iPad Air Review: Faster, But Holds the Line on PPI
I recently wrote about the use of specs for the marketing mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. The iPad Air is a great example of how numbers can confuse.
With an Android competitor like Samsung’s latest Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet running a quad-core processor at 1.9GHz and 3GB of RAM available, an iPad Air review should show Apple’s tablet being totally outclassed. With its A7 processor, a dual-core CPU at 1.4GHz and only 1GB of system RAM, the iPad Air should be a sluggard based on numbers alone.
But relying purely on numbers is dangerous (comparing different CPUs with different architectures is like comparing apples to oranges) … and the iPad Air is 80% faster than last year’s model in benchmark testing.
The A7 chip also marks Apple’s move to 64-bit mobile processing, and the iPad Air makes full use of it when running upgraded apps. Plus, AAPL incorporated MIMO dual antenna Wi-Fi technology which significantly speeds up Wi-Fi on a network with a router that supports MIMO (most recent models do).
Between the horsepower and the improved Wi-Fi performance, the Apple iPad Air is a speed demon.
Another element of the tablet spec wars is PPI (pixels per inch). Apple’s Retina display used to be the leader, but competitors have been upping the resolution of their tablets, while AAPL held the line on Retina with the iPad Air. An Amazon (AMZN) Kindle HDX 8.9 has a 339 PPI display compared to the iPad Air’s 264 PPI. Displaymate tested flagship tablets and judged the Kindle’s as the new champ for color accuracy.
But the iPad Air display is still a beauty, and was described during the Displaymate test as having one of the three “most impressive mobile displays available.”