Compare iPad Air 2020 to 11-inch iPad Pro 2021

Compare iPad Air 2020 to 11-inch iPad Pro 2021

There is again a great doubt among the undecided, is the 11-inch iPad Pro from 2021 or the iPad Air from the previous year better? At first we can anticipate that the ‘Pro’ exceeds it, although this does not necessarily mean that it is always the best option. In this article we will exhaustively compare all the key points of these Apple tablets so that, if you are doubting, you can be clear about your purchase decision.

Technical Specifications Table

Although we will see each relevant section of these iPads more broadly, we cannot ignore the more technical aspects of both. The following table can help you to see roughly what are the main differences and similarities that exist between both devices.

ipad air y ipad pro

Characteristics iPad Air (2020) iPad Pro (11 “- 2021)
Colors -Space gray
-Space gray
Dimensions -Height: 24.76 cm
-Width: 17.85 cm
-Thickness: 0.61 cm
-Height: 24.76 cm
-Width: 17.85 cm
-Thickness: 0.59 cm
Weight -WiFi version: 458 grams
-WiFi + Cellular version: 460 grams
-WiFi version: 466 grams
-WiFi + Cellular version: 468 grams
Screen 10.9-inch Liquid Retina (IPS) 11-inch Liquid Retina (IPS)
Resolution 2,360 x 1,640 at 264 pixels per inch 2,388 x 1,668 at 264 pixels per inch
Brightness Up to 500 nits (typical) Up to 600 nits (typical)
Refresh rate 60 Hz 120 Hz
Speakers 2 stereo speakers 4 stereo speakers
Processor A14 Bionic M1
Storage capacity -64 GB
-256 GB
-128 GB
-256 GB
-512 GB
-1 TB
-2 TB
RAM 4GB -8 GB (in versions of 128, 256 and 512 GB)
-16 GB (in 1 and 2 TB versions)
Frontal camera 7 Mpx lens with f / 2.2 aperture 12 Mpx lens with ultra wide angle and f / 2.4 aperture
Rear cameras 12MP wide angle with f / 1.8 aperture -Wide angle of 12 Mpx with aperture of f / 1.8
-Ultra wide angle with aperture of f / 2.4
– LiDAR sensor
Connectors -USB-C
-Smart Connector
-USB-C compatible with Thunderbolt (USB 4)
-Smart Connector
Biometric systems Touch ID Face ID
SIM card In WiFi + Cellular version: Nano SIM and eSIM In WiFi + Cellular version: Nano SIM and eSIM
Connectivity in all versions -Wifi (802.11a / b / g / n / ac / ax); 2.4 and 5 GHz; simultaneous dual band; speeds up to 1.2 Gb / s
-Bluetooth 5.0
-Wifi (802.11a / b / g / n / ac / ax); 2.4 and 5 GHz; simultaneous dual band; speeds up to 1.2 Gb / s
-Bluetooth 5.0
Connectivity in WiFi + Cellular versions -GSM / EDGE
-LTE Gigabit (up to 30 bands)
-GPS / GNSS integrated
-Calls via WiFi
-5G (sub-6 GHz)
-LTE Gigabit (up to 32 bands)
-GPS / GNSS integrated
-Calls via WiFi
Official accessory compatibility -Smart Keyboard Folio
-Magic Keyboard
-Apple Pencil (2nd gen.)
-Smart Keyboard Folio
-Magic Keyboard
-Apple Pencil (2nd gen.)

Having seen these data, and although we insist that we analyze them in more detail in the following sections, we can highlight the following points as their most relevant differences :

  • Screen: beyond the size (0.1 inches more for the ‘Pro’), the resolution, brightness and technology adopted by the screen of the ‘Air’ model is slightly lower.
  • Storage: only two versions of storage in the ‘Air’ model with 256 GB caps, while in the ‘Pro’ there is a wide range of options up to 2 TB.
  • Processor: while the iPad Air has a chip designed for iPhone and iPad, the ‘Pro’ model incorporates a processor that was originally intended only for Mac computers.
  • RAM memory: one of the points that perhaps more confusion generates in the iPad and that for purely technical purposes we observe that in the iPad Pro the capacity is doubled, going from 4 to 8 GB of base and with versions of up to 16 GB.
  • USB-C port: although visually and broadly speaking they are the same, it must be said that the compatibility of the ‘Pro’ model with the Thunderbolt standard plays a lot in its favor.
  • Biometric sensor: the classic fingerprint detector is present in the ‘Air’ model and the sophisticated facial unlocking is the one chosen for the ‘Pro’ model.
  • Connectivity: it may not be relevant if an LTE version is not chosen, but the iPad Pro can connect to 5G networks, while the ‘Air’ is limited to 4G.

