iPad Vs. iPad Air: Which Should You Buy?

Cupertino, September 28, 2020

Portable power plant

iPad Air 4

iPad Vs. iPad Air Which Should You Buy

Accessible and capable

iPad (2020)

1601311312 178 iPad Vs. iPad Air Which Should You Buy

The iPad Air 4 delivers professional-level performance with the new A14 processor, which will keep up with the most demanding applications and tasks for years to come. A stunning 10.9-inch, full-screen display offers a larger screen than the base iPad, plus compatibility with the Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard and an improved 12MP camera, making it a better overall choice for productivity.

From $ 599 to Apple


  • Screen larger than 10.9 inches
  • Bionic chip A14
  • Storage up to 256 GB
  • Liquid retina display with true tone
  • Works with Apple Pencil 2
  • Works with Magic keyboard
  • Comes in new and fun colors
  • USB-C charging


  • Significantly more expensive
  • It still uses Touch ID not Face ID
  • It is not a 120 Hz ProMotion display

Although it doesn't have the design and bright colors on the whole screen, Apple's basic iPad still has a lot of value for the price. The on-board A12 processor is more than capable for most people today, and the support for the first-generation Apple Pencil is great for note-taking. However, the smaller display of 10.2 inches, older cameras and basic storage of 32 GB means that it is more suitable for media consumption.

From $ 329 Apple


  • Very affordable
  • Supports first generation Apple Pencil
  • The A12 Bionic chip is still very strong
  • Works with smart keyboard


  • Dated design
  • Display smaller than 10.2 inches, which does not have True Tone
  • The base model has only 32 GB
  • The front camera is 1.2 MP

Comparing the latest iPads far outweighs the design difference. When it comes to iPad vs iPad Air, iPad Air 4 offers much more to the overall experience compared to iPad (2020), thanks to a slightly larger screen, faster processor and compatibility with Apple's current generation accessories. Even though all Apple iPads are running iPadOS 14 today, we believe the best iPad you can buy today is the iPad Air 4, as the newest A14 processor will keep it running the latest operating system, apps and games, for years to come.

iPad Air 4 vs. iPad (2020): What are the differences?

iPad Air with a video editing application displayed

Source: Apple

Both the iPad Air 4 and the iPad (2020) debuted at the Apple event in September this year, but the hardware, both inside and out, is very different. For starters, the Air has a display larger than 10.9 inches from 10.2 inches on the base model, and while it doesn't seem like a huge difference, for productivity, every little one matters.

The display on the iPad Air also has Apple True Tone technology, which automatically adjusts the color temperature according to the environment. This gives a more natural look in most scenarios, and the display is also laminated on the iPad Air 4, which eliminates the visible air gap as seen on basic iPads.

Turning to the processor, the iPad Air 4 is Apple's first device to use the company's latest A14 Bionic chip. The A14 is the first chip to use the 5-nanometer process, which increases performance with better energy efficiency. Apple claims that the chip is able to provide up to 40% better performance than the previous iPad Air, which uses the A12 processor - the same chip that is in the iPad (2020).

Let's take a look at the rest of the specs, because you will definitely see more differences than similarities.

iPad Air 4 iPad (2020)
Cost From $ 599 and up From $ 329 and up
finishes 5 (silver, gold, space gray, light blue, green) 3 (silver, gold, space gray)
Wi-Fi only Yes Yes
Wi-Fi + Cellular Yes Yes
Screen size 10.9 inches 10.2 inches
dimensions 9.74 x 7.0 x 0.24 inches 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29 inches
Weight 1 pound sterling £ 1.08
Storage 64 GB or 256 GB 32 GB or 128 GB
Display Liquid retina Retina
Resolution 2360-by-1640 at 264 ppi 2160-by-1620 at 264 ppi
Laminated display Yes Not
luminosity 500 typical nights 500 typical nights
Anti-reflection coating Yes Not
True tone Yes Not
way A14 Bionic A12 Bionic
Apple pencil Only the second generation Only the first generation
Smart connector Lay back Yes, on the side
Rear camera 12MP 8MP
Front camera 7MP 1.2 MP
Audio Two landscape speakers Two speakers
Face ID Not Not
Touch ID Yes, the Sleep / Wake button Yes, the Home button
Battery 10 hours Wi-Fi, 9 hours cell phone 10 hours Wi-Fi, 9 hours cell phone
Loading USB-C Lightning

