Two of Apple’s current tablets are the iPad and iPad Air. Do you want to know which one is right for you? Let’s compare the specs to find out.
Tablets may be the most versatile tech gadgets out there. They are designed to offer the qualities of smartphones and laptops, with some models leaning more towards one than the other.
It is important to consider what you are looking for when buying a tablet. Are you looking for a device primarily for reading and browsing the web, or do you want a tablet that can serve as a secondary work device?
Apple’s iPad line runs the gamut. Some models are better equipped to take on the functions of a smartphone but on a larger screen, while others, like the iPad Pro, are more powerful and can perform some of the functions of a laptop.
Apple’s $ 329 iPad falls into that first category. With its large 10.2-inch Retina display, powerful processor, and affordable price, it’s the best choice for anyone who just wants a basic tablet for surfing the web, reading, shopping, watching movies, and checking email.
The $ 599 iPad Air, on the other hand, lands right in the middle. It has some of the qualities of the iPad Pro, such as a nearly borderless display, compatibility with Apple’s newest accessories, and USB-C . That makes it ideal for those who want a more powerful tablet with some of the elements of the iPad Pro, but without being so expensive.
Here we are going to go into more detail about how the two tablets compare and what to consider when deciding which one is right for you.
WHICH IS BETTER?
Apple’s eighth-generation $ 329 iPad is the best Apple tablet for most people. For its price, it packs a good mix of features, making it a great option for anyone looking for a general-purpose tablet.
The iPad Air on the other hand has better features, such as a larger and sharper screen, a more modern design with additional color options, the same processor that powers the latest iPhones, sharper cameras and accepts the use of the Apple Pencil and the keyboard.
But if the user simply wants to watch Netflix, browse Facebook, read the news, or send emails it will work just fine with Apple’s cheapest iPad.
It has a noticeably better screen, a sleeker design, much better performance, and faster, among other improvements. But the $ 599 price of the iPad Air can be hard to digest if you don’t plan on using it for more strenuous tasks than those mentioned above.
It’s probably best to think of the iPad Air as a budget iPad Pro. Namely, it’s far better suited for tasks like video and photo editing than the standard iPad, given its faster processor, additional storage space, and sharper screen, but without being as expensive as the nearly $ 1,000 iPad Pro.
DESIGN AND DISPLAY
Apple gave the iPad Air a major cosmetic update in 2020, and it’s one of the biggest factors that sets it apart from its cheaper sibling. This mid-tier tablet from Apple has significantly thinner bezels that frame its screen and flat edges just like the iPad Pro and iPhone 12, while the $ 329 iPad still sports Apple’s classic iPad design. It has the same thick bezels above and below the screen, curved edges, and the Touch ID home button as older Apple iPads.
The iPad Air also comes in more color options, with options including silver, space gray, rose gold, green, and sky blue. The standard iPad, comparatively, only comes in silver, space gray, and rose gold. And of course, as the name implies, the iPad Air is thinner and lighter. The iPad Air is 0.24 inches thick and weighs 1 pound, while the iPad is 0.29 inches thick and weighs 1.08 pounds. Although it doesn’t seem like a big difference, the iPad Air feels much more comfortable to hold for long periods of time while reading or playing games.
In terms of screen resolution, both iPads have 264 pixels per inch. But there are a few other technical differences to be aware of that could affect the viewing experience. The iPad display lacks a few qualities that the iPad Air does have, such as full lamination, anti-reflective coating, support for the P3 wide color gamut, and True Tone. Of all these features, True Tone is probably the most notable.
True Tone adjusts the color and intensity of the iPad screen to match the surrounding lighting to make the screen look more natural. Helps remove the bluish tint often found on electronic device screens. But the difference is only really noticeable when you look at the two tablets side by side.
The P3 support of the iPad Air is also important considering that it means that the screen of this tablet can display a wider range of colors compared to the standard iPad. This could be a difference to consider if you are primarily looking for a tablet for photo or video editing and entertainment, as P3 compatibility is one of the factors that makes a display compatible with HDR content, as B&H explains.
The iPad Air screen also includes Apple’s ProMotion technology, unlike the regular iPad. This feature increases the refresh rate of the iPad Air up to 120Hz for smoother scrolling, which could be especially useful if you plan to use your iPad with Apple Pencil for sketching and sketching.
Together, these improvements made the iPad Air’s screen look richer with better contrast when watching videos and playing games. However, the standard iPad screen is impressively bright and sometimes looks brighter than the iPad Air, even though Apple says they both have the same maximum brightness level of 500 nits. I also find True Tone to make the iPad Air screen more easy on the eyes for reading, but that’s a personal preference that may not apply to everyone.
Another big difference between the iPad and the iPad Air is in their processors. The iPad is powered by Apple’s A12 Bionic processor, which powers the old iPhone XS smartphone line, while the iPad Air is powered by the same A14 Bionic chip that powers the current iPhone 12 series.
