for the fourth-gen iPad. More important, this tablet weighs just one pound, which is even lighter than the 1.1-pound Sony Xperia Tablet Z. Thanks to its much narrower bezels, we had no problem navigating the device as we held the tablet in one hand.

MORE: Best Tablets 2013

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On the inside, the iPad Air features an A7 processor that proved snappy when we were opening and closing apps, as well as playing a quick round of Infinity Blade 3.

The 5-MP iSight camera took fairly clear images in low light and fired shots quickly. We noticed a hint of grain to our photos, but we were in an area with dim lighting.

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The 9.7-inch 2048 x 1536-pixel display on the iPad Air continues to impress. Everything from websites to photos popped off the screen. So will the 475,000 apps available for the iPad.

Overall, Apple has done a remarkable job redesigning its flagship iPad and making the case for big-screen tablets in a market chock-full of 7- and 8-inch competitors. That’s because this device feels nearly as portable as the smaller competition, which is a pretty amazing feat.

Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
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