Similar but not identical design

There are many features that these iPad share in terms of their design, both in the back and in the front, as well as their sides. But are they really the same? No, and in the following sections we analyze these key differences.

Form factor according to the times

In both tablets we find what seems to be Apple’s extended design for all its products. Device totally flat on all its edges and with a single curvature for the corners. Although there will be those who prefer the classic design of the iPad, these are already considered modern designs and will be a standard in the company for years to come.

ipad pro 2021

iPad Pro (2021)

The difference in thickness of these is practically imperceptible, as well as the weight. The ‘Pro’ model weighs more than the ‘Air’, but at the same time it is lighter. In the end everything is balanced and it will be difficult to notice a difference. What’s more, we bet they blindly put both tablets in each hand and you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart.

The color issue is something very personal and obviously does not have an objective assessment. The saying “to taste the colors” makes more sense than ever in this context. If you have a certain preference for classic colors like silver or space gray, it will not matter to you to choose an ‘Air’ than a ‘Pro’, because they both have it. Now, if you dare with other variants, it is in the intermediate model where you will find a greater range of options with additions such as pink, green and blue.

ipad air 2020

iPad Air (2020)

Subtle differences on screen, determining?

Although visually they can look practically the same, the truth is that if we put one next to the other we can see that the 0.1 inches of more that the iPad Pro has are noticeable. And this is made clear by the thicker frames that the iPad Air has, although the truth is that it is not a drama either and when using them, similar experiences are obtained and the existing difference is practically negligible.

Now, where we do see relevant changes is in the 120 Hz refresh rate of the ‘Pro’, which doubles the 60 Hz of the ‘Air’. If you don’t know what this means, it means that the screen updates its content 120 times every second in the case of the first and 60 times in the case of the other. And perhaps this is an unimportant detail on paper, but the visual experience feels much more fluid with a higher number of refreshments, so the ‘Pro’ clearly wins the game here. Although it is noticeable in the management of the system or when scrolling through timeslines, it is in video games where perhaps having a higher refresh rate has a greater relevance.

iPadOS iPad Air 2020

For the rest, although the resolution and brightness of the iPad Pro are better, we have to say that it is not something that is noticeable in excess. At the level of brightness, they are two very good screens that look good in practically any light circumstance in which tablets are usually used. And three-quarters of the same resolution, since you can enjoy multimedia content such as series and movies at high resolution on both computers without noticing a real difference.

Let’s talk about hardware: the biggest differences

Externally, we have already seen the main differences between both devices, but it is undoubtedly very relevant to know how these iPads behave on a day-to-day basis. In the next sections we will tell you what is the most relevant thing you should know about them in this regard.

Processor, RAM and performance on a day-to-day basis

We start from the bottom of the conclusion: the iPad Pro performs much better than the ‘Pro’ model. And we decided to start there so as not to be generating doubts and to have that idea from the beginning. What we consider relevant in the end is whether in your case you need so much power or what the iPad Air can offer is enough.

In simple executions such as the use of office apps , surfing the internet or consuming multimedia content, we must say that the two iPads behave in the same way. Neither falls short and both shine equally for being undemanding processes for the processor. If your use is going to be aimed at these tasks fundamentally, it is likely that you can already give the point to the iPad Air for fully complying with it and doing it at a lower price.

A14 vs M1

Now, it would be foolish to deny the obvious improvements that the M1 chip supposes when carrying out more complex processes such as video editing. Accompanied by a larger RAM memory, the ‘Pro’ model complies with much more solvency than the ‘Air’ model, which can support these processes, but with lower times. Can it be used for those heavier actions? It can, but in addition to the times it also means a warm-up that may not be the most ideal, so if these tasks are frequent you should opt for the ‘Pro’. If they are going to be sporadic, the ‘Air’ is still a good candidate.

It is true that perhaps the iPadOS software does not accompany an iPad with a Mac chip like that ‘Pro’ model from 2021 as it should, but from iPadOS 15 it will be able to use all its RAM memory to get the best possible performance. Although for purely practical purposes, both devices have the same options at the software level.

How’s it going when it comes to drums?

It must be said that both the iPad Pro and the iPad Air have the same autonomy . In fact, although it has not been possible to confirm because it is not data that Apple officially offers, it is intuited that both carry similar capabilities. Resources are managed wonderfully by both the A14 chip of the iPad Air and the M1 of the iPad Pro. According to Apple, the average is 10 hours surfing the internet via WiFi or playing video, although it is evident that it is not something that we can clearly perceive that it is so strange that a user uses the tablet only for these purposes for so many hours in a row.

