iPad The new iPad (2017) vs the iPad Air 2: A comprehensive review

Discussion in 'iPad' started by mossme89, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. mossme89, Apr 11, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2017

    mossme89 macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Appearance (5%):
    Despite only being a little less than an ounce heavier and 0.05 inches (1.27 mm) thicker, the new iPad definitely feels fatter and heavier than the iPad Air 2. Though it might be because the iPad Air 2 has a very pleasing feel to it, compared to this device which is not as curvy. That said, beauty is only skin deep and it's not horrible, just doesn't feel high-end.
    Winner: iPad Air 2

    Screen (17%):

    This has been talked about quite often and I initially commented that the screen was horrible. I think I overreacted. The screen is just fine. To be honest, if you laid the 2 tablets side-by-side (which I did) and displayed the same image on the screen at the same brightness, most people probably would not be able to tell the difference without looking at them for a while. It's a subtle difference. The iPad Air 2 looks more crisp and clear, but this iPad looks fantastic as well. It's the difference between excellent and great, not excellent and horrible.
    Winner: iPad Air 2 but it's as big of a deal as people are making it out to be.


    Battery Life (25%):

    This is the major killer feature of the new iPad that nobody is talking about. Apple packed an 8,800 mah battery into the larger body of this device, up 20% from the 7300 in the iPad Pro (9.7) and iPad Air 2. It shows. This device is like a tank, it sips the battery all day. I've been running benchmarks like crazy trying to wear down the battery and it's only dropped 15% in 3 hours. I've left the screen on by mistake for several hours and only have it drop 20%. It's INSANE how good the battery life is. The Air 2 is good with battery life, but not this good. Plus from what I've seen, the display comes at a cost of worse battery life. There's little doubt that with the new iPad, you can get 2 days of heavy usage out of it.

    Here's a screenshot of recent usage on the new iPad. I ran 9 benchmark tests and left the screen on the app during dinner.
    [​IMG]
    Winner: The New iPad (2017) by far

    Performance (30%):

    It's the same. I know some reviewers have said the new iPad is faster, I just don't see it in everyday usage. After running Geekbench 4 a dozen times, I've gotten results between 4350-4450 compared to 4050 in the iPad Air 2, which makes it just under 10% faster than the iPA2. The latter tests had lower and lower results but I think that might be due to heat throttling by the CPU.

    I might not have noticed any speed difference in real-world use since both can handle iOS without any lag, but it's worth noting that the new iPad IS faster.
    Winner: iPad (2017) slightly

    Safari (8%):
    The major appeal of an iPad is to have a device to easily browse the net. As such, any lag (especially nowadays) is unacceptable and only makes things more difficult. Web browsing was buttery smooth. I can have 6-7 open tabs before there's a need to reload anything due to memory constraints. You won't be letdown.
    Winner: Tie

    Value (15%):
    Compared to the IPA2 (at least based on refurbished and remaining new sales), you get more storage for the same price as well as the bigger battery. Personally, I think the battery alone makes it a much better value compared to the iPad Air 2. Plus I'm sure that even though they have similar specs, this iPad will receive updates longer than the IPA2.
    Winner: The New iPad (2017)

    Conclusion:
    Unless you desperately need the thinness and laminated display on the iPad Air 2, the new iPad is a better bargain and superior in every other way. I'd argue that it's a better deal than the iPad Pro. I mean, let's be honest, for most people, (almost) double the price for a stylus is not worth it.
    Winner: iPad (2017)
     
  2. darksithpro, Apr 11, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2017

    darksithpro macrumors regular

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    #2

    My question is, since the A8x is 3 cores, vs the 2 cores A9, where multi core is a wash, why would you want a thicker iPad that doesn't have Anti-Reflective coating? If you can get a better deal on an Air 2 64, or 128, it would be better for everyday use vs the cheaper iPad. The coating makes a really big difference when out and about. The coating really masks most of the reflections from light sources that can give you headaches and eye strain.
     
