All iPads iPad Air 2019 vs iPad Pro 10.5"

LiquidSunlight

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Original poster
May 22, 2020
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I'm planning to buy a refurbished iPad. I'm trying to decide between the iPad Air 3 and iPad Pro 10.5"(2017). Is the ProMotion display and extra speakers on the Pro worth the trade-off for the A10X chip in the Pro vs the A12 chip in the Air 3?

Planning to use the iPad mainly for Procreate.
 
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EugW

macrumors G3
Jun 18, 2017
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The extra speakers make for a very good upgrade. ProMotion is visually nice, but for me it’s just a nice bonus.

I’m no artist but the reviews online from artists suggest that while ProMotion theoretically makes drawing slightly more responsive, they don’t actually notice the difference in real usage. OTOH, Procreate can use more layers on a 4 GB device (Pro) than on a 3 GB device (Air). This is especially important if you use a large canvas.
 
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Freakonomics101

macrumors 68030
Nov 6, 2014
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The extra speakers make for a very good upgrade. ProMotion is visually nice, but for me it’s just a nice bonus.

I’m no artist but the reviews online from artists suggest that while ProMotion theoretically makes drawing slightly responsive, they don’t actually notice the difference in real usage. OTOH, Procreate can use more layers on a 4 GB device (Pro) than on a 3 GB device (Air). This is especially important if you use a large canvas.
Overall I still think the 10.5 Pro is a better value. You can easily find one for $400 that’s in mint condition.
 
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BigMcGuire

Contributor
Jan 10, 2012
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I sold my 10.5 way before my wife did. So for a handful of months I had an Air 3 while she had her 10.5. The Air 3 felt like a cheaper 10.5. The speakers were very noticeable - that and the promotion difference (especially with the Apple Pencil).

I would vote for the 10.5. --- Battery life was a tiny bit better on my Air 3 but I'm a light user so...
 
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AutomaticApple

macrumors 68040
Nov 28, 2018
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I'm planning to buy a refurbished iPad. I'm trying to decide between the iPad Air 3 and iPad Pro 10.5"(2017). Is the ProMotion display and extra speakers on the Pro worth the trade-off for the A10X chip in the Pro vs the A12 chip in the Air 3?

Planning to use the iPad mainly for Procreate.
Yes, the trade-off is worth it. Go for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro.
 

Richard8655

macrumors 65816
Mar 11, 2009
1,229
599
Chicago
I'd go with the Air 3. Later generation processor and coprocessor, lighter, overall newer technology. Displays are similar. Who knows, maybe Apple fixed the white spot issue that occurred with the 10.5, though infrequent. I just prefer later technology from Apple as they often make significant improvements, some fairly subtle.
 

Jack Neill

macrumors 6502a
Sep 13, 2015
734
492
San Antonio Texas
I'm planning to buy a refurbished iPad. I'm trying to decide between the iPad Air 3 and iPad Pro 10.5"(2017). Is the ProMotion display and extra speakers on the Pro worth the trade-off for the A10X chip in the Pro vs the A12 chip in the Air 3?

Planning to use the iPad mainly for Procreate.
I own both of those iPads, Pro is 64 and Air is 256. Performance wise, for what I do they feel identical. My Pro has a dreaded white spot but the display and speakers are excellent especially the quad speakers. The Pro has a A10x and the Air 3 has a Bionic A12. If I was forced to pick one over the other, I would go with the Air 3.
 

ericwn

macrumors 601
Apr 24, 2016
4,373
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I don’t think there will be many noticeable differences except maybe for Promotion and the extra speakers of the Pro. I’d also look at a refurb 2018. On the other hand, make sure you buy with a good return policy in place. Not sure I’d like to draw on a device that cannot lie flat on a surface due to that nasty camera bump.
 

EugW

macrumors G3
Jun 18, 2017
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I don’t think there will be many noticeable differences except maybe for Promotion and the extra speakers of the Pro. I’d also look at a refurb 2018. On the other hand, make sure you buy with a good return policy in place. Not sure I’d like to draw on a device that cannot lie flat on a surface due to that nasty camera bump.
1. As mentioned, the Pro provides more layers than the Air for Procreate.

2. I bought a back case for $10 for the Pro. It lies flat because the thickness of this case makes the thickness of the camera bump irrelevant.

Actually the case itself isn’t very thick but it has somewhat thicker corners to act as bumpers for better corner production.
 

BigMcGuire

Contributor
Jan 10, 2012
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California
I own both of those iPads, Pro is 64 and Air is 256. Performance wise, for what I do they feel identical. My Pro has a dreaded white spot but the display and speakers are excellent especially the quad speakers. The Pro has a A10x and the Air 3 has a Bionic A12. If I was forced to pick one over the other, I would go with the Air 3.
Curious - I had both for awhile too (my wife had the 10.5 and I had the Air 3) - can you tell a difference in speed?

If you had to ask me, I'd say the Air 3 was a bit faster - at least it felt that way to me, not a lot, but slightly noticeable.
 

