You might think the iPad Air 5 vs iPad Pro 2022 dilemma isn’t really a dilemma; after all, the new iPad Pro (2022) brings class-leading laptop performance to tablet form. But the iPad Air (2022) – Apple’s other big tablet launch earlier in the year – is no slouch either.
In fact, when the fifth-generation iPad Air launched, we were a bit concerned that it would encroach on iPad Pro 2021 territory, price-wise and feature-wise. So how’s it going now that a newer, fresher Pro model is upon us?
We’re not ready to give a verdict on the 2022 iPad Pro just yet, but here’s how we see things based on official specs and features.
iPad Air 5 price and availability vs iPad Pro 2022
The iPad Air 5 shipped on March 18, 2022 and prices currently start from $599 / £669 / AU$999 for the 64GB Wi-Fi model. That rises to $749 / £849 / AU$1,249 $ for the 256GB unit. There’s also a 5G cellular option that costs $749 / £669 / AU$1,249 for 64GB and $899 / £1,029 / AU$1,499 for 256GB.
It should be noted that this pricing has undergone a huge uptick for the UK and Australian markets since its launch, which appears to be driven by global economic pressures.
The 2022 iPad Pro, meanwhile, launched on October 18, 2022 in two sizes. Prices for the 11-inch model start at $799 / £899 / AU$1,399, while prices for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro start at $1,099 / £1,249 / AU$1,899.
These prices are for the Wi-Fi only 128GB models, it’s worth noting; adding cellular connectivity and more storage (256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB) will significantly increase the charges. At the very top of the scale, a 2022 12.9-inch iPad Pro with 2TB of storage and cellular connectivity will set you back $2,399 / £2,679 / AU$4,099. Ouch.
iPad Air 5 versus iPad Pro 2022 design
The iPad Pro 2022 and the iPad Air 5 indeed sport very similar designs. Both have flat surfaces and pointed all-aluminum bodies, with uniform display frames.
In terms of size, the iPad Air 5 is again very similar to the 2022 11-inch iPad Pro. The cheapest tablet measures 247.6 x 178.5 x 6.1mm, while the 11-inch Pro measures 247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9mm. Apart from a thickness difference of 0.2 mm in favor of the Pro, they are identical.
The iPad Air 5 is slightly lighter than its Pro sibling, but we’re talking 461g versus 466g, so you’re unlikely to notice it in the hand.
Of course, there’s also a 12.9-inch 2022 iPad Pro, which measures 280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4mm and weighs 682g, so it’s significantly larger than the two above.
All three of these tablets have ditched Apple’s old Lightning connector in favor of a universal USB-C port, although the Pro models use the faster Thunderbolt 4 standard. Nor is the difference between biometric authentication systems easily visible. While the iPad Air 5 hides a Touch ID sensor behind its power button, the iPad Pro 2022 incorporates Apple’s brilliant Face ID system using its front camera and sensors.
One of the ways the iPad Air 5 fights back is through its choice of colors. The cheapest tablet comes in an impressive selection of Space Gray, Starlight, pink, purple, and blue. The 2022 iPad Pro, on the other hand, only offers silver and space gray.
iPad Air 5 vs. iPad Pro 2022 display
The iPad Air 5 and the smaller 2022 iPad Pro have similar screens, although they are not identical. You’re looking at 10.9 inches and 1640 x 2360 for the Air, while the Pro gives you 11 inches and 1668 x 2388. Meanwhile, the larger iPro scales things up to 12.9 inches and 2048 x 2732.
Both Pro displays stand out with a ProMotion adaptive refresh rate of 120Hz, while the iPad Air 5 is stuck at 60Hz. The 2022 11-inch iPad Pro also gets slightly brighter than its cheaper sibling, at height of 600 nits instead of 500 nits.
However, the 2022 12.9-inch iPad Pro surpasses both by switching from standard IPS LCD technology to a mini-LED LCD display. This brings a number of benefits including a much higher typical brightness of 1000 nits and much more vibrant and contrasty color output.
