"If you can afford it, the new iPad Air is the tablet I recommend, hands down," says Walt Mossberg after reviewing Apple's (AAPL) 5th-gen 9.7" tablet. Mossberg deems the thinner/lighter Air much more comfortable to hold for long periods of time than its predecessor, and managed to wring out 12+ hours of battery life in his test (20% above a promised 10 hours).
CNET (4.5/5 stars) talks up the Air's design makeover, its improved front camera, and the "ridiculously fast" performance of its A7 CPU. But it wishes the tablet had an 802.11ac Wi-Fi radio and a fingerprint sensor.
After running benchmarks, AnandTech finds the Air's CPU performance beats that of rival Android hardware. GPU performance is also strong, but not as overwhelmingly; Nvidia's (NVDA) Shield handheld console (features a Tegra 4 processor) topped several benchmarks.
With prices well above those for comparable Android tablets (particularly for 32GB-64GB models), Apple is betting its hardware quality, brand loyalty, and unmatched tablet app ecosystem will allow it to once more post positive Y/Y iPad revenue growth following two quarters of declines.
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