While tablet sales overall have been slowing, Apple hopes to reinvigorate its second-largest revenue source with the iPad Air 2, which has a new A8X CPU, thinner chassis, better camera, and features such as a TouchID sensor. However, it enters a saturated market with some stiff competition. Here is a quick comparison between Apple's new flagship slate and its three closest competitors.
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|Apple iPad Air 2||Nexus 9||Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5||Amazon Fire HDX 8.9|
|Price||Wi-Fi: $499 (16 GB), $599 (64 GB), 699 (128 GB) Wi-Fi + Cellular: $629 (16 GB), $729 (64 GB), $829 (128 GB)||$399 (16 GB), $479 (32 GB), $599 LTE||$500||$379 (16 GB), $429 (32 GB), $479 (64 GB|
|Display||9.7-inch 2048 x 1536 display||8.9-inch 2048 x 1536 display||10.5-inch 2560 x 1600 display||8.9-inch 2560 x 1600 display|
|Front camera||1.2 MP||1.6 MP f/2.4||2 MP||1080p|
|Rear camera||8 MP f/2.4||8 MP f/2.4||8 MP||8 MP|
|Processor||64-bit A8x CPU + M8 motion coprocessor||2.3 GHz 64-bit Nvidia Tegra K1 Dual Denver||Exynos 5 Octa (1.9 GHz quad-core + 1.3 GHz Quadcore)||2.5 GHz Snapdragon 805 with Adreno 420 GPU|
|Storage||16 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB||16 or 32 GB||16 GB||16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB|
|Battery Life||Up to 10 hours||Up to 9.5 hours||8:57||13:42|
|SD Card Reader||No||No||Yes, up to 128 GB SD Card||No|
|Dimensions||9.4 x 6.6 x 0.24-inches||8.9 x 6 x 0.31-inches||10 x 7.5 x 0.26-inches||9.1 x 6.2 x 0.3-inches|
|Weight||Wi-Fi: 0.96 pounds Wi-Fi + Cellular: 0.98 pounds||Wi-Fi: 0.9 pounds LTE: 0.95 pounds||1.5 pounds||Wi-Fi: 0.82 pounds 4G: 0.85 pounds|
The first thing feature that jumps out is the extreme thinness of the iPad Air 2 (0.24-inches) as Apple continues to push the limits of design. And, while it's half a pound lighter than the 12-inch Galaxy Tab S 10.5, the iPad Air 2 is heavier than the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 and Google Nexus 9.
One surprise is that since the iPad Air 2's display is the same as the original, it now has the lowest pixel density of all four tablets. The new Nexus 9 features the same resolution as the iPad Air 2, but with its smaller 8.9-inch screen, the Nexus 9's 287 pixels per inch beats out the iPad Air 2's 264 ppi.
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When it comes to price, iPad fans have to pay about $100 more compared to the 16GB versions of the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 and Google Nexus 9. The Galaxy Tab S 10.5 has the same starting price as the iPad Air 2, but provides a microSD card slot, giving users the capability to add storage.
The iPad Air 2 has new features such as an 8-MP rear camera, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and the Touch ID home button, which will work together with Apple Pay for more secure online purchases. However, each of its competitors has some unique benefits. The Galaxy Tab S 10.5 has a multi window mode, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 provides better parental controls and Amazon's MayDay tech support, and the Nexus 9 will debut with Android 5.0.
Apple claims the iPad Air 2 will last up to 10 hours surfing the Web on Wi-Fi. By comparison, Google claims the Nexus 9's 6,700 mAh battery will last up to 9.5 hours performing the same tasks. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5's 7,900-mAh battery lasted 8:51 on the Laptop Mag Battery Test (Web surfing via Wi-Fi), and the Amazon Fire HDX lasted an excellent 13:42.
For budget conscious consumers, the Amazon Fire HDX offers great value, while the Nexus 9 offers a great processor at a lower price. Android fans looking for a premium experience will love the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5. However, with Apple's huge ecosystem and an even thinner design than its predecessor, the iPad Air 2 sounds like a winner.