There is one big difference between the iPad Pro vs. iPad Air 2, and it’s a pretty obvious one. But despite the larger screen, the price differential between the two Apple iPad models, contrasted with the new generation of internals and support for accessories such as the Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard, pose an interesting question on the winner between the iPad Pro vs. iPad Air 2.
Price-wise, the iPad Air 2 definitely wins out in terms of savings. Apple is currently selling the iPad Air 2 for $499 for a 16GB model, $599 for a 64GB model and $699 for the 128GB model. Adding a cellular connection to the iPad Air 2 will cost an extra $130.
The iPad Pro however is far pricier. To hand over an iPad Pro, Apple is asking for $799 for the Wi-Fi only 32GB model, $949 for the Wi-Fi only 128GB model and $1,079 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular 128GB model. At the moment, Apple is currently not selling a 32GB iPad Pro model with both Wi-Fi + Cellular connectivity. Keep in mind that the MacBook Air starts at $899.
So what are you getting for a 30-percent increase in price? First and foremost, the largest iPad screen to date. iPad Pro’s number one selling feature is its screen, which measures 12.9-inches diagonally. The iPad Air 2 on the other hand has a screen size that measures 9.7-inches diagonally. Funnily enough, that comes to right around a 30-percent increase in screen size between the iPad Pro vs. iPad Air 2 tablets’ retina displays. 33-percent, to be exact.
Resolution wise, both tablets have a pixels per inch (ppi) density of 264-ppi, but the iPad Pro is capable outputting a screen resolution quality of 2,732-by-2,048-pixels, while the iPad Air 2 caps out at 2048-by-1536-pixels.
GPU and RAM is where the iPad Pro truly shines compared to the iPad Air 2 though. The iPad Pro comes with 4GB RAM and the new A9X processor chip, the upgraded version of the chip currently powering the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. The iPad Air 2 on the other hand has half the amount of RAM at 2GB and comes with the A8X processor chip, the previous generation of Apple’s processor chips.
Both the iPad Pro vs. iPad Air 2 are available in Silver, Gold and Space Gray, but the iPad Pro does have the option of using new Apple accessories such as the Apple Pencil, which is capable of detecting shading just like a regular pencil on a piece of paper, and the Smart Keyboard, which is a physical keyboard iPad Pro users can use to type that doubles as a case. There are third-party keyboard cases for the iPad Air 2 however, although they don’t fit as nicely designed as the iPad Pro and the Smart Keyboard.
Battery wise Apple is quoting the iPad Pro and iPad Air 2 as both being capable of lasting for 10 hours while “surﬁng the web on Wi ‑ Fi, watching video, or listening to music.” The iPad Pro technically does have a larger battery, at 10,307-mAh to the iPad Air 2’s 7,340-mAh, but the extra screen size and beefed up internals get their own back in power consumption.
The last advantage of the iPad Pro over the iPad Air 2 is the iPad Pro’s new speaker system. Apple is particularly proud of this feature, which allows the iPad Pro to sense how it is being held and dynamically adjust the treble and bass output in each speaker to compensate. The iPad Air 2 comes with the typical iPad speaker system.
Camera wise, both Apple iPad tablets have an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and an 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera. These cameras are capable of recording up to 1080p HD video and 720p HD video respectively.
If you have the cash to burn, the iPad Pro is definitely the better tablet vs. the iPad Air 2. But if all you’re using the iPad for is watching Netflix while you’re laying sick in bed, or looking up actor names while watching TV, the larger screen size is nice but not necessarily critical to enjoying the iPad experience.