iPad Air review

The iPad Air's camera was a bit of a disappointment even at the time of its release. Apple kept the same 5MP iSight camera from previous iterations of the tablet, which at least boasts half-decent backside illumination and half-way acceptable low-light performance.

I'm not sure what Apple is doing with the camera interface though – it's like a completely bare version of that seen on the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6S, with fewer options to choose from. Want to take a photo or video? That's fine. You can even take a square snap for those moments when you need a portrait pic too.

iPad Air review

However, there's no filter option in sight, nor the ability to change to a Slo-Mo camera as we've seen on other recent Apple hardware. Given that the Air is running the necessary A7 64-bit chip to enable the enhanced video mode, I've no idea why you can't do the same here.

Even the filters would make sense, as the iPhone 5C can use these, and that's hardly as powerful a beast. This is probably the biggest criticism of the iPad Air I could throw at the tablet at launch, as the decision is slightly perplexing.

But in a way, that's wonderful. You might have noticed that I'm hardly a fan of the cameras on tablets at the best of times, and if there was one thing that I'd happily sacrifice for a thinner tablet, it's this functionality. But then, the iPad Air 2 comes with a Slo-Mo function in a much skinnier frame, so the two evidently weren't mutually exclusive.

Still, the iPad Air's camera does the job just fine. While the performance isn't that good (although shutter speed was impressive, as I'd expected) it's more than adequate for something that shouldn't be replacing a smartphone or dedicated camera anyway.

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iPad Air review

It's a fridge. With magnets. And good levels of darkness.

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iPad Air review

Zoomed in and the noise level is surprisingly well-processed

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iPad Air review

The front facing camera actually improved this shot

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iPad Air review

Text on the iPad is acceptable

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iPad Air review

Here's the same photo on the iPhone - the sharpness and contrast is marked

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Phones and Tablets Editor

Gareth (Twitter, Google+) has been part of the mobile phone industry from the era of the brick to the tiny device in the pocket... and now watching them grow back up to behemothic proportions once more. He's spent five years dissecting all the top phones in the world as TechRadar's Phones and Tablets Editor, and still can't resist answering the dreaded question - "which new phone should I get?" - with 15 choices.

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