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All iPads iPad Air 1 Purchase?

Buy an iPad Air 1 for simple text editing and PDF viewing?


  • Total voters
    28

ty.nich

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 22, 2019
2
0
Good evening all!
So I have come across an awesome deal from someone I know to buy an iPad Air 1 for $50. Which is a really awesome deal especially noting that it is in really good condition!! I'm aware that it is a pretty aged device now and is not going to be upgradable to iPadOS 13, but all that I will be using it for is going to be typing Word documents, taking notes, some Google Drive action, and reading sheet music. I would love to hear some feedback from some of y'all if you think this would be a smart purchase for what I'm wanting to do because I simply don't have the money to buy the baseline iPad. Thanks to anyone who responds!

ty.nich
 
Last edited:

Shirasaki

macrumors G4
May 16, 2015
10,280
4,104
Why not? Just $50. Decent enough for iOS 12 and app support will last for one year or two.

With that being said, buying such an obsolete device is not really a good move even for your use case. I understand it is very difficult to crank $1100 to get latest iPad Pro. But iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 4 would be a better choice if you can find a similar deal. iPad Pro second gen can also be great if you have $400-$600 as your budget.
 
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rui no onna

macrumors G3
Oct 25, 2013
8,941
4,950
I've had large PDFs (technical manuals) crash GoodReader on the Air. Same goes for minor editing on very simple Excel spreadsheets. Like just changing the number format on a column would crash Excel. I dunno about Word but MS apps don't quite strike me as lightweight.

It ain't going to be a seamless experience. Up to you whether that's worth a try at $50.
 
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AutomaticApple

macrumors 601
Nov 28, 2018
4,989
1,933
Massachusetts
Good evening all!
So I have come across an awesome deal from someone I know to buy an iPad Air 1 for $50. Which is a really awesome deal!! I'm aware that it is a pretty aged device now and is not going to be upgradable to iPadOS 13, but all that I will be using it for is going to be typing Word documents, taking notes, some Google Drive action, and reading sheet music. I would love to hear some feedback from some of y'all if you think this would be a smart purchase for what I'm wanting to do because I simply don't have the money to buy the baseline iPad. Thanks to anyone who responds!

ty.nich
My friend has an iPad Air 1 and insists that he doesn’t want to upgrade until late 2020 (I really want him to get the regular iPad for just $249). Although he doesn’t really have anything to compare it to.

Quoted from my friend:

“Yes. Unfortunately I may not be able to update to iPad OS 13 but I won’t mind it. This iPad I own still works fine albeit some apps are slow.”
 
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digitalexplr

macrumors 65816
Dec 13, 2016
1,291
858
Central Missouri
Since you are aware of the limitations and additional $200 is currently too much a reach for you, Why not?

If you are happy with the condition and everything, go for it.
 
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EugW

macrumors G3
Jun 18, 2017
9,153
6,542
Normally I wouldn't recommend an iPad Air 1, but for US$50, that's an excellent deal even if it has the lowest storage amount, as long as it is in reasonable condition.

It is stuck on iOS 12, but that's fine and the speed will be acceptable too for your needs for a while.

Note that while it's true it's not an ideal solution, $50 is cheap enough that if you want to resell it later, you'd probably be able to sell it for at least that much.
 
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sananda

macrumors 68030
May 24, 2007
2,500
202
all that I will be using it for is going to be typing Word documents, taking notes, some Google Drive action, and reading sheet music.

I use an iPad Air every day and it’s fine for Pages documents and Notes. I don’t use Google Drive though so can’t comment on that.
 
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RayB4

macrumors member
My first iPad was the Air 1, I still have it today and use it as my back up pad. When it first came out it was seen in every gadget mag on the newsstands as THE tablet to have and although since then it has been overtaken by more powerful pads it remains a pretty decent machine. I’d say get it.
 
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Digitalguy

macrumors 6502a
Apr 15, 2019
646
458
My first iPad was the Air 1, I still have it today and use it as my back up pad. When it first came out it was seen in every gadget mag on the newsstands as THE tablet to have and although since then it has been overtaken by more powerful pads it remains a pretty decent machine. I’d say get it.
It's not just that it has been overtaken, it has been terribly slowed down by IOS 9 and 64 bit apps. Still at $50 it is worth it if you have sufficient tolerance to lag. It tends to struggle with office, since office apps use around 300MB RAM each...
 
