This article is based on the Japanese version of Engadget and was created by machine translation.

On March 29, "iPad Air (2019)" went on sale in brick-and-mortar Apple Stores. The current line of iPads, including the "iPad mini (2019)" which was announced at the same time, is a total of 5 series, so there is more lineup than MacBook. Macs include iMacs and Mac Pros, but Apple may be focusing on iOS devices as mobile information devices.
The iPad Air is the standard model of the iPad series, although there are 5 series sold at the same time. It has the same CPU as the iPhone XS/XS Max/XR, and a digitizer pen "Apple Pencil" and keyboard cover "Smart Keyboard" are available. It offers the same user experience as the iPad Pro, but at an affordable price.

▲The total price for the iPad Air (64 GB/Wi-Fi), Apple Pencil (first generation), and Smart Keyboard is ¥83400 excluding tax. Meanwhile, the iPad Pro (64 GB/Wi-Fi), Apple Pencil (2nd Generation), and Smart Keyboard Folio all add up to ¥124100 before tax. The iPad Air is a bargain.

I own a third-generation 12.9 inch iPad Pro, but since I borrowed the iPad Air, Apple Pencil, and Smart Keyboard from Apple, I'd like to review them from a neutral standpoint as much as possible.

Compared to top-tier iPad Pro, 1/2 RAM, 1/4 Storage

Like the iPhone XS/XS Max/XR, the iPad Air will use a "A12 Bionic" equipped with Neural Engine as the SoC. 3 GB of onboard memory (RAM) and 64 or 256 GB of onboard storage.

▲I checked the amount of memory (RAM) of iPad Air with the benchmark application Geekbench 4.

The iPad Pro comes with 4GB of memory (1TB model is 6GB) and options for 64 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, or 1TB of storage. Compared to this, it's not good enough, but the 64 GB model of iPad Air is still usable.

▲In fact, my iPad Pro doesn't organize my storage very often, but my used storage is still less than 64 GB.

That said, the iPad doesn't let you add storage later, using things like a microSD memory card, so if you can afford the extra 17000 yen, I recommend buying the 256 GB model.

For the rest of the iPad Air's specs, check out the roundup "Apple's new iPad. iPad Air, Mini Now Available, All 5 Models are pencil-compatible".

Is the iPad Air easier to use than the iPad Pro?

The biggest visual difference between the iPad Air and the iPad Pro is the bezel width. Featuring a face recognition system 'Face ID' and rounded corners "Liquid Retina Display", the iPad Pro is characterized by a full-screen experience that feels like it's holding the image in place, while the iPad Air has large bezels above and below.

To be honest, it feels a bit unwieldy compared to the latest smartphones and tablets, but it has a home button with an integrated fingerprint sensor ' Touch ID' and a familiar 3.5 mm headphone jack.

Personally, I think the iPad Air is easier to use than the iPad Pro. On the iPad Pro, you have to face the camera to unlock it, but on the iPad Air, you can leave it on your desk and press Touch ID to unlock it.



▲Top and Underside

▲Right and Left

The difference between Air and Pro scores on the bench is hard to feel in real apps and games.

Let's take a look at the performance you're interested in. We tested the iPad Air (2019) and the 12.9 inch iPad Pro (3rd Generation, 1 TB Model). The Multi-Core Score on the Geekbench 4 shows an iPad Air score of 11446, while the iPad Pro score is almost 1.56 times higher at 17881, while the AnTuTu Benchmark overall score is 377612 for the iPad Air and 1.46 times higher at 552637 for iPad Pro. There is a big difference in score.

We also tried to compare the speed difference when exporting videos (4K/60 fps, 1-minute video) which requires high performance, and the iPad Air was about 1 minute 15 seconds 76, and the iPad Pro was about 1 minute 4 seconds 18, which was not so different compared to the benchmark.

And when I played 3D games like 'PUBG MOBILE' in HD settings, I couldn't feel the speed difference between the iPad Air and the iPad Pro. Unless you frequently export videos with longer feet, you won't be frustrated with the iPad Air's processing speed.

▲iPad Air scores 11446 on Multi-Core Score on Geekbench 4, and the overall score of AnTuTu Benchmark is 377612

▲iPad Pro scores 1788 on Multi-Core Score on Geekbench 4, and the overall score of AnTuTu Benchmark is 552637

When I compared it with 4K/60 fps one-minute recording, the iPad Air was about 1 minute 15 seconds 76 and the iPad Pro was about 1 minute 4 seconds 18, so there wasn't much difference.

