The iPad Air 2 is lighter, thinner and faster than its predecessor, but the updates are not enough to make it worth ditching the old model if you already have one.
Nippy performance, anti-reflective screen, slim profile, good battery life, Touch ID sensor
Camera still struggles in poor lighting, not many signifcant changes over the original iPad Air
£399 / £479 / £559 for 16GB / 64GB / 128GB
Model: iPad Air 2
Display: 9.7in 2048x1536 IPS LCD Retina display
Processor: 1.5GHz triple-core A8X 64-bit ARM processor
Storage: 16GB/64GB/128GB internal storage
Camera: 8MP rear camera with HD 1080p video, 1.2MP front camera
Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, 4G LTE support
Operating system: iOS 8.1
Battery: unspecified battery with up to 10 hours battery life
Apple's iPad Air 2 is a collection of firsts for the firm's tablet line. It's the first iPad to come with a Touch ID sensor, the first to feature an anti-reflective display and the first to be made available in a gold colour scheme, following in the footsteps of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
The iPad Air 2 is also the first Apple device to feature the firm's new A8X processor, offering numerous improvements over the A7 chip found inside the original iPad Air.
Beyond this, the iPad Air 2 is largely the same as its predecessor, and many potential buyers are likely to question whether it is worth the £400 Apple is asking even for the entry-level 16GB model.
The iPad Air 2's main talking point is its slim profile. Apple boasts that at a mere 6.1mm thick, the tablet is the thinnest in the world. It's more than 1mm thinner than its predecessor, which measured in at 7.5mm thick, and perhaps more importantly in Apple's eyes, it's skinnier than the 6.6mm-thick Samsung Galaxy Tab S.
The iPad Air 2 is also lighter than its predecessor at 437g, compared with 469g, making it more comfortable to use while holding it in one hand, and less of a burden to carry about in a handbag.
Beyond its slender and lightweight casing, the iPad Air 2 looks pretty similar to the original iPad Air, which is by no means a bad thing. The tablet's casing comes crafted from Apple's usual material of choice - anodised aluminium - which gives it an all-round high-end feel.
For those after an even glitzier feel, the iPad Air 2 is the first Apple tablet to be made available in gold, a version which certainly won't appeal to all. We found the new colour option looked a little tacky compared with the space grey and silver offerings, but others in the office were impressed with its pale bronze hue.
While its design is largely similar to its predecessor, the iPad Air 2 has also gained a Touch ID sensor, allowing users to unlock the tablet and authorise app purchases with a fingerprint scan.
On paper, the iPad Air 2 features a screen largely the same as that on the original iPad Air, a 9.7in 2048x1536 IPS LCD Retina display.
However, it's the first iPad display to come with an anti-reflective coating, which Apple claims results in a reduction in reflectivity of 56 percent, and makes the tablet easier to view under bright sunlight.
We found the benefits of the anti-reflective coating immediately noticeable. The glare from overhead office lighting that can make an iPad display difficult to view appeared significantly reduced in our experience, and it also stood up well in natural lighting.
Glare hasn't been reduced completely, however, so users might still find themselves flocking back to their Kindle for outdoor reading.
Unfortunately, this new screen technology doesn't combat fingerprints, and we found the screen became smeared after just a few minutes of use.
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