Top Menu

Preaching With The iPad Air (First Impressions & Review)

18 Flares 18 Flares ×

holding ipad air WEBApple started selling its 5th generation iPad – the “iPad Air” – this past Friday, and I was among the first to walk through the doors of my local Apple store to pick one up. I’ve had an iPad 2 since early 2011 (putting me behind the iPad Air by 3 generations!), so you can imagine I was excited to upgrade. I opted for the cheapest version (since that’s all I needed): the 16GB + Wi-Fi. I chose the “Space Gray” model (because that’s how I roll).

The First Impression

The moment I put my hands on the iPad Air, I realized how great a job Apple did at shaving off the weight. This thing is surprisingly light, coming in at exactly 1 pound! The 3rd and 4th generation iPads weren’t any lighter than my iPad 2 (in fact, they were slightly heavier), so this is a significant change for all iPad owners.

apple ipad side comparison

Being only 7.5mm thick, the iPad Air is noticeably thinner than previous models. It is nearly 2mm thinner than the 4th generation iPad.

The screen is still 9.7 inches, but the bezel has been trimmed. The iPad 2/3/4 had a width of 7.3 inches, while the iPad Air has a width of 6.6 inches. Additionally (and hardly noticeably), the height of the iPad Air (9.4 inches) is 1/10 of an inch less than the height of the 2/3/4 generation iPads.

Overall, compared to the iPad 2 I used to lug around, the iPad Air feels much more like the iPad Mini. I have slightly larger than average hands, so I can almost comfortably hold the iPad Air in one hand by gripping it between my thumb and my pinky.

Width comparison WEB

The iPad Air on top, with a width of 6.6 inches, and the iPad 2 on bottom, with a width of 7.3 inches.

Hands down, the Retina 2,048 x 1,536 resolution screen blows the iPad 2’s 1,024 x 768 resolution screen out of the water. The text is significantly clearer and crisper, which is a big asset to me (When I’m preaching, I need to be able to read my notes as easily & quickly as possible.). It also seems to have a brighter display than the iPad 2, and has a warmer tint to it.

As is to be expected from any 2.5-year-old device, the battery of my iPad 2 doesn’t hold a charge as long as it used to. The battery of the iPad Air can hold a charge for a continual 10 hours of use.

The iPad Air next to a standard Zebra F-301 pen. The pen is actually slightly thicker than the iPad.

The iPad Air next to a standard Zebra F-301 pen. The pen is actually slightly thicker than the iPad.

 

The iPad Air nearly has the same dimensions as my 6.25" x 9.4" Bible.

The iPad Air nearly has the same dimensions as my 6.25″ x 9.4″ Bible.

The Specs

The iPad Air is super fast & zippy, making my old iPad 2 seem like a turtle. I know “super fast & zippy” aren’t exactly quantitative terms of measurement, so I installed an app called Geekbench 3 on the two iPads so you can get a better idea:

Geekbench 3 Performance Comparison

  Single-Core Score Multi-Core Score
iPad Air: 1,481 2,691
iPad 2: 265 499

That might not mean much to you, but it does provide some sort of metric when comparing the two models. Both iPads are running the same version of iOS7 (7.0.3), and I closed all of the apps except Geekbench 3 before running the benchmark.

Device Specification Comparison

  iPad Air iPad 2
OS Version: 7.0.3 7.0.3
Processor: A7 chip & M7 motion coprocessor A5 chip
RAM: 1GB 500MB
Cameras: 5MP Rear iSight & 1.2MP Front FaceTime .92MP Rear & VGA Front FaceTime
Siri Capability: Yes No
Connector: Lightning 30-pin
Screen Resolution: 2,048 x 1,536 (Retina) 1,024 x 768

Functionally, the iPad Air doesn’t seem to be a huge improvement over the iPad 3/4, but if you want the newest A7 chip and the lighter weight (1LB!), this is the iPad for you.

The Pulpit Commentary 

Since picking it up over the weekend, I’ve spoken six (6) times: 4 times at a weekend youth retreat, and 2 times on Sunday. While that’s a lot in such a short amount of time (I’m exhausted!), it did give me a chance to see the iPad Air in action.

