iPad Pro vs iPad Air

If you’re looking to buy your first iPad or want to upgrade to a newer one, you will probably want to check our iPad Air vs iPad Pro comparison. These are currently the best tablets from Apple and selecting between them can be difficult.

How similar is the iPad Pro to the iPad Air?

Design-wise, both have flat edges and a subtle panel on the right edge where the Apple Pencil stylus clips on so that you can charge it. Both tablets also work with another add-on, the magic keyboard folio which wraps around the tablet and provides another way to type. It must be said that a tablet, with a keyboard, makes a great alternative to a laptop.

Touchscreens are on both models and there are over one million apps designed specifically for iPad screens, to keep you busy.

Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi plus cellular?

There are two versions of iPads: Wi-Fi only, or Wi-Fi plus cellular (this has a card slot so you can connect to the internet without needing to be within range of the wi-fi, which is a big plus factor.

If you go for the cellular version, then expect to pay more. The reason for this is that you can also access the internet on your iPad by using the network via a nearby iPhone.

There is a restriction though – you’ll be limited with connection speed to that of the phone. Just the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 pro and iPhone 12 pro max are 5G iPhones, with the iPad pro being the only 5G tablet from Apple.


When you buy an Apple tablet, a charging plug and cable arrive in the box with it, so there’s no need to spend more money before you can use them.

iPad Pro v iPad Air: Head-to-Head

Here’s a tablet which is the most powerful on the market and it outshines most laptops too – and we’re talking about the high-end machines. The iPad Pro which is devastatingly good and has the best of everything that Apple makes. And, as it’s a premium Apple product, it also has premium pricing.

So, what makes the iPad Pro stand out from the very big crowd?

Let’s kick off with the mighty M1 processor which you’ll also find in the Apple MacBook pro. The M1 delivers incredible power, efficiency and next-level performance. This is the first time that such an advanced PC performance chip has been put into a tablet. This is a great leap forward, but the benefits aren’t that noticeable most of the time because the iPad Pro is already fast enough for most things.

However, it comes in to its own when running apps that are power-hungry. Here. we’re talking about video editing and animations where it can handle multiple video files at the same time without slowing down. Now that is impressive!

But while we’re bigging-up the iPad pro, we mustn’t forget the iPad Air which, thanks to the A14 Bionic chip that you’ll also find in the latest iPhones, is also impressively fast.

The displays

There’s only one thing to say about the liquid retina XDR screen (and this is only on the 12.9 inch iPadPro) – it is out of this world! Why is it so good? Because it uses miniLED technology and utilises over 10,000 tiny backlights to create stunning brightness and sharp colours that you’ll marvel at! Can a screen ever actually look any better? We don’t think so.

The 11-inch screen of the iPad Pro is a really effective LCD screen which many people think is actually better than the iPad Air for several reasons. The iPad Air screen is a little bit smaller (the iPad Pro is 11-inches whereas the iPad air is 10.9-inches) and although that doesn’t seem like much of a difference, it is noticeable when you compare the two.

The Pro also utilises what is called ‘ProMotion’ which dynamically adjusts the refresh rate of the screen as it goes along. With Promotion, scrolling is extremely smooth. Plus, to save battery life, a lower refresh rate is used when ProMotion is not required.

Face ID

The future, as predicted by those science fiction movies of the 1970s is now established, and Apple have included FACE ID, which just requires your face to unlock your phone. The iPad Pro has this feature, the iPad Air doesn’t.


Both the Air and the Pro have a USB-C connector, but the Pro model’s is a Thunderbird connection which give it the edge as you can transfer files much more quickly. So, for professionals such as photographers or in fact any who needs to transfer large amounts of data, this could be the thing which makes you plump for the Pro.

Video conferencing

Apple is taking on the monotony of video conferencing and at least trying to make it a more pleasurable experience. The wide-angle lens on the front of the iPad pro has now been replaced with an ultra-wide one.

The camera will now zoom in on you, where you are in the frame, and it follows you around – so if you’re moving around with a presentation, then you’ll still be seen by everyone without leaving the screen as the camera technology will track you. You won’t have to think about your position. This works thanks to the M1 processor’s feature called ‘Centre Stage’.

