Every review of the new iPad Air I've seen gives the new device high praise, most often speaking in superlatives.
Bloomberg News: Bloomberg calls it the "best tablet on the market." The review describes the small size but in addition notes the iPad's usefulness for productivity via the free office apps. Bottom line: "With the rise of quality tablets from Google, Amazon and others, it’s no longer the only choice. But it’s still the best choice."
David Pogue: Comparing the iPad Air to other tablets, Pogue says, "If you want a big tablet, this is the one that will make you happiest." He says there are no real breakthrough features, but the fact that it's so thin and light and fast while still maintaining a long battery life is a "tremendous achievement."
CNET: Yet another review calls it the best: "It’s the best full-size consumer tablet on the market." The review acknowledges that functionally the iPad Air is nearly the same as the previous model. But, the bottom line is the design: "But factor in design and aesthetics, and the iPad Air is on another planet." They give the iPad Air five stars.
USA Today: The review begins by saying there's nothing earthshaking about Apple's new tablet, yet says it's still superior to other tablets: "But As it happens, though, this latest full-size Apple tablet is the most tempting iPad yet, better than its already best of breed predecessors, superior still to each and every rival big screen slate that I've tested."
Gizmodo: Gizmodo's first-impressions post waxes eloquent about its lightness: "The iPad Air is light. Like, really light" and titles the review "Big Never Felt So Small." It also appreciates the gorgeous display and the blazing speed.
Consumer Reports: Appreciating the iPad Air's thinness, lightness, speed, and display, Consumer Reports says, "In fact, the iPad Air is just about the ideal tablet." The review does, however, say that the sound isn't as good as the previous iPad. But it says that it's still good.
The Loop: Jim Dalrymple praises the iPad's lightness: "When I first picked up the iPad Air, I noticed how light it was. I mean really light." He also praises the power of the A7 chip, and gives his experience of the long battery life. And he says that the free iLife and iWork suites are an important plus.
AnandTech: This must be the most thorough review, coming in 10 parts and going over all the details of the iPad Air, including the the hardware, the A7 chip, the CPU, the GPU, the display, the camera, Wi-Fi & LTE connectivity, battery life, and usability. Bottom line: "It doesn’t fundamentally change what you can do with a tablet, but if you’re in the market for one, the iPad Air really is the best iPad to date."
Ars Technica: While may reviews emphasize the lightness of the iPad, some are amazed by the blazing speed. According to Ars Technica, while the iPad Air chip is identical to the A7 chip in the iPhone 5s, it has a different configuration that actually makes it faster, such as a faster clock speed: 1.4Ghz compared to 1.3Ghz for the iPhone 5s. And the article goes into considerable detail about why the chip is so fast.
Primate Labs: The speed of the iPad Air has now been assessed by a number of testing labs, with the benchmarks run by Primate Labs confirming that the iPad Air is indeed dramatically faster than all previous iPads.
If you're in the market for an iPad Air or new iPad mini with retina display, check out the "iPad Air and Retina iPad mini buyers guide" on iMore. It helps you decide which one to get, including which color, the storage configuration, the cell phone carrier, where to buy it, and whether to get a service plan and which one. The site also has a large number of other guides, such as how to set up your new iPad, how to transfer data from your old iPad, and how to transfer data from your Android tablet to your new iPad.