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iPad Air (2022) Vs. iPad Pro (2021): The Best Choice

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The iPad Pro was barely released in May last year, and we already have the upgraded fifth-generation iPad Air. It looks good, doesn’t it? So much that you’re wondering if you should return your iPad Pro and swap it out for the iPad Air.

Perhaps you’re an iPad 2020 user, surveying the two new options. Our iPad Air (2022) Vs. iPad Pro (2021) comparison can help you figure out exactly where the devices differ and which one you should buy. The specifications are too similar for the new gadgets, with only the price point standing out.

Using the iPad Air (2022) vs. using the iPad Pro (2021)

The iPad Air (2022) has a 10.9-inch display. The same for the iPad Pro offers two options. One is the 12.9-inch version, and the other is the 11-inch variant. If you buy the 11-inch version, it isn’t much different from the iPad Air in terms of size.

Both devices are a little too big to fit inside a mini sling bag but the perfect size for a shoulder bag. iPad Air might win the round due to the weight when it comes to portability. Despite being almost the same size, iPad Pro weighs 8 ounces more.

On the flip end, the large 12.9-inch screen makes for a better viewing experience. It’s almost like lugging around a mini laptop without the keyboards. The peak brightness together with the promising display quality also builds up in iPad Pro’s favor.

iPad Air vs. iPad Pro: specification

FeaturesiPad Air (2022)iPad Pro (2021)
ProcessorApple M1Apple M1
OSiPad OS 15.4iPadOS 14.5.1Upgrade option to iPadOS 14.5.4
Display10.9 inch, Liquid Retina (2360×1640) 264 ppi500 nits brightness, True Tone support12.9 inch (2732×2048) or 11 inch (2388×1668)Liquid Retina, XDR mini-LED LCD265 ppi600 nits brightness, Full Screen 1000 nits max, 1600 nits HDR  True Tone, ProMotion
RAM8 GB8 GB, 16 GB
Storage64 GB, 256 GB128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB
Battery Life10 hours10 hours
Quick Charge20 W18 W
Camera12 MP, f/1.8 Wide-angle (Rear)12 MP f/2.4 Ultra-wide (Front)12 MP  f/1.8 Wide-angle (Rear)10 MP, f/2.4, Ultra-wide (Rear)12 MP  f/2.4 Ultra-wide (Front)
Connectivity & UnlockingWi-Fi 802.11, Bluetooth 5.0, 5GWi-Fi 802.11, Bluetooth 5.0, 5G 
PortsUSB C 3.1USB C 4
Dimensions9.75 x 7.03 x 0.24 in11.05 x 8.46 x 0.25 inches
Weight16.26 ounces (461 g) (Wi-Fi),  16.29 ounces (462 g) (5G)24 ounces (682 g) (Wi-Fi), 24.1 ounces (685 g) (5G)
AudioStereo SpeakersStereo Speakers (Four)
Price$599, $749$749, $849, $999, $1399, $1799

2022 iPad Air vs. 2021 iPad Pro: which one should you buy?

Choosing between iPad Air and iPad Pro is particularly hard because of the distressing number of similarities. You might even feel cheated after buying iPad Pro first and then seeing the affordable pricing for iPad Air with almost the exact specifications.

By comparing the tablets directly, you can determine whether buying an iPad Pro was or currently is the right choice or if you should bring the new iPad Air home.

The design comparison

If you place the iPad Air and iPad Pro side by side, you would not be able to report any variation in design at first. Then on a detailed look, you might notice how the iPad Pro has two camera lenses at the back while the iPad Air has one.

The iPad Pro is also thicker and, as a result, heavier on the hand. 2021 released iPad Pro also has only two color variations. iPad Air offers 5 total color options, though the vibrancy is dimmed.

Coming to the bezel, the one  for the 12-inch iPad Pro is smaller to make space for the screen. Otherwise, we are looking at round corners and aluminum frame and back.

Winner – Overall, the iPad Air (2022) wins in this department.

The display comparison

The pro-motion for iPad Air bags a refresh rate of 60Hz, while the one for iPad Pro is 120 Hz. Now, if you haven’t ever used 120Hz, you won’t feel how the 60Hz model is different. If you have, though, switching from iPad Pro to iPad Air would be tough fight for you, at least when the visual experience is considered.

Especially for an artist, using the Apple Pencil with 120Hz is as close as one can get drawing on paper in the digital sense. We are talking about better animation, page scrolling, and gaming experience.

Though it’s imperceptible indoors, you will be able to see better under the sun. The maximum brightness for iPad Air would be 500 nits. It is 600 nits for iPad Pro, which is, of course, brighter. The peak brightness reaches a whooping 1600  for the 12.9-inch screen and 1000 nits for the 11-inch model. For the majority of you, though, all these brightness differences don’t make much of an impact.

The actual display is a liquid retina with a 2360×1640 resolution for iPad Air. It’s 2388×1668 for the 11-inch iPad Pro. However, it is the 12 inch iPad that offers a higher resolution, XDR LED, and HDR display.

Yet, none of it matters if your iPad usage doesn’t have anything to do with visual mediums. The resolution quality isn’t going to matter much to you if you aren’t a photographer or a videographer. Sure, watching content in HDR is more fun, but it’s not something you need or even notice half the time.

Winner – But still, with what the display of iPad Pro (2021) has to offer, it clearly takes the point here.

The camera comparison

The rear cameras in both the devices have identical specifications. 12 Mp f/1.8 wide-angle lenses. Even the front camera has the same 12 MP f/2.4 ultra-wide lens. However, there’s some variety in iPad Pro’s front camera with a 10 MP f/2.4 ultra-wide option to switch to.