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RayB4

macrumors member
It's not just that it has been overtaken, it has been terribly slowed down by IOS 9 and 64 bit apps. Still at $50 it is worth it if you have sufficient tolerance to lag. It tends to struggle with office, since office apps use around 300MB RAM each...
This is very true, but on those occasions when I have to use the Air 1 to do a spreadsheet or word document it may be a bit laggy but it’s still super quick compared to getting my Windows laptop fired up and ready!!
 
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Digitalguy

macrumors 6502a
Apr 15, 2019
646
458
This is very true, but on those occasions when I have to use the Air 1 to do a spreadsheet or word document it may be a bit laggy but it’s still super quick compared to getting my Windows laptop fired up and ready!!
Yes the big advatage of ipad is instant on (it's after that that it lags). However mac is also pretty much instant on. Less so for Windows, even with an SSD...
 
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rui no onna

macrumors G3
Oct 25, 2013
8,941
4,950
It's not just that it has been overtaken, it has been terribly slowed down by IOS 9 and 64 bit apps.
iOS 9's actually pretty decent on iPad Air. Iirc, it's actually faster at web browsing than iOS 7 was. Alas, apps have gotten heavier and it really should've had 2GB RAM to begin with.
 
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rui no onna

macrumors G3
Oct 25, 2013
8,941
4,950
This is very true, but on those occasions when I have to use the Air 1 to do a spreadsheet or word document it may be a bit laggy but it’s still super quick compared to getting my Windows laptop fired up and ready!!
I'd only use the Air 1 for viewing or very, very minor editing in Excel (e.g. changing some cell values).

Anything more complex than that and I'd boot up the laptop (or really, just use one of the always on desktops around the house). Just changing the decimal places on a column can make Excel for iOS crash on the Air. Besides, while boot times may be longer on the laptop, launching Excel is practically instantaneous if one has an SSD. I think launching Excel on the iPad Air takes as long as my laptop's boot time.
 
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EugW

macrumors G3
Jun 18, 2017
9,153
6,542
iOS 9's actually pretty decent on iPad Air. Iirc, it's actually faster at web browsing than iOS 7 was. Alas, apps have gotten heavier and it really should've had 2GB RAM to begin with.
Yeah, that’s why I forced myself to wait a year for the iPad Air 2. I and my wife liked it so much, I bought another one a year later on sale for my wife. Interestingly they went on sale just before the usual yearly update period at Best Buy, but the annual update didn’t happen.

Now they are being used by our two kids. History is repeating itself though. I have a 4 GB iPad Pro 10.5” now but the wife now wants it. So I’ll buy a (hopefully) 6 GB iPad Pro 11” when it comes out and give her the 10.5”.
 
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Jim Lahey

macrumors 6502a
Apr 8, 2014
975
1,687
Sunnyvale
One thing to be aware of with the first iPad Air - the display glass is not laminated. This may sound like a trifling matter, but in my experience it makes the device very unpleasant to type on. It’s like a noisy drum skin, and every touch sounds like you need to trim your fingernails. Oddly, I never noticed this with older iPads which presumably were also not laminated.

Just something to keep in mind if it will be used for lots of typing. If you’re happy that this won’t be an issue, then for $50 it seems like a good buy.
 
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rui no onna

macrumors G3
Oct 25, 2013
8,941
4,950
Yeah, that’s why I forced myself to wait a year for the iPad Air 2. I and my wife liked it so much, I bought another one a year later on sale for my wife. Interestingly they went on sale just before the usual yearly update period at Best Buy, but the annual update didn’t happen.
I needed universal LTE for an overseas Christmas trip so I had no choice but to get the Air (was originally gonna skip 2013). I only got the 16GB because I was expecting to replace it in 2014. I was disappointed that the Air 2 didn't have 256GB storage so I actually ended up using the Air for 2.5 years. If I had known there wouldn't be an upgrade in 2015, I'd have just gotten a 128GB LTE Air 2 in 2014 and just upgraded again to a 256GB LTE Pro 9.7 in 2016. Back then, LTE models never went on sale. They were usually full MSRP throughout.

All things considered though, the Air wasn't as bad as I'd expected it to perform. If anything, it was the 16GB storage that was the major source of frustration for me. Granted, I don't tend to switch apps frequently. For the most part, I'd just have one app open that I'd use for hours (Kindle, Marvin epub reader, video streaming). Couldn't really do comics/manga on the Air because storage is so limited. I just kept using my 128GB iPad 4+iOS 6 for my manga.

Safari's where I find the RAM very limiting with the frequent tab reloads but at least reloaded tabs rendered much faster than on iPad 2-4 and it remembered the last position on the webpage instead of always going to the top.
 
