Apple iPad Air vs iPad Pro: Which Tablet is Better for you? As the iPad Pro has been out there for a while, it might seem like the iPad Air is out of date, which is why we at Electronic Book Reading Device decided to write an article about both devices. The iPad Air is an old device, but for some of you, it could still be the best iPad in the history of Apple.
But for some, the iPad Pro is what makes the device worth you’re money.
The two tablets are very similar from a hardware perspective, with a Retina display, A9 processor, and iSight camera. If you’ve been holding off on the new iPad line for some reason, we’ve rounded up an iPad Air vs. iPad Pro comparison review roundup, outlining key differences in the two tablets, along with discussing their relative pros and cons.
Read on to learn more about the iPads’ design and internals, as well as how they fare in various categories such as performance, battery life, and ports.
iPad Air vs iPad Pro: comparing tablets
- This Certified Refurbished product is tested and certified to look and work like new,...
- Apple iOS 8; 9.7-Inch Retina Display; 2048x1536 Resolution
- A8X Chip with 64-bit Architecture; M8 Motion Coprocessor
- Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac): 16 GB Capacity: 2GB RAM
- 10. 2-inch Retina display
- A10 Fusion chip
- Touch ID fingerprint sensor
- 8MP back camera, 1. 2MP FaceTime HD front camera
Key Difference between iPad Air vs. iPad Pro
Let’s start off with the basics when comparing these Apple machines. These tablets are very similar, with the exception of the screen size.
There are a couple of things about the iPad Air that make it good for your average Joe. For one, the Air has a higher resolution screen than the Pro, so it’s much easier to read small text. And of course, it has much smaller dimensions than the Pro, which makes it easy to take the iPad with you anywhere.
One other good thing about the Air is that it uses less power. Because the Pro is much thicker and heavier, it uses more power, which makes it not a good choice for longer travels.
The Air uses much less power than its rival. The Air uses an A8X chip, while the Pro uses the A9X chip, which is a more powerful version.
Also read MacBook Pro vs. Air comparison.
In order to make the Pro even faster, Apple made it much thicker and heavier than the Air. As a result, the Pro is much more cumbersome than the Air.
The Pro has a higher-resolution screen, which is great for watching movies. But it’s not the same when you have to read small text.
The Biggest Drawback: The biggest drawback of the Pro is the price. Apple makes the Pr0 available for around $999, which makes it cost a lot more than a comparable smartphone or tablet.
The Pr0 version costs more than similar competitors.
There’s nothing wrong with the iPad Pro itself, but the higher price makes it a tough sell.
iPad Air vs iPad Pro review
iPad Air vs. iPad Pro comparing design, operating system and everything else that separates these two iPad generations.
Apple has opted for what appears to be a brushed aluminum back panel, as the iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro feature a similar finish to previous generations. Along with its minimalistic design, the new iPad Air 2 comes in a range of silver, gold, and Space Gray color options, with black and white models also available.
The design is also very similar to that of Apple’s Mac lineup, and the iPad Air 2 shares the same design language on the sides, top, and bottom. Apple’s previous-generation iPads were largely black and silver, as the company saw fit to “mood match” its new Air design with the original iPad’s gold and silver accents, which the Air lineup has since replaced with black and silver options.
However, that’s where the similarities between the Air 2 and Pro end.
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro retains the design language that debuted on Apple’s iPad Pro lineup, which was originally introduced with a white and space gray case. The tablet also features a glossy surface with a soft-touch coating, along with a minimal design that highlights the 11-inch display and power button on the right side of the tablet. It’s worth noting, however, that the white and space gray finishes are currently sold out at Apple’s website, while the silver and gold iPads are still available.
Compared to the iPad Pro, the new iPad Air lacks the iPad Pro’s two-tone-white and space gray case, as well as its glossy surface. Instead, Apple opted for a “muted gold” (the company’s words) finish that’s still very nice to the eye, along with a minimalist design featuring a mostly flat back with the only odd, concave section being the iPad’s Smart Connector.
