iPad Air (2022) vs iPad Pro (2021): the differences are closer than ever

Apple proves that a company can compete not only with outsiders but also with itself. The differences between the latest iPad Air and iPad Pro are smaller than ever. You can read all about it in this iPad Air (2022) vs iPad Pro (2021) comparison.

iPad Air 2022 vs iPad Pro 2021

It was unveiled at the first Apple event of this year: the new iPad Air. We have now arrived at the fifth generation and on paper it has been significantly improved compared to the previous version, which appeared in 2020.

Also compared to the latest iPad Pro (from 2021), the differences are getting smaller. For example, the iPad Air (2022) has exactly the same powerful M1 chip. This processor is also in several Apple computers and provides the tablets with a lot of computing power. The latest iPad Air also has an improved camera, USB-C charging port and 5G for lightning-fast mobile internet.

Ironically, Apple is mainly competing with itself because of this. For many people, the iPad Air (2022) is a better deal than the iPad Pro (2021). Apple is rumored to release the iPad Pro (2022) later this year, but until then the Air is the biggest challenger to the Pro model.

It is therefore high time to compare the two. This way you know which iPad is best for you to buy. Here’s the big iPad Air 2022 vs iPad Pro 2021 comparison.

Index: iPad Air 2022 vs iPad Pro 2021

Screen and design

Industrial: this is how you can describe the design of both the iPad Pro and iPad Air. Purely based on appearance, the differences are therefore small. The iPad Air 5 does have a slightly more compact screen (10.9 inches) than the Pro model (11 or 12.9 inches).

Speaking of those sizes: the largest iPad Pro is also the best iPad that Apple currently has in its range. The big eye-catcher of this model is the high-quality mini LED screen. This technology can dim the individual lights of a screen locally (each). As a result, the largest iPad Pro (with 12.9-inch screen) particularly excels in showing contrasts.

iPad Air (2022) vs iPad Pro (2021): the differences are closer than ever
Screen of iPad Pro (2021).

If you compare the ‘small’ iPad Pro from 2021 (11 inches) with the latest iPad Air, the differences are already a lot smaller. For example, both have a simple LCD screen, which is of lower quality than mini-LED.

However, the iPad Pro still has the longest end in terms of screen area. This is mainly due to ProMotion, a technology that ensures that the screen refreshes pixels up to 120 times per second. This produces very smooth and fluid images, for example while gaming. Meanwhile, the latest iPad Air is stuck at a refresh rate of 60Hz.

The screen of the iPad Pro (2021) can also be slightly brighter than that of the iPad Air (2022): 600 versus 500 nits. The difference is small, but if you want to read the screen in bright sunlight, more nits is always better.

The sun in the house

Those who love colors should buy the iPad Air (2022). This tablet is available in five colors, while with the latest iPad Pro you can only choose from two variants. The Pro thus confirms that it is for the business user, while the Air is clearly aimed at a wider audience.

Colors iPad Air (2022) Colors iPad Pro (2021)
Blue space gray
Purple Silver
Pink
space gray
starlight

Pay attention to the hardware

Do you regularly work with large files, for example because you edit videos and/or photos? Then you are probably looking for a tablet with sufficient storage space. In that respect, the iPad Pro clearly has an advantage.

This model is available with a maximum capacity of 2TB. If you don’t need that much storage, you can also go for a model with 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB.

The iPad Air (5) is only available in two editions: with 64GB or 256GB. We recommend that you think carefully about your choice in advance, because you cannot manually expand the storage space afterwards.

It is also important to know that the iPad Air (2022) comes with 8GB of RAM. In short, working memory ensures that your tablet can run multiple apps and processes side by side, without having to close them. The latest iPad Pro is in better shape in that regard, because you can buy it with 8GB or 16GB of RAM.

Another difference concerns the connection. Both tablets have a USB-C connection, but only the iPad Pro supports the standard Thunderbolt 4.

Camera

Also in the camera area, the Pro tablet pulls the longest straw. This has two cameras on the back, while the iPad Air has to make do with a single camera. Both models have a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera.

However, the 2021 iPad Pro also has a 10-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera. As the name suggests, you use it for taking wide-angle photos. Think, for example, of capturing a landscape photo, or when you want to take a photo of a group of people.

An additional advantage of the ultra-wide-angle camera on the iPad Pro (2021) is that you can zoom out 2 times optically (with little to no loss of quality). It is also possible to digitally zoom in up to 3 times in video mode. In contrast to optical zooming, quality loss can occur here.

Furthermore, the latest iPad Pro has some exclusive camera functions. Think, for example, of the Portrait mode, which makes selfies a lot nicer. This model also has a total of four speakers (while the iPad Air ‘only’ has two) and you can get started with the LiDAR scanner.

Camera iPad Pro 2021
Camera from iPad Pro (2021).

Charging and Unlocking

The iPad Air (2022) has changed quite a bit from the previous iPad Air (2021), but one thing has not been tinkered with: Touch ID. So you can still unlock the tablet via the fingerprint scanner in the on/off button. Things are very different on the iPad Pro (2021). After all, you unlock this via Face ID, or facial recognition.

Another small, but for some essential difference has to do with the charging port. Although both have a USB-c charging port, that of the iPad Pro (2021) is slightly better. It offers support for Thunderbolt/USB-4. From a purely practical point of view, this ensures that you can transfer files at a maximum speed of 40 gigabits per second.

In comparison: with the iPad Air (2022) you get a maximum speed of 10 gigabits per second. This difference will be negligible for most people, but people who regularly move large files back and forth (such as photographers) will notice this nuance. In combination with peripherals, the iPad Pro is a lot faster (for hard drives) and higher resolutions can be controlled (on Apple’s Studio Display).

ipad air 2022 vs ipad air 2020 m1 chip comparison
iPad Air (2022).

A big price difference

Finally, the price difference should not remain unmentioned. It may be clear that the iPad Pro (2021) is a better tablet on paper, but you pay for that. The tablet has an official starting price of 899 euros (or 1219 euros for the 12.9 inch model). The iPad Air (2022) is here 698.50 euros

Do you want to buy the iPad Pro (2021)? Then use the price comparator below to find the best deals. You can filter the offer of well-known online stores by price, delivery time and, for example, storage capacity. The cheapest is to buy a refurbished iPad Pro (2021). These types of tablets have been used before, but technically in new condition and (considerably) cheaper than a brand-new model.

Or are you going to buy the iPad Air (2022)? Even then our price comparison tool will help you further. The tablet will be delivered from March 18, 2022 and can currently be pre-ordered via the stores below:

  • Pre-order at MediaMarkt
  • Pre-order at Coolblue
  • Pre-order at Bol.com
  • Pre-order at YourMacStore
  • Pre-order at Amac
  • Pre-order at Belsimpel

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