So you’re looking at picking yourself up a new iPad, and you finally have it narrowed down between the iPad and the iPad Air. But, it’s not clear what the big differences are between the two models, and whether or not one is better than the other. After all, modern iPads have sort of all started to blend together — even if you pick up a model from a few years back, it’s still fast, efficient, and can handle most basic tasks that you would throw at it.
|Apple||Apple iPad (Wi-Fi + Cellular, 128GB) - Gold (Latest Model)||Buy on Amazon|$429(Price as of 10/22/2019 11:50 ET)|
|Apple||Apple iPad Air MD786LL/A Wi-Fi 32GB, 9.7" - Space Gray (Refurbished)||Buy on Amazon|$145(Price as of 10/22/2019 11:50 ET)|
While the iPad and iPad Air are almost functionally the same, there are definitely some notable differences in terms of hardware. After all, the iPad Air was launched way back in 2013, and the iPad Air 2 in 2014. In the world of technology, 5-6 years is a big difference — the iPad has all of the top hardware, as it was released in 2018, so you’ll notice differences in not only the snappiness, but also get much better software support.
Still, if your insistent on saving money by purchasing an old iPad, follow along below, and we’ll help you cover the exact details. Let’s dive right into the details!
The iPad Air and iPad Air 2 come in at around the same size as the iPad — 9.7-inches. So while you’ll get a slightly similar form factor, you will get an overall thinner device, a much better resolution, and a higher pixel density. Not only that, but the bezels are a whole lot thinner as well.
As you can imagine, the iPad comes equipped with the A10 Fusion chip. This is a fast processor that will be able to handle most tasks without a hitch — even augmented reality and high end gaming. Not only that, but it has the motion co-processor inside, which enables you to use the Apple Pencil with this device — perfect for taking notes, drawing, etc.
The iPad has an improved rear camera, which enables you to take some pretty decent photos with the tablet; however, it also has an improved front-facing camera for, say, Skype sessions or meetings with clients and colleagues.
The iPad also comes with an improved battery. With moderate use (i.e this tablet not being your laptop replacement), you should be able to easily get days out of this iPad. If you’re using it all day long, 10 hours of straight Web use shouldn’t be a problem.
And the big difference between the iPad and iPad Air is obviously the hardware and generation gap. The fact is, the iPad Air and iPad Air 2 are just old devices with old hardware. Their antiquated, and are almost entirely off the market. The standard iPad is fairly new, packed with the latest high-end hardware, and will keep its resale value for a couple years to come.
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Now, the iPad Air also has a 9.7-inch display, but your resolution and pixel density is going to be significantly lower. You still get the Retina display, but since technology has improve over the five or so years since its launch, the iPad is going to be a whole lot more clear and detailed, though the iPad Air is certainly one of the best displays that you can get in older tablet tech.
It runs on the Apple A8X chip, which is still a decent processor. It’s not going to be able to handle things like 4K rendering very well like the iPad can, but you should still be able to get some decent gaming out of it, if you so choose. It’s also not the most ideal for things like augmented reality apps that are becoming so prominent today.
Battery life is around the same as the iPad, though depending on the condition of your Air — and whether or not the battery was replaced — you might get extremely poor performance until you pay for a replacement battery.
The biggest difference — and problem — that you’re going to come across with the iPad Air — or iPad Air 2 — is software support. The iPad Air and Air 2 on next on the chopping block in terms of software support, so Apple is only going to be able to support it for so long. And that is due in part that old hardware is going to have difficulty supporting the demands that newer versions of
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As you can see, both the iPad and iPad Air are functionally similar; however, they’re two completely devices under the hood. The iPad is just so much quicker than its Air counterpart; and not only that, but it supports use of the Apple Pencil, something you won’t find in the Air.
Another reason we really like the iPad is because it could easily replace a laptop or PC, as you can purchase magnetic attachable keyboards for it.
Still, if you just need a basic iPad, it’s hard to get around the cheap-ness of the iPad Air these days. A refurbished iPad Air (it isn’t in production anymore, so you cannot buy new) won’t cost you more than $250 or lower, whereas an iPad Air 2 will cost you almost double that. The crazy thing is that an iPad (2018) won’t cost you more than $329, less if you snag it refurbished.
That said, the difference between the iPad and iPad Air is clear — the iPad Air is antiquated hardware that is almost entirely off the market. On the other hand, the standard iPad has all of the latest hardware packed inside. That’s great performance-wise, but also ensures that you’re putting equity in an electronic device that’s at least going to have some good resale value for a couple of years.