Apple iPad Air 5 vs Apple iPad Pro 11: Which one should you buy?

A clash of titans you definitely need to keep an eye on!
Atharva Gosavi

Tech giant Apple recently announced the brand new Apple iPad Air 5 in its Peek Performance event. This tablet pretty much mirrors its predecessor, the iPad Air 4, but that’s not precisely why every Apple fan out there is excited about it. 

The presence of the M1 chip in the Air 5 tablet means it’s now a worthy competitor to another one of its kind, albeit from a different family - the iPad Pro M1 11-inch - which is the first tablet to feature the M1 chip. While the performances of the two tablets will be compared only after the iPad Air 5 releases on March 18th, on paper, it’s almost the iPad Pro 11’s doppelganger of sorts.

If you’re contemplating buying either of the two or pondering an upgrade above the iPad Air 4 or any other tablet, here’s the perfect head-to-head analysis that’ll help you make the decision.


Apple iPad
Source: Apple/Amazon

Design-wise, both devices are much of a muchness when it comes to size, and they weigh a little over a pound. The Apple iPad Air 5 has a screen size of 10.9 inches a tad bit less than the iPad Pro 11-inch. Added to that, both slates are lightweight and portable enough so you can easily use them in any posture. 

When it comes to design, the Apple iPad Pro 11 and iPad Air 5 are almost mirror images of each other, so it’s fair to say we have a draw in this department. 


The display is what makes or breaks the authority of an electronic device in the market. Both the slates feature a Liquid Retina display but the resolution is where all the difference lies.

The iPad Air 5 sports a 2360 X 1640 pixel display, which is slightly lesser than the iPad Pro 11’s 2388 X 1668 pixel resolution. The latter also eclipses the former in terms of the refresh rate; the iPad Pro 11 has a refresh rate of 120 Hz as compared to the iPad Air 5’s bare minimum 60 Hz.

When pitted against each other, the iPad Pro 11 emerges out to be the winner in this sector. It is a tad bit smoother and brighter than its counterpart. 


Apple iPad
Source: Apple/Amazon

The introduction of the M1 chip in the Apple iPad Air 5 is what makes the denominators equal for it to be compared to the iPad Pro 11. Also, it raises doubts whether the iPad Air 5’s arrival has actually rendered its competitor to be irrelevant and easily replaceable. 

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For those who don’t know, the iPad Pro 11 has clocked impressive scores of 1116 and 4621 for single and multi-core CPU Geekbench 5 tests respectively. Also, it can transcode a 4K video down to 1080p in 21.9 seconds. 

It remains to be seen how the iPad Air 5 fares against these numbers. If it does manage to be in a closer range to these figures, the device could serve to be a serious competitor that offers great performance at a far lower price. 

Battery life

The battery life would be a major aspect to consider if you’re planning to use your tablet for long hours. Often, many users view iPads to be the direct substitutes to their laptops, and if you’re one of that lot, battery life does hold paramount importance as to which tablet you should buy. 

The 2020 iPad Air 4 notched a battery life of around 10.5 hours; a figure we can easily expect the Air 5 to surpass. The iPad Pro 11 has an impressive battery of around 14 hours, so it remains to be seen whether the Air 5 manages to reach that range. 

Coming to comparison, this aspect too needs to be left for the future before appropriate tests are conducted to determine the worthy winner in this segment. 


Apple iPad
Source: Apple/Amazon

The Apple iPad Pro 11 features the TrueDepth sensor which does a commendable job when it comes to capturing high-quality pictures and videos. Another impressive asset of this tablet is the Center Stage feature, which automatically adjusts the frame to keep you in the center even if you’re moving around. 

Potential iPad Air 5 buyers will be please to know that the device also has the Center Stage feature along with the 12 MP front and rear camera; that’s similar to what the iPad Pro 11 offers. Direct competition between the two slates in the camera segment makes this battle all the more exciting!

A few more features…

The iPad Pro is Pro for a reason; it comes with a slew of better features in areas where the iPad Air 5 is seen lagging behind. For starters, the iPad Pro 11 users can easily unlock their tablet using the Face ID feature - an area where the Air 5 users will have to make do with the Touch ID.

Secondly, the iPad Pro 11 supports 5G connectivity, an essential feature from a futuristic perspective if you do plan to use the tablet as a phone. These features can easily be decisive for users who don’t mind shelling out cash for a powerful device.  


Apple iPad
Source: Apple/Amazon

The Apple iPad Air 5’s basic model (64GB + WiFi) will be available for $599, but we recommend going for the $749 model (256 GB + WiFi) because it offers ample amount of storage space. What’s more, this model is still a hundred bucks cheaper than the iPad Pro 11’s basic 128GB variant. 

If you’re looking for a more powerful pack, you can opt for the high-end iPad Air 5 model (256GB + WiFi Cellular) that’s available for $899. If you’re looking for a more powerful variant, the iPad Pro 11 can pack a storage space of up to 2TB; the high-end iPad Pro model (2TB + WiFi Cellular) is available at a mammoth price of $2099.

The final verdict

Apple iPad
Source: Apple/Amazon

Choosing between an iPad Air 5 and iPad Pro 11 is all a matter of preferences and requirements. Storage space will play a decisive role, so make sure you make the right choice here because there’s no going back and increasing the space once you get an iPad. 

If you’re looking to buy an iPad for business purposes and use it extensively as a substitute for your laptop or Mac, the iPad Pro 11 remains the better choice given the power and the plethora of features it offers.

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