Should you buy an iPad Air or an 11-inch iPad Pro?

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The 2020 iPad Air is officially available and will be the number one choice for many. Although it matches and even surpasses the 2020 11-inch iPad Pro in many ways, the latter still has the upper hand in certain use cases. Let’s look at a few key factors to help you decide whether to buy the iPad Air or the 11-inch iPad Pro.

The latest iPad Air is the go-to choice for many looking to buy a new tablet. That’s because the 2020 (4th Generation) iPad Air got most of the premium features of the iPad Pro at an attractive starting price, which is $ 200 below the 11-inch iPad Pro of $ 799. However, that doesn’t mean the iPad Pro isn’t better for those who need the best overall performance. Let’s examine what to consider when deciding which iPad to buy.

Should You Buy iPad Air or iPad Pro?

Where iPad Air fits or outshines the 11-inch iPad Pro


The 2020 iPad Air features the latest processor in Apple’s tablet range with the A14, while the 2020 iPad Pro uses the A12Z. But that doesn’t mean the A14 will knock or even beat the A12Z in all scenarios. Tom Boger, Senior Director for Mac and iPad Product Marketing at Apple, lowered expectations in a recent interview:

Since the A14 has our latest generation CPU cores, you can see some things here and there where the A14 could potentially outperform the A12Z.

As we’ll discuss below, the iPad Pro 2020 still has the benefit of intensive workflows due to a higher number of CPU and GPU cores and more RAM. With the A14 being the newest chip, iPad Air users are guaranteed to get iPadOS for years.

Display, Apple Pencil, E / A.

Other new iPad Air features shared with the iPad Pro include a flat-edged case with an all-screen design (no home button), USB-C, Apple Pencil (Gen 2) and Magic Keyboard support, and Wi-Fi -Fi 6.

It’s great to see the support for the second generation Apple Pencil with the iPad Air. This is the first time the most powerful writing and illustration tool has worked beyond the iPad Pro line. The latest Apple Pencil has a more ergonomic design, charges wirelessly when connected to your iPad, has typing gestures that can be used, for example, to quickly switch writing implements, and offers a completely improved experience.

With the iPad Air’s screen, you get a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone and P3 wide-color that has the same 264 ppi (2224 x 1668 res on the Air) and 500 nits of brightness as the 11th -Inch iPad Pro. Both displays are fully laminated and provided with Apple’s anti-reflective coating.

Since the home button has been omitted for the great new display, Touch ID has been implemented in the top button on the iPad Air. This varies depending on personal preference, regardless of whether it is a pro or contra compared to the Face ID that comes with the iPad Pro.

iPad Air colors

Splash of color

If the color of your next iPad is an important factor, keep in mind that the 2020 iPad Air gives you more choices with options in space gray, silver, rose gold, green and sky blue. The iPad Pro is only available in space gray and silver.


Here is a detailed breakdown of the price differences between the iPad Air and the 11-inch iPad Pro. It’s not exactly apples for apples as the two iPads have different storage options, but you can save a lot of money with the iPad Air.

iPad Air vs iPad Pro what should you buy?

Battery life

The 2020 iPad Air has the same battery life as the 11-inch iPad Pro with 10 hours of web usage via WiFi or video. And both are designed to last 9 hours on cell phones.

Where iPad Pro outperforms iPad Air

CPU / GPU cores and RAM

While even Apple has confirmed that the iPad Air will outperform the iPad Pro in some use cases with the A14 chip, the iPad Pro still includes a more powerful GPU and more RAM (and actually has more CPU and GPU cores).

The iPad Pro with A12Z has 8 CPU and GPU cores compared to 6 CPU and 4 GPU cores with the A14. This means that it will give the best performance for things like graphic intensive work and apps / processes that use multiple cores. Another advantage for the iPad Pro is 6 GB of RAM, while the iPad Air has 4 GB.


As explained above, the new Liquid Retina display on the iPad Air offers almost all of the functionality of the iPad Pro screen. There is one notable difference, however: the iPad Pro features Apple’s 120Hz ProMotion display technology. This may not be a deal breaker for many (especially if you haven’t had a 120Hz display before), but it’s important to note. As described by Apple, ProMotion offers “fluid scrolling, better responsiveness and more fluid movement content”.

You should buy iPad Air vs iPad Pro cameras
2020 iPad Pro rear cameras


If taking photos with your iPad is a big factor, think about the differences in camera system between iPad Air and Pro.

With the iPad Air, you get a solid single camera setup that includes the same 12 MP wide lens found on the iPad Pro. It also records 4K videos at the same frames per second as the pro.

However, with the iPad Pro, you have a 10-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens, as well as the LiDAR scanner and True Tone flash.


Coupled with the higher prices of the iPad Pro, you get larger storage options that go up to 1TB. The base is also 128 GB. The iPad Air Base model now offers 64 GB and a maximum of 256 GB.

Note that with USB-C on both models, it’s easier than ever to use external storage.


When you factor in all of the similarities and differences, the iPad Air is likely the best choice for most people, with a price tag of around $ 200 less than the iPad Pro. However, if you know that you regularly push your tablet to its limits, the iPad Pro continues to offer the most powerful package with 8 CPU and GPU cores and 6 GB of RAM.

And when other factors such as face recognition, the 120 Hz ProMotion display, a more powerful camera system and the larger storage options are important, the iPad Pro is of course also the best fit. If you’re interested in the iPad Pro, however, there’s another mystery: get the early 2020 model (available in March) or wait for the next-generation iPad Pro, which is slated to be available in the fourth quarter of 2020 or early 2021 the A14X chip will be available?

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