▲On iPad Air, I played PUBG MOBILE with high definition setting of Quality: HDR, Frame setting: Ultra, Presentation: MOVIE, Anti-aliasing: Enabled ......, but I could not experience any particular screen delay and was able to play comfortably.

▲Because this quality picture moves smoothly, there is no doubt that the iPad Air has high performance as a portable game machine.

The biggest difference between the Air and Pro displays is the screen refresh rate.

The iPad Air has 'Retina Display' support for laminated display and true tone display, while the iPad Pro has 'Liquid Retina Display' support for ProMotion technology and true tone display.

The laminated display, which combines an LCD screen and cover glass, is also used in the iPad Pro, and 'Liquid Retina Display' means "Retina display with four rounded corners". Both models have a "True Tone Display" that changes the color temperature in response to ambient light. The iPad Air's brightness is 500 cd/m2, while the iPad Pro's is 600 cd/m2.

The only real difference between the iPad Air and the iPad Pro's display is support for Apple ProMotion Technology 120 Hz refresh rate. The iPad Air's refresh rate is half that of the iPad Pro, at 60 Hz, but you can't see it unless you swipe left and right quickly. Going back to PUBG MOBILE doesn't change the gaming experience. I think it's a difference that only those who have chosen eyes are concerned about.

▲Both support a wide color gamut called "P3" and use the True Tone display feature to adjust the color based on ambient light. The one on the left is the iPad Air, and the one on the right is the 12.9 inch iPad Pro, but there is no difference in "Quality" when you look at them side by side.

The usability as a text input and drawing machine is equivalent.

The experience of the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil is very different between the iPad Air and the iPad Pro. Specifically, the keyboard feels the same as the Folio, and Apple Pencil's pressure-sensing, tilt-sensing, and latency are exactly the same for the first and second generation.The combination of the iPad Air and the Apple Pencil makes some distinctions, for example, you can't charge it by attaching it to the side, or it doesn't support double-tap. But, that's the only difference. I have no complaints about the usability of the pen.

▲Because it is grounded on the table surface, the shock when you press the key hard will be transmitted directly to your fingers, but it is wonderful that it gives a strong click feeling with this thinness. However, the UI and conversion method of the Japanese input system should be closer to Mac and Windows.

▲Even if the nib is run quickly, the line is delayed by about 5 ~ 10 mm. You can paint comfortably.

The camera of iPad Air with the f2.4 lens is noisy in the dark.

I personally felt the biggest difference in the quality of the camera. Obviously, the iPad Pro will produce a closer picture to the iPhone XS/XS Max/XR than the iPad Air under the same conditions. The difference is particularly noticeable in the dark. The iPad Air features an f2.4 lens that's darker than the f1.8 found in the iPad Pro, so the low-light noise is more pronounced.

Also, the iPad Air doesn't have a flash, so you can't shoot in very dark places. The iPad Air still has good image quality at a certain brightness level, but if you're shooting in a variety of situations, it's a good idea to simply shoot on your iPhone, not on the iPad Air or Pro.

Image taken with iPad Air: 3264x2448 (jpeg, YUV, ICC profile), 焦点距離: 3.30mm (35 mm equivalent focal length: 31 mm), Shutter speed: 0.017 s (1/60), F value: f/2.4, ISO sensitivity: 250, Exposure mode: Program (auto), Photometric method: Spot

▲Image taken with iPad Pro: 4032 x 3024 (jpeg, YUV, ICC profile), Focal length: 3 mm (35 mm equivalent focal length: 29 mm), Shutter speed: 0.017 s (1/60), F value: f/1.8, ISO sensitivity: 160, Exposure mode: Program (auto), Photometric method: Spot

I definitely recommend the iPad Air to my parents and family!

Now, when I compared the iPad Pro to the iPad Air, I honestly think the iPad Air is more cost-effective even if I'm a user of the iPad Pro. There are some obvious advantages to the iPad Pro, of course, but I don't think it's enough to reverse the price difference. But I have a lot of karma, so if I'm going to buy one of those, I'm going to choose the iPad Pro, which has a strong sense of the future, If I am consulted with my parents or family, I will recommend iPad Air without hesitation!

▲Personally, I prefer a Smart Keyboard with a rear case to the Folio.

This article is based on the Japanese version of Engadget and was created by machine translation. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.