iPad Air guide

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Buying an iPad Air
When Apple first announced the iPad, one of the biggest criticisms was its size and weight. There was much mocking of the fact that press photos of people using it showed them sitting down, resting it on their knees. As those who used the first generation iPad can attest, it was not a light product.

For a tablet to work, you have to be able to hold it in the air and use it without getting tired hands or arms. So when Apple announced the iPad Air, pundits were immediately pleased. Finally, a large tablet that’s light enough to use for extended periods. And if you’re wondering how much lighter the Air is than the original iPad, the answer is a staggering 211g.
The iPad Air
High-resolution screen
Aside from the weight, the most impressive feature of the iPad Air is the Retina screen. This is a 1536 x 2048 IPS screen designed to give amazing clarity and sharpness. It works, too. The iPad looks stunning and the combination of nearly 10-inches of screen and the high resolution means that there’s plenty of space for apps to utilise. Apple also has far more apps in the iTunes store that are designed for its high-resolution screens than Android has.

The brilliance of the iPad Air’s screen also means it’s ideal as a media player and Apple has thought that through with the iTunes store. This offers a staggering range of video podcasts, music videos, movies and TV shows to download. You’ll spend a lot of money, but the multimedia experience of the iPad Air makes it a delight.
Wi-Fi and 4G
Wi-Fi and 4G
As with all iPads, you get a choice of connectivity options with the Air. Slightly cheaper is the Wi-Fi-only model, which allows you to connect to any 802.11n wireless network for very fast Wi-Fi speeds. If you’d like to access the internet when you’re on the go, there’s also a 4G model. You’ll pay a little bit more for this, but it will give you total flexibility to use the iPad Air wherever you are.

LTE 4G networks like EE and Three offer data-only tariffs if you want to just surf, and generally offer a fixed amount of data for a reasonable monthly fee. On the downside, the iPad Air with 4G can’t be used for phone calls or standard text messages, and messaging apps like WhatsApp are iPhone-only. 
Apple’s services offer lots of options
Apple’s services offer lots of options
You might not be able to make calls or send text messages with an iPad Air, but you can use Apple FaceTime and iMessage to communicate with friends and family. These still require a Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad at the other end, but given how many of these devices there are in the world, there’s a good chance the person you want to speak to has something compatible.

FaceTime is a bit like Skype, but is more user-friendly and call quality is slightly better. 3G and 4G customers can also use the service too, so if you’re out and about, you can always call a friend’s iPhone and have a proper video chat. Ask any parent about FaceTime and they’ll also tell you how amazing it is to catch up with they’re kids when they’re away from home.

Apple’s messaging service, iMessage, essentially aims to replace SMS. Unlike SMS, it’s free to use, but again only works between Apple devices. It’s automatic though, so when you are texting someone with an iOS device, it will switch to iMessage automatically. 
Two cameras
Two cameras
The front-mounted camera on the iPad Air captures 720p HD video and 1.2-megapixel stills. If you’re a fan of selfies then that’s a little low quality, but it’s mostly sufficient. The rear camera captures 5-megapixel stills and 1080p Full HD video. Photography on a tablet is never ideal, especially a 10-inch one, but you see plenty of people using them for this purpose and Apple’s do a better job than most.
 
Storage options

One thing to bear in mind is that all iPad models lack a memory card slot, so make sure you buy the right capacity model to suit your needs — storage can’t be expanded easily later. External storage devices are available, but carrying an external hard drive around is far from ideal for such a lightweight tablet.
So if you already have 32GB of music, there’s not much point buying a 32GB iPad, as you’ll have filled it before you buy any videos or apps. The maximum capacity for an iPad Air is 128GB, which is a lot of space.
Verdict
Apple popularised tablets with the iPad, but the Air is the first of its size you can hold comfortably for long periods. It’s slim, light and beautiful to look at. It also has that breathtaking screen, which looks stunning with the great range of apps, movies and TV shows that are available through iTunes.

The iPad Air isn’t the cheapest tablet you can buy, but it remains a great choice for anyone who wants a full-powered tablet that can be used for everything from entertainment to a compact laptop-replacement. Apple understands 10-inch tablets better than anyone and that’s obvious when you use the Air.
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