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I've had my iPad for about 9 months now (since Christmas 2014) and it has been my favourite possession all this time. I use it every day without fail, and it never does out on me no matter how much I use it (I charge it overnight each night). The cameras are both great quality, but they're really grainy if the lighting is bad, but that doesn't really bother me as I don't often take photos or videos unless it's broad daylight. The screen quality is even better than the cameras. Display is amazing, and it's never blurry, everything is so perfectly crisp and clear. The touch sensitivity of the screen is perfect - it picks up every tap or swipe straight away, which makes for a great user experience.
I also love how quickly the iPad does anything you ask it to do - it connects to wifi instantly, loads web pages in seconds, hardly ever buffers when loading videos (as long as the wifi is decent). I used to have a ZT Pad by Zenithink (I'm pretty sure that's what the brand was called) and this is all I have to compare the iPad Air to. The ZT Pad had an unresponsive screen, so the iPad is a great step up. My old tablet also took a long time to load webpages and buffered through ever video - my iPad Air, though I use the SAME wifi, does everything instantly.
The only downside I can think of is that the storage capacity is pretty small, so if I want to record videos they take up quite a high percentage of the total storage. (A 40 minute video took up about 2 or 3 GB I think).
All in all though, I'm still 100% in love with my iPad Air and think it's definitely worth buying.
iChoices iChoices iChoices
So I'd decided that my laptop was taking too much hammer and I was especially concerned that it seemed increasingly susceptible to malware. I wanted to keep my laptop for "office" type stuff and have something else for fast internet access and also portability, for preference. Obviously I was starting to think about a tablet; but which tablet? There are lots out there if you hadn't noticed.
The word was that androids were fine, but that the ipad was simply the best. I didn't want it for reading books, so dismissed the Kindle et al. However, I did want the bigger screen, so dismissed the mini versions. I started to think about an ipad 2 with 16 gb. 16gb was ok for me, I thought, as I was unlikely to want to download films or keep lots of music on it. It was still expensive, at just over £300, but brought me the Apple experience, with its safer, closed system, its speed and intuitive interface. Then someone pointed out that if I was going to pay that much anyway, why not go the extra yard and get the Air, with the latest operating system, the faster processor and the retina display? Unlike cars, ipads keep their value very well, so if I didn't like it I could probably recoup most of my outlay on resale. Tesco direct were doing an offer that meant I could get £30.00 off, meaning it would cost £369 instead of £399 and I'd get clubcard points as well. Get in! So I did it. I actually did it. I went and bought myself an ipad Air!!
But Did I Make The Right Choice?
Let me tell you why. (without too much technical stuff)
What You Get
You get the iPad (a thing of beauty in itself - slim, sleek, light and in white or grey); there's a two-part plug plus lead and a very slim "getting started" leaflet.
There's a "home" button, a sleep/on/off button, a switch to lock orientation and two buttons for volume. Not over-laden with controls.
It comes charged up already, so all you do is switch on and it takes you through the set up. That doesn't take long, so soon you're looking at the home screen, which has a number of applications (apps) already loaded, including Face Time, which is like Skype, but better, calendar, notes, camera and, among others, an app for the Apple Store where you can find lots of other apps to download - many of them free.
There's an icon that links you to Safari, which allows you to search the web, and another that takes you to whichever email account you want to set up on it - so, for instance, I have a hotmail account and this button gives me immediate access to it.
What Are The Advantages?
It's obviously very handy. I'm not sure that the extra thinness and lightness really makes a lot of difference to the experience, but the reduced bevel and the retina display certainly give you a full, clear screen. The picture is sharp. The speed is highly impressive. It isn't just the speed of browsing, but, for me, the fact that I can go from off to app or website almost immediately, whereas my laptop could take several minutes.
Taking pictures or video is as straightforward as it would be on your smart phone, but you've got a bigger screen and the quality is high.
Watching films or videos (say on YouTube) is superb. One of the first apps I downloaded was the BBC iPlayer. Now I effectively have a high definition mini portable tv. I can watch live tv, catch up tv, or download programmes to watch offline. If you have Sky, you could, of course load Sky Go onto it and watch all your favourite stuff on the move. Even though I only have 16gb, I could still download enough content to keep me occupied for quite a while (as an example, a ninety minute film took up about 500mb).
The battery will give you about ten hours of activity, which I think is impressive and it takes only a few hours to recharge. Using it while it's charging is as simple as it would be with your mobile phone, so no problem there.
Facetime is a joy. When I was a kid this was the stuff of science fiction - a phone where you could see the person as well, and they could see you. Making or receiving a Facetime call is as quick and easy as making a normal telephone call - easier if anything as you don't have to punch in the number, - it saves your contacts' email addresses, and you simply tap a name to make the call. You don't have to have the camera on if you don't want it -and of course it's up to you what you point it at, anyway.
I'm still trying to get my head around the fact that it doesn't need any antivirus software, but I'm certainly not complaining. And in the three months I've had it I've seen no problems of any kind.
Mine is WiFi only, but you can get versions (at a higher price) that also work on the cell phone network. That's handy, of course, but you'd have to watch that you didn't exceed your download limits, which could easily be done!
Do I Recommend It?
You bet I do. I know several people who bought an Air at about the same time as me and they are all equally thrilled. I use my laptop far less and the tv too, actually. Possibly the most exquisite pleasure is that I can use it in bed - even under the duvet, if I want! In the middle of a miserable winter, that is no small thing. Whether you want to mail, browse the web, watch tv or play games, this is a fabulous helpmate. I can't tell you that it's better than an android, because I haven't used one, but I can tell you that I do not begrudge one penny of the money I spent.