From the audience’s perspective, I’m sure the iPad Air didn’t noticeably improve this young preacher’s preaching (that department is probably a lost cause!). But from my perspective, using the iPad Air was a remarkable upgrade.

The Good

  • It is noticeably lighter. Since I rarely preach standing stationary behind a pulpit, I have to hold my iPad. A .33 pound difference is noticeable after a 30-45 minute lesson!
  • I can transition between apps faster. Thanks to the new A7 processor, the iPad Air is blazingly fast. This is especially important to me, since I don’t have time to wait for apps to load when I’m before an audience.
  • The Retina screen is bright and crisp. I can distinguish text slightly faster than I could with my iPad 2. This is valuable for me since I occasionally have to look down at my notes while preaching.
  • It has 10 hours of battery life. Actually, I’ve gotten closer to 11 hours out of mine. It also charges faster than the iPad 2.
  • It is more comfortable to hold. The iPad 2 had relatively sharp edges, while the edges of the iPad Air are more gently curved.
  • It has about the same 2D dimensions as my 6.25” x 9.4” Bible.

The Bad

  • My thumb doesn’t have as much room to hold the edge. The left & right bezel of the iPad 2 provided roughly 1.75 cm of real estate for my thumb. This made it easy to hold by the edge with one hand. The iPad Air, on the other hand, only has 1 cm for my thumb, making it more difficult to hold with one hand without accidentally turning a page of my notes.
  • 1GB of RAM. The iPad Air needs to have at least 2GB of RAM in my opinion (Come on, Apple! Keep up with the competition!).

Conclusion

Really, here’s all you need to know:

  • It’s surprisingly light! That will be your first thought when you pick one up. I feel like I’m holding an iPad Mini, almost.
  • It’s snappy. You will not be annoyed with slow-loading apps and web pages like you certainly must be if you have an iPad 2.
  • The battery life is great. 10+ hours of continuous life.
  • Be prepared for the 1 cm bezel. It isn’t a big deal, but if you preach while standing/pacing, be prepared to make some adjustments to how you hold your iPad.

That’s all you really need to know. If you’ve been holding out like me (I generally like to upgrade my Apple products every two generations), go get one! You’ll enjoy it!

, , , , ,

6 Responses to Preaching With The iPad Air (First Impressions & Review)

  1. Shane Robinson November 4, 2013 at 12:38 PM #

    I think you’ll enjoy reading on the new iPad as well. For me, when I upgraded (well sort of) from an iPad 2 to the iPad Mini I immediately found reading on an electronic devise more pleasant.

  2. Randy Tate November 4, 2013 at 5:27 PM #

    Do you use your I-pad to run your presentations? I have experimented with doing this and find myself going back to my laptop for this, I guess I don’t like change.

    • Ben November 5, 2013 at 9:58 AM #

      I’ve never really experimented with using my iPad for presentations. I typically have someone else run my PowerPoint from another machine, and just use my iPad exclusively for notes. I’m not really sure the best way to do both, but I’m sure there’s a way out there.

  3. Matt Burnett November 5, 2013 at 9:54 AM #

    Sweet! This makes me excited to get one from Appogee. I was thinking of getting the Mini, because of the lightness, thinking that my hands might get sleepy with the larger one, but this is awesome. How do you like the typing capability? I typically use the split screen typing method

    • Ben November 12, 2013 at 9:40 AM #

      In my experience, typing is much better on the full sized iPad compared to the mini (for obvious reasons). However, I’ve never used the split screen typing method (In fact, I just recently discovered it! It’s pretty neat!). Typing is about the same across all iPad generations (though the Air is more responsive).

  4. Dallas Criddle March 30, 2014 at 10:11 AM #

    Great article. But About the small bezel, apple has made it to where you can actually rest your hand on the sides of the display and it not effect it. And this works on all iPad models.

18 Flares Twitter 1 Facebook 15 Email -- Buffer 0 StumbleUpon 2 18 Flares ×