IPad Air 4 (2020) vs iPad Air 3 (2019)


Despite the fact that the tablet market is going through hard times – most manufacturers are faced with an evolutionary dead end, Apple continues to confidently make its way. At the beginning of autumn 2020, the next Apple products were presented at the presentation, including the new iPad.

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Apple showed the low-cost iPad, already in its eighth generation, as well as the mid-budget iPad Air, 4th generation. And if with the first model it is more or less clear – the emphasis is on the minimum cost of entering the ecosystem, the iPad Air 4 turned out to be a rather interesting tablet. The model has clearly evolved, which makes even owners of the not outdated iPad Air 3 consider switching to it. Let’s consider the difference between tablets in more detail.

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IPad Air 4 and iPad Air 3 design

Almost the main and certainly the most noticeable change in the iPad Air 4 is the new design. The predecessor had classic features – with large frames and a Home button with a Touch ID scanner, as well as smoothed side edges. This format is a slightly improved form of the early iPad models.

IPad Air 3 design

IPad Air 3 (2019) design

But the iPad Air 4 is already looking to the future. Outwardly, this tablet resembles the top-end iPad Pro, whose shapes correspond to the design of the iPhone 12. The front side has thin frames around the screen. They can only be black in the 2020 model, while the predecessor also had a white version. The side edges of the iPad Air 4 are much more pronounced, the shape is no longer rounded, but a chopped “square”.

IPad Air 4 design

IPad Air 4 (2020) design

In addition to the differences in appearance, the new iPad Air 4 also received additional colors. This time the material used, aluminum, can still be green and blue by anodizing. These options are added to the silver, pink, and dark gray used in the iPad Air 3.

IPad Air 3 colors (2019)

IPad Air 3 colors (2019)

IPad Air 4 Colors (2020)

IPad Air 4 Colors (2020)

Dimensions and weight:

iPad Air 3: 250.6 x 174.1 x 6.1mm, 456g (464g with cellular)

2019 iPad Air 3 dimensions

iPad Air 4: 247.6 x 178.5 x 6.1mm, 458g (460g with cellular)

2020 iPad Air design and dimensions

The design change also led to a change in the dimensions of the tablet. The new model turned out to be slightly lower than its predecessor, but at the same time a little wider. But the thickness remains the same. Changes in weight are also not so obvious as to be emphasized. As a result, we can say that the tablet will feel the same in the hand. If you were satisfied with the convenience of working with iPad 3, then its successor will not cause discomfort. But the improved design allowed to increase the screen size.

The camera module in Pad Air 4 now protrudes 2.1mm from the body – the improved solution requires more physical space. However, this is how the camera sticks out both on the latest iPhones and on the current Android flagships.

IPad Air 4 design

Both tablets received a stereo system, but while the iPad Air 3 has a speaker grill at the bottom, then the 2020 model also has grills on the top. It may even seem that this model has four speakers. Covering one grate with your palm, the sound cannot be extinguished. Nevertheless, both tablets sound quite loud and high quality.

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IPad Air 4 and iPad Air 3 screen

The main element of any modern mobile device is the display. Users look at it first of all, engineers form the design for it and combine structural elements. A clear change in the display of the iPad Air 4 is the abandonment of the right angles of the predecessor in favor of rounded ones. Changes in the design allowed, albeit slightly, but to increase the screen size while actually the same size.

iPad Air 3: diagonal 10.5 inches, resolution 2224 × 1668 pixels, density 264 PPI.

iPad Air 4: diagonal 10.9 inches, resolution 2360 × 1640 pixels, density 264 PPI.

An increase in the diagonal is accompanied by a slight increase in resolution, which allows you to maintain the same PPI value.

IPad Air 4 (2020) display is 10.9 inches

The classic 4: 3 aspect ratio of the iPad Air 4 has changed a bit as a result of slightly stretching the screen vertically (and again, thanks for the new design of the device).

Brightness level is an important parameter for mobile devices. Both models boast a high standard value of 500 cd / m². It has already become the de facto standard for many Apple devices, including laptops. With such brightness, it is quite comfortable to work with the device outdoors, it is enough for an ordinary user. The low reflectivity of the screen also helps – only about 1.8%.

2019 iPad Air 3 display

IPad Air 3 (2019) 10.5-inch display

Both tablets feature an oleophobic anti-fingerprint coating, anti-reflective coating, True Tone white balance and wide P3 color gamut. But despite its similar appearance to the iPad Pro, the iPad Air 4 has not yet acquired the significant ProMotion feature, which allows you to increase the display frequency of the picture to 120 Hz. Still, Apple decided to clearly delineate the segments of its tablets, bringing them together, but not mixing them up.

