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.
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 + 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|
|Resolution||2360-by-1640 at 264 ppi||2160-by-1620 at 264 ppi|
|luminosity||500 typical nights||500 typical nights|
|way||A14 Bionic||A12 Bionic|
|Apple pencil||Only the second generation||Only the first generation|
|Smart connector||Lay back||Yes, on the side|
|Front camera||7MP||1.2 MP|
|Audio||Two landscape speakers||Two speakers|
|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|
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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