The cheap iPad vs. the iPad Air, what changes are there besides the design? — 2022

At first we see that the design is one of the main differences between an iPad 8 and an iPad Air 4. It is the most prominent difference, but not the only one. What other changes do we find between one tablet and another? Do you share specifications in any section? We will solve this and other doubts in this comparison between two of the most popular Apple tablets.

iPad 8 and iPad Air 4 specifications table

Although we always like to emphasize that the real differences between one device and another can be explained in more detail, something that we will also do in the following sections, the truth is that it is still interesting to be able to see a table first in which we know which ones the similarities and differences between these two iPads are on paper.

ipad 8 and ipad air 4

CharacteristiciPad (8th gen-2020)iPad Air (4th gen-2020)
-Space Gray
-Pink gold
-Space Gray
-Pink gold
-Sky Blue
Dimensions-Height: 25.06 cm
- Width: 17.41cm
-Thickness: 0.75cm
-Height: 24.76 cm
- Width: 17.85cm
-Thickness: 0.61cm
Weight-WiFi version: 490 grams
-WiFi + Cellular version: 495 grams
-WiFi version: 458 grams
-WiFi + Cellular version: 460 grams
Screen-10.2-inch Retina Display (IPS)
-Oleophobic anti-fingerprint cover
-10.9-inch Liquid Retina (IPS) display
-Oleophobic anti-fingerprint cover
-Integral lamination with anti-reflective film
-True Tone Technology
Resolution2,160 x 1,620 at 264 pixels per inch2,360 x 1,640 at 264 pixels per inch
BrightnessUp to 600 nits (typical)Up to 500 nits (typical)
refresh rate60 Hz60 Hz
Speakers2 speakers2 speakers with optimized sound horizontally
ProcessorA12 BionicA14 Bionic
Storage capacity-32 GB
-128 GB
-64 GB
-256 GB
Frontal camera1.2 Mpx lens with f/2.4 aperture7 Mpx lens with f/2.2 aperture
rear cameras8 Mpx lens with f/2.4 aperture12 Mpx lens with f/1.8 aperture
-Smart Connector
-Smart Connector
biometric systemsTouch ID (on Home button)Touch ID (on power button)
SIM cardIn WiFi + Cellular version: Nano SIM and eSIMIn WiFi + Cellular version: Nano SIM and eSIM
Connectivity in all versions-Wifi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax); 2.4 and 5GHz; simultaneous dual band; speeds up to 886Mb/s
-Bluetooth 5.0
-Wifi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax); 2.4 and 5GHz; simultaneous dual band; speeds up to 1.2Gb/s
-Bluetooth 5.0
Connectivity in WiFi + Cellular versions-GSM/EDGE
-Gigabit LTE (up to 27 bands)
-Integrated GPS/GNSS
-Calls via Wi-Fi
-Gigabit LTE (up to 32 bands)
-Integrated GPS/GNSS
-Calls via Wi-Fi
Official Accessory Compatibility-Smart Keyboard
-Apple Pencil (1ª gen.)
-Smart Keyboard Folio
-Magic Keyboard
-Apple Pencil (2ª gen.)
Prices at AppleFrom 379 eurosFrom 649 euros

* About RAM: Apple does not offer official RAM data for these iPads since they consider that their importance is not as high as in other tablets due to the good integration of software and hardware designed by themselves. The data has been obtained from different tests and analyzes carried out by experts.

Two very different design styles

As we said at the beginning and surely you have already verified yourself just by looking at the photographs in this article, the design of these iPads is very different. In the normal iPad, the eighth generation, we find the more classic style from Apple for its tablets: pronounced bezels on the front, Home button, curved side edges... On the iPad Air, for its part, we find a latest design with those reduced bezels with the elimination of the Home button and flat sides with curved corners that make it look aesthetically similar to the iPad Pro.

ipad and ipad air design

At the level of materials in the rear we find certain similarities, although the color range is shared in the case of silver, space gray and rose gold, in the 'Air' we find two more tremendously elegant colors: green and blue. This last one stands out especially for the way in which its perception changes depending on the intensity of the light that falls on it and where that spotlight is placed.

Judging one as better or worse in an aspect like this is highly subjective. It is understood that the 'Air' adopts a more modern design as it will be the most widespread in the iPad range for the future and the one that makes the most of the size of the body to fill it with a screen. The regular iPad looks kind of old-fashioned, but that doesn't mean it's any less stylish or practical. In the end, each one can have their own perception, all of them being very lawful.

