Comparison: iPad 2022 vs iPad Air 2021

Apple recently introduced a new 10th generation iPad and iPad Pro M2, but the iPad 9 is still on sale, along with the iPad Air and Mini, creating confusion when choosing your future tablet.

The hardest part is when it comes to comparing the iPad 10 and iPad Air. In fact, it takes important elements of its design, with a larger screen, flat edges and the integration of Touch ID on the side button. It’s also significantly more expensive than its predecessor, closing a huge price gap between Apple’s entry-level and mid-range tablets.

However, despite their similarities in appearance, there are some significant differences under the hood. If you are considering buying a mid-range iPad, this article may help you decide which of the two to choose.

iPad 10 vs. iPad Air: technical specifications

The comparison of these two tablets goes through the study of their technical characteristics, such as their processors and connectivity.

A14 vs. M1

The biggest difference is probably at the processor level. While the iPad Air M1 is based on the same general architecture as the A14, it is more powerful. It has two additional high-performance cores, twice as many GPU cores, more RAM, and a media engine to accelerate H.264 and HEVC video encoding.

On the other hand, if you mainly use your iPad for surfing the net, taking notes, sending e-mails or browsing social networks, then the M1 may seem excessive. This will be really useful if you do video editing, or to perform important tasks, for example.

It’s also worth noting that Centered Frame, a new multitasking feature available in iPadOS 16.1, is only compatible with recent iPad Pro models and the iPad Air with the M chip, so it’s out of the question. iPad range of 10.


Connectivity

Both support dual-band 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6), with throughput capable of up to 1.2 Gbps. If you buy the cellular-enabled version, both support 5G, but only sub-6GHz bands.

The only real difference is that the 10th generation iPad supports Bluetooth 5.2, compared to 5.0 for the iPad Air. There’s no practical difference between them at the moment, but 5.2 is required for certain technologies like LE Audio, which may come with future iPadOS updates. In other words, the iPad 10 is a little more future-ready.

Both models feature a USB-C port for charging and data transfer, but they’re not the same. The iPad 10 port is limited to a speed of 480 Mb / s on USB 2.0, while the iPad Air is faster at 10 Gb / s.

iPad 10 vs. iPad Air: design

iPad 10 and iPad Air have the same design. When side by side, the only thing you might notice is that one (the 10) is slightly larger and heavier than the other. They both have a consistent look with flat, thin edges and the inclusion of a Liquid Retina display.

They also both come in different colors, though the iPad 10’s colors are noticeably brighter than the Air’s.

Screen

The tablets’ screens have exactly the same size, resolution and brightness, not to mention that both support the True Tone function.

The changes are on the color gamut side, the iPad 10 is sRGB, while the Air has a wider P3, so photos and videos offer richer, more vibrant colors.

The iPad Air’s screen also has an anti-glare coating and is laminated, eliminating a small gap between the screen and the glass while the iPad 10 does not.


iPad 10 vs. iPad Air: Camera

Both iPads have the same rear and front camera, with a resolution of 12 MP, an aperture (f / 1.8) and functions (Smart HDR 3, Panorama, burst mode, etc.).

However, the iPad 10 has an advantage here. While the front camera of the iPad Air is located on the vertical side, like all other models, the iPad 10 is positioned horizontally. This arrangement is very practical, especially when using a keyboard case.

iPad 10 vs. iPad Air: accessories

iPad Air supports the more comfortable second-generation Apple Pencil, which attaches magnetically to the side for charging.

The iPad 10 uses the first generation pencil, which is smooth and round, so it doesn’t stick. It has a small cover on the back to cover the Lightning socket and requires a dongle and Lightning-USB-C cable for charging.

The iPad Air supports almost the same keyboards as the 11-inch iPad Pro: the Magic Keyboard and the Smart Keyboard Folio.

The iPad 10 is only compatible with the new $299 Magic Keyboard Folio, which is full-size with a range of features as well as a larger trackpad than the Magic Keyboard.

iPad 10 vs. iPad Air: technical data sheets

iPad 2022 iPad Air
Screen 10.9-inch Liquid Retina, 2360×1640 resolution at 264 ppi, True Tone, sRGB, 500 nits, unlaminated Retina Liquid, 2360 x 1640 resolution, 500 nits, P3 color, True Tone, fully laminated
Processor A14 Bionic M1
Storage 64/256 GB 64/256 GB
Primary camera 12 MP, ƒ/1.8, Smart HDR 3 12 MP, ƒ/1.8, Smart HDR 3
selfie camera 12 MP Ultra wide-angle, ƒ/2.4, center stage, landscape orientation 12 MP Ultra wide-angle, ƒ/2.4, center stage
Wireless Wi-Fi 6 Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.2 5.0
LTE 5G 5G
GPS Yes Yes
Ports USB-C USB-C
Biometrics Touch-ID Touch-ID
Apple Pencil support 1st generation 2nd generation

iPad 10 vs iPad Air: which one to choose?

With a starting price of $589, the 10th generation iPad may seem like a better buy for a casual user than the $789 iPad Air. It has the same basic features, camera and more than enough power for daily or occasional tasks.

In fact, you can get the 256GB model for the same price as the 64GB iPad Air.

However, the iPad Air is often sold for $750 or less and for that price it comes highly recommended. If you’re a digital artist or content creator, you can probably appreciate the areas where the iPad Air has an advantage.

The second generation Apple Pencil is much better to use, and the M1 processor really shows its advantages in demanding apps like ProCreate, Affinity Designer or LumaFusion.

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