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Review roundup: Apple's new iPad Air is worth the price, critics gush

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Reviews for the iPad Air are in, and the consensus is Apple has once again built the best tablet.

The most noticeable change users will find on the iPad Air, which goes on sale Friday, is its new, super-slim size. It weighs 1 pound and is 0.29 inches thick. It also has a drastically thinner frame and looks a lot like the design of the iPad mini. Engadget's Brad Molen says the name "Air" is fitting because "it's ridiculously small and light compared to previous models." 

"Just hold the Air for a minute and then pick up an older iPad," Molen wrote. "The difference is immediately noticeable. Simply put, the iPad Air is the most comfortable 10-inch tablet we've ever used."

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However, the most impressive feat of the new iPad is its long-lasting battery. Though the battery is physically smaller, many critics said they were able to get much more battery life than Apple claimed it could achieve. Many said they got more than 12 hours.

"I actually grew impatient trying to exhaust the battery in my tests," wrote Bloomberg's Rich Jaroslovsky. "You should get a lot more than a full day of normal use on a charge."

Many reviewers also said the iPad Air was noticeably faster when using Wi-Fi. That's thanks to the inclusion of not one but two Wi-Fi antennas.

"Two Wi-Fi antennas work to deliver up to twice the speed. I downloaded the pilot episode of the 'Pretty Little Liars' spinoff 'Ravenswood' in less than 20 minutes. It took last fall's model 39 minutes to do the same," wrote the Associated Press' Anick Jesdanun.

Everyone is also happy that Apple is bundling in its iLife and iWork apps into the new tablet for free. However, many were disappointed that Apple didn't include the Touch ID fingerprint scanner that comes with the iPhone 5s. Apple will probably wait until later iPad models to add that feature.

One of the few drawbacks of the iPad Air is its starting price of $499. The problem is that the iPad is no longer the only tablet worth buying. Users can turn to Amazon or Google to pay less for a tablet and they will still get a quality product.

But generally, all the critics agree that the iPad Air is worth the steep price, especially if it's your first tablet or if you haven't upgraded in a few years.

"If you can afford it, the new iPad Air is the tablet I recommend, hands down," wrote AllThingsD's Walt Mossberg.

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