  3. gobikerider macrumors 68000

    gobikerider

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    #3
    New iPad consistently loads apps and games faster A8X. It sucks to say but the A9 is a good bit quicker loading things. The Air 2 is not worth it anymore unless you need that screen
     
  4. darksithpro macrumors regular

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    #4
    What, by a few hundred milliseconds? It's a newer SOC design, but the extra core on the Air 2 is almost equal in multi-core. How does that impact real world performance?
     
  5. Howard2k macrumors 6502a

    Howard2k

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    #5
    I know some probably feel a bit **** that their resale values may have decreased faster than normal, but the new iPad is a great deal.
     
  6. darksithpro macrumors regular

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    #6
    It's a re-baggaged iPhone 6s CPU without the anti-reflective coating and laminated screen on the Air 2.
     
  7. RickTaylor macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    How do the speakers of the new iPad and the Air 2 compare?
     
  8. darksithpro macrumors regular

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    #8
    iPad Pro has much better speakers!
     
  9. rui no onna macrumors 601

    rui no onna

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    #9
    Given few apps could actually make use of that 3rd core while stuff like JavaScript, etc. are bottlenecked by single-threaded performance not to mention the improved storage subsystem, 2017 iPad is better for real world.
     
  10. JPack macrumors 6502a

    JPack

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    #10
    Most workloads don't scale up well with additional cores. I'd take a dual-core A9 rather than a last-gen triple-core A8X and the benchmarks support it. Android phones play the core count game but look at the real world performance of those devices.

    The iPad (2017)'s battery life and performance is probably the biggest advantage over the iPad Air 2.

    Yes, the iPad (2017) is slightly thicker and heavier than the iPad Air 2, but not enough for most people to notice. What people do notice and appreciate is the long battery life. Apple is using the iPad Air chassis because it simply works, just as the iPhone 6 design continues to work for iPhone 7.

    The Microsoft Surface tablet wins the J.D. Power tablet satisfaction survey even though it's thicker than the iPad Pro. What matters is usability and performance. With the iPad (2017), Apple can get the low hanging fruit (A9 and battery life) but what's next is iOS needs to be improved for multitasking.
     
  11. Porco macrumors 68030

    Porco

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    #11
    (Btw/fyi OP: I think you're missing a 'not' in the bold line about screen - as in 'not as big a deal...')

    Good summing up of the differences I think. Having tried the new one a bit I'm still happy with my Air 2, but if I was buying a new iPad today I'd definitely get the 2017 model.
     
  12. Scarpad macrumors 68000

    Scarpad

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    #12
    I just received mine and I think for the substantial price difference unless you need the pro features , and i did'nt the 2017 is a heck of a deal, the non laminated screen is fine, I read alot of comics and its just fantastic.
     
  13. sevoneone macrumors 6502

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    #13
    From what I understand, XCode and Apple's APIs do a good job of making sure Apps run multithreaded without developers having to do as much work. It is probably safe to say that even the most basic iOS apps are better at multithreading than their desktop counterparts. Taking that into consideration, app performance is probably very similar between the two chips. Possible that there are some apps like video/audio/multimedia that could make better use of the 3rd core and might actually run faster in the A8X, but that would not be common and a non issue for most day to day use.

    The loading time probably have less to do with the SoC and more to do with the speed of the flash memory. It seems the new iPad is using the same faster flash in the latest phones and iPad Pro models. It is quite a bit faster, and likely has more to do with the perceivable performance differences than the processor. It's like the difference between a computer with an SSD vs an HDD.
     
  14. Channan macrumors 68030

    Channan

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    #14
    I'd say the only big reason to get the new iPad over the iPad Air 2, provided you can get either for around the same price, is the battery life. Whether the new iPad benchmarks higher or not, performance will be very similar between both, so I wouldn't say the A9 is really a reason to get the new iPad.
     
  15. Howard2k macrumors 6502a

    Howard2k

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    #15
    It's faster and cheaper. And has better battery life.
    But yeah, if those extra 30 grams or whatever are too much, get the Air 2 for sure. 100%.
     
  16. Channan macrumors 68030

    Channan

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    #16
    If you can't bother reading what you reply to, you're not worth discussing anything with.
     
  17. Howard2k macrumors 6502a

    Howard2k

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    #17
    It's probably your steadfast denial of facts that makes this discussion not worth having. Thanks though.
     
