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2020 iPad Air vs. iPad Pro: Hands-On Comparison

mabhatter

macrumors 6502a
Jan 3, 2009
875
236
iPad Air more than 40% higher in single-core score than iPad Pro!? :eek:
Don’t get too excited. It’s a jump from A12X to A14. That’s two generations jump. an A14X would be close to the same single core number.

Get a little bit excited because A14X will be a monster in multicore scores as it will have more cores.
 
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mabhatter

macrumors 6502a
Jan 3, 2009
875
236
It would be an across-the-board upgrade.
I think you’d have to look at the multi-core scores. The Pro 9.7” and Pro 10.5 weren’t that big of a jump to the Air even at A12 the first time. Simply because the “X” chips were so much faster in multi-vote.

But the jump from A9x & A10x to A14 (vanilla) is big enough to just getting the A14 rather than waiting for A14X. I’m on the Pro 9.7” abd the A12 Air wasn’t quite enough of a jump. I’ll probably spring for this new Air pretty quickly. The extra $200+ for whatever the next Pro is will be too rich for me.

the other hobby that uses the lidar and FaceID cameras is the 3D modeling and printing hobby. There are apps that can use the iPhone FaceID or IPad lidar scanners to generate models that only need minimal cleanup to 3D print. But I’m not doing that right now. I’m on a new hobby moratorium. :)
 
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Unregistered 4U

macrumors 68000
Jul 22, 2002
1,914
1,194
I still haven't seen anyone doing iPad Air 4 bend testing, i guess it bends like old fashioned iPad Pro :)) everyone bought Air 4 and no one wants to bend it for the purpose of test video..
I haven’t seen a tear down either. I wanted to see what the speakers looked like internally.
 
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GuruZac

macrumors 65816
Sep 9, 2015
1,302
2,660
I ordered the 256GB Air (in Rose Gold because come on, pink..) I mostly use it to read around the house and in bed, maybe browse at work or take notes in a now-seldom meeting. I have no desire for some giant heavy iPad to be lugging around. I guess it could sorta be a laptop replacement.. but at $1000 just buy an actual laptop. I don't understand the target market of the iPad Pro, at all.
Here is a perfect example of the target audience of the iPad Pro 12.9: I am a medical student and having the ability to use it as a laptop, then remove it from the Magic keyboard, open Notability, take notes, then take a picture of a document, scan it, sign it, put back on the Magic Keyboard, repeat etc. The use cases where I need my MacBook Pro are about 5% of the tasks, but the use cases where my iPad Pro + MK offers far more usage than what the MBP offers. And now that Microsoft just added trackpad support to the iPadOS Office apps, that’s one less reason to use my MBP.
 
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GuruZac

macrumors 65816
Sep 9, 2015
1,302
2,660
lol, where is the single score geekbench comparison. Did they omit it because the 42% deficit will look bad for the Pro. Ipad air scores 4300+ in multicore and beats A12z in Geekbench compute GPU. The Gpu of A14 and the Gpu of A12z trades blows depending on the benchmark. i wouldnt call one much beefier than other.

look at this video, the Ipad air 4 is faster than the pro in everday apps. The ram management also looks to be the same. A14 is using a newer memory subsystem with improved memory compression.

Wow, you opened apps fractionally faster. That doesn’t change the fact that the Air is a stripped out 2018 11” iPad Pro with a worse display, worse speakers, no FaceID, less GPU performance, less multi-core CPU performance. It’s a great tablet, but the 256GB doesn’t make sense from a pricing perspective for what you’re getting vs the iPad Pro 11”.
 
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Fairchild

macrumors regular
Oct 6, 2011
111
23
I've looked at the units side by side, and the Pro's display is noticeably better in terms of colour reproduction, to the point that the Air's screen looked disappointing, especially given the lower refresh rate. Anybody claiming the Air to be the iPad Pro killer is just looking for clicks.
 
