iPad Air (2020) vs iPad 10.2 (2021): Apple's tablets compared

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(Pocket-lint) - Apple's latest September lawsuit added a new entry-level iPad to its roster, and erstwhile again it's an absorbing 1 to comparison to the iPad Air that it debuted past year.

Both look similar truly fantabulous options for the "mid-range" pricing tiers that Apple's targetting, coming successful beneath the iPad Pro range's costs but inactive bringing immoderate of the aforesaid large features, oregon adjacent immoderate upgrades. Which is close for you, though? We've compared them astir immoderate cardinal elements, below. 

Design and display

The iPad Air marked a beauteous large alteration to the lineup by adopting the iPad Pro's looks to a large grade - it's got those rounded-off corners and flatter edges, making it arguably look the much modern of the 2 tablets. 

It besides comes successful a wide scope of colours, comprising silver, abstraction grey, roseate gold, green, and entity bluish - giving a large scope of stylish options to prime from.


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Meanwhile its show was boosted up to a afloat 10.9 inches, with Apple's Liquid Retina tech ensuring that its clarity and item are beauteous overmuch unmatched. That besides brings benefits similar True Tone for close colour and an anti-reflective coating. 

The 2021 iPad, by contrast, keeps everything outwardly the same, sticking to the plan that's worked for it truthful acold and making nary large changes. That said, True Tone does debut connected the display, truthful determination are immoderate subtle improvements. It's disposable successful grey, metallic and roseate gold, similar before. 

It's got a 10.2-inch Retina display, making for large representation prime and colours, too, which mightiness beryllium little pixel-dense than the Air but volition inactive impressment astir users.

Specs and hardware

The iPad Air 2020 was a spot of a large instrumentality connected the hardware beforehand for Apple - it was the archetypal to diagnostic its caller flagship chip, the A14 Bionic, and that makes for immoderate beauteous blistering performance. 

With a 5 nanometer process, this was and remains a bleeding-edge spot that makes the Air comfy editing 4K video, handling demanding games and multitasking effortlessly. It's a large leap up successful powerfulness presumption compared to the past Air, and besides a borderline much almighty than the caller iPad.

The 9th procreation iPad, by contrast, uses the A13 Bionic to drawback a 20 percent show boost compared to the erstwhile model, adjacent if it'll beryllium a tad slower than the Air's chip. 


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Both tablets volition soon vessel with iPadOS 15 installed, bringing caller functionality to the tablet OS and adjacent further opening up the satellite of widgets for your location screen. They some enactment with Apple Pencil, too, but the iPad Air is the lone 1 that tin enactment the second-generation Pencil, sadly. 

Another quality comes successful the charging and with information transportation - the iPad Air uses USB Type C for acold much universale cablegram support, portion the iPad sticks to Lightning for now. 


The caller iPad Air has a 7MP selfie camera for video calls and different uses, but gets a bully bump connected the rear camera, matching the iPad Pro with a 12MP camera that tin negociate 4K video.

The iPad, meanwhile, mightiness really person 1 vantage present acknowledgment to being newer - it has a caller 12MP selfie camera that's bully and wide-angle, and supports Center Stage to support you successful absorption arsenic you determination astir during calls oregon recordings.


There's a spot of a gulf erstwhile it comes to terms betwixt these 2 models, too, mostly arsenic a effect of the iPad Air's upgrades.

The Air starts from $599 (£579) for Wi-Fi only, portion Wi-Fi and Cellular models commencement astatine $729 (£709). 


The iPad 9th Gen, meanwhile, starts from $329 (£319), with Cellular from $459 (£439).



Of these 2 iPads, it's inactive the iPad Air that's causing a disturbance astatine Pocket-lint - we deliberation it remains the default prime for astir radical looking for an iPad.

That A14 spot makes it a almighty beast for a bully fig of years to come, portion its updated plan and USB-C compatibility lone further that impression.

The iPad 9th Gen is inactive a large enactment if your fund is much restrictive, and the upgrade's welcome, but we deliberation if you tin agelong to it the iPad Air should astir apt beryllium the prime astir radical opt for. 

Writing by Max Freeman-Mills. Originally published connected 15 September 2020.

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