As with all the iPad generations, the design is getting simpler and more minimalist. In the past, the devices have looked a little clunky, with long bezels and big buttons. In this generation, the bezels are smaller and the buttons are less intrusive. This is good news for the iPad as it makes for a sleek device that doesn’t look big on your desk.
The iPad Pro is made out of glass and stainless steel, giving it a modern edge that you won’t find on the iPad Air. You get the same look across both the iPad Air and the Pro, with the screens themselves looking the same.
The edge-to-edge display offers a slightly different feel to your fingers. Whereas the Air can be flicked open to change the orientation of the screen, the Pro has to be gripped. This makes for a different experience and this is a refreshing feel.
Processing & performance
As mentioned earlier, the A9X chip is the processor of choice for this generation of iPads. As with other devices in this range, the graphics are powerful, putting the A8XX chip into serious competition for gaming performance.
As the figures indicate, the Pro pack a 64-bit A9X chip, which is the same as the A8X chip. This means that this generation of iPads packs twice the memory, supports up to 2GB of RAM, a little more GPU power, a little more processing power, and four cores.
If you want a tablet that’s really quick and responsive, then the iPad is the best choice. It’s the fastest tablet to date, with a dual-core A9X processor. You get two A9 chips, offering up to 1.4GHz speeds. These two chips also power up a fifth-generation Intel processor that offers up to 1.3GHz speeds.
You also get two Cortex-A7 chips, which offer up to 1.3GHz speeds. This means that the processing power is spread over the two A9 chips. It also means that if the app needs more power, you can put some of that power into the A7 chips.
If you don’t want to buy a whole tablet, you can get the 64GB version of the iPad. It offers you 4GB of RAM and is sold by a number of retailers, including Amazon and the Apple Store.
The iPad Pro has a 64-bit processor and offers you 5GB of RAM, which is a little more than the base model. The processor is the same, offering up to 1.4GHz speeds.
If you have a tablet that needs to work well, then you need to get the latest version of iOS. There are no major changes with the new version of iOS, which means that it’s a great choice for a tablet.
You can buy the iPad Air and then update it to the latest version of iOS, which will offer you the new features that Apple have introduced in the operating system. You can also update the iPad Pro to get the latest version of iOS.
If you want to play games and stream media, you can get a number of updates to iOS that you will benefit from. You can use your iPad as a remote control for your Apple TV, for instance, or you can use it as a media center.
The main thing you will notice with the iPad is the speed. You can edit documents, send e-mails, and surf the web with ease. It’s the fastest tablet to date, and you’ll notice that you can multitask on the iPad, with two apps open at once.
As we mentioned earlier, the new iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro both feature the same A9 processor, GPU, and internal storage. The two devices also share the same resolution — 2048 x 1536 — while the display’s aspect ratio is unchanged at 19.5:9.
However, as with the iPad Air 2’s design, Apple has opted to go with an LCD display on the iPad Pro, which lacks the Retina display’s full pixel density.
According to Apple, the iPad Pro’s display is “tru2formed,” and therefore has 2.5 times the resolution of the iPad Air 2’s display. (However, a new report from Taiwan claims the iPad Pro has a 2560 x 1600 display, which would indeed make it the highest resolution iPad display available.)
The iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro display the same resolution — 2048 x 1536 — while the iPad Pro has a higher pixel density
In terms of performance, the iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro are very similar, and in many respects, that’s a good thing. In a nutshell, the iPad Pro offers very similar performance and gaming experience to the older, non-Retina iPad Air 2.
The difference is that it packs twice as much power as the iPad Air 2, which means faster graphics and a more responsive experience when playing games. The iPad Pro also features a substantially larger battery, which can sustain the tablet for up to 10 hours of “typical use,” according to Apple, with up to 15 hours of music and video playback, or 18 hours of web browsing on Wi-Fi.
For our tests, we ran a series of benchmarks on both the iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro and found the devices to be very close. In a resolution-and-performance-friendly test, the tablets both scored around 60 frames per second.
As you can see from the specifications the iPad Pro has 128GB of built-in memory. It is surprising how important this is as although the Air has 16GB of built-in memory, that’s hardly enough if you want to have a healthy selection of content on it.