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EugW

macrumors G3
Jun 18, 2017
9,153
6,542
I needed universal LTE for an overseas Christmas trip so I had no choice but to get the Air (was originally gonna skip 2013). I only got the 16GB because I was expecting to replace it in 2014. I was disappointed that the Air 2 didn't have 256GB storage so I actually ended up using the Air for 2.5 years. If I had known there wouldn't be an upgrade in 2015, I'd have just gotten a 128GB LTE Air 2 in 2014 and just upgraded again to a 256GB LTE Pro 9.7 in 2016. Back then, LTE models never went on sale. They were usually full MSRP throughout.

All things considered though, the Air wasn't as bad as I'd expected it to perform. If anything, it was the 16GB storage that was the major source of frustration for me. Granted, I don't tend to switch apps frequently. For the most part, I'd just have one app open that I'd use for hours (Kindle, Marvin epub reader, video streaming). Couldn't really do comics/manga on the Air because storage is so limited. I just kept using my 128GB iPad 4+iOS 6 for my manga.

Safari's where I find the RAM very limiting with the frequent tab reloads but at least reloaded tabs rendered much faster than on iPad 2-4 and it remembered the last position on the webpage instead of always going to the top.
Yeah, 16 GB was fine as entry level back in 2011 but a few years later became more restrictive as iOS and the apps matured. 32-64 GB is more reasonable these days for entry level, although personally I think it’s time for the Pros to start at 128 GB, for the same price.

But yeah, Safari tab reloads quickly became a significant issue. By 2015 I was already irritated by the tab reloads on my 1 GB iPhone 5S, and upgraded to my current 3 GB iPhone 7 Plus in 2016.
 
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sananda

macrumors 68030
May 24, 2007
2,500
202
One thing to be aware of with the first iPad Air - the display glass is not laminated. This may sound like a trifling matter, but in my experience it makes the device very unpleasant to type on. It’s like a noisy drum skin, and every touch sounds like you need to trim your fingernails. Oddly, I never noticed this with older iPads which presumably were also not laminated.

When I changed from the original iPad to iPad Air I thought the Air’s screen felt and sounded more like plastic than glass. I got used to it though and I’ve never found typing to be a problem. It has served me well for coming up to 6 years.
 
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rui no onna

macrumors G3
Oct 25, 2013
8,941
4,950
Yeah, 16 GB was fine as entry level back in 2011 but a few years later became more restrictive as iOS and the apps matured. 32-64 GB is more reasonable these days for entry level, although personally I think it’s time for the Pros to start at 128 GB, for the same price.
Lol, 16GB was never enough for me on iPad. In 2011, I preordered the iPad 2 32GB and ended up ordering 64GB the same weekend I received it. For the Pros, yeah, Apple should definitely bump that up to 128GB next iteration at the same $799/999 base. I think they should up the entry level iPads to 64GB as well but that seems even less likely to happen.

But yeah, Safari tab reloads quickly became a significant issue. By 2015 I was already irritated by the tab reloads on my 1 GB iPhone 5S, and upgraded to my current 3 GB iPhone 7 Plus in 2016.
Lol, I've never been bothered by 1GB RAM on my iPhone 5s or even the iPhone 6 (6+ was pretty bad, though). Likely because I use the iPad more. Reload was bad on the Air (funnily enough, a bit worse than 32-bit iPad 4) and I've had several websites go on a crash loop on iOS 8 Safari. I really don't think iOS 8 was designed with 1GB RAM in mind. I used the Air as backup to my Pro 9.7 after upgrading and iOS 9 Safari behaved much better.
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One thing to be aware of with the first iPad Air - the display glass is not laminated. This may sound like a trifling matter, but in my experience it makes the device very unpleasant to type on. It’s like a noisy drum skin, and every touch sounds like you need to trim your fingernails. Oddly, I never noticed this with older iPads which presumably were also not laminated.

Just something to keep in mind if it will be used for lots of typing. If you’re happy that this won’t be an issue, then for $50 it seems like a good buy.
Glass on the Air is much thinner than on older iPads hence that coupled with air gap equals plasticky tapping sound. It annoyed me to no end in the beginning but I've learned to compensate (used very light taps).
 
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muzzy996

macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2018
843
742
This is an unecessarily long thread IMO. At 50$ the iPad Air that OP is asking about is priced to move compared to $130 list prices on Swappa. Given those kinds of numbers as long as the device is in good working order you're basically at buy before you try territory and if it doesn't work out turn around and sell it for $50.
 
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