Is the iPad Air screen so different?

Beyond the design mentioned above and that the 'Air' has a more modern air by better extending its screen on the front, at a technical level there are certain differences that you will have been able to see in the comparative table in the first section. Besides that the iPad Air has a bigger screen by 0.7 inches, incorporates a plate that is not only noticeable visually, but also to the touch another sensation is experienced that, to a greater or lesser degree, can be more pleasant. In addition to adding the true tone technology that allows the color of the screen to vary depending on the ambient light conditions, although this can be deactivated from the settings.

ipads on ipad 2020 and ipad air 2020

For everything else, despite the better resolution of the 'Air', the screen of the basic iPad is not bad at all. Obviously it is not comparable with those of the most advanced models either, but it is a panel that looks good in practically any light situation and unless you need the best in this section, you will not miss anything. And if you are in that case, we are sorry to tell you that the 'Air' is also not the iPad with the best screen at all levels.

In performance there are notable differences

The processors of both devices have been designed to work perfectly on both computers (also on the iPhone) and the fact that they were designed by Apple, something that we mentioned when talking about RAM, allows everything to be tremendously fluid and many years of software updates can be guaranteed. Now one is an A12 (iPad) and one is an A14 (iPad Air). And no, these chips are not the same.

The difference from one generation to the next in terms of microprocessors may seem non-existent at first and in a use that is not intensive. But when there are two generations that separate the two chips, as in this case, the difference is already noticeable on a practical level and, of course, in the highest demands. The iPad Air A14 chip it gives an amazing fluidity to the system, allowing heavy tasks to be carried out efficiently and in a fairly correct time (video processing in editing, photography, etc.). Of course, it is not designed so that these types of tasks are carried out on a regular and continuous basis, since the A12Z Bionic and M1 outperform them, being more suitable for those heavy tasks.

a12 bionic y a14 bionic

The iPad A12 2020 It is a chip that will also allow you to execute those heavy tasks that we mentioned, although with longer times and in a much less efficient way. For this reason, it would not be recommended to carry out this type of process if it is not very sporadic or extremely necessary. For everything else, it is a very balanced processor that perfectly manages the terminal's battery and software.

Storage capacities, scarce?

Let's go by parts and from best to worst. The iPad Air has 64 GB or 256 GB versions. The most basic can be an ideal capacity for those who combine it with cloud storage services, although it will also depend on the use made of the iPad because today it can still be considered a scarce capacity. With 256 GB there seems to be no such problem, although there will still be those who could ask for something more, the truth is that in terms of value for money it is more than acceptable.

The problem could come in the 32 and 128 GB of the iPad 2020 . The low capacity of the most basic version forces this device to be focused on users who don't store a lot of content on their iPad, taking advantage of other online functions and streaming multimedia playback. The 128 GB could be more accurate, although it still falls short. In any case, this is a point that ultimately determines a lot the user profile and opt for one or another iPad.

Both iPads have Touch ID, but with differences

The fingerprint sensor of these iPad is in the end the same. Same security and efficiency, whether you're unlocking your device, accessing iCloud Keychain passwords, or making payments using Apple Pay. Its difference from this Touch ID lies in the position in which it is integrated, since on the iPad 2020 it remains on the Home button as it has done traditionally and on the iPad Air it is on the top button (or side depending on how you look at it). ). In the end, both can be more comfortable or uncomfortable depending on the situation, but knowing that they are reliable should not be a negative point in any case.

Touch ID iPhone

At the battery level they perform practically the same

Something fundamental in any device of this type is that it has good autonomy. It is really very complex to give a single data of duration, since in the end it will depend on the use that each one makes of the device and the hours that it is being used. Apple gives an approximation of between 9 and 10 hours of video playback or internet browsing. In practice, both behave very similarly in this section, offering plenty of battery for a day of professional use or a few multimedia playback. Of course, in the case of the iPad, a shorter duration is noticeable if more demanding processes are carried out, but in any case it should be enough for at least 6 uninterrupted hours without requiring the charger.

To what extent are cameras important?