The iPad Air has no built-in storage and you have to rely on the SD cards or add the memory. This is something we noticed with the iPad Pro as, although we were able to add 2TB of memory to the device, we found that the SSD is not as fast as the 256GB in the iPad Air.
Both iPads are small, both in size and in weight, and this is reflected in their dimensions. At 130.4 x 73.8 x 6.9mm and 9.7mm thick, the iPad Air is thinner than the iPad Pro (134.5 x 79.7 x 7.9mm).
The fact that it is thinner is, of course, an advantage when you’re reading a book and want the iPad to stay upright. The iPad Air can be slipped into a coat pocket, which the iPad Pro cannot do. It has a display size of 8.9 inches compared to 9.7 inches on the Pro, but that’s the only difference when it comes to size.
Size, weight, battery life
As with all the iPads, the design is minimal and efficient in terms of size, weight, and battery life. The Pro is a little bulkier and it does feel more chunky than the iPad Air, but the difference is negligible.
The iPad Air weighs in at 244 grams (8.8 ounces), and the iPad Pro weighs 305 grams (10.6 ounces). That makes for a difference of 61 grams (2.3 ounces) of difference between the two devices.
Of course, this is a little high, but we were expecting a little more than this. The smaller iPad Air is a little lighter at 211 grams, with the smaller screen means it has to be a little lighter. This difference doesn’t impact battery life, and this is where you will see a difference.
The larger iPad Pro has a bigger battery, something that is reflected in the specifications. It has a 7.9-hour battery life, with the smaller iPad Air having a 6.5-hour battery life.
The iPad Pro comes with a Smart Keyboard that not only helps in typing but also adds protection for the back. This offers a nice keyboard when the tablet is in portrait mode and this is something we have seen with many other tablets.
When it is open in a landscape position, you can plug the keyboard into the charging port to extend the battery life. It does make things a little awkward when you want to move it between the different modes, but with a little practice, it is not hard.
When you have the tablet in a landscape position, you can even use it as a keyboard for the Mac. It is great if you want to look at your e-mail or write a note on your Mac – something that we have seen with Apple’s iPads and the first-generation iPad Air.
It is also good for when you’re watching videos on the iPad Pro. However, we have to say that we found that if you’re watching a movie on the bigger iPad, the iPad Pro is a better choice, as you get the extra features and the extra screen size.
The main difference with this iPad is the display and the way it is held to your head. The iPad Air features a 9.7-inch display, which is decent but not the best display that you will find. There is no 5K screen, but you get the display that you will find on many tablets today.
However, the display is fantastic for reading books and magazines. You get plenty of bright colors and deep blacks. The viewing angles are good, with the display maintaining its brightness when you’re viewing the screen from an angle.
However, the display is not something that you can get your hands dirty with. We did spot fingerprints and dust along the edges, which we were a little disappointed about.
The bigger iPad Pro has a 12.9-inch display and when you look at it, you get a much brighter picture than on the smaller iPad. There is a larger screen to work with, and it makes viewing videos, magazines, and books a much nicer experience. However, we did notice that it had a lot more reflections on it.
If you’re looking for a tablet to take along with you, then the iPad Air offers you some great options. It offers you a wide range of storage, so you can choose the amount of memory you want. If you need more space for your videos, you can add an SD card or get more memory in the tablet.
We also found the 7.9-inch screen of the iPad Air to be a nice size for reading. You get to see more on a smaller screen. If you’re watching a video and want to check your e-mail or have your Twitter notifications, you can do it easily on the smaller screen. You don’t get the top-quality display on the smaller iPad, but that’s something that is expected.
The display on the iPad Pro is fantastic, but it is something that you may not use on a regular basis. That’s why you get the keyboard with it. When you’re watching videos, reading an eBook or playing a game, the smaller iPad is the better choice.
When you’re listening to music, you can watch videos on the larger iPad. However, the 12.9-inch display is a little big, so it’s something you have to be comfortable using.
You can get the iPad Air from a number of retailers, with different prices depending on what retailer you buy it from. For the base 64GB version, you can get it from Amazon for £529. The 32GB model is available for £479 and the 64GB model is available for £549.
