Apple iPad Air The Air is a tangible upgrade over the previous, fourth-generation iPad, no longer in production and so banished to the annals of history. The new iPad slots right in where its predecessor left off, priced at $499 for a lowly 16GB, $599 for 32GB, $699 for 64GB, and $799 for the maximum 128GB configuration. The iPad Air delivers more performance and comparable battery life in an attractive and impossibly thin-and-light package. An improved front-facing camera makes FaceTiming look better, and the Retina Display still looks great.
But, The Touch ID fingerprint scanner, introduced on the iPhone 5S, is sadly absent here, meaning you’ll still have to type in a passcode with every unlock and a password with every purchase. Starting at $499 for 16GB, it’s still expensive compared with the competition. Performance: The iPad Air shares the same processor with Apple’s flagship phone, albeit with a slight bump in clock speed. While the 5S runs at 1.3GHz the Air runs at 1.39GHz. It can achieve this because of the increased space and improved heat dissipation of the Air compared to the much smaller iPhone 5S.
Indeed, before we go into the detail about performance it’s worth noting that the iPad Air manages to keep its cool with consummate ease. Even when running intensive 3D games and apps for hours it barely breaks a sweat and, therefore, neither do your hands.
In practice, the iPad Air is blisteringly fast. Apps open instantly and games like Infinity Blade 3 look sumptuous and run smoothly. The benefits of having a SoC means that the GPU can be used to tackle compute tasks, which makes video editing and compute intensive apps, like AutoCAD, show no hint of slowdown.
The iPad Air performs 59% faster than the iPad 4 in the 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited CPU and GPU test and 91% faster in Geekbench 3 tests. The Peacekeeper browser test, which assesses web browsing performance, shows that the Air trounces its predecessor by being more than twice as fast. It's also faster than the stonking Snapdragon 800 processor on the likes of the Sony Xperia Z Ultra and Google Nexus 5. We're talking matter of degrees here, but the difference is there all the same.
Battery life: Battery life on the iPad Air is quoted at "Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music". We would say that's actually not a bad estimate, although the drain was closer to 2% every 10 minutes in general use, which equates to around nine hours' use.
Standby time is much, much better though. We found that we could stick the iPad Air in a bag, taking it out for the commute and messing about with on the sofa at home, for at least three days before it began to get low on battery.
In fact, the only real task that killed it was connecting to our amplifier via Wi-Fi while simultaneously streaming music to the same device through Bluetooth. It's doing things like this that make you realise that this is the kind of thing that we envisaged at the turn of the century, a tablet that has the brains and connectivity to do all the tasks we could want.In terms of connectivity, we've already mentioned the excellent Wi-Fi performance (in terms of distance from router, rather than improved speed) through the Multiple In, Multiple Out (MIMO) technology.
4G bands are now covered throughout the globe, and low power Bluetooth is also on board as well, making it an incredibly well-connected device.
The bottom line: Functionally, the iPad Air is nearly identical to last year’s model, offering only faster performance and better video chatting. But factor in design and aesthetics, and the iPad Air is on another planet. It’s the best full-size consumer tablet on the market. Specifications
Display type9.7 in
Dimensions (WxDxH)6.6 in x 0.29 in x 9.4 in
Weight1 lbs Price:$479.00 VS Lenovo Miix The Lenovo Miix, a 10-inch Windows 8 tablet with its own keyboard case, is like the consumer version of the ThinkPad Tablet 2, with slightly different accessory hardware.The Lenovo Miix is smart, light, reasonably well-made and comes with an excellent keyboard to help you to use it like a laptop. The potential is here for it to be a great mobile work machine, provided you don't need to run anything too intensive.The 10.1-inch, 1,366x768-pixel-resolution, 16:9 IPS display supports five-finger multitouch, and the 10.1-millimeter-thin, 1.27-pound design resembles that of other thin and lower-power Windows 8 tablets.The Lenovo Miix uses the Intel Atom Z2760 processor, which is a 1.8GHz dual-core chip, though it does feature Hyper-Threading, so can act as four virtual cores..This is all backed up with 2GB of RAM, which is very favourable compared to other tablets.64GB of eMMC storage, a microSD card slot that can support an additional 32GB of memory, a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera, a Micro-USB 2.0 connector, a Micro-HDMI port, and Bluetooth 4.0 plus 802.11n Wi-Fi. The front-facing camera's only 1 megapixel, suitable for Web chat but not much else. There's an optional 3G micro-SIM port, too.Battery life is respectable, but not outstanding. We got just over 6.5 hours (400mins) of streaming video out of the Miix, and you could probably stretch that closer to eight hours for lighter work, but that’s not particularly impressive when larger Haswell laptops can now offer 10 or more hours between charges.
VS Microsoft Surface 2 The Microsoft Surface 2 is a definite upgrade over 2012's Surface RT. It's faster, with a sharper screen, and houses better cameras.The Microsoft Surface 2 has a sturdy build, smooth gaming performance, and high-quality cameras. Windows RT 8.1 is easier to use than before, and the built-in photo-editing tools and Xbox Music are fantastic features. Office 2013 is included for free, and thanks to a new kickstand angle, the tablet is less likely to fall off your lap.
Where the Surface always performed was in gaming, and the Surface 2 is no exception. Running the onscreen Egypt HD 2.5 graphics benchmark the Surface 2 achieved a respectable score of 33fps. Running the 3D Mark Ice Storm Extreme benchmark the Surface 2 scored an average of 8432, Ice Storm Unlimited averaged out at 12,787. These are very healthy scores that reflect our experience of a zippy machine even when running multiple processes.
Battery Life: Of course, the reason the Surface 2 uses Tegra 4 and not, say, an Intel processor, is to improve battery life -- though as the new Atom in the Asus Transformer Book T100 proved, the latest Atoms are very frugal, too.
Here the Surface 2 doesn’t disappoint. Microsoft claims 10 hours on a full charge, and we can’t fault its estimate. We spent a whole day using the Surface 2 on and off, using it to write, browse the internet and stream videos, and still had a comfortable 20-30% spare by the end of the day.
Our only real complaint here is that the auto-brightness system typically sets the screen a little dimmer than is comfortable, which means you’re constantly fiddling with it manually. The bottom line: The Microsoft Surface 2 is great for getting work done, but those looking for extensive app support (beyond Office) will find top Apple, Android, and Amazon tablets to be better options. Specifications
Display type10.6 in
OSMicrosoft Windows 8.1 RT
ProcessorNVidia Tegra 4
Wireless connectivityBluetooth 4.0Wi-fi 802.11a/b/g/n
Dimensions (WxDxH)10.81 in x 0.35 in x 6.81 in
Weight1.49 lbs Price:$449.99