iPad Air vs. iPad Pro

One eternal debate may finally come to its bitter end for Apple as we attempt to find the winner in the iPad Air vs. iPad Pro debacle

ipad air v ipad pro

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If you’re planning on buying a brand-new iPad, you’ll face the eternal dichotomy: iPad Air versus iPad Pro. Which one is better? Which one should I buy? Here you’ll learn the primary differences between the two and which one might be the best option for you.

In a direct comparison between the iPad Air 5th Generation and the iPad Pro 12.9 2021 model, the Pro sports the largest display and is certifiably the most complete device. Even though both utilize the same processor, the iPad Pro has a better-looking screen to match its power. As a direct response, we could say the iPad Pro wins in this comparison, but when buying such an expensive piece of technology, simple characteristics shouldn’t be the only form of comparison.

To determine precisely which iPad will suit you the most, you will have to consider the bare necessities of the product first. Whether you’re a student using the iPad for reading, taking notes, and doing assignments, or you are a professional who’s going to need an iPad to replace a computer to do more high-demanding work on it, we’ll present to you a direct comparison of both devices so you can make the aptest decision for your needs.

Design

Apple has made a standard design for all of its latest releases. Both the iPad Air and the iPad Pro come in an industrial build with squared-off edges made of an aluminum alloy. The main difference in regard to their design is the variety of colors. The iPad Air is available in Blue, Purple Space Gray, Starlight, and Pink. The iPad Pro, on the other hand, has only two colors, Silver and Space Gray. If colors are what matters the most to you, you might want to go with iPad Air.

Regarding dimensions, the iPad Pro has two different versions, 11 inches and 12.9 inches (although, for the most part, we’ll be talking primarily about the 12.9” model). The iPad Air has one single presentation of 10.9 inches. A bigger screen is usually better, and 12.9 inches is a size that is both manageable, comfortable, and amazing for drawing, gaming, and streaming.

Display

Here comes one of the biggest differences between the two. The iPad Pro 12.9 has a 12.9-inch screen with Liquid Retina XDR display, Pro Motion technology, and True Tone, while the iPad Air sports a 10.9-inch display with only Liquid Retina and True Tone. 

This difference means that the iPad Pro has a 120Hz Refresh rate, thanks to the Pro Motion technology, while the iPad Air will only provide 60Hz. The higher the refresh rate is, the smoother the screen will look while in action. Having a display with 120Hz means that the screen will refresh the image 120 times a second, so videos and overall images will look noticeably sleeker and more natural over an average 60Hz screen. If you are a gamer or want to enjoy the highest potential out of a device’s screen, the iPad Pro is the best option.

Cameras

Although the camera section is not an essential aspect for every consumer, it still offers buyers the advantage to take amazing pictures whenever they feel the need.

Apple has always taken great lengths with its devices’ cameras, so both products offer quality photo-taking tech. The iPad Pro has two rear cameras: a 12MP Wide and a 10MP Ultra Wide camera, accompanied by a 12MP Ultra Wide front camera with a TrueDepth system.

The iPad Air has a 12MP Wide rear Camera and a 12MP Ultra Wide front camera. It doesn’t leverage a TrueDepth system, so the iPad Pro will take better pictures in low-light environments. If this is important to you, the iPad Pro is the better option.

Specs

Both slates run on the same cutting-edge M1 chip processor, which is the latest chip made by Apple. This will ensure users have the same speed and power on whichever device is chosen. When it comes to RAM and storage, the iPad Pro can have up to 2TB of flash storage and 16GB of RAM, while the iPad Air can reach 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM.

Both the iPad Pro and Air have almost the same battery capacity: 29 Watt-hours. That is why Apple lists both devices’ batteries as equal, with “up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi‑Fi or watching videos and up to 9 hours of surfing the web using cellular data network.”

Performance

Performance overall will depend on how much the consumer is willing to invest in the iPad. Due to both devices having the same M1 chip, they both have the reliability of an 8-core CPU, 8-core Graphics, and a next-gen Neural engine, which is nearly equivalent to desktop Mac performance. 

The main difference here comes in the device’s RAM capabilities. The larger the RAM capacity, the faster and smoother the experience. As mentioned previously, the iPad Pro can go up to 16GB of RAM while the iPad Air only offers 8GB. You’ll have to pay for either the 1TB or 2TB version of the Pro to gain that 16GB of RAM capacity at a $1,700 premium.

So, if you need to run demanding apps or want to do some gaming, and money isn’t too much of an issue, then the iPad Pro is the one to go with.

Expert view 

The iPad Pro is a device focused on professional use cases. If you are a graphic designer, an architect, an avid gamer, or have the need to run high-demanding applications, it would be smart to go with the iPad Pro.

On the other hand, the iPad Air offers the best bang for your buck. This is a device with high-end characteristics that will suit the mass majority of users’ necessities. Our expert recommendation is to go with the iPad Air unless you absolutely need something more powerful, like the iPad Pro. Otherwise, you can save that extra money and enjoy the second-best Apple iPad on the market with zero regrets.