The price of the larger iPad Pro is different. You can buy it from Amazon for £639 with the top-quality model starting at £769. You can buy the iPad with a top-quality display starting at £1,299.
You get a better display and a bigger screen when you go for the larger iPad Pro. However, you have to add an extra £220 to the price if you want the top-quality model.
If you want to watch videos, read eBooks and watch your favorite movies, the iPad Air is the tablet for you. The top-quality model is slightly more expensive, but it offers you a better display and a larger screen. It is also a more comfortable device to use, making it the better choice for watching movies and eBooks.
If you want to get the best experience out of the iPad, you need the latest version of iOS, known as iOS 12. This version offers you a number of improvements over the previous one, including faster processing. You can upgrade to the latest version of iOS through the Settings app.
The differences between iOS 11 and iOS 12 are limited to the updates and changes in the operating system. The only big difference is that the new operating system will be included with the new iPad. There are two other main differences. The first one is that it supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but only on the larger iPad. The second one is the way that you access the desktop app, which allows you to bring files that you’ve downloaded from the desktop app into the iPad.
The iPad has great battery life, which is what you would expect from a tablet. You can get up to 10 hours of usage with the 64GB version of the tablet, and 12 hours with the 32GB model. If you can’t get up to those times, you can get up to 9 hours of usage with the smaller iPad.
The larger iPad Pro has a longer battery life, but the downside is that it takes up more space. You can get 15 hours of usage out of the larger tablet, but it will take up more space in your bag. If you want to make the most of the iPad’s battery life, you’ll need to be careful about what you’re using it for.
You’ll be able to do basic tasks like surfing the web, streaming music and movies on the iPad. You can even run multiple apps, but keep in mind that it will use more power, which will extend the battery life.
If you’re a person who wants to spend a lot of time using the tablet, then you should consider the iPad Pro. You can get around 15 hours of usage out of it, but if you’re streaming movies and videos, you will need to keep an eye on the battery life.
If you want to take pictures with the iPad, then you will be happy to know that the camera offers great pictures.
The iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro share the same front-facing iSight camera, which has the same resolution of 1.2 megapixels. In the four-tethered-port event, Craig Federighi noted that the camera “shines in low light,” and even showed off an image taken in low-light conditions. In terms of camera performance, the iPads capture photographs with great detail, with the new iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro delivering good-to-excellent image quality, as shown in the picture above, taken in optimal conditions.
In terms of the tablet’s rear-facing iSight camera, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro was capable of better-than-average image quality, offering up similar performance to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The 12.9-inch iPad Air 2’s rear-facing camera — again, the same 1.2-megapixel iSight unit found on both the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and iPhone 6 — has a similar quality, but it also sports a 16:9 aspect ratio, which gives the iPad Air 2’s rear-facing camera a more wide-angle view.
When looking at overall image quality, the iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro are very similar, with both scoring in the upper-end of the five-star range, as shown in the image above. (In order to get to the five-star rating, Apple says the camera needs to “capture great shots in both low-light and bright environments,” and the camera needs to be able to take a clear picture without having to use a tripod.) Both tablets offered excellent color reproduction, which is as you’d expect. The real advantage here is that the iPad Pro’s large display is capable of greater depth of field, meaning the front of the iPad Pro is able to look farther away than the iPad Air 2’s display. That’s great for capturing photos with people, although it’s also great for looking through virtual reality content. The iPad Air 2 offers excellent video-recording quality, but the iPad Pro’s larger, the wider-angle lens gives it a leg up in terms of capturing a larger field of view.
Compared to the iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro, the iPhone 6S Plus delivers significantly better overall image quality. However, the difference is actually relatively small, with the iPhone 6S Plus delivering a slightly better overall image quality, which helps it keep up in the field, and also has a depth of field that’s slightly larger than the iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro. However, if you’re talking about in-focs images, the iPad Pro and iPad Air 2 are very similar, with both scoring the maximum five-star rating, as shown in the image above.
You’ll be happy to know that you can edit your pictures on the iPad as well. You can crop the picture, edit the white balance and adjust the ISO.
