The iPad Air won't be a surprise to anyone running a current iPhone or iPad, as you've already seen a lot of what iOS 7 is all about.

We'll run through some of the key features and how they perform on the Air in a moment, but the main thing to know is that the iPad Air is fast. Really fast.

We're getting to a point where describing a smartphone or tablet as quick under the finger is pointless – once you reach a certain point there's not a lot more speed to be gained.

iPad Air review

Even dual-core phones were more than acceptable, so why make a point of highlighting the speed of the new iPad?

Well, it's just virtually flawless through all kinds of tasks. A millisecond faster from a finger press might not seem like much, but once you do a hundred or a thousand of them in a day, and then go back to something like the iPad 3, you'll realise that there's a real difference in the operation.

Our benchmarking scores saw the iPad Air narrowly eclipse the iPhone 5S, also running the 64-bit A7 chip, in terms of overall speed - which makes sense given it's slightly more optimised for the larger screen but still maintains the same power output.

Like it or loathe it, the all-new iOS 7 is still a real step forward for a company that desperately needed to refresh its offering in the face of stiff competition from Android.

The new flatter interface takes away the pointless need to pretend all apps are real-life objects just to integrate them into people's lives - users know that pressing the Photos app will take them there, no matter the result.

Like most popular platforms that get upgraded, there's been a large amount of flack coming Apple's way for iOS 7, with features like the parallax effect (no, there's no way of saying that word without thinking it should be the name of a Marvel supervillain) being turned off by a number of users.

iPad Air review

Parallax is where tilting your iPad will see your wallpaper move with the motion, giving a 3D effect on the screen. And while this was annoyingly unpredictable on the iPhone 5S, on the Air it's much better and we wouldn't advise you turn it off, unlike on other Apple devices.

It doesn't even have a huge effect on battery life, which is impressive in itself.

The rest of the interface is easy to use and makes sense for the most part. One of the newer features of iOS 7 is the notification bar, found by dragging from the top of the tablet. This gives access to updates, calendar entries and missed messages. It's also one of the weaker parts of the OS, as it always starts on the calendar, which doesn't often give a lot of useful information.

The 'Missed' section is often also sparsely populated - we'd rather this prime space was better used by Apple.

However, there are a lot of other areas in which the Cupertino brand has made strides in terms of improving the user experience. For instance, swiping upwards with all five fingers (or double tapping the home button) will lead to the multi-tasking pane, which shows all of your apps in large thumbnails. This is an excellent interface, although perhaps a little large, and you can swiftly jump between apps or flick a thumbnail upwards to end it.

On top of that, the home screen is now updated to allow a much larger number of apps in each folder. Now you can create collections just by dragging icons on top of one another, and continue to do so almost ad nauseum. This prevents the need to make loads of folders called 'Game 1' 'Game 2' and 'Why do I have this many games that I don't play?', and allows a much less cluttered home screen.

Apple still hasn't updated its operating system to allow users to autosort their apps, meaning if you uninstall something (by long-pressing the icon until everything jiggles and then tapping the 'x') then the space won't be filled by an app from another screen. When in the edit mode you can rearrange things, but it's not the most time-efficient way of making everything look neat.

The new Control Center is something worth highlighting too - drag up from the bottom of the screen and you can control music, brightness, turn on Wi-Fi and loads more. We would have thought that most people know all about this feature, but the number of iOS 7 users who get their minds blown when we show them that this exists means it's worth highlighting.

There are tonnes of nuances to Apples UI that we'd like to laud here, but we invite you to go and use it for yourself, as despite there being no tutorial, there's very little here that the novice user won't be able to pick up.

We would like to give a special mention to the 'five finger pinch' if you've not used it before on previous iPads. Make sure it's enabled in Settings->General, and then simply pinch in with four or five fingers in any app to return to the home screen. You'll be doing it on your phone before you know it, such is its simplicity.