You can shoot 4K videos at 60fps on both devices. You can also do 1080P slow-motion capture at 240fps. Almost all the camera features are the same, except iPad Pro has dual-tone flash. There is also a 3D in-depth scanner that the iPad Air lacks.

You can also take portrait shots with iPad Pro in studio lighting mode. The panorama mode and face detection for the front also add points to the iPad Pro.

Except most Apple users barely use their iPad for taking pictures. So, all these camera features might not matter to you at all.

However, having a face detecting front camera is useful for video calls. The focus would be steadfast on your face.

Winner – Although by a small margin, iPad Pro 2021 wins the camera section.

The audio speaker comparison

The iPad Air’s two stereo speaker grills have a peak of 80 dB. Alternatively, the peak is at 84 dB for iPad Pro with 4 speaker grills. As a result, the iPad Pro has more clarity and bass.

Even while missing two speakers, the sound quality of iPad Air is nothing to scoff at. iPad Pro will call out to you more if you are a music lover, but iPad Air isn’t far behind. For both of these, if you were to watch a movie, you won’t need to turn it up to the highest volume to hear the actors, that’s for sure.

Winner – iPad Pro (2021)

The additions comparison

The accessories and the extra features could be what provides a clear winner, though it is unlikely.

The iPad Air supports the 2nd gen stylus. The iPad Pro allows for magnetic and Bluetooth stylus support. With 120 Hz motion support, iPad Pro is any artist’s ultimate dream. The big screen and the easy strikes of the Apple Pencil will make for smooth, gliding motions.

The face ID sets iPad Pro apart from iPad Air more than anything. The iPad Air still relies on the fingerprint sensor located on the power button. There are some cool tricks like face emojis, which are available via iPad Pro.

The transfer speed for iPad Air is 10 GB/s using the USB 3.1 Gen 2. Alternatively, iPad Pro has the thunderbolt, offering 40 GB/s. If you don’t have a thunderbolt drive, this feature isn’t anything marvelous.

The iPad Pro has the LiDAR scanner. This makes for a fantastic AR experience, which you can use to measure things and scan rooms. You can scan with iPad Air, too. However, the accuracy of the Pro would be missing.

The 5G version of the iPad Pro is also faster, especially if you are an American citizen.

Winner – iPad Pro

The processing power comparison

This is where things get really fun. iPad Pro 2021 had been in the news for quite a long time and the M1 chip used in it is among the prime reason for that. The new iPad Air 2022, uses the same Apple M1 chip. You can expect better performances than high-end windows laptops with this one. Except all of it is in a thin tablet.

However, this processing power is of no interest to someone who needs the tablet for regular tasks. If you are not using photoshop or creating music, the snappy quality of both the tablets would be lost on you.

iPad Pro does have Apple GPU, which the iPad Air doesn’t. This is the secret to high-quality graphics.

The devices also have the same 8 GB RAM for the basic model and 16 GB RAM for iPad Pro’s 12-inch version. Ultimately, RAM doesn’t matter much as long as it’s over 4 GB. Your device deletes and access memory as and when needed anyway. Some people do feel better about bigger RAM size, though.

Winner – Tie

The battery comparison

Apple claims 10 hours of battery for both devices. On 5G cellular data, this degrades to 9 hours.

Of course, the actual life cycle depends on what you do with the tablet. If you are into gaming or using photoshop applications, the battery can drain fast.

Winner – Tie

The pricing comparison

The iPad Pro’s price range begins from $749 for 128 GB storage and ends at a neat $1799 for 2 TB. The 12.9-inch screen with a high-quality display also contributes to the price uptake.

The iPad Air costs $599 for the 64 GB model. It skips the 128 GB storage option and presents you with 256 GB at $749. This offers a fairer price.

Winner – iPad Air (2022)

The verdict – iPad Air (2022) vs. iPad Pro (2021)

So, which one should you buy? In an iPad Air (2022) vs. iPad Pro (2021) battle, there is no clear winner. There can’t be, not with the number of similarities both devices have. Usually, the processor and the OS helps make the final decision. In this case, they share the same processor, and the difference in OS is negligible. Not to mention the OS can be updated for iPad Pro.

It’s a matter of whether you prefer a larger screen and more extensive storage. If you are a YouTuber or even a digital artist, you save some large videos and files daily. Editing is also easier with a larger display. iPad Pro could be your perfect portable companion.

If you need a tablet with laptop quality performance and the storage isn’t a big issue for you, iPad Air is for you.

FAQs

What is the significant difference between iPad Air and iPad Pro?
The significant difference between iPad Air and iPad Pro is the display screen size and quality. Additionally, there’s more variety in storage options for iPad Pro.

Does the iPad Air have a better chip than the iPad Pro?
The latest iPad Air and the iPad Pro share the same chipset, Apple’s highly praised M1. However, a chip update is expected for iPad Pro this year.

What generation is the iPad Air 2022?
The iPad Air 2022 is the 5th Generation of Apple’s Air tablet lineup.

Is iPad Air newer than Pro?
Yes, the iPad Air 2022 5th Gen model is newer than the iPad Pro 2021 11th Gen.

Can I use iPad Air instead of a laptop?
Yes, you can use the iPad Air instead of a laptop. Generally, iPads are slower than laptops. If you own a MacBook, the iPad Air would still appear laggy. If you use a windows laptop, the iPad Air would seem much faster with the latest M1 chip.

** Get the iPad Air 5th gen on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3uiBe3p

** Get the iPad Pro on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3NbYyHI

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