EugW

macrumors G3
Jun 18, 2017
8,134
5,483
2. I bought a back case for $10 for the Pro. It lies flat because the thickness of this case makes the thickness of the camera bump irrelevant.

Actually the case itself isn’t very thick but it has somewhat thicker corners to act as bumpers for better corner production.
It turns out the thin part of this case is already thicker than the camera bump, as the camera bump is only about 2 mm.

6B13AD1D-0DA1-4510-A14C-69F03E07C222.jpeg


This following picture is taken parallel to the surface of the case to further illustrate that the case is thicker than the camera bump. (The elevated area is the added corner bumper protection on this case but obviously you can get cases without this if you don’t want it.)

6005AE56-D926-459E-9657-1ECE8DAD14C3.jpeg


BTW, as you can see, there is a grid of dots on the inside of the case. Each dot represents a slight bump on the inside surface of the case. What this does is keep the inside surface from touching the back of the iPad (except at the dots). This makes it look better, because when plastic touches the metal, it can look odd if it doesn't consistently touch along the entire surface. The dots make it so none of the back is touching so the back look is consistent.

The case also has a cutout to allow for attaching a Smart Keyboard. Also, the cutout for the Lightning port is oversized to accommodate oversized third party Lightning connectors. The same goes for the cutout for the headphone jack.

All this for less than US$10.
 
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ericwn

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Apr 24, 2016
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It turns out the thin part of this case is already thicker than the camera bump, as the camera bump is only about 2 mm.

View attachment 918057

This following picture is taken parallel to the surface of the case to further illustrate that the case is thicker than the camera bump. (The elevated area is the added corner bumper protection on this case but obviously you can get cases without this if you don’t want it.)

View attachment 918056

BTW, as you can see, there is a grid of dots on the inside of the case. Each dot represents a slight bump on the inside surface of the case. What this does is keep the inside surface from touching the back of the iPad (except at the dots). This makes it look better, because when plastic touches the metal, it can look odd if it doesn't consistently touch along the entire surface. The dots make it so none of the back is touching so the back look is consistent.

The case also has a cutout to allow for attaching a Smart Keyboard. Also, the cutout for the Lightning port is oversized to accommodate oversized third party Lightning connectors. The same goes for the cutout for the headphone jack.

All this for less than US$10.
Not bad - gets the thing to lie flat again which is important to some. I think it’s a bit more of an issue on the 2018/2020 models, isn’t it? I think the camera bump is a bit more pronounced.
 

BigMcGuire

Contributor
Jan 10, 2012
5,182
6,401
California
It turns out the thin part of this case is already thicker than the camera bump, as the camera bump is only about 2 mm.

View attachment 918057

This following picture is taken parallel to the surface of the case to further illustrate that the case is thicker than the camera bump. (The elevated area is the added corner bumper protection on this case but obviously you can get cases without this if you don’t want it.)

View attachment 918056

BTW, as you can see, there is a grid of dots on the inside of the case. Each dot represents a slight bump on the inside surface of the case. What this does is keep the inside surface from touching the back of the iPad (except at the dots). This makes it look better, because when plastic touches the metal, it can look odd if it doesn't consistently touch along the entire surface. The dots make it so none of the back is touching so the back look is consistent.

The case also has a cutout to allow for attaching a Smart Keyboard. Also, the cutout for the Lightning port is oversized to accommodate oversized third party Lightning connectors. The same goes for the cutout for the headphone jack.

All this for less than US$10.
Would love a link to this case if you can find it! :)
 

Jack Neill

macrumors 6502a
Sep 13, 2015
734
492
San Antonio Texas
Curious - I had both for awhile too (my wife had the 10.5 and I had the Air 3) - can you tell a difference in speed?

If you had to ask me, I'd say the Air 3 was a bit faster - at least it felt that way to me, not a lot, but slightly noticeable.
It might be a bit faster I guess, I would say they are the same for everything I use iPads for. The speakers on the Pro are way better and if that's a concern I would say Pro over Air. I use APP's anyways.
 
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Wackery

macrumors 6502a
Feb 1, 2015
824
766
I was in a similar situation, for me the pro was the better choice because:
  • Quad speakers
  • 1 extra gig of ram
  • promotion
So far I’m happy, and would advise it if you can find it as an apple certified refurb
 

EugW

macrumors G3
Jun 18, 2017
8,134
5,483
Not bad - gets the thing to lie flat again which is important to some. I think it’s a bit more of an issue on the 2018/2020 models, isn’t it? I think the camera bump is a bit more pronounced.
I looked this up online.

On the 2018 and 2020 iPad Pro 11", they are 5.9 mm thick, except at the camera bump, where they are both 7.8 mm, which makes the camera bump 1.9 mm thick.

However, unlike my 2017 model, a third party back case is not compatible with the Smart Keyboard Folio, or the Magic Keyboard.


Would love a link to this case if you can find it! :)
It's a Moko Case. I bought on Amazon.ca for CAD$10.99, which is about US$8. Here is the Amazon Canada link:


I think this is the one on the US site, for US$12.99:

 
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