This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.


For those who are considering an 11-inch iPad right now, many of you may be wondering whether to buy the fourth-generation iPad Air or the iPad Pro. My first-hand impression is that the iPad Air will be the target for many people.

We've already written enough specs and technical reviews of the new iPad Air to get you started, so in this article, I'll share my impressions of the new iPad Air and discuss the three key factors that will help you decide which one to buy.

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1. The difference in refresh rates is actually noticeable in "handwritten notes"

The first thing I noticed was a difference in the speed at which the screen was refreshed - or the refresh rate - with the iPad Pro at 120 Hz and the iPad Air at 60 Hz. This difference occurs when you draw a quick line with the Apple Pencil: At 120Hz, the stroke sticks to the tip of the pen, but at 60Hz, there's a slight gap. It's like having a pen running across a blank screen and then drawing lines on it later.

However, this kind of expression is used to emphasize the awesomeness of the higher-end model, that's not to say that the 60Hz iPad Air is difficult to use by any means.

Many people may think that 60 Hz is hard to draw, but in my experience as a regular illustrator, when I draw detailed illustrations on the display, my brush tip doesn't move as fast as I expected. Especially on an 11-inch display, the distance you can move your brush tends to be limited.

If you're a hobbyist illustrator, the iPad Air will do just fine.

Of course, if you're used to painting human characters, for example when you're painting hair, your brushstrokes may be faster. However, I feel that for many painters, it doesn't feel like it's a problem because it's 60 Hz. So my conclusion is that unless you're an illustrator by profession, you won't have any trouble with 60Hz.

On the other hand, it may seem surprising, but I believe that it will be businessmen and students who tend to be frustrated with 60 Hz. The reason is that in situations where you want to quickly handwrite notes and memos for meetings and lectures, your handwriting won't be able to keep up with you. I was more concerned about writing than painting.

In fact, I'm so used to the 120 Hz iPad Pro that I found the 60 Hz iPad somewhat stressful when using apps like Notability to take seriously handwritten notes.

2. There's a difference in speakers, but do you really watch videos on an iPad?

Next, let's talk about the difference in experience with built-in speakers. By specification, the iPad Pro has four built-in speakers and the Air has two built-in speakers, so there is naturally a difference in sound quality. However, does this difference really matter? Some people may arrive at the conclusion that two separate speakers are fine, because the iPad Air has two built-in speakers on the "side" of the device.

I actually listened to the sound, and it sounded pretty good. Of course, there is a difference when you play music at high volume with the iPad Pro side-by-side, but you probably won't say "I don't like this" when you hear the sound of the iPad Air by itself.

It's important to see if you should stick to the audio on the iPad. The iPad Air sounds reasonably good even with two speakers.

If you're going to watch a movie in the first place because you're obsessed with the sound, you're going to play it on a TV connected to an audio device. Also, the 11-inch screen is a bit heavy and hard to hold in your hand the whole time while lying in bed or even while sitting on the couch, so in that case, wouldn't you end up watching a video on your iPhone and AirPods? Don't forget to check it out for yourself.

When you think about it, the iPad Air's speakers are only useful for sound during web meetings or for playing background music while you work, study, or perform tasks on your iPad. Unless you're a video-editing enthusiast who wants to focus on sound, there's no need to get hung up on the iPad Pro.

3. The color variation is more attractive on the iPad Air, choose 256GB of storage

Lastly, let's talk about the choice of model to purchase. First of all, the iPad Air comes in a wider variety of colors than the iPad Air. If you're okay with the basic colors of Silver and Space gray, there's nothing wrong with the Pro, but if you think Pink, Green, and Sky blue are appealing, the Air is a good buy.

The finish is elegant as the impression of having seen the color of the actual device, and even for me, the emotion of "Oh, I want this" arose. If I did not already have the Pro series, I would have bought it in a heartbeat.

The body is made of 100 percent recycled aluminum. A wide range of colors is a privilege of the Air for now.

Next, let's talk about the price of the iPad Air. The 64GB Wi-Fi model, which is the smallest configuration, seems cheap at 62,800 yen (excluding tax), but my advice to you is to make sure you buy the 256GB model.

If you're going on a trip and you want to shoot a video on the road and edit it in iMovie on your iPad, you'll quickly run out of storage with 64GB. You'll also have a hard time installing and running multiple creative and design apps for illustration purposes.

If you're not a person who manages storage very sparingly, I think you'll have fewer regrets if you opt for the 256GB model, which is priced at 79,800 yen for the Wi-Fi model and 94,800 yen for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model.

In addition, as it has been introduced in the previous report, there is a detailed difference between Pro and Air, such as the difference between "Face ID" or "Touch ID". But there's not much of a critical difference in the experience between the two. If I had to pick one, I'd say the only difference is whether or not you can use Memoji and Animoji with FaceTime. All I can say is, "In case you're a heavy user of FaceTime video calling, make sure you're on the iPad Pro."

There is also a difference in the rear camera between the two, but for those who want to shoot serious video and edit it directly on the iPad Pro in the first place, most people will understand the difference in specs without having to explain the specs, so I won't go into the details. For those of you who want to shoot movies or do ongoing YouTube posting, my advice to you would be "If you want to shoot and edit video, get the 1TB Pro model".

So, I hope this article helps you find a good iPad.


This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.