iPad Air 5 vs. iPad Pro (11-inch): Which tablet should you buy?

iPad Air five vs. iPad Pro (11-inch): Which tablet should you purchase?

(Prototype credit: Apple/Laptop Mag)

Apple’due south new iPad Air five may non look that dissimilar, but information technology’s what’southward on the inside that counts. At that place are a couple of massive changes underneath its aluminum casing. These upgrades make the iPad Air v vs.
iPad Pro (11-inch)
a more challenging conclusion for premium tablet buyers as there is even less separating the ii tablets.

While this is a confront-off, I want to be articulate that there is no universe in which the iPad Air 5 is the better of the two tablets; the iPad Pro retains several clear advantages as yous would await for a tablet that commands a $200 price premium.

With that said, the scrappy iPad Air 5 is not to be dismissed. With the improver of the Apple M1 chip, optional 5G, and a new front-facing camera, the Air is closer than e’er to its Pro analogue.

And so let’s take a close look at two of the
best tablets
bachelor today and see which 1 is right for you.

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iPad Air 5 vs. iPad Pro (11-inch): toll and value

The iPad Air yet starts at $599 with 64GB of storage. Upgrading to 256GB of storage raises the price to $749. Adding a 5G cellular radio to either model bumps the price upward by $130.

The storage state of affairs is the biggest frustration with the iPad Air 5 as it lacks a 128GB model, which feels like the sweet spot for many users. You are either going to be faced with managing your content on the base of operations 64GB or overbuying for space many won’t utilize at 256GB.

The 11-inch iPad Pro starts at $799 with 128GB of storage. So while that’southward $200 more than the base of operations price of the iPad Air, if you lot are someone who would need to upgrade the storage on the iPad Air five, you are a mere $50 away. Opting for 256GB of storage on the iPad Pro 11-inch raises the price by $100 while the 512GB model costs $one,099. Apple gave iPad Pro users some outlandish storage options this time around as well, and so you can even shell out $1,499 or $one,899 for the 1TB and 2TB models, respectively.

While the iPad Air 5 may exist cheaper, the storage situation is extremely frustrating and makes the iPad Pro 11-inch the better value.

iPad Pro 11-inch

iPad Air five vs. iPad Pro (11-inch): blueprint

The iPad Air 5 retains a virtually identical design to its predecessor, which in plow was modeled later on the iPad Pro. Both offer that new squared-off look that dominates most the unabridged Apple lineup of devices now. It suits the tablet well with the thin bezels and minimalist pattern getting out of the way of the essential purpose of the iPad as a pane of glass that is a gateway to your apps and the spider web.

Other than the slight size disparity with the x.9-inch display on the iPad Air versus the 11-inch display on the iPad Pro, the camera modules are the other obvious differentiator. The Pro’s dual-lens setup is housed in a squircle camera housing similar to the
iPhone 13, while the Air still has a single, circular lens like the
iPhone SE (2022).

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Apple iPad Air 5

(Image credit: Apple tree)

Far more impactful are the color options available on both tablets, and here the iPad Air gets to polish. The Pro is available in the familiar and pretty bland silver or Space Gray options. By comparison, the iPad Air gives you a rainbow of fruit flavors with pink, royal, blue, Starlight and Space Greyness.

Although information technology’s not a visible departure, the biometric security methods are some other differentiator. The iPad Pro uses Face ID via the front end-facing camera whereas the iPad Air 5 relies on a Touch ID fingerprint scanner embedded in its elongated power button at the top border of the tablet. Both perform rapidly and reliably, but at that place’s no denying that Face ID is the easier choice.

iPad Pro 2021 (12.9-inch)

(Prototype credit: Laptop Magazine)

While both tablets feature USB-C ports, only the iPad Pro supports Thunderbolt three and USB four. Both tablets have a magnetic holder on the top edge for charging and securing the Apple tree Pencil (2nd generation) accessory. Similarly, both support the Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Page. The iPad Pro gets an sound heave from its 4 speakers versus the two found on the iPad Air.