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onfire23

macrumors member
Oct 20, 2020
33
24
Wow, you opened apps fractionally faster. That doesn’t change the fact that the Air is a stripped out 2018 11” iPad Pro with a worse display, worse speakers, no FaceID, less GPU performance, less multi-core CPU performance. It’s a great tablet, but the 256GB doesn’t make sense from a pricing perspective for what you’re getting vs the iPad Pro 11”.
Not really, 128 gb is too low a storage for me in 2020. The only comparison is with 256gb pro 2020. The Gpu of A14 IS faster in some benchmarks despite your repeated assertions. It is actually 20 % faster than the A12x GPU and 9% faster than A12Z GPU in Geekbench Metal GPU. More GPU cores does not equal more performance. The A14 GPU in the air scores significantly better than the Iphone 12 due to thermal headroom.

I have the pro 2020 and I would have got ipad air 4 if it came out earlier. There are benefits to the pro 2020 but i dont consider the SoC one of them. Maybe I will upgrade with A14X refresh since I got used to the promotion.

Touch Id would've been preferable for me since I am a physician. Removing mask is a strict no-no.
 
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GuruZac

macrumors 65816
Sep 9, 2015
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Not really, 128 gb is too low a storage for me in 2020. The only comparison is with 256gb pro 2020. The Gpu of A14 IS faster in some benchmarks despite your repeated assertions. It is actually 20 % faster than the A12x GPU and 9% faster than A12Z GPU in Geekbench Metal GPU. More GPU cores does not equal more performance. The A14 GPU in the air scores significantly better than the Iphone 12 due to thermal headroom.

I have the pro 2020 and I would have got ipad air 4 if it came out earlier. There are benefits to the pro 2020 but i dont consider the SoC one of them. Maybe I will upgrade with A14X refresh since I got used to the promotion.

Touch Id would've been preferable for me since I am a physician. Removing mask is a strict no-no.
It's consistently showing 3700 to 4100. iPad Pro 2018 and 2020 are consistency above 4500 on Geekbench. Lets be honest here and admit that the single core advantage is really minute because you're benefiting from fractional increases in speeds opening apps...as if the iPad Pro 2018 and 2020 lagged opening anything. As I said, the iPad Air is an amazing tablet, but Apple deliberately didn't offer a 128GB option so for the 256GB option it's priced too close to the Pro, even at the 256GB storage teir. The iPad Pro 11" at 256GB is still only $150 more, and for that $150 you're getting FaceID (much better on iPad than even iPhone, especially if using the iPad as a laptop), ProMotion display that is both brighter and with smaller bezels (no contest), quad speakers, better GPU, 6GB of RAM vs 4GB of RAM, LiDAR and extra cameras. Whether or not you or I see that $150 extra worth it for comparable storage tiers is another matter.

Oh and disagreements aside, big respect for you as a physician. I am in medical school now. What a long road!
 
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TallManNY

macrumors 601
Nov 5, 2007
4,366
1,220
Some social media influencer could make some money if they actually did the comparison that is relevant to the average purchaser. What we want to see is a comparison between the device we are currently using and the device we can buy. So for me, compare the iPad Pro from 2017 with the current iPad Pro. Actually, skip that, my iPad isn't old enough. I already know I'm not going to upgrade. Compare the current iPad against iPads from 2015. For iPhones, do a comparison between the 12 and iPhone X or 8 or something like that.

Year over year comparisons of these devices just isn't really fully relevant.
 
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snipr125

macrumors 6502
Oct 17, 2015
382
325
UK
It's consistently showing 3700 to 4100. iPad Pro 2018 and 2020 are consistency above 4500 on Geekbench. Lets be honest here and admit that the single core advantage is really minute because you're benefiting from fractional increases in speeds opening apps...as if the iPad Pro 2018 and 2020 lagged opening anything. As I said, the iPad Air is an amazing tablet, but Apple deliberately didn't offer a 128GB option so for the 256GB option it's priced too close to the Pro, even at the 256GB storage teir. The iPad Pro 11" at 256GB is still only $150 more, and for that $150 you're getting FaceID (much better on iPad than even iPhone, especially if using the iPad as a laptop), ProMotion display that is both brighter and with smaller bezels (no contest), quad speakers, better GPU, 6GB of RAM vs 4GB of RAM, LiDAR and extra cameras. Whether or not you or I see that $150 extra worth it for comparable storage tiers is another matter.

Oh and disagreements aside, big respect for you as a physician. I am in medical school now. What a long road!