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IPad Air 4 and iPad Air 3 performance

iPad Air 4 received the Apple A14 Bionic chipset, which is also equipped with smartphones of the iPhone 12 line. And this again makes us remember that this model is approaching the flagship. The iPad Air 3, on the other hand, is based on the still fast, but not so fast A12 Bionic of the iPhone XS.

The new six-core processor is made using 5-nanometer technology and accelerates up to 2.99 GHz, according to synthetic tests it outperforms the six-core A12 processor sometimes by 40%. The increase in graphics performance is 30%. In real life, the iPad Air 3, presented in 2018, will be enough for most tasks, the difference will be visible only in very heavy applications.

2020 iPad Air review design, cameras, specs, price

iPad Air 4 (2020)

iPad Air 4 received an impressive 4GB of RAM, while its predecessor had 3GB. This is not to say that the iPad Air 3 experienced problems with its lack, but it will not be superfluous in the future.

This is not to say that the iPad Air 3 is outdated and slow. But the novelty was even faster. Moreover, the use of the new chipset promises longer support for future iOS versions from Apple. Choosing one device from these two – it is worth choosing a newer one, which has a large margin of performance, and will get a long life in the ecosystem.

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Cameras for iPad Air 4 and iPad Air 3

Traditionally, cameras in a tablet are a nice addition, but not a working tool at all. Nevertheless, Apple does not neglect this feature, developing and improving. Moreover, today it is not the technical characteristics of the modules that come to the fore, but the possibilities of software processing of images. For example, take a look at the 2020 iPhone SE 2, which seemingly received the iPhone 8 camera, but with the help of a new processor managed to take its quality to the next level.

Main camera specifications:

iPad Air 3: 8MP wide-angle, ƒ / 2.4 aperture

iPad Air 4: 12MP wide-angle, ƒ / 1.8 aperture

The new model has a higher resolution module with an improved aperture. Combined with an advanced processor, this promises a noticeable leap forward in photo quality. Now iPad Air will be able to shoot in most scenarios, albeit not at the level of the current flagship smartphones, but at least at the level of last year. Both tablets have Live Photos, but the iPad Air 4 also has image stabilization.

2020 iPad Air cameras

Camera iPad Air 4 (2020)

The cameras of the models have a lot in common: hybrid IR cut filter, touch focusing, autofocus, exposure control, continuous shooting. But at some points, the advantage of the iPad Air 4 is clear: there is Focus Pixels technology, Smart HDR is used against Auto-HDR in its predecessor. And if the iPad Air 3 shoots panoramas with a resolution of up to 43 megapixels, then the 2020 model does them already in a resolution of up to 63 megapixels. But the flash did not appear in it, this opportunity remained the lot of the flagship iPad Pro. So in total darkness, the benefits of iPad Air 4 are almost negated.

The updated sensor and processor have impacted the video capture capabilities. If the iPad Air 3 shot 1080p HD video at 30 frames / s, then the iPad Air 4 already shoots 4K at 24/30 and even 60 frames / s. Slow motion video has also been improved – from 720p at 120fps to 1080P at 120 or 240fps.

2019 iPad Air 3 camera

Camera iPad Air 3 (2019)

The iPad Air 4 has learned to implement cinematic video stabilization instead of the usual one, tracking autofocus works, while the predecessor had to set focus with a touch of a finger on the screen. Other functions remained unchanged: “Timelapse” mode with stabilization, 3x zoom during shooting, linking video to the shooting location.

The front camera has received a minimum of changes. It’s still the same 7MP FaceTime HD module. The camera has a wide color range for photos and Live Photos, can shoot 1080p HD video, take burst shots and FaceTime video calls. But the iPad Air 4 uses Smart HDR technology to capture photos and videos, while its predecessor used Auto HDR. These changes are not determined by changes in the module, but by the new processor.

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Biometric Security in iPad Air 4 and iPad Air 3

Apple has traditionally paid increased attention to the security of devices. However, the iPad Air 4, even though it received a design similar to the iPad Pro models, did not find such a convenient Face ID scanner. The Touch ID sensor is still responsible for accessing the device and confirming a number of actions. But with the abandonment of the “Home” button, the sensor is now located on the upper edge of the device, on the side, in the power button. Now, to unlock the device, you will have to take it in a special way.

iPad Air Touch ID

Touch ID in iPad Air 4 (2020)

The solution is not the most convenient, but such is the trade-off price for thin bezels around the screen. It’s good that the sensor works really very quickly, and the sapphire coating of the button makes the touch pleasant. Changing Touch ID’s location did not degrade its performance.

