This year, choosing between the new iPad Air 2022 and iPad Pro is a tough call because the two iPads are more similar than ever! So, whether you’re considering the new iPad Air to save money or simply like the high-end features of the Pro version, our iPad Air 2022 vs iPad Pro review will answer the question of which iPad is best for you.
Both the iPad Air and Pro use Apple’s latest industrial squared-off edges design which can also be seen on the iPhone 13 lineup, iPad mini, and the iMac. Despite having a similar design, the new iPad Air is a slightly better option with a wider range of colors. The 2022 iPad Air is available in Space Gray, Starlight, Pink, Purple, and Blue. Meanwhile, the iPad Pro only comes with 2 color options which are Silver and Space Gray.
On top of that, both devices feature an aluminum build. However, the key difference between the 2022 iPad Air and the 2021 iPad Pro is authentication. While the iPad Pro features Face ID, the new iPad Air still uses Touch ID. So, simply pick your preferred unlocking method since you probably need to open your iPad dozens of times every day. Besides that, it is worth mentioning that the iPad Pro has Thunderbolt/USB 4 while the new iPad Air (5th generation) only has a standard USB-C port for charging and data transfer.
The iPad Air (2022) features a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display that offers a resolution of 2360×1640 pixels and will be sufficient for the vast majority of users. However, while iPad Air has one 10.9-inch option, the Pro gives you more and bigger choices with an 11-inch or 12.9-inch model.
Even though the 2 models have an anti-reflective coating with P3 wide color display and True Tone, the 2022 iPad Air still lacks the ProMotion technology (offering 120Hz). So, if you prefer the responsiveness of ProMotion for tasks such as gaming, the 11-inch iPad Pro would be a better option. On the other hand, the 12.9-inch version with the high-end Liquid Retina XDR display is best for users who consume a lot of HDR content.
This is the major difference between the new iPad Air and iPad Pro 2021. While the iPad Air features a single ƒ/1.8 12MP Wide camera, the iPad Pro comes with the addition of a ƒ/2.4 10MP Ultra-Wide camera and a LiDAR scanner.
This gives the iPad Pro 2021 the ability to zoom in digitally five times and zoom out up to two times. Also, the Pro models have an extended dynamic range when recording video up to 30 fps so you can capture everything. Not to mention the True Tone flash, the ability to measure the distance to surrounding objects up to 5 meters away. All of these make the iPad Pro the winner when it comes to cameras with improved AR experiences, understanding of the environment, and people’s occlusion for users.
So, if you like to use your iPad for photography or AR, then the Pro models with more advanced camera setups are the best option for you. However, for the majority of users who do not use the iPad’s rear camera very often, the iPad Air is still more than enough.
Both iPads feature a ƒ/2.4 12MP Ultra Wide front-facing camera with 2x optical zoom out. However, the iPad Pro’s TrueDepth camera gives you more options with Portrait mode, Portrait Lighting, Animoji, and Memoji. Other than that, the two front-facing camera setups are identical and there is no reason to get one over the other.
Hardware & Specs
All three models run on the M1 chip with 64-bit architecture, which is the same chip that can be found on powerful Apple devices like iMac and the latest MacBook Pros. Despite having the same 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, the Pro models offer more choices for users with 8GB and 16GB of RAM. Meanwhile, the 2022 iPad Air only comes with 8GB of RAM.
|2022 iPad Air
|2021 iPad Pro
|64 or 256GB
|128GB – 2TB
|8 or 16GB
On top of that, storage options differ between the iPad Pro (2021) and the iPad Air (2022) too. While the iPad Air comes in 64GB and 256GB variants, the iPad Pro storage options vary from 128GB up to 2TB. Also, all models come in Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi and Cellular models with 5G support. Finally, after our battery test, the new iPad Air and iPad Pro 2021 offer a 10-hour battery life.
iPad Air 2022 starts at $599 for the 64GB model while the entry-level iPad Pro (M1 chip) costs $799 for 128GB model. For an extra $200, you will be getting bigger storage and a 120Hz display.
Both the iPad Air and iPad Pro support accessories like Apple Pencil 2, Apple’s Smart Keyboard Folio, and Magic Keyboard. So, if you max out your new 2022 iPad Air with all of the accessories, then the total cost comes close to the base model of the 11-inch iPad Pro.
Overall, when you consider all the similarities and differences, the iPad Air is likely going to be the best choice for most users. It’s got a more affordable price while including almost all of the best features of the iPad Pro. But, if you know that you’ll be pushing your tablet to the limit regularly, then the iPad Pro is the best performing package with up to 2TB storage, 120Hz ProMotion display, and Thunderbolt support.