Let’s not forget 5G

With the iPad Pro you’ll get the first 5G-capable tablet! But to get it, you have to buy the Wi-Fi plus cellular option. You don’t need to be a near to a Wi-Fi network to connect, but if the 5G signal is strong, then your connection will be really fast – so it’s worth checking out where 5G is strong.

The big cities such as London, Leeds, Manchester etc are likely to have the best 5G, but if you’re in a small town or out in the sticks, then that could be an entirely different matter! You need to do some research on this to avoid disappointment.


If you look at the iPad Pro you’ll see that it has two cameras on the back and the large display creates an excellent viewfinder. Besides the cameras, there is also a LiDAR scanner.

This will improve your photography because it intelligently grabs information about ‘depth’ really fast. The scanner also allows you to create videos which have outstanding special effects.

So, if you’re an avid TikToker or love making daft videos or music promos, there’s you’ll have a lot of fun!

Touch ID

Earlier we talked about face recognition used by the iPad Pro. Well, the iPad Air uses a fingerprint sensor called Touch ID. This facility used to be on the front of the tablet, but now it’s positioned in the power button on the top edge of the device. Touch ID is fast, efficient and reliable. Face ID is a little bit out in front when compared against Touch ID, but both are more than impressive.

iPad Pro: A Super Power

The iPad Air has components which outdo those of the iPad Air, but that’s a little bit misleading, as the iPad Air is also an outstanding tablet. It has the A14 Bionic processor, and that’s identical to the one used in the iPhone 12 series, so you can see that no-matter what Apple produce, all their products are fantastic.

The display of the Air is great, and it only take a slight hit when it’s placed directly side-by-side with the iPad Pro. It lacks the pure brightness of the Pro, but it actually the same resolution and does include “true tone” display which monitors the colour temperature of your surroundings and adjusts the output accordingly. This means that a sheet of white paper will still look like pure white, and colours are not affected by other influences.

One thing we haven’t really mentioned and that is the battery life of the Air and the Pro. Apple market the pair as having the same battery life. You’ll be looking at over 10 hours of charge with both models, which is a pretty long working day.

What do they each offer?

Benefits of iPad Pro

iPad Pro: The 11-inch Liquid Retina display:

This is not only gorgeous and portable, it also features advanced technologies such as ProMotion, True Tone and ultra-low reflectivity. The result is that these make everything look unbelievably good!

Let’s look at the specs of the 11-inch display models…

  • 2388×1668 resolution, 3.98 million pixels
  • P3 wide colour
  • True Tone for comfortable viewing
  • ProMotion adaptive refresh rate
  • Anti-reflective coating
  • 600 nits max brightness

So how does the 12.9-inch display differ?

The 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display is fantastic at delivering outstanding brightness. You’ll see that the blacks and deep and intense, and it is perfect if you want to view and edit high-brightness and high-contrast content such as videos.

Here are the specs.

  • 2732×2048 resolution, 5.6 million pixels
  • P3 wide colour
  • True Tone for comfortable viewing
  • ProMotion adaptive refresh rate
  • Anti-reflective coating
  • 1,600 nits peak brightness (HDR)
  • 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio
  • CPU
  • 8-core

The iPad Pro 12.9” Liquid Retina XDR display model

This is the brightest and best display you’ll find anywhere, say Apple, and they’re not usually wrong. It delivers true-to-life detail with 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, which is fantastic for viewing and editing HDR photos and videos or watching the latest series on Netflix. Featuring 1,000 nits of full-screen brightness and 1,600 nits of peak brightness – plus advanced display technologies such as P3 wide colour, True Tone and ProMotion, you’re getting a cutting-edge computer.

Selfies and more

Everything is easy with the iPad Pro, which has an UltraWide camera with Centre Stage. The Ultra Wide camera has a 12MP sensor and a 122-degree field of view.

This means that it’s perfect for FaceTime and the new Centre Stage feature which hones in on you as you move, keeping you in the centre of the screen – almost like you’re being filmed by someone else! Portrait mode selfies are a dream, and it works with the TrueDepth camera to get you started securely with Face ID.

If you’re looking to make a ‘Hollywood’ blockbuster on your iPad, then it’s easy to set up a multi-camera filmmaking rig. Add to that, the more powerful ISP in the M1 chip, and the iPad Pro now features Smart HDR 3. There will be no stopping you!