Go ahead, we understand that an iPad is not usually a device widely used for photos or videos, mainly for reasons of comfort given its size. However, there may be those who, to a greater or lesser extent, can take advantage of the technology that is offered. The capabilities of the cameras of these iPads are the following:

ipad and ipad air cameras

specsiPad (8th gen-2020)iPad Air (4th gen-2020)
photos front camera-1.2 Mpx camera with f/2.4 aperture
-Retina Flash
-7 Mpx camera with f/2.2 aperture
-Retina Flash
-Smart HDR 3
Videos front camera-Recording in 720p HD
Cinema-quality video stabilization
-Recording in 1,080p HD
Cinema-quality video stabilization
Photos rear cameras-8 Mpx wide-angle camera with f / 2.4 aperture
-Close-up zoom: x5 (digital)
-12 Mpx wide-angle camera with f / 1.8 aperture
-Close-up zoom: x5 (digital)
-Smart HDR 3
Videos rear cameras-Recording in 1,080p at 30 frames per second
-Close-up zoom: x3 (digital)
-Slow motion in 720p at 120 frames per second
-Video in time-lapse with stabilization
-Recording in 4K at 24, 25, 30 or 60 frames per second
-Recording in 1080p at 60 frames per second
-Close-up zoom: x3 (digital)
-Slow motion in 1080p at 120 or 240 frames per second
-Video in time-lapse with stabilization

The difference between them is big, especially in the front camera. Even the improvements of the iPad Air in the back may not convince you if it is not a decisive point for you, but you should keep in mind that the lens of only 1.2 Mpx of the iPad 2020 falls extremely short for actions that are already as everyday as video calls.

Compatible accessories and switching with USB-C

You can add to any of them keyboards, cases, mice, trackpads, headphones and any other type of accessory that works through a Bluetooth connection. Now, if we refer to official Apple accessories, both have a smart connector that makes them compatible with keyboards such as the Smart Keyboard , each one adapted to its size. What we do not find is the possibility of using the Magic Keyboard con trackpad on the regular iPad, as it's exclusive to the 'Air' and 'Pro' models. Regarding the Apple Pencil , the iPad is only compatible with the first generation and the Air with the second generation. And before you ask, no, you can't use the first generation on the 'Air'.

ipad and ipad air accessories

Where we do find an important difference is in the port they have , which not only serves to charge the battery but also for the connection of accessories such as external storage drives. The iPad Air has greater compatibility because it incorporates the USB-C standard, while Apple's proprietary Lightning has serious limitations due to the speed it offers, in addition to needing adapters in most cases.

Very different prices on these Apple tablets

The price factor, as always, is a factor that can be decisive. between the two there is difference of 270 euros that increases more as the capacity increases, so it is something to take into account if the economic aspect is decisive for you in your decision between one iPad and another.

iPad price (8th generation – 2020)

    Wi-Fi versions
    • 32 GB: €379
    • 128 GB: €479
    Wi-Fi + Cellular Versions
    • 32 GB: €519
    • 128 GB: €619

Of course, you can always find some interesting offers in other stores. On Amazon it usually has a temporary discount sporadically.

iPad (8th gen 2020) buy it at Amazon Logo EUR 317.22 Amazon Logo

iPad Air price (4th generation – 2020)

    Wi-Fi versions
    • 64 GB: €649
    • 256 GB: €819
    Wi-Fi + Cellular Versions
    • 64 GB: €789
    • 256 GB: €959

Like the previous one, this one can also be bought on Amazon and sometimes with more than interesting offers than in an Apple Store.

iPad Air (4th gen 2020) buy it at EUR 584.10

Which one is better to buy based on your profile?

The million dollar question. Obviously with an iPad Air you will have a more complete experience, since at the level of specifications it is a better machine. Now, why is it recommended for everyone? Well not really. On the basis of the price difference, the iPad normal It could be more focused on students and the general public who do not look for professional equipment on the iPad and, if they use it for this, it is reduced to the use of office applications or taking notes, as well as managing agenda or email. It is also ideal as a family iPad so that even the smallest of the house can use it.

For everything else, the iPad Air It is more intended for those that carry out actions like those described above, but with greater fluidity and improvements in design, processor and screen. It also opens up a public niche that requires you to perform heavier tasks on a regular basis, although it will still not be the most suitable if these tasks are extremely demanding and are carried out on a daily basis. In that case, I would already be entering the field of the 'Pro'.