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iPad Air 2020 vs iPad Pro 11-inch 2020: Is the 11-inch model worth considering?

Apple’s annual September Keynote took place online on Wednesday and unlike previous years, the event focused solely on Apple Watch and iPad, with no mention of the next iPhone.

The Cupertino-based tech giant unveiled the 4th generation iPad Air with a new design and an unexpected A14 chipset alongside a refreshed iPad 8th-gen, Apple Watch Series 6 and its cheaper counterpart, Apple Watch SE.

With iPad Air 2020 starting price at INR 55,900 ($599), one may question whether the INR 71,900 ($799) 11-inch iPad Pro is worth the extra money? In this article, we compare the newly announced iPad Air against Apple’s premier iPad Pro to see which one may be worth your money.

Also read: How does the new iPad Pro 2020 stack up against iPad Pro 2018?

Design

As expected due to several leaks prior to today’s event, iPad Air 2020 features a redesigned look, which borrowed from the top of the line iPad Pro. The squared sides and edge-to-edge display make it almost indistinguishable from the 11-inch model; if not for its new colour options — Green and Sky Blue.

iPad Air 2020 vs iPad Pro 11-inch: Is the 11-inch model worth considering?

Apart from colours, the only notable physical difference between the two devices are their respective camera arrays. On iPad Pro, you will find a glass-square which comprises dual cameras and a LIDAR sensor whereas iPad Air 2020 features a single lens setup.

In what may be a feature that makes its way to iPhones in the future, iPad Air features a TouchID sensor integrated into its Power button whereas iPad Pro offers FaceID for biometric authentication.

Also read: Apple makes 3 major additions to iPadOS but could they have done more?

Display

The new display plays a huge role in modernising iPad Air. With a Liquid Retina panel which supports P3 Wide gamut, visuals between the two devices may vary ever so slightly because of the small difference in size.

iPad Air 2020 vs iPad Pro 11-inch: Is the 11-inch model worth considering?
iPad Air 2020 features a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina panel, just 0.1-inch shy of 11-inch iPad Pro | Source: Apple

Although the iPad Pro holds an advantage here due to its support for ProMotion, the feature did not trickle down to iPad Air 2020.

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Processor

In what was an unexpected announcement, Apple also unveiled its A14 SOC built on a 5nm fabrication process, which will ship inside the iPad Air. This advancement promises a 40% improvement in processing power and 30% better graphics performance than the A12 Bionic found in iPad Air 2019.

iPad Air 2020 vs iPad Pro 11-inch: Is the 11-inch model worth considering?

Since performance benchmarks are unavailable, it is hard to ascertain how much of an improvement A14 is over A12Z, but the latter does feature an octa-core GPU and ten billion transistors, which means users can expect performances to be comparable.

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Audio

With the new design, iPad Air 2020 also introduces a new speaker setup but unlike the iPad Pro it consists of just two drivers, which provide stereo audio. iPad Pro 2020 includes four individual drivers in each corner of its chassis.

iPad Air 2020 vs iPad Pro 11-inch: Is the 11-inch model worth considering?
iPad Pro 2020 maintains an advantage over Air 2020 because of its five-microphone array. | Source: Apple

Another advantage the Pro has is in form of its five-microphone array, which can record nearly studio-quality audio. The Air includes just two.

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Camera

As mentioned earlier, cameras are the most polarising differences between the two devices. The tablets share the same 12MP wide main camera but iPad Pro features an additional 10MP ultra-wide and Lidar sensor.

iPad Air 2020 vs iPad Pro 11-inch: Is the 11-inch model worth considering?
iPad Air 2020 (L) iPad Pro 2020 (R) | Source: Apple

In front, both devices feature a 7MP sensor, although FaceID hardware present on iPad Pro allows for additional features such as Memoji and Portrait mode.

Pricing and Variants

The iPad Air 2020 will be available in two variants, starting at INR 55,900 ($599) for 64GB of storage or INR 68,900 ($749) for the 256GB model whereas iPad Pro 11-inch starts at INR 71,900 ($799) for 128GB variant.

iPad Air 2020 will be available in five colours, namely Space Grey, Silver, Rose Gold, Green and Sky Blue whereas iPad Pro is available in just two, Space Grey and Silver.

Should you still buy the 11-inch iPad Pro?

With iPad Pro starting at $799 (INR 71,900) and iPad Air 2020 offering a lot of the same features at a lower price of $599, you may question if the Pro is worth the extra $200?

To answer this question, if the extra internal storage, high refresh rate display and better audio hardware will make a difference to you, the iPad Pro is the device to buy, If these features do not matter, the Air 2020 is one of the most comprehensive devices Apple has made and should be your pick.

CategoryiPad Pro 2020iPad Air 2020
Display11-inch Liquid Retina Display with Promotion10.9-inch Liquid Retina Display
ProcessorA12ZA14
Rear Camera12MP Wide + 10MP Ultra Wide + LIDAR Sensor12MP Wide
Front Camera7MP True Depth Camera7MP FaceTime HD Camera
ROM128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB64GB, 256GB
AudioQuad-speakers with five-microphone arrayDual-speakers in Stereo setting with dual-microphone array

Also read: iPhone XR in 2020: The cheapest iPhone to consider?

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