  18. rui no onna macrumors 601

    rui no onna

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    #18
    Kinda not. Iirc, the A9 matches A8X in multi-core performance and surpasses it in single core. Also, new iPad has faster storage subsystem. Basically, if you're doing heavily multi-threaded tasks (e.g. video encoding), the 2017 iPad will perform similar to the Air 2. For anything else, the 2017 iPad is faster.

    The only reason to opt for the Air 2 over the 2017 iPad is if you want the fully laminated display with anti-reflective coating period (and it really is very helpful particularly when working in brightly lit conditions). Caveat, the Air 2 display is also more prone to fingerprints and appears to have higher static coefficient of friction compared to the 2017 iPad display.
     
  19. Channan macrumors 68030

    Channan

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    #19
    Considering I already said that provided you can get both for around the same price and performance will be similar between the two, battery life is the only real reason to get the new iPad, and you want to come in here with some stupid "it's faster and cheaper and has better battery life" comment that I JUST TALKED ABOUT, it's definitely either your attention span or [lack of] reading comprehension.

    Nice try, though.
    Yes, I know the new iPad benchmarks higher on single core. My point was that the actual performance between the two will be extremely similar. I'd be very surprised if you could tell which device you're using based simply on how it performs under daily use.

    Yes, it's going to be a tad faster, but the only major benefit is the battery life.
     
  20. rui no onna macrumors 601

    rui no onna

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    #20
    Depends on the website, I guess. The difference has been noticeable on multimedia heavy pages. The 30 grams difference is pretty negligible.

    iPad Air 2
    Pro: display

    2017 iPad
    Pro: battery life, speed advantage (A9 + storage), less prone to fingerprints, less friction on touchscreen, possibly an extra year of firmware update

    So at the same price for same capacity, pretty much boils down to how much one values the nicer display on the Air 2. If one does not care about the display, most will probably be better off getting the 2017 iPad.
     
  21. Channan macrumors 68030

    Channan

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    #21
    You're missing my point, though. I'm not saying the new iPad doesn't have other advantages besides the battery life. I'm saying battery life is the only MAJOR reason to choose the new iPad over the Air 2. I never mentioned the size or weight advantage of the iPad Air 2 because that's not a major reason, either.
     
  22. rui no onna macrumors 601

    rui no onna

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    #22
    I didn't miss your point.

    I just disagree with your assertion that battery life is the only reason to get the 2017 iPad over the iPad Air 2 if one is buying now and pricing of the two models is similar. To the contrary, imho, the display is the only reason to get the Air 2. If one doesn't care about that, then the iPad 2017 is just the better device all around.

    Of course, if one already owns the Air 2, there is practically no reason to switch to the 2017 iPad, either.
     
  23. Channan macrumors 68030

    Channan

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    #23
    Well then that's where our opinions differ. To me, actually, it's the thinness, not the laminated display with the antireflective coating, that's the biggest advantage to the iPad Air 2. It's not that new iPad is too fat to hold or anything, but I passed on the original iPad Air because it felt hollow and cheap. The iPad Air 2 never felt like that, which is why I finally replaced my iPad 3 with an iPad Air 2.

    If mine broke and I had to replace it, Pro aside, I'd pick the Air 2 again for that reason alone.
     
  24. gobikerider macrumors 68000

    gobikerider

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    #24
    Go watch a video the A9 is noticeably snappier loading apps and probably mantains smoother performance underload. I can tell now if my Air 2 is under load you'll see significant stuttering occurring, for example if you go try to install 3 apps at once, also games load surprisingly quicker on the A9.

    If you don't have a iPad already and are debating there isn't any debate to be had.
    The new iPad is a far better value proposition and honestly if you ignore its improvements over the Air 2 laminated display then your cheap and should get a iPad Pro for the "best". If your not getting that then just save yourself the headache of buying a 2 year and 4 month old tablet and get the new iPad, I honestly don't know why this is even a debate. It's not like there's a big price difference
     
  25. Reno Raines macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 19, 2015
    #25
    I upgraded to the new iPad and gave my air 2 to my wife. I notice that it does run faster and does not have lag like my air 2 had sometimes. Also the battery to me is noticeably better.
     

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