When the original iPad launched almost a decade ago, buying one was as simple as selecting the one model available and being on your way. In 2021, though, there are four to choose from – the iPad 10.2, iPad Air, iPad Mini, and iPad Pro.
So, should you get the iPad Air or the iPad Pro? We're going to cheat in our answer a bit here and say – probably neither of them. For almost all users, you can't go wrong with the cheaper iPad 10.2. Often just called “the iPad,” it's affordable, stylish, portable, and definitely powerful enough for your everyday user.
But, if you don't want the entry-level iPad, then let's return to the Air vs the Pro. They're both great tablets, of course, but the Air is for showing off the slimmest model, while the Pro is for getting some serious work done. If you're looking for a little more kick and have the budget to stretch, the iPad Air is a respectable option, while the iPad Pro is reserved for demanding creators that need the extra power.
In this guide, we’ll be focusing on two premium models – the iPad Air and the iPad Pro. We’ll explain the differences between them, and show you just where your money goes.
iPad Air vs iPad Pro – Head to Head
The iPad Pro and the Air are both pitched by Apple as its high-end tablets, and while they may seem similar, there are distinct differences between the two. From the connections to processors and cameras, there’s a lot that separates them. And then there’s the 2017 iPad Pro, which Apple still keeps in its line-up, despite having been surpassed.
Here’s a breakdown of the specifications of each iPad in the range:
Measured diagonally across.
In pixels - the higher the number, the greater the screen detail.
As claimed by the manufacturer – actual performance will vary depending on daily tasks.
The built in storage space for files, programs, apps and the operating system
Apple Device Compatibility
Which official Apple accessories the iPad pairs with
iPad 8th Gen
iPad Pro 12.9
iPad Pro 11
iPad Air 4th Gen
The best choice iPad for virtually everyone. The screen and super processor are perfect for day-to-day browsing and apps, and it's excellent value
An excellent portable tablet, but it feels less essential in this age of extra-large smartphones – especially as it's pricier than the iPad 10.2
The absolute best iPad that money can buy, with a price tag to match. Pair it with the Magic Keyboard and it truly is a laptop alternative.
An exceptional tablet, and cheaper than the top-of-the-range 12.9 inch iPad Pro. The screen is glorious and there's plenty of processing power
A slim tablet with an unbeatable processor and great rear camera, but priced far above the excellent iPad 8th Gen.
2160 x 1620
2048 x 1536
2732 x 2048
2388 x 1668
2360 x 1640
12Mp + 10Mp
12Mp + 10Mp
In this guide:
- iPad Air or Pro – Which is best?
- iPad Air – An expensive, high powered all-rounder
- iPad Pro – Designed with demanding creators in mind
- iPad 10.2 – The everyday iPad for the everyday user
- The iPad Air is Better for…
- The iPad Pro has Better Connections
- The iPad Pro 12.9-inch is Better for Designers
- The iPad 10.2 is Still Best for Most Users
- Verdict: Which iPad Should I Buy?
- Compatible with Apple Pen and Smart Keyboard
- 10.9 inch screen
- Cheaper than the iPad Pro
- Pricier than the similar 10.2-inch iPad
- No additional ports
- Most powerful iPad yet
- Slim and light
- USB-C port
- Cheaper than the 12.9
- No headphone jack
- A bit small for designers
- Compatible with Smart Keyboard
- 10.2-inch screen
- Underpowered for demanding users
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