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It’s no surprise that tablet sales have been steadily declining over the past years. Smartphones are still more conveniently portable, while able to perform most of the same tasks. On the other end of the spectrum are laptops, which are way more powerful than any tablet. While companies like Apple have made pushes to replace PCs with their iPad Pro line, tablets are still hard pressed to equal a laptop’s computing power, convenience of a full OS, and the comfort of a mouse and keyboard instead of a touch screen. For now, tablets are best used for media consumption, ebooks, basic browsing, email, and note-taking.
Additionally, tablets aren’t replaced as often as phones, which are the daily drivers for the average person. There are still 1st or 2nd generation iPads from years ago that are still in use and are working relatively fine. Combined with the high price of iPads, many can’t justify shelling out hundreds or even over a thousand on a new tablet. For that price, it could be worth it to buy a 2-in-1 laptop or an actual computer.
The recently released “iPad” 2017 line may be the first entry level product to actually be worth the price range for the casual consumer.
With its A9 processor, it’s already faster than the iPad Air 2 line that was only just discontinued. I recently got my hands on one and have been trying it out for several weeks. Here are my initial impressions.
Despite having the body of the older iPad Air 1st generation, the performance was snappy and there has been almost no visible lag or stutter. Scrolling webpages that are heavy with content such as The Verge, I noticed only smoothness. I use this ‘Verge Test’ all the time when testing for scroll lag. I can have multiple apps open and programs won’t reset when I come back to them after spending a while on a different task.
The base storage is also 32GB instead of the 16GB of last gen’s iPad Air 2. Thus, you have more room for eBooks, movies, podcasts, images, comics, music, etc. I’m aware that streaming is the primary way of consuming media these days, but it’s convenient to have the option to download from Netflix, YouTube, or Amazon Prime when you won’t have access to WiFi, like during flights.
The 8-megapixel camera is still nothing to write home about so you’re better off taking photos with your phone. I personally don’t have any issue with people taking photos with their tablets, though I know that’s considered taboo in our culture. The 1.2-megapixel FaceTime camera gets the job done, but again, you’d be better off using your phone. You can record videos at 1080p resolution.
Design-wise, it feels like a step backwards. By no means is it ugly. However, it has the design of the iPad Air 1 and it definitely looks outdated. Because of the gap between the glass and the screen, you don’t quite feel like you’re touching the images directly like you do on the newer iPads and iPhones. At 7.5 mm of thickness and one pound weight, it is definitely portable.
The battery will last 10 hours according to the Apple site, and I’d say that’s pretty damn accurate. I seem to hit roughly 10 hours regardless of what tasks I do, which always impresses me. I can be watching videos or just scrolling reddit, but by the 10 hour mark I’ll hit zero.
I didn’t buy any accessories, though may consider getting a dBrand skin for it to avoid scratches. The Apple Smart Cover for my iPad Air 2 fits perfectly with this new iPad, so I didn’t have to buy a new one.
If you’re someone like myself, who consumes hours and hours of media, this is the device for you. Yes, with a bluetooth keyboard, you can definitely use this for basic tasks, blogging, or spreadsheet work. You even have the option to edit videos as iMovie comes with it for free. Despite that, most of these tasks are way faster and easier on a regular computer.
I’d definitely recommend this product for media consumers who want a top-notch product without spending too much. Check out the product on the Apple site, or check to see if there are any cheaper prices on Amazon or Best Buy.