You can make a mistake with the camera on the iPad Pro, but you won’t be able to do too much damage. You can repair the damaged images on the iPad, but you won’t be able to recover them if you shoot them on a phone.
The iPad Pro offers you a 12MP front-facing camera along with the 4K video camera. The front-facing camera is something that you may have already come across on tablets, and it works very well. The face recognition is quick and it offers a good range of features, with the most noticeable being the ability to detect your eyes.
The 4K video is something we weren’t expecting, but it does offer a higher resolution for the videos you’re watching on the larger iPad Pro. In terms of quality, the videos look great and the processing offers you smooth images.
You can even get the top-quality Cinema video feature, which is good news if you’re making a movie or recording a video.
Using 4K video
As mentioned earlier, if you are looking at the iPad Pro for video creation, then this is something that isn’t a good fit. The iPad Air has a front-facing camera of 5MP, which is adequate for FaceTime, but that’s about it. The iPad Pro features a 12MP, which is great if you want to video chat and edit the content on the fly. This generation of iPads offers something different, and the iPad Air is no exception.
iPad Air Pros & Cons
Apple iPad Air Pros
- It’s Small. It’s small enough to be held in one hand, which will be an issue for some users.
- Smaller and Slimmer. Compared to the Ipad 4, the Air is smaller in every aspect: width, height, and depth. The Ipad Air weighs 790 grams, which is 40 grams less than its predecessor. The thinner design means that you’ll have less to hold and that it’s even easier to carry around in your pocket or purse.
- Great Battery Life. Despite having a 9.7-inch display, the Air has the same battery life as the Ipad 4 did. The Air only lasted for 6 hours and 25 minutes, which was just 20 minutes less than the old Ipad Air. The only reason why it could have lasted longer is if you’re using it on Wi-Fi. If you’re using cellular data, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve got your charger handy. The 9.7-inch screen should mean that you can use the Air all day, without needing a charge. However, to maximize battery life, I recommend using the Ipad Air on Wi-Fi, not cellular.
- More Space for Apps. While having a smaller form factor, the Air has received more internal storage. This is perfect if you’re planning on using the iPad Air as a primary media consumption device. The Air has a massive increase in storage, which should be great for music, video, and apps.
- Bigger Screen. The Ipad Air screen is a 9.7inch diagonal display, which is a significant increase from the previous model’s 7.9-inch screen. The screen is high-definition, but it lacks some of the sharpness that you’ll get with the screen on the iPad Pro. However, it’s a 9.7-inch screen, so the extra size and greater pixel density mean that you’ll have more screen real estate, which should be great for watching videos or playing games.
- Lighter Weight. The Ipad Air weighs in at just under a kilogram, which is 16% lighter than its previous version. In addition, it feels a lot lighter and much easier to hold. The smaller and lighter weight will be a plus for any of those who are on the go.
Apple iPad Air Cons
- Smaller Display. The 9.7inch screen will likely be enough for many people, but those who compare it with the iPad Pro 12.9 version will find it to small.
- No Pencil Support. The Ipad Air doesn’t have built-in stylus support, so you’ll need to use your Apple Pencil. This is a pretty big omission, but it’s understandable. Apple is working on a new version of the Ipad Pro that will be able to accommodate the Apple Pencil, so perhaps they will include it on the Air once they have that updated model.
- No Colorful, Bright Screen. While the display is high-definition, it lacks some of the vividness of the iPad Pro’s screen. That being said, it’s significantly brighter than the previous model’s screen, so the resolution might not be all that important. It also still has a high screen-to-body ratio, which is great. Even with a 9.7-inch screen, the Ipad Air has a much lower pixel density than its predecessor.
- Can’t Use a Bigger Battery. The 9.7-inch screen size might mean that you can’t use a bigger battery, but unless you plan on using it all the time, this won’t be a problem. Even with a 9.7-inch screen, the Air can last for 5 hours of usage.