At 9.seven ten 7 x 0.23 inches and 1 pound, the xi-inch iPad Pro matches up almost identically to the 10.9-inch iPad Air (9.7 x vii 10 0.24 inches, 1 pound) with just hundredths of an inch separating them.

iPad Pro 11-inch

iPad Air v vs. iPad Pro (11-inch): brandish

While the 11-inch iPad Pro doesn’t get the fancy Liquid Retina XDR display using mini-LED technology of its 12.9-inch sibling, information technology does have an astonishing IPS panel with the adaptive 120Hz ProMotion engineering. The iPad Air 5 loses out on ProMotion, meaning information technology is express to 60Hz, just nonetheless boasts a beautiful Liquid Retina IPS brandish.

We haven’t had the take chances to examination out the iPad Air 5 display just yet, only if it at least manages to match the previous model, it volition be quite close in most regards to the iPad Pro 11-inch. In our testing of the iPad Air 4, it produced 103% of the DCI-P3 color gamut compared to 113% for the iPad Pro 11-inch, while brightness was a larger gap at 440 nits for the iPad Air to 571 nits for the Pro.

iPad Pro 2021

(Epitome credit: Laptop Mag)

By far, the biggest consideration betwixt these 2 models is ProMotion, that 120Hz performance makes for much smoother animations and allows you to picket or edit high frame rate videos. It should also positively impact battery life as information technology allows the panel to drop below 60Hz based on the content you are viewing, but once again we’ll take to wait until nosotros’ve run our tests on the new Air to find out.

iPad Pro 11-inch

Apple iPad Air 5

(Image credit: Apple)

iPad Air 5 vs. iPad Pro (11-inch): Keyboard and stylus

There are no meaningful differences to speak of here. The iPad Pro 11-inch and iPad Air both support the Magic Keyboard, Smart Keyboard Page, and Apple tree Pencil 2. The Magic Keyboard is quite literally the aforementioned model for both, which may be relevant if you are upgrading an iPad Pro 2018 to an iPad Air 5.

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You tin can read our
Magic Keyboard review
if you lot are considering it for either tablet, merely the takeaway here is that both tablets feature identical Apple accessories, which are pretty adept, merely also quite pricey.


iPad Air 5 vs. iPad Pro (11-inch): functioning and 5G

This was a decisive slam douse victory for the iPad Pro in the previous generation, but the iPad Air v is set with the cake now matching the Pro’s M1 processor and 5G radio. The 5G radios are identical, and both feature 8GB of RAM (the 1TB and 2TB Pro bumps up to 16GB of RAM), but there is one potential deviation to be found in the M1 chips between the ii.

Apple indicates that both feature M1 fries with an 8-core CPU and 8-Core GPU, simply while the Pro is listed with a 16-cadre Neural Engine, the Air merely lists a Neural Engine. It’southward unlikely this is an blow and suggests the M1 in the Air may exist a slight step down in this regard. In our testing, we’ll have to run into if this has a meaningful impact on whatsoever typical tasks.

Apple iPad Air 5

(Prototype credit: Apple)

Fifty-fifty if there is a slight hit to performance in some apps, the M1 has plenty of room to fall off and nevertheless crush every other tablet on the marketplace.

On the Geekbench 5 overall performance examination, the iPad Pro with M1 scored a vii,298, dominating the previous iPad Air (four,262, A14 Bionic). Safe to assume this Air will land at least relatively close to the new Pro. The M1-equipped iPad Pro took 22 seconds to add a color filter and transition to a 4K video earlier exporting it to 1080p resolution on the Adobe Premiere Rush examination. The onetime iPad Air wasn’t a slouch at that either, coming in at 27 seconds, but again it should drop fifty-fifty closer to the Pro now.

