How the iPad Air Stacks Up to the Tablet Market's Top Dogs

The newer, shinier, and freshly named iPad Air is finally here—and goddamn is it thin. But while super-skinny is nice and all, it doesn't necessarily make for a better device. So let's take a look at how the iPad Air compares to its toughest competition.

How the iPad Air Stacks Up to the Tablet Market's Top Dogs

How the iPad Air Stacks Up to the Tablet Market's Top Dogs

First, though, our usual disclaimer: Specs will never tell the entire story. We say this every time, but that's because it's true. Ideally, the whole will be greater than the sum of its parts. and the overall user experience will depend in part on the individual, too.

One of the most noticeable differences with the Air will likely be its new, powerhouse A7 chip, which according to Apple, should give the tablet a processing speed that's 8x faster and a graphics performance that's 72x faster than the original iPad. So that Retina screen is going to be put to work.

That being said, the year-old Nexus 10 still demolishes every other tablet when it comes to PPI, but with hardware at this level, it's doubtful you even be able to tell the difference. One thing that will be noticeable, though, is weight. This sucker is light. Not as light as the Kindle Fire HD, mind you, but then the Kindle isn't half the powerhouse of the iPad Air. We're still waiting on exact battery specifications. All we know for now is that we're looking at 32 Wh, but judging by Apple's notoriously lacking battery history, don't get your hopes up.

For the price point, the iPad certainly seems to be pulling ahead. But $500 is a lot of money—and that's just the starting price. If you plan to use your tablet mainly for reading and some casual video watching or web browsing, you really don't need everything the iPad Air is packing. But if you're someone who's really going to put that tablet to use, you may have yourself a winner. The real test, though, will be actually putting it to use.

*We're still waiting on exact mAh numbers for the iPad Air.