- No Smart Cover. With the Air, you won’t get a Smart Cover as you do on the Ipad Pro. This is a bummer for those that like the way that it feels to prop up their tablet on its edge. It’s a non-issue, though, because the iPad Air can stand up on its own.
iPad Pro Pros & Cons
Apple iPad Pro Pros
- Bigger Screen Images shown in the 2X and 3X aspect ratios of the iPad Pro display are approximately 5.96 inches, and 7.9 inches, respectively, larger than what was provided with the iPad Air 2. That means a more detailed view with a higher resolution, allowing you to see more of what’s onscreen.
- More Powerful and Durable Along with the bigger screen comes an improvement in the display itself. The upgraded screen is brighter than previous models. As far as the display goes, the screen on the new iPad Pro is sharper, clearer, and with less of a black background even when working in the dark. The third-generation Retina display features 2,048 x 2,048 pixels resolution, while the device has a pixel density of 264 pixels per inch, making for a crisp and easy-to-see view. While the aspect ratio of the iPad is 16:9, the new iPad Pro is available in two screen aspect ratios, 12.9-inch, and 9.7-inch. That adds to the iPad Pro’s versatility when viewing movies, photos, or other files, especially in different apps. The back of the tablet is also a little thicker, measuring 6.1mm, which adds to its durability. Apple’s claim is that the new iPad Pro can withstand up to 10 million collisions with its base. In fact, users can read web pages on it without worrying about it getting scratched. In addition to the iPad Pro’s stronger scratch-resistant coating, it also features a frame designed with spaces in which the screws that hold it together can be placed.
- The Smart Keyboard and Smart Case To provide an even more convenient way to work on the iPad Pro, Apple introduced a Smart Keyboard and Smart Case for the device. Smart Keyboard is a folio-style keyboard designed for use with the new iPad Pro. It holds its keys in a firm yet comfortable feel that makes typing on a device that size much more convenient. The Smart Case is designed to extend the life of the iPad Pro. It is compact and light yet durable. While it can hold up to the weight of the tablet, it does not cover the entire back of the device. Instead, the iPad Pro can be put on top of it.
- Apple Pencil After an iPad user’s productivity was restricted to a tablet with a single screen and a small amount of storage capacity, the new iPad Pro has a lot to offer. Along with the bigger display and keyboard case, the tablet is equipped with a Smart Keyboard and a Lightning connector. The Apple Pencil, though, adds another important function to the iPad Pro. It lets users take notes and even draw or paint on the screen in order to enhance their productivity.
Apple iPad Pro Cons
- Battery Life and Charging Issues
As a portable device, the battery life of the iPad Pro isn’t that long. The tablet can be used for 8 hours with Wi-Fi on and a brightness of 75 percent. The battery life of the iPad Pro can be affected by many factors, including the apps used, background updates and cellular data.
The new iPad Pro comes with a better and larger battery, so it will charge faster. However, a recent survey conducted by eWeek.com and the Consumer Electronics Association found that the Wi-Fi range of the iPad Pro is only about 40 percent. Battery life might also be affected by the device’s position. If it is sitting on the charger while it is charging, it could reduce the amount of battery charge.
If the user uses the iPad Pro on the iPad’s charger, Wi-Fi connectivity can be interrupted. As an average user, there’s a good chance the user would leave the iPad Pro on the charger for extended periods of time. Without a charger to be found nearby, the iPad Pro is tethered to the charger. While the new iPad Pro uses the charger, it can affect the battery life.
iPad Air vs iPad Pro: Final Verdict
While the Pro has a higher price, it also has a higher performance. You’ll get better performance, which means you can do more with it.
That’s what you’ll use most of the time. So if you want to go with the Pr0, you have to be prepared to do a lot more with it.
For example, the Pro can run games that won’t run on a cheaper tablet. It also has a higher-resolution screen that can be used for watching movies.
If you think about all the things the iPadPro can do, you’ll be able to do much more with it than with a cheaper tablet.
You won’t have to compromise on quality, performance, or functionality. And you’ll be able to enjoy an Apple tablet for years to come.
If you want to go with the pricier version, you’ll have to decide if you’re ready to do a lot more with it. It won’t be something you’ll use every day, but you’ll enjoy it when you do use it.
For more information on Apple products in general, check out Apple’s website.