Until we come across our benchmark results come up in, I’m calling this category a draw every bit the hardware is nigh identical.


iPad Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

iPad Air 5 vs. iPad Pro (11-inch): battery life

This is another expanse where we will have to look and see how our criterion and real-globe testing come through one time we have the iPad Air 5 in hand. The iPad Pro lasted 10 hours and 48 minutes on the Laptop Mag battery test. By comparison, the iPad Air (2020) lasted for 10 hours and 29 minutes. It wouldn’t be shocking to meet it close that gap or slightly surpass the iPad Pro, but either way, it’s unlikely that one will dramatically outperform the other.


Apple iPad Air 5

(Image credit: Laptop Magazine)

iPad Air 5 vs. iPad Pro (eleven-inch): cameras

Double the cameras, double the fun! Well, peradventure not quite. In that location’southward certainly an argument to be made for tablets to have cameras, but the reality is that most iPad Air or iPad Pro owners likewise have an iPhone in their pocket that will obliterate the results from these lenses in a course factor that makes sense for taking photos. But I digress.

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The iPad Pro has a dual-camera setup consisting of a 12-megapixel, f/one.eight wide-angle lens, and a secondary 10MP, f/2.4 ultra-wide-bending photographic camera. The iPad Air even so sticks to a unmarried 12MP, f/ane.8 broad-angle lens.

iPad Pro 2021

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

By tablet photographic camera standards, both are remarkable, and that hardware surpasses near of the
all-time upkeep phones
and even stacks upward confronting some depression-end flagships. But are you really picking your tablet based on the rear cameras? The biggest differentiator on the dorsum cameras for the iPad Pro is the inclusion of the LiDAR sensor for AR apps, but while the AR push continues, this isn’t something that is driving a tablet ownership determination for nigh users.

The front-facing cameras are relevant for more users as an iPad is an excellent video conferencing device. The iPad Pro has an exceptional 12MP, f/i.eight front-facing camera with the same TrueDepth hardware found on the iPhone that can yield stellar Portrait mode photos. The iPad Air gets a dainty upgrade to a 12MP sensor, upwardly from 7MP, and also now features Apple tree’s Centre Phase feature that tracks you during FaceTime calls.

iPad Pro 11-inch

Apple iPad Air 5

(Prototype credit: Apple tree)

 iPad Air 5 vs. iPad Pro (11-inch): Which should you purchase?

The iPad Pro 11-inch takes the victory with 4 category wins to none for the iPad Air five, but impressively the more affordable tablet battled its sibling to a stalemate in 3 categories. So let’s have a quick look at who should consider going with the iPad Air over the iPad Pro.

If yous are on a tighter budget and want more than the standard iPad can offer, the base of operations iPad Air v is the obvious choice. 64GB is a fiddling tight, but you lot tin get in work if you lot stick to mostly streaming content and don’t overload information technology with apps. With the updated iPad Air 5 hardware, y’all are getting the majority of the premium iPad Pro features except for a ProMotion brandish, dual-photographic camera with LiDAR scanner, and Face ID.

iPad Pro 2021

(Image credit: Laptop Magazine)

If you lot have $800 to spend, the base of operations 11-inch iPad Pro is the best selection. For a mere $50 premium, y’all get that ProMotion display, quad speakers (versus dual), better front and rear cameras, Face up ID, the LiDAR scanner, and the 128GB of storage is a sugariness spot for virtually users.

Nosotros’ll check dorsum in on this face-off once we’ve wrapped up our review of the iPad Air 5 to come across if it manages to move the needle on any of these categories. It’s safety to say that if you opt for either of these tablets, you are making a solid choice, every bit while the
Galaxy Tab S8
made some interesting changes this year, Apple remains the tablet manufacturer to crush.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade at present. Almost of that time was equally a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more than.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you lot’ll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that wide range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more than.

Source: https://www.laptopmag.com/news/ipad-air-5-vs-ipad-pro-11-inch