In terms of Benchmarks please see:


You will see that the Air 4 scores 4169 in Multicore score, and is top of the charts in Single Core and Metal GPU scores.
Just wanted to clarify this thats all. The rest of your points about the Pro are all true, and if one wants the ultimate Ipad experience, then the Pro 2020 is the best choice, but the Air 4 is right up there just behind it.
 
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satchmo

macrumors 68040
Aug 6, 2008
3,057
3,004
Canada
After reading through this thread, I’m very surprised that few have mentioned impact of tech on actual apps. Outside of drawing apps and games, what’s the noticeable difference in performance? Even if the new iPad Air cpu is 40% faster than Pro, who can tell (outside of benchmarking)? I think the long game is in how long will the hardware be supported by iPadOS. If your current setup can sustain you through through the next couple OS upgrades and you don’t have a real world need for the extra tech (lidar), then best bet is to bank the money until you are forced to upgrade hardware (contact app developer for app version compatible with OS). It’s not like the previous gen is destined for the bin: older iPad is now second screen for MacBook, media center/remote for Apple TV, dedicated device such as midi instrument or Video Chat device, better alternative to Amazon Echo, etc.

This. I think far too often because we love our tech toys, we over spec our actual needs. We justify that we're future proofing and we bump up the RAM and storage to more than what we actually need.

I think one does need to be cognizant of not cheapening out entirely but find a middle ground. Also just be somewhat aware of the upcoming product cycle. Apple has pretty much released it's products in the same manner for the past decade.
 
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onfire23

macrumors member
Oct 20, 2020
33
24
It's consistently showing 3700 to 4100. iPad Pro 2018 and 2020 are consistency above 4500 on Geekbench. Lets be honest here and admit that the single core advantage is really minute because you're benefiting from fractional increases in speeds opening apps...as if the iPad Pro 2018 and 2020 lagged opening anything. As I said, the iPad Air is an amazing tablet, but Apple deliberately didn't offer a 128GB option so for the 256GB option it's priced too close to the Pro, even at the 256GB storage teir. The iPad Pro 11" at 256GB is still only $150 more, and for that $150 you're getting FaceID (much better on iPad than even iPhone, especially if using the iPad as a laptop), ProMotion display that is both brighter and with smaller bezels (no contest), quad speakers, better GPU, 6GB of RAM vs 4GB of RAM, LiDAR and extra cameras. Whether or not you or I see that $150 extra worth it for comparable storage tiers is another matter.

Oh and disagreements aside, big respect for you as a physician. I am in medical school now. What a long road

I don't disagree with the multicore score at all. The Ipad pro is like a muscle car with 4 high performance cores (mean GB5 scores are 4610 for the ipad pro and 4169 for the air). I am just arguing about the Geekbench metal GPU. A14 Gpu seems to be better in Geekbench metal Gpu compute and A12z GPU seems to better in GFXbench.

Geekbench compute (Metal Gpu):
Ipad pro 2018 - 10700
Ipad pro 2020 - 11700
Ipad air 4 - 12500.

Everybody is underselling the A14 Gpu. The A14x MacBook is going to be a beast.

On another note, my friends in engineering started earning 5 years before me. A career in medicine is very long but very rewarding.
 
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GuruZac

macrumors 65816
Sep 9, 2015
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I don't disagree with the multicore score at all. The Ipad pro is like a muscle car with 4 high performance cores (mean GB5 scores are 4610 for the ipad pro and 4169 for the air). I am just arguing about the Geekbench metal GPU. A14 Gpu seems to be better in Geekbench metal Gpu compute and A12z GPU seems to better in GFXbench.

Geekbench compute (Metal Gpu):
Ipad pro 2018 - 10700
Ipad pro 2020 - 11700
Ipad air 4 - 12500.

Everybody is underselling the A14 Gpu. The A14x MacBook is going to be a beast.

On another note, my friends in engineering started earning 5 years before me. A career in medicine is very long but very rewarding.
I won't disagree about the A14. It looks to be a phenomenal chip. And yeah, I am starting even later than most at 37 years old and just an M1 (out at ETSU QCoM)...but I got in to med school so that was a major hurdle behind me. My brother is a Pulmonologist/Critical Care doc and he always says the same-super rewarding career. I'm glad I went back to school and am going down this pathway. Stay safe at your work!
 
