Head-to-head iPad Air 4 and iPad Pro 11″ comparison

Apple has made it much harder to distinguish between the iPad Pro and cheaper iPad Air with the latest release and we don’t blame you for thinking they are nearly identical products. However, internally, both iPads provide a potentially different experience.

Specs Comparison

iPad Air 4iPad Pro 11″ (2020)
Operating systemiPadOS 14 (or later)iPadOS 14 (or later)
RAM4GB6GB
Storage64GB, 256GB128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
ProcessorApple A12Z BionicApple A14 Bionic
Camera12MP Wide
7MP front
12MP Wide
10MP Ultra-Wide
7MP front
Video4K at 24, 30, 60 fps; 1080p at 30, 60, 120, 240 fps
4K at 24, 30, 60 fps; 1080p at 30, 60, 120, 240 fps
Bluetooth5.05.0
WiFi WiFi 6WiFi 6
AuthenticationTouch ID, PasscodeFace ID, Passcode
ConnectivityUSB-C, Smart Keyboard ConnectorUSB-C, Smart Keyboard Connector
ColoursSilver, Space Gray, Rose Gold,
Green, Sky Blue
Space Grey, Silver
Dimensions247.6 x 178.5 x 6.1mm
458-460g
247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9mm
471-473g
DisplayLiquid Retina
500nits max brightness
2360×1640 resolution
Wide-colour (P3)
TrueTone
Liquid Retina
600nits max brightness
2388×1668
Wide-colour (P3)
TrueTone
ProMotion

Design and Display

iPad Air 4 and iPad Pro 11″ look nearly identical. They have the same flat-slab aluminum design with edge-to-edge displays on the front and magnets on the side for Apple Pencil. iPad Air 4, though, has a choice of rose gold, silver, green, blue and space grey colours and has a single camera, whilst iPad Pro has the addition of a LiDAR sensor and Ultra Wide lens but half the colour choices.

The iPad Pro 11″ pulls ahead when it comes to display – it has support for ProMotion, Apple’s 120Hz refresh rate technology and a larger 11″ Liquid Retina display with a slightly sharper resolution of 2388 x 1668. Similarly, the iPad Air has a 10.9″ Liquid Retina display at 2360 x 1640 but lacks the ProMotion technology. Both have TrueTone, wide-colour gamut support. You’ll also find that the iPad Pro’s bezels are that little bit thinner – which you might appreciate for years to come.

Winner: iPad Air 4

Camera

This is the major difference between the Air and Pro line. In March, Apple updated the iPad Pro with a LiDAR sensor and Ultra Wide camera but has not used this camera technology in the cheaper Air.

The iPad Pro 11″ has a 12-megapixel f/1.8 aperture positioned alongside 10MP Ultra Wide lens with an aperture of f/2.4. iPad Air 4 has that single 12MP camera with no flash. Both support Smart HDR, auto focus and wide colour capture.

Video is similar too – both devices can capture 4K video at 24, 30 and 60fps and 1080p video at 30, 60, 120, 240 fps. Both have a 7MP front-facing camera but iPad Pro steps ahead with support for Portrait Mode and Portrait Lighting effects (thanks to that superior TrueDepth lens) – it works with Animoji too.

If you’re into augemented reality, that LiDAR sensor on the iPad Pro will be your thing. Don’t get your hopes up just yet – we haven’t seen many apps take advantage of it.

Winner: iPad Pro (due to the Ultra Wide and TrueDepth additions)

Performance

It’s not clear yet what the performance differences are between the iPad Air 4, which has Apple’s latest A14 Bionic chip, and the iPad Pro 11″ with an A12Z Bionic. It will likely be very similar, despite the difference between generations of processor – the iPad Air 4 only has 4GB of RAM compared to the Pro’s 6GB.

This should help the iPad Pro maintain background activity and multitasking better but the iPad Air is certainly not underpowered. That A14 Bionic chip is the same one from the iPhone 12 Pro and has been rebuilt on a 5nm architecture with six-core CPU and new four-core GPU. Both iPads are better than any of the competition.

iPad Air is limited to 64GB and 256GB and doesn’t have the 128GB and 512GB capacities of the pricier iPad Pro. Most users won’t be affected by the limited storage on offer, but certainly think about what you’ll use the device for before buying it – or you could end up purchasing iCloud storage.

Winner: Tie

Other Features

  • Both have the latest WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5
  • iPad Air 4 has Touch ID integrated into the power button, iPad Pro has Face ID
  • Both have USB and a Smart Connector
  • Both have support for the Apple Pencil 2
  • Both work with Apple’s Magic Keyboard
  • iPad Pro works out at 0.2mm thinner than iPad Air 4
Winner: iPad Air 4

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Ben Ward
Ben has written for many news blogs, currently Apple TLD's Senior Article Writer, supporting other writers with their work. He has a passion for Apple and technology, and the impact it has on people's lives.

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