/> ED I T O R S C H O I C E IN N O V A T IO N A W A R D
X

CNET editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

Hands-on with the new Apple iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 (pictures)

Apple has introduced the iPad Air 2, purportedly the thinnest tablet ever, and a new iPad Mini 3.

XIOMARA_BLANCO-4218-001.jpg
Xiomara Blanco
apple-ipad-air-2-0445.jpg
1 of 19 James Martin/CNET

New year, new iPads

Apple appeases its fans with regular updates to its products, and flying in on the heels of the iPhone 6, the company released new models of the iPad Air and iPad Mini. Click through the slideshow to get to know the two new iPads better.

ipad-air-1-of-8.jpg
2 of 19 Tim Stevens/CNET

Meet the Apple iPad Air 2

The latest iPad Air is similar to its highly lauded predecessor, but with a few fresh, high-end features. One of the most notable new additions is Apple's Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

apple-ipad-air-2-0498.jpg
3 of 19 James Martin/CNET

Thinnest. iPad. Ever.

Apple had no qualms at calling the iPad Air 2 the slimmest tablet out there. How slim is it? Two iPad Air 2s stacked one atop the other equal the thickness of the first iPad.

apple-ipad-air-2-0453.jpg
4 of 19 James Martin/CNET

Retina returns

A redesigned display contributes to the Apple iPad Air 2's thinner construction. The screens on previous iPads were made of three separate components, and now the iPad Air 2 has fused them into one. Not only does this make the tablet thinner, the display itself produces richer images with deeper contrast and vivid colors.

apple-ipad-air-2-0519.jpg
5 of 19 James Martin/CNET

Signature aluminum casing

The high-end aesthetic of the iPad is due to its simple and streamlined design. The Apple slate will be available in gold, as well as the usual space gray and silver colors.

ipad-air-8-of-8.jpg
6 of 19 Tim Stevens/CNET

Lightweight design

The iPad Air 2 weighs 0.96-pound (437 grams), which, when considered along with its industry leading thinness, would definitely land it at the top of the thinnest and lightest tablets chart.

apple-ipad-air-2-0473.jpg
7 of 19 James Martin/CNET

Faster performance

Apple created the A8X processor specifically for the iPad Air 2. The new chip has a second-generation 64-bit architecture, houses 3 billion transistors, and compared to the iPhone 6's A8 chip, has a 40 percent faster CPU, while its GPU is 2.5 times faster.

 .

apple-ipad-air-2-0532.jpg
8 of 19 James Martin/CNET

Improved cameras

The rear 8-megapixel iSight camera boasts a new sensor to capture 3,264x2,448 resolution photos and 1080p HD video.

apple-ipad-air-2-0457.jpg
9 of 19 James Martin/CNET

New camera features

What use is a better camera without better camera features? The Air 2 is the first iPad capable of taking time-lapse video, rapid-fire photos (burst mode), and 120-fps slo-mo video. In addition, it can also adjust the exposure of a photo and take HD panoramic pictures.

apple-ipad-air-2-0448.jpg
10 of 19 James Martin/CNET

Is it the thinnest tablet?

Sony's Xperia Z2 tablet had been the thinnest slate on the block at a skinny 0.25-inch (6.35mm), but  now, the 0.24-inch (6.1 mm) Apple iPad Air 2 takes the crown.

It may be the slimmest, but weighing in at 0.96-pound (437g), the 0.82-pound (372g) Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 remains the lightest large slate in the game.

ipad-air-4-of-8.jpg
11 of 19 Tim Stevens/CNET

Anti-reflective coating

Most tablets rock highly-reflective screens that can be difficult to see outdoors, so Apple added an impressive anti-reflective coating to the iPad Air 2, which allegedly reduces glare by 56 percent.

apple-ipad-air-2-0480.jpg
12 of 19 James Martin/CNET

Apple iPad Air 2 availibility

Pre-orders for the Apple iPad Air 2 start Friday, October 17 and it will start shipping the following Friday, October 24.

apple-ipad-air-2-0534.jpg
13 of 19 James Martin/CNET

Apple iPad Air 2 pricing

Wi-Fi model pricing looks like this: $499 for 16GB; $599 for 64GB; and $699 for 128GB. Cellular models are more expensive, as you'd expect: $629 for 16GB; $729 for 64GB; and $829 for 128GB.

In the UK, it will cost £399 for the 16GB model, £479 for the 64GB model, and £559 for the 128GB model. If you want the 4G version, expect to pay £499 for the 16GB model, £579 for 64GB, and £659 for the 128GB model.

Australian availability and pricing have yet to be announced.

ipad-mini-4-of-9.jpg
14 of 19 Tim Stevens/CNET

Meet the new Apple iPad Mini 3

Apple quietly introduced the iPad Mini 3 after the iPad Air 2. To quote CNET Editor David Katzmaier, the upgrades seen on the new model are "mini-mal."

apple-ipad-mini-3-0412.jpg
15 of 19 James Martin/CNET

Now with Touch ID

The biggest addition to the iPad Mini 3 is the TouchID fingerprint sensor. The security feature lets you unlock the tablet with your fingerprint, as well make purchases using ApplePay.

apple-ipad-mini-3-0426.jpg
16 of 19 James Martin/CNET

Same depth, different name

Unlike the iPad Air 2, the iPad Mini 3 isn't any slimmer than its predecessor -- not that that's a bad thing. It's still a lightweight and petite tablet, sporting a 0.29-inch (7.5mm) thickness and 0.73-pound (331g) weight.

apple-ipad-mini-3-0417.jpg
17 of 19 James Martin/CNET

Retina display

Like the previous iPad Mini, the third iteration offers the super-crisp Retina display. Shipping with iOS8, Apple's latest operating system, you'll have access to all of your favorite apps right out of the box.

ipad-mini-7-of-9.jpg
18 of 19 Tim Stevens/CNET

Aluminum back

The iPad Mini 3 rocks the sleek aluminum body we expect from any Apple device. It will be available in space gray, silver, and gold.

apple-ipad-mini-3-0407.jpg
19 of 19 James Martin/CNET

Apple iPad Mini pricing and availability.

The Wi-Fi-only prices for the iPad Mini 3 are $399 (16GB), $499 (64GB) and $599 (128GB). Models with cellular capabilities have a $130 premium and start at $529 (16GB), $729 (64GB) and $629 (128GB).

In the UK, the iPad Mini 3 will cost £319 for the 16GB model, £399 for the 64GB model, and £479 for the 128GB version. iPad Mini 3 Wi-Fi plus 4G prices are £419 for the 16GB model, £499 for 64GB, and £579 for the 128GB model.

Australian availability and pricing have yet to be announced.

More Galleries

iPhone 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max camera testing: Photos from Apple's highest end 2021 phones

More Galleries

iPhone 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max camera testing: Photos from Apple's highest end 2021 phones

66 Photos
The best Nintendo Switch games to play in 2021

More Galleries

The best Nintendo Switch games to play in 2021

39 Photos
The 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL Roadster is a fundamental shift

More Galleries

The 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL Roadster is a fundamental shift

25 Photos
2022 Ford Expedition: More than meets the eye

More Galleries

2022 Ford Expedition: More than meets the eye

54 Photos
Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

More Galleries

Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

65 Photos
2022 Honda Passport aims for more adventure

More Galleries

2022 Honda Passport aims for more adventure

6 Photos
Best dating apps of 2021

More Galleries

Best dating apps of 2021

13 Photos