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iPad Air 2 Vs. iPad Air: Should You Upgrade?

iPad Air 2 Vs. iPad Air: Should You Upgrade?

Since the launch of the iPad Air 2, discussions have doing the rounds about the improvements made over the iPad Air. However, it's worth taking a tour through the features and tech-specs both have to provide. Take a look at the iPad Air 2 vs. iPad Air debate presented here, and decide whether or not to upgrade to this new Apple tablet.
Vibhav Gaonkar
Did You Know?
The Touch ID feature in the new iPad Air allows users to make purchases at the iTunes store, App Store, and the iBookstore, without the need for any authentication, except the user's fingerprint.
The iPad Air is a fifth-generation tablet computer from Apple, Inc. It was launched in the market on November 1, 2013. The iPad Air is a better and improved version of the iPad 2, with a slimmer body, retina display, powerful A7 chip, and an iSight rear camera.

Moving on, the iPad Air 2 succeeded the iPad Air, and was launched on October 16, 2014. This one is even thinner, with improved performance and graphics as compared to its predecessor, and could serve as a viable upgrade to the iPad Air.

Let's do a quick comparison between the two, and see what Apple has for us in its sixth-generation tablet, the iPad Air 2.
Features and Specifications: Comparison
iPad Air 2
iPad Air 2
Image Credit: apple.com
Storage and Price
  • 16GB - $499
  • 64GB - $599
  • 128GB - $699
Display
  • 9.7 inch retina display with lamination and an anti-reflective coating
  • 2048×1536 resolution at 264 pixels per inch
  • Multi-touch IPS display with a fingerprint-resistant coating
Body
  • An even slimmer 6.1 mm body
  • Lighter than a pound, weighing just 444 
Hardware
  • Powered by the next generation A8X chip (1.5 GHz Triple-core) and the M8 co-processor
  • Features an 8MP iSight camera
  • A 1.2MP FaceTime front camera with 720p HD video recording
  • Supports Nano-SIM
  • Touch ID, a fingerprint identity sensor for better security and accessibility
  • 2GB RAM
  • Li-Po 7430 mAh dual-cell unit battery (up to 10 hours)
Software
  • iOS 8 with intelligent services like Siri, Apple Pay, iCloud Drive, iTunes Radio, QuickType keyboard, and much more
iPad Air
Storage and Price
  • 16GB - $399
  • 32GB - $449
Display
  • 9.7 inch retina display
  • 2048×1536 resolution at 264 pixels per inch
  • Multi-touch IPS display with a fingerprint-resistant coating
Body
  • A super sleek 7.5 mm body
  • Very lightweight, summing up to just a pound
Hardware
  • The powerful A7 chip (1.3 GHz Dual-core) with an M7 motion co-processor
  • Features a 5MP camera with Apple's latest iSight imaging technology
  • A 1.2MP FaceTime front camera with 720p HD video recording
  • Supports Nano-SIM
  • 1GB RAM
  • Li-Po 8600 mAh battery (up to 10 hours)
Software
  • iOS 8 with intelligent services like Siri, Apple Pay, iCloud Drive, iTunes Radio, QuickType keyboard, and much more
Difference Between the iPad Air 2 and iPad Air
From the above features, it is quite evident that, apart from the significant upgrades in the processor and the camera, the only new feature Apple provides in its 5th iteration of the iPad is the Touch ID feature. Even though there are some changes in the dimensions of the body, they don't seem very significant.

In the iPad Air 2, Apple chucks out the 32GB variant, unlike its predecessor, replacing it with a 64GB and 128GB option. These storage specs might change the trends sometime later, but sounds more like a con for people willing to buy something superior to 16GB, but not as great as 64GB, in terms of pricing. There is almost a $100 difference between the 16GB variants of the two, which is quite justified by the inclusion of A8X, M8, and the remarkable Touch ID in the iPad Air 2. However, a rising trend can surely be seen in the pricing of Apple's iPad segment. (iPad mini 16GB - $249, iPad mini 2 16GB - $299, iPad mini 3 16GB - $399, iPad Air 16GB - $399, iPad Air 2 16GB - $499.)

Some minor differences, like the absence of an anti-reflective coating, and a fully laminated display in iPad Air, or the absence of a mute/silent button in iPad Air 2, do behave as cons in the two, but won't affect usability in any way, and aren't really good reasons for an upgrade to the newer iPad.

Diving a bit into the technicalities, both these tablets have identical battery lives, that last up to 10 hours on a single charge. On the benchmarks, iPad Air 2 definitely scores higher than its predecessor, thanks to the triple-core A8 chip and the additional 1GB memory. The gaming experience is slightly better on the Air 2 for graphic intensive games, but is quite okay on the iPad Air too.
The Verdict
Should you upgrade? Depends on which iPad you currently possess. If you have older iPads belonging to the 2nd or 3rd generations, then upgrading to the iPad Air 2 sounds like a good option. On the other hand, if you own an iPad Air, then upgrading to the Air 2 is not really advised, and isn't really worth the bucks.