The real experience of using these tablets allows us to see that in the end the fact that it lasts more or less will depend on what is done with it. They are two devices that probably do not require going through the plug every day, unless they use it intensively every day. If they are used to work with office apps, consume multimedia content and consult social networks, it is possible to perfectly reach a full day on battery power. Logically the autonomy will decrease if very heavy tasks are carried out. In any case and by way of conclusion of this section, both are iPad that are left over on battery.

Batería iPhone 12 Pro y 12 Pro Max

Touch ID vs Face ID, how much difference is there?

First you should know that both are fully secure biometric systems and that they offer the same functions in order to unlock the iPad, make payments with Apple Pay or replace the passwords that are stored in the iCloud keychain so that you do not have to enter them manually. However, there are more than notable differences in terms of user experience.

The Touch ID was traditionally added to the Home button and now that this does not exist because the iPad Air has reduced frames, it continues to remain alive in the lock button. It is fast and efficient, although with its limitations in the face of always having to put your finger and it will not detect the fingerprint well if your finger is wet or dirty. However, it is very positive to be able to add up to 5 fingerprints, whether yours or someone else with whom you want to share the tablet.

face id touch id ipad

The Face ID for its part is perfectly optimized in the iPad Pro, being also very safe and comfortable for not having to press anything. Just have your face in front of the iPad and it works both horizontally and vertically. Now, you have to be located at the correct angle and not be covering the sensors with your finger so that you can perform the recognition well. In the end, both this and Touch ID are very good systems and they do not leave a clear winner, depending on the preferences of each one.

The sound experience is very different

If you took a good look at the specifications table with which we started this comparison, you would see that the iPad Air has a dual speaker system in stereo, while the ‘Pro’ model has up to 4 speakers. We must say above all that the ‘Air’ model offers very good sound quality and a more than acceptable volume. However, without reaching the level of an external professional speaker system, the iPad Pro is a much more satisfying experience.

Whether playing music or videos or having the soundtrack of a game playing, the ‘Pro’ model does much better. It is surprising at high volumes because of how loud they sound, worth the redundancy, but also because they do not lose quality or at least be almost imperceptible. While it is true that this remains in the background if you are used to using headphones, if you are looking to consume content frequently on the iPad without them, without a doubt the ‘Pro’ will leave you with a better taste in your mouth (or ears, rather) .

contenido multimedia ipad pro 2021

The 5G reaches the iPad Pro, but not the ‘Air’

If you are thinking of acquiring a WiFi version of any of these iPads, what we will discuss here will not interest you excessively. However, if you intend to navigate with the iPad away from home through a mobile data network contracted for it, you will like to know that the iPad Pro 2021 has 5G connectivity, something that the iPad Air does not reach. That ‘Pro’ is also the first of Apple’s tablets to incorporate such connectivity after having been implemented before in the iPhone 12.

Is it important to have this connectivity? Well, if you can have it, of course you can. It is the network of the future and that supposes a demonic speed increase compared to 4G networks. However, we must warn you of something in this regard and that is really a technology still in the growth phase and except in a few places (generally in high population centers of large cities) this coverage is not obtained, which is even limited many times to be an advanced 4G.

Very fair storage for the iPad Air

The most basic model in this comparison is the 64 GB iPad Air. This is a capacity that can be more than enough for many and more if you have an iCloud fee with which to obtain extra storage in the cloud. However, it may remain very scarce for many and more if we compare it with the fact that it is inferior to the ‘Pro’, which starts from double the capacity with 128 GB of base.

The iPad Pro is much more versatile in this area and although the price increases as capacity increases, it does not leave out practically any user. From the most demanding who want to have 2 TB of internal storage to a wide spectrum of users who would see some of its intermediate capacities well, while the ‘Air’ hits the ceiling at 256 GB. It is also relevant to comment that the RAM also increases in the ‘Pro’ depending on whether this capacity is increased, having 16 GB in the 1 and 2 TB versions.