As you can see, iPad Air 4 works quite a bit compared to iPad (2020). The iPad Air 4, although it has a larger screen, is thinner and lighter overall. In addition, the iPad Air 4 comes with a total of five finishes, two of which, a new blue and green, are exclusive to the mid-level iPad (so far).

iPad (2019)

Source: iMore

Both iPads have the same 10-hour battery life over Wi-Fi, but their charging is different. The iPad Air 4 uses the latest USB-C standard, allowing faster charging and compatibility with a wide range of accessories and real video output options. The iPad (2020) still clings to the Apple Lightning connector, which isn't bad if you're all-in on Apple, but it limits things if you forget the cable or want to charge it with a modern MacBook.

The iPad Air 4 also works with the latest Apple accessories, such as the Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio. The Apple Pencil 2 is more responsive than the first-generation version and charges by magnetic attachment to the side of the iPad Air 4. Apple's Magic keyboard also uses magnets to easily connect and charge the iPad Air 4, turning it into a complete replacement laptop with an integrated trackpad.

Other differences include a Touch ID sensor relocated to the iPad Air 4, which moves it to the Sleep / Wake button. The Air speakers have also been moved, now placing them on both the top and bottom of the iPad, creating true stereo sound. The new arrangement is similar to the iPad Pro models, but only has a total of two speakers, which is the same as the base iPad, although they are both at the bottom.

Finally, the iPad Air 4 also has a modernized camera system, highlighted by a 7MP front camera compared to the miserable 1.2MP on the base iPad. This means that the iPad Air 4 camera will look much clearer and more detailed for those important video calls. The rear camera on the iPad Air 4 has a big hit on the regular iPad, with 12MP compared to 8MP and can record videos in 4K, while the iPad (2020) can only record in 1080p.

iPad Air 4 vs. iPad (2020): Who should buy iPad Air 4?

Make no mistake, the power combination of the iPad 4, the larger display and the compatibility of accessories, make it a much better choice for those who want to use their iPad as a productivity machine. The iPad Air 4 has a durable USB-C port, more responsive support for the Apple Pencil 2, compatibility with the Magic keyboard and, of course, has the newest Apple processor, the A14. In fact, we think the iPad Air 4 is the best iPad for most even over the iPad Pro line, unless you're working with AR or editing photos hard.

iPad Air 4 vs. iPad (2020): Who should buy iPad (2020)?

Sure, it's not as powerful as the iPad Air 4, but the iPad (2020) is still a great car for the basics and is suitable for those who just want a good tablet experience. This iPad is still very powerful for most applications and games today, plus the older Smart Connector and first-generation Apple Pencil support can help you get the job done in a pinch. However, its A12 processor is already a few years old, so it won't have as long a life as the A14 in the iPad Air.

Portable power plant

1601311313 769 iPad Vs. iPad Air Which Should You Buy

iPad Air 4

Pro level performance

The latest iPad Air is the clear choice for those who want more than the basics with their tablet. The new A14 processor, larger screen, support for Apple Pencil 2 and Magic Keyboard, offers professional performance in a more affordable package.

Accessible and capable

1601311314 484 iPad Vs. iPad Air Which Should You Buy

iPad (2020)

Great for the basics

The basic Apple iPad, with its A12 processor, cheaper price and first-generation Apple Pencil support, make it a great choice if you plan to stick to the basics, such as gaming and note-taking.

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