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DPL145$

macrumors newbie
Jun 10, 2020
2
0
What would be fantastic to see (yeah, I'll go search the net for it) is a REAL comparison. Not a sorta, kinda, close, but a real Apples to Apples comparison. 11 in Pro (current) vs Air 4 (2020). Match them up - all consumer controlled specs the exact same. Both wi-fi or both wi-fi/cellular. Both with 256 gb. Match the damn specs then compare in terms of screen, sound, responsiveness, ease of use (Face ID vs touch) and price ($150 difference for wi-fi only at 256gb). What are the real world differences (objective and subjective) and are the "differences" worth the price differential ($150)?
 
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Le0M

macrumors member
Aug 13, 2020
54
86
Well, it's one of Steve's legacy.. I'd keep it in the drawer, forever LOL..

I still have a few friends who still uses their iPad 2, it's been demoted for kids' apps and Youtube. But surely enough, average iPads has longer lifespan than iPhones. Many keep it for 5 years or more, and believe it or not, still actively used.
My mom does! It’s slow and frustrating to use, but still works ok with youtube and pinterest ;)
 
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SFjohn

macrumors member
Sep 8, 2016
55
48
I have an iPad Pro 10.5. Should I upgrade to the new Air? 🤔
I also have a 10.5” iPad Pro. I’m going to wait a few more months to get the next Pro version Apple releases next year. I really want the best speakers, camera, upgraded storage options, and many more features it will offer.
 
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Makosuke

macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2001
6,293
524
The Cool Part of CA, USA
I'm VERY interested in this exact question because I've been helping a collaborator shop for an iPad for artistic work in Clip Studio Paint. Until the new Air was released, the Pro was the only good option on account of Pencil 2 support, but now it's a REALLY tough call.
After some further thought, my collaborator ended up going with a 2020 Pro over the Air. With multi-GB art to work with, 64GB probably wasn't going to be quite enough storage, and at 256GB the Air in Indonesia was almost $100 more than the 128GB Pro.

Even without that, as a pro artist my collaborator was pretty sure that the lower latency of the 120Hz screen was going to be noticeable and important, so that pretty much sealed the deal.
 
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Phil77354

Contributor
Jun 22, 2014
506
304
Eastern Washington State
My thought process has been very similar to many of the other comments on this thread.

I recently ordered a new iPad Air 4, but cancelled the order a few days later, before it had shipped, after I looked more closely at the 11" iPad Pro.

I was going to purchase the iPad Air 4 / 256 GB / Wi-Fi, because the 64 GB would be insufficient for my needs - price for that configuration is $749.

Then I realized that the price for the 11" iPad Pro / 128 GB / Wi-Fi is $799. The 128 GB is very sufficient for my needs (and is not offered for the Air).

The iPad Pro has considerably better camera and speakers. The camera includes a flash, which the Air does not have. The display specs are better than the Air (ProMotion). I like that it has Face ID. I don't know if the Lidar scanner will be of use for my purposes, but it will be something to try.

The difference in A14 vs A12Z is not going to matter for my uses. Either would work great.

Considering all of this, for me the iPad Pro 11" seems to be the best choice.
 
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bill nzrul

macrumors newbie
Apr 10, 2020
1
0
A number of people pointed out that now may not be the best time to purchase a PRO seeing as performance is nearly a wash or in some cases a plus for the Air and Apple has to know this is an issue so look for an update in early 2021 and I total get and agree with that, but it doesn't change the math in one area if you have to purchase now. So if you have to purchase today you have to ask a simple question is 64gb enough storage? If it is then you are good, get an Air. But for many people 64 on an iPad is not just light it is very light and 128 is very much fine! If that is you the price difference is $50 and you get:

pro
Pro Motion
FaceID
Lidar
Better Speakers
Wide angle Lens
Slightly Bigger screen

con
128GB instead of 256GB

So unless you can live with the lower 64gb of storage or need the higher 256gb of storage the PRO is still probably the better choice.
pro: +2gb ram. better comparison than that of macrumers.
 
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