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iPad Air 2 and Retina iMac reviews are in: See how Apple’s best tablet and desktop performed in real tests

iPad Air 2 and Retina iMac Reviews Roundup

The first iPad Air 2 and Retina iMac reviews are in and man publications are generally praising Apple’s newest products, although many say that things can still be improved, especially for the tablet. The iPad Air 2 is slimmer, lighter and more powerful than ever, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a must-have device. The Retina iMac has a great-looking high-resolution display matched by high performance, although it might be quite a big expense for those users who don’t really need to handle 4K and 5K images and videos.

FROM EARLIER: Benchmarks show the iPad Air 2 has only one rival in terms of overall performance

In its iPad Air 2 review, The Wall Street Journal found the tablet to be a great device for a variety of tasks, whether it’s used at home, outdoors or during commutes, but it still found a flaw in the significantly improved tablet: The iPad Air only shows one app at a time, which may be annoying at times, especially for productivity tasks.

“The iPad Air 2 pushes forward in all the ways you’d expect Apple’s tablet to. The blend of screen, build and app quality make it the best full-size tablet you can buy,” the Journal wrote. “But it doesn’t move ahead in one area where some of us have been waiting (desperately) for evolution: true multi-tasking, going beyond the one-app-at-a-time functionality. Perhaps that’s the big surprise that Apple will bring when it introduces a 12.9-inch iPad next year.”

Walt Mossberg wrote in his iPad Air 2 review on Re/code that the iPad Air 2 is indeed better than previous Apple products, but for average tablet users, upgrading to the now-cheaper iPad Air might be as good as going for the top of the line model.

“If you have an iPad 2, 3 or 4, the new Air 2 will make a big difference. Its thinness and lightness will be a dramatic change, and it will be faster and more fluid,” Mossberg wrote. “However, here’s the catch: Upgrading to last year’s iPad Air would have pretty much the same effect, and that model is now, suddenly, $100 cheaper, starting at $399.”

Over at Yahoo Tech, David Pogue also agrees that ditching the iPad Air in favor of the iPad Air 2 isn’t required, even though the iPad Air 2 is “thin, gorgeous and powerful.”

“The improvements are all terrific — especially the WiFi speed and the thinness — but they’re not enough to make you want to ditch your 2013 iPad Air. If your iPad is older still, and you use it often, then, yeah; it’s worth the upgrade,” he said.

Interestingly, Pogue also revealed how Apple’s SIM card works, saying users choosing the cellular model of the iPad Air 2 won’t be able to hop between carriers after making a first carrier choice.

The New York Times is also wondering whether buyers should be interested in Apple’s new tablet offerings, even if they’re the “best tablets on the market today.”

“So these are fantastic tablets. The question is: Do you need a fantastic tablet?” the Times wonders, offering an answer of its own. The iPad Air 2’s hardware will last for quite a while if you buy one, as long as you don’t damage it that is.

“[Performance tests] get to what is perhaps the main reason to choose an iPad Air 2. All that power will last a long while; you could get four or five years of use out of this tablet before you’ll need to upgrade. Of course, you’ll pay a pretty penny for that longevity,” the Times concluded.

In its review, ABC News also highlighted some of the iPad Air 2’s main strengths, including the improved camera, better display and sound quality, the faster wireless chip and the fingerprint sensor. But the publication also concluded that “the improvements might not be enough for existing iPad Air owners to upgrade.”

The full iPad Air 2 reviews are available at the following links:

Starting at $2,500, the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K resolution can be seen as an expensive desktop purchase. The desktop has also been throughly reviewed by various publications, many of which looked past the amazing Retina display that happens to be the main selling point of the device to see what else it can offer.

“Priced at $2,500 and up, you don’t need this new iMac—standard 27-inch iMacs start at $700 less,” The Wall Street Journal said. “But oh boy will you want one, particularly if you spend time working with digital photos or videos. Using the Retina iMac lets you see, for the first time, every pixel you’ve captured all at once.”

“Apple’s beautifully designed 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display will surely dazzle anyone who works in 4K video or high-resolution photography,” PCMag’s conclusion reads. “The unmatched display paired with solid high-end performance at a surprisingly affordable price makes it our Editors’ Choice for high-end all-in-one desktops.”

“Like the Mac Pro, the new iMac with 5K Retina display is a highly specialized product, not intended for everyday mainstream computing. One might even call it the iMac Pro, and for casual web surfing, social media, and even gaming, the less-expensive non-Retina version will do just fine,” CNET concludes.

“But, having experienced the 5K screen up close, it’s also hard to un-see the effect of never being able to detect the pixel grid on the screen. I’ve had several photo and video professionals tell me this is exactly what they’re looking for, and at only $500, £400, or AU$550 more than the closest comparable non-5K 27-inch iMac, it’s the equivalent of adding the cheapest possible aftermarket 4K display. If you’re in that professional or semi-pro category, the math may just work out for you on this.”

The full Retina iMac reviews can be accessed by following these links:

Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he's not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.