When Apple launched the third-gen iPad, it came with a noticeable weight gain, thanks to its larger battery required to power the new dual-core A5X CPU, the Retina-resolution screen and maintain its famed ten-hour battery life.
Clearly, this wasn’t ideal but an apparent limitation of the tech available. The new iPad Air solved those issues with the new A7 chip, leading to a significantly reduced battery capacity needed to last the ten-hours and making the Air the lightest iPad so far.
However, this is also the first iPad to feature the new 64-bit iOS 7 release. While Apple at the time of launch told us the reason for 64-bit was to improve file uniformity between its mobile and desktop environments, 64-bit apps require on average around 20% more memory compared with 32-bit versions.
RAM-ming your head against a wall
But the iPad Air arrived with the same 1GB RAM compliment, which effectively meant a RAM reduction. Some users have said the recent 7.1.1 update fixes some memory-related issues, but others may remain.
While it likely comes down to how you use the device, it could all be sorted by Apple just upping the RAM to 2GB. Google’s Nexus 7 now comes with 2GB of RAM so it can’t be that hard. Maybe we’ll see a RAM update in this year’s Air revision?
Overall, though, the 1GB of RAM is the only blight on what otherwise is a damn good tablet – no tablet of equivalent size matches it for weight, battery life and performance. The only reason not to buy is the hope of seeing 2GB in the next model, which will undoubtedly launch towards the end of the year.
Verdict: We think its short 1GB of RAM, but the Air is still the tablet to beat.
Price: From $598