Possibilities given by cameras

The big question that always arises when talking about this is: are cameras important on an iPad? Well, although there is no proven statistic, from the perception we have we can guess that not, since they are not the most frequent devices to take photos or videos (basically for convenience reasons). However, there are those who do value this aspect due to the versatility it brings to the tablet. This is the table of the capacities provided by each of these devices:

camara ipad air ipad pro

specs iPad Air (2020) iPad Pro (11 ”- 2021)
Photos front camera -7 Mpx camera with f / 2.2 aperture
-Retina Flash
-HDR Smart 3
-12 Mpx camera and f / 2.4 aperture with ultra wide angle
– Zoom in: x2 (optical)
-Retina Flash
-HDR Smart 3
-Portrait mode
-Depth control
-Portrait lighting
Front camera videos -Cinema-quality video stabilization
-Recording in 1080p HD
-Extended dynamic range for video up to 30 frames per second
-Cinema-quality video stabilization
1080p recording at 25, 30 or 60 frames per second
Photos rear cameras -12MP wide-angle camera with f / 1.8 aperture
– Zoom in: x5 (digital)
-HDR Smart 3
-12MP wide-angle camera with f / 1.8 aperture
-Ultra wide angle camera with f / 2.4 aperture
-Zoom zoom: x2 (optical)
– Zoom in: x5 (digital)
-Flash True Tone
-HDR Smart 3
Rear camera videos -Recording in 4K at 24, 25, 30 or 60 frames per second
1080p HD recording at 60 frames per second
– Zoom in: x3 (digital)
-Slow motion recording at 1080p at 120 or 240 frames per second
-Video in time-lapse with stabilization
-Recording in 4K at 24, 25, 30 or 60 frames per second
1080p recording at 25, 30 or 60 frames per second
-Expanded dynamic range for video up to 30 frames per second
-Zoom zoom: x2 (optical)
– Zoom in: x5 (digital)
-Video in time-lapse with stabilization
-Slow motion recording at 1080p at 120 or 240 frames per second
-Audio zoom
-Stereo recording

Considering the previous table we cannot ignore the LiDAR sensor that incorporates the ‘Pro’ model and that can be very interesting to execute augmented reality functions. Also to highlight of this model is its ultra-wide-angle camera on the front that allows you to monitor video calls , giving the impression that the camera moves to follow you and never lose the main focus.

Is therefore better the set of cameras of the ‘Pro’? It is. If you give importance to this section, the iPad Air does not have much to do although it does not perform badly. Now, if this is a section to which you give little or no relevance, probably that ‘Air’ model may be more than enough for you.

Compatible accessories

Without missing the specifications of these iPads, we must say that in the end the way to get the most out of them is through accessories that make them more than ready to replace a computer in many circumstances and even completely in some specific cases. . Both iPads are equipped with Bluetooth technology that allows them to be compatible with a lot of keyboards and mice , as well as headphones and other elements that work through that connectivity.

They can also manage external storage drives thanks to their USB-C ports, although in this regard the iPad Pro wins the game with its compatibility with Thunderbolt 3 . This connector will allow them to have a higher data transfer speed and connect to higher resolution external monitors. And yes, the ‘Air’ can also, but in a more limited way.

ipad pro 2021 y magic keyboard

It should be noted that both are compatible with the same official Apple accessories , such as the Apple Pencil 2, the Smart Keyboard or the Magic Keyboard with trackpad. Of course, these are sold separately.

Prices and conclusion

Let’s see below what are the official prices in Apple for these tablets. We may find that some other provider offers different prices, either because of their pricing policy or because of a temporary promotion, the official prices being the ones shown below:

  • iPad Air
    • WiFi versions:
      • 64 GB: 649 euros
      • 256 GB: 819 euros
    • WiFi + Cellular versions:
      • 64 GB: 789 euros
      • 256 GB: 959 euros
  • iPad Pro
    • WiFi versions:
      • 128 GB: 879 euros
      • 256 GB: 989 euros
      • 512 GB: 1,209 euros
      • 1 TB: 1,649 euros
      • 2 TB: 2,089 euros
    • WiFi + Cellular versions:
      • 128 GB: 1,049 euros
      • 256 GB: 1,159 euros
      • 512 GB: 1,379 euros
      • 1 TB: 1,819 euros
      • 2 TB: 2,259 euros

Seen this we can see how between the basic versions of these iPad there is a difference of 230 euros . We cannot say that this is a high or low amount, since in the end it will depend on the purchasing power, claims and perception of each one. Although according to the difference that exists between other ranges, the truth is that it is not as big a difference as one might expect.

In this article we have seen in detail the most relevant points of each of them and although we already warned that the ‘Pro’ model was superior, you may have seen that perhaps in your case many of its specifications are not necessary to have a very good experience. good. What we recommend at this point is that you select those sections that you consider most relevant for your decision and gradually award points to each one, also counting on the price factor if this is relevant to you.