Touch ID in iPad Air 3 2019

Touch ID in iPad Air 3 (2019)

The iPad Air 4 was the first Apple product to move the sensor to the power button.

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Connectivity, ports and accessories for iPad Air 4 and iPad Air 3

An important update for iPad Air 4 is abandoning the Lightning portused in Apple products for many years. To replace it, the 2020 model received a much more versatile, convenient and modern USB-C.

iPad Air USB-C

USB-C in iPad Air 4 (2020)

Moreover, the appearance of this port gives more reason to consider the iPad Air 4 as an alternative to a laptop, the same Mac. Through this interface, you can connect flash drives, cameras and numerous gadgets. Against this background, the Lightning port in iPad Air 3 looks like an anachronism.

iPad Air 4 has an updated Smart Connector on its back. This connector allows you to connect the same keyboard covers to your tablet as iPad Pro: Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio. But iPad Air 3 only supports Smart Keyboard. Of course, these keyboards cannot fully compare with the keyboards of laptops or desktop computers, but they can significantly expand the capabilities of tablets.

2020 iPad Air review design, cameras, specs, price

iPad Air 4 (2020)

Both models are capable of working with the Apple Pencil, but the iPad Air 4 supports the second generation of this accessory. With it, the input has become more accurate.

2020 Apple Air Accessories

And if on the iPad Air 3 the stylus is charged through the Lightning connector, then in the iPad Air 4 the stylus can be magnetically attached to the tablet case for similar purposes.

It is worth noting that the iPad Air 4 refused to use the 3.5 mm audio jack, while the iPad Air 3 still had it. Apple subtly encourages users to switch to wireless solutions. Unfortunately, there is no USB-C / 3.5mm adapter included with the new iPad.

iPad Air interfaces

Location of interfaces and buttons on the iPad Air 4 (2020)

iPad Air 4 has the ability to work with Wi-Fi 6 in dual bands (2.4 and 5 GHz) at speeds up to 1.2 Gbps and supports Bluetooth 5.0, while its predecessor works in dual bands, but on the Wi-Fi standard 5. The Bluetooth class is declared the same. Both devices work with gigabit LTE, the 2020 model supports several bands more than its predecessor.

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Battery and autonomy iPad Air 4 and iPad Air 3

According to the data indicated on the official Apple website, you can see that the autonomy of the two models is the same – up to 10 hours of work on the Internet via Wi-Fi or watching videos, and up to 9 hours of work when connected to mobile Internet networks. In practice, the battery capacity of the iPad Air 4 is slightly smaller, but the improved processor technology even slightly increased the device’s autonomy in some operating scenarios. The difference manifests itself best of all under maximum tablet load at maximum screen brightness – iPad Air 4 is able to work in such conditions one and a half times longer!

In addition, it should be noted that the iPad Air 4 is equipped with a more powerful 18W power adapter, while the iPad Air 3 box has a 12W charger.

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Detailed comparison of technical characteristics (specifications) iPad Air 4 and iPad Air 3

IPad Air 4 (2020) vs iPad Air 3 (2019)

IPad Air 4 and iPad Air 3 price

Both models received two storage options: 64 and 256 GB. Most often, users will choose the second option, but for professionals it will not be enough. This limitation again works for segmentation of models – iPad Pro offers storage up to 1 TB.

Prices for iPad Air 4:

Buy iPad Air 4 (2020) 64 GB Wi-Fi: 52,900 rubles.

Buy iPad Air 4 (2020) 256 GB Wi-Fi: 65,500 rubles.

Buy iPad Air 4 (2020) 64 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular: 67,000 rubles.

Buy iPad Air 4 (2020) 256 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular: 78,800 rubles.

In October 2020, the iPad Air 4 officially went on sale, thereby removing its predecessor from retail. However, stocks of iPad Air 3 will be sold out for some time. And it is this cheaper option that may seem attractive to someone.

Prices for iPad Air 3:

Buy iPad Air 3 (2019) 64 GB Wi-Fi: 40,500 rubles.

Buy iPad Air 3 (2019) 256 GB Wi-Fi: 54,100 rubles.

Buy iPad Air 3 (2019) 64 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular: 46,900 rubles.

Buy iPad Air 3 (2019) 256 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular: 59,900 rubles.

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Conclusion

iPad Air 4 proved to be a significant step forward. This model has become much better than its predecessor – faster, with a better screen and camera, support for additional accessories. The advantage of the iPad Air 3 is the Touch ID sensor located in the usual place, and the low price. But both gadgets seem to be worthy solutions at the moment. With the iPad Air 4, you can get a little more of the truly flagship options.

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