In everyday activities, the iPad Air feels a bit faster than the standard iPad. For example, you can export a 25 second HD video from Adobe Premiere a little faster than the normal iPad. (The iPad Air exports the clip in 5.6 seconds, while the iPad does it in 5.8 seconds.) Apps launch a bit faster on the iPad Air too, though I wouldn’t say the iPad feels sluggish in any way.
Benchmark tests, however, suggest that the iPad Air has a lot more power to unleash compared to the standard iPad when it comes to overall computing and graphics performance.
In a benchmark test called Geekbench 5 that aims to assess a processor’s performance when handling everyday applications, the iPad Air’s A14 Bionic chip scored 1,588 in the test that measures how a single core works inside the processor and 4,234 in the part. which monitors how its various cores work together. The iPad’s A12 Bionic chip, comparatively scored 1,114 and 2,677 respectively.
Cores are the units within a computer’s processor that are responsible for carrying out operations. The single-core score can be seen as an indicator of how the processor handles more casual applications that only use a single processing core to function, while the multi-core score assesses how a processor runs more demanding applications and games that distribute multi-core work, as explained by Intel.
The iPad Air also scored higher in tests that measure graphics performance. In the Geekbench 5 computational test, which assesses how a GPU performs when performing tasks like image processing, it scored an average of 12,542 while the iPad scored an average of 5,324. Similarly, in the 3DMark Wildlife test, which simulates how processors handle games that rely on short bursts of activity, the iPad Air scored 8,925 at an average of 53 frames per second, while the iPad scored 6,000 at 35 frames per second. second.
ACCESSORIES AND STORAGE
If you plan to use your iPad for work, accessories are an important part. Both iPad and iPad Air are compatible with Apple Pencil and Apple Keyboard Covers, but specific models will vary.
The iPad Air, for example, works with the second-generation Apple Pencil, the Smart Keyboard Folio, and the newer Magic Keyboard. The standard iPad is only compatible with the original Apple Pencil and Apple Smart Keyboard.
The latest Apple Pencil comes in a sleeker design and magnetically attaches to iPad Air or iPad Pro for charging and pairing. The older stylus must be connected to the iPad’s Lightning port to charge and pair with the device.
And the Smart Keyboard, unlike the Smart Keyboard Folio, does not offer protection for the back of the device when not in use. The Magic Keyboard is Apple’s high-end iPad keyboard that features a trackpad and a floating design that allows you to adjust the viewing angle of the iPad.
But these accessories certainly add up. The first-gen Apple Pencil is priced at $ 99, while the Smart Keyboard is $ 159. That means if you want to get more iPad functionality through Apple accessories, you have to pay around $ 258 for both add-ons like minimum. The more advanced the accessory, the more expensive it is. The Magic Keyboard, for example, costs $ 299 on its own, making it almost as expensive as the $ 329 iPad.
Storage is another important factor to consider when deciding between the iPad and the iPad Air. The standard iPad is more suitable for those who keep most of their files in the cloud, as it only comes in 32GB and 128GB options. Meanwhile, the iPad Air comes in a 64GB or 256GB capacity.
CAMERAS AND BATTERY LIFE
Most people probably don’t take photos with their iPads regularly, so the difference between the 8-megapixel camera on it and the 12-megapixel camera on the iPad Air might not matter much. But it’s worth considering that the iPad has a much lower resolution selfie camera than the other, which could be significant if you’re using FaceTime or Zoom calling on your iPad.
The standard iPad has a 1.2 megapixel front camera, while the iPad Air has a 7 megapixel selfie camera. As a result, photos taken with the front camera on the standard iPad look less sharp and faded compared to those taken on the iPad Air, which is better at illuminating the face evenly and generally produced an image. cleaner with more color.
If recording videos on your iPad is important to you, the iPad Air is your best option. The iPad Air can shoot 4K video at 24, 30, or 60 frames per second. Whereas the iPad can only record videos up to 1080p at 30 frames per second.
Both tablets offer similar battery life. I can get about 12 hours of battery life from each tablet when I use them to stream videos, check email, occasionally play games, and other similar everyday tasks. That beats Apple’s claims of a 10-hour battery life for each tablet. But, as always, it’s important to remember that battery life varies depending on how you use your iPad.
It’s also worth noting that the standard iPad uses a Lightning connector for charging while the iPad Air uses USB-C just like the iPad Pro. Which port is best will depend on your preferences. If you are a loyal iPhone user and have a lot of extra Lightning cables lying around, you will probably appreciate that you can also use any of these cables to charge your iPad. But if you have a lot of other USB-C powered devices, then you can enjoy the flexibility that comes with the iPad Air’s universal charging cable.
Overall, the $ 329 iPad is the right choice for most people. It is powerful enough to handle most occasional computing tasks and can last for a long time on a single charge. But if you’re willing to spend the extra money and you know you want features like a better screen, a sleeker design, and a sharper FaceTime camera for video chatting, then consider the iPad Air.
Altogether, unless you really need more powerful performance, the iPad Air’s improved screen and lighter frame are its biggest advantages over the standard iPad.