On the contrary, we’re disappointed that the 2022 11-inch iPad Pro hasn’t joined its larger sibling in the mini-LED department. Its screen is better than the iPad Air 5, but not that much.
iPad Air 5 vs. iPad Pro 2022 camera
While the iPad Air 5 is packed in a single 12 MP wide camera, the 2022 iPad Pro tablets feature dual camera setups consisting of a wide 12 MP and an ultra-wide 10 MP. The latter also incorporates a ToF 3D LiDAR scanner, rounding out a much more comprehensive package for the Pro that complements AR (augmented reality) experiences.
Air and Pro both give you 12MP selfie cameras, although as we’ve already mentioned the Pro is a TrueDepth camera that supports Face ID authentication. Both support Center Stage, which tracks your face in video calls.
With the more advanced processor (more on which in a moment), we’d back the 2022 iPad Pro for delivering the better all-around camera system than the Air 5.
iPad Air 5 specs and performance vs iPad Pro 2022
Apple has increased the power of its two 2022 iPad Pro models, equipping them with the laptop-class Apple M2 chip. Not that the 2022 iPad Air is anything to sniff at, with its slightly older laptop-class Apple M1 chip.
Both the M1 and M2 feature 8-core CPUs, but while the M1 has an 8-core GPU, the M2 gives you a 10-core GPU. Apple claims that the M2 processor is 15% faster than its M1 equivalent, while the M2 GPU is 35% faster than its M1 equivalent.
Besides just a performance boost, the M2 gives the 2022 iPad Pro an improved “media engine” and better image processing chops than the iPad Air 5. It can record ProRes video this time, rather than just transcode.
We have a bit of a problem with the iPad Air 5’s storage layout. When it comes to entry models, 64GB just isn’t enough these days, especially when the only other option is a full 256GB. The 2022 iPad Pro has no such issues, with 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB options on the table.
Elsewhere, the 2022 iPad Pro gets you Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3. That’s better than the iPad Air 5’s Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0. Both cellular variants offer 5G connectivity, though.
Although both tablets are compatible with the Apple Pencil 2, the iPad Pro 2022 incorporates improved connectivity for the stylus, offering the possibility of detecting its tip when it is within 12 mm of the screen. This means that when you hover the pencil over a text box, it will expand, to name just one example. On that front, the new iPad Pro 2022 also offers improved handwriting recognition.
Battery iPad Air 5 vs iPad Pro 2022
The iPad Air 5 has a 28.93 Wh battery, which is equivalent to 7,606 mAh. That’s slightly larger than the 28.65 Wh or 7,538 mAh battery of the 2022 11-inch iPad Pro and significantly smaller than the 40.88 Wh or 10,758 mAh cell of the 12.9-inch Pro.
Different sizes aside, Apple claims the exact same endurance of “up to 10 hours of web browsing over Wi-Fi or watching videos” for each model, as well as “up to 9 hours of web using a cellular data network” on each of the 5G variants.
Apple has now completely refreshed its tablet lineup for 2022, with Air and Pro models offering laptop-level performance, sleek flat-edge designs and 5G connectivity options.
The 2022 iPad Pro seems (unsurprisingly) to be the better, more capable of the two. Its new Apple M2 chip means a healthy boost in performance, and its dual displays are brighter, smoother and (in the case of the 12.9-inch Pro, at least) more vibrant.
The Pro also gives you a more advanced camera system, Face ID authentication, improved connectivity, and improved Apple Pencil interactivity.
But is all of this worth the $200/£200 premium Apple charges for the 11-inch Pro? For most people, we suspect that won’t be the case, as they are indeed functionally very similar. We’ll know for sure once we’ve had a chance to put the 2022 iPad Pro through its paces, though.
If you can’t wait that long, check out our roundup of the best iPads currently available, and if you’re looking to buy, we’ve got a constantly updated Best iPad Deals feature and – as November 25th approaches – a best Black Friday iPad deals piece for your perusal.
#iPad #Air #iPad #Pro #year #Pro