The iPad Pro transforms into an immersive drawing canvas with the Apple Pencil and becomes what Apple boast is the ‘world’s best note-taking device’. If you need to mark up documents or just want to draw – then the Apple Pencil delivers. It’s intuitive and pretty magical!

A ‘sound’ investment…

The iPad Pro has five – yes, five studio quality microphones, which record high-quality audio when you shoot video or make music. On top of that, there’s four-speaker audio which delivers cinema-like sound quality. Crisp and crystal clear.

iPad Air

The iPad Air: Apple promote it like this: All-screen design. Beauty all round. – And guess what? They’re right. The iPad Air lets you immerse yourself in whatever you’re reading, watching or creating.

Touch ID is built into the top button, so you can use your fingerprint to unlock your iPad, sign in to apps and make payments securely with Apple Pay. It’s the model that James Bond would probably buy – and it comes in five cool colours.

The iPad Air also has the breakthrough M1 chip, plus, an 8-core CPU gets you moving faster and turns you’re your iPad Air into a powerhouse performer which is perfect for gaming or anything graphics-intensive.

 You also get a 12MP Wide back camera which is just the job for making 4K videos. Many people don’t fully understand what the cameras can really do, which is understandable, but it’s so worth delving deep into what they can help you produce. With the powerful ISP in the M1 chip, iPad Air now features Smart HDR, so your photos look even more beautiful.  

You can also use the back camera to scan documents and then mark them up using Apple Pencil. Your iPad Air is like lots of devices in one. 


You’ll be streaming and sharing non-stop when you join the 5G wireless networks. When you’re on the go you’ll be downloading files, playing games, streaming movies and checking in with friends. This is a great entertainment hub that keeps you connected and keeps you social!

Get connected!

You will have all the connections you need when you get to grips with your iPad Air. You can connect with drives, docks, cameras and a range of other devices with the USB-C which has 2x faster transfer speeds that the previous generation. Getting stuff done is not much, much quicker.


You can turn your iPad Air into virtually anything by raiding the App Store! It can turn in to a maths classroom or an animation studio in just a few clicks. The apps that come with the iPad are also more capable than ever – and you can also build your on apps and submit them to the App store without leaving your iPad!

The Result: Apple iPad Pro vs Apple iPad Air

Both of these models have things in common. They both have immaculate build quality, which you’d expect, plus both utilise the intuitive Apple operating system.

Generally speaking, most of the offerings: The display, processor, cameras, connectivity are better on the iPad Pro which has the best features Apple has ever put into a tablet. Nor can the iPad Air match the super-fast 5G option which is provided via the wifi plus cellular models. The Air has 4G capability, which is still very, very good.

It’s all very well including all these amazing features (and they are amazing) but when you’re considering which version to actually buy – you need to consider which features you’ll really use, as there’s no point in paying a premium for benefits that you don’t need.

We’ve told you how amazing the 12.9-ich display of the iPad Pro is, but the iPad Air screen is still an outstanding and immersive display in its own right.

The M1 chip in the iPad Pro gives truly brilliant performance unmatched by all the other tablets and most laptops. However, the only difference you might notice is if you have advanced needs, depending on what you need it for, as the Air is certainly no slouch and should be fast enough for pretty much all you need.

We’ve said that the iPad Pro is virtually unbeatable, but then it’s like comparing Manchester City and Liverpool. Both are outstanding when compared to the rest. Work out exactly what you’re going to need from your device and then make the correct decision for YOU. There is a price difference between the two models. From a performance point of view, the iPad Pro does everything that little bit better.

If you’re searching for an affordable device that can cover gaming, web browsing, watching movies, reading, or using certain apps which you’ll use for work, then we can confidently say that the iPad Air can fully satisfy your requirements without emptying your bank account.

If your choice is influenced by your creative work, e.g. you are an AR developer and content creator, you should have a closer look at the iPad Pro. However, be ready to pay quite a bit more, as the cost of this large tablet is high.

The thing you need to remember though, is that whichever Apple model you decide to go for, you’ll still be getting an awesome tablet!

Take a look at Ebuyer’s Apple tablets here.

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