Compared: 2019 iPad 7th generation vs iPad Pro vs iPad Air & mini

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 14
With this week's launch of the new 2019 iPad, Apple has now updated all three of its non-Pro models of the iPad -- and made choosing between the iPad 7th generation vs iPad Pro vs iPad Air and iPad mini more difficult. But AppleInsider can help you out with your questions.

2019 iPad 7th Generation vs iPad Pro vs iPad Air vs iPad mini
Apple offers a variety of options with its 2019 iPad 7th generation vs iPad Pro vs iPad Air vs iPad mini


You already know if you're in the market for an iPad Pro. There's the larger screen -- 11 inches or 12.9 inches -- plus the speed, and perhaps the storage capacity. We might all want them, but if these features mean enough to you that they're worth the extra cost, you know about it.

It's when you're looking at all the other iPads that it's harder to choose what is best for you. The differences are much more subtle, and ultimately the trade-off between them is much finer.

Charting the differences

If you had to say what the one biggest difference between the fifth generation iPad mini, the third generation iPad Air, and the seventh generation iPad, you'd say it's the price.

So much of everything else is so similar that either you have to think very carefully before you buy -- you just point randomly and know that you'll like which you end up with.

iPad mini (fifth generation)iPad Air (third generation)iPad (seventh generation)iPad Pro 11-inch
Price$399$499$329$799
Screen size (ins)7.910.510.211
Resolution2048 x 1536 at 326dpi2224 x 1668 at 264dpi2160 x 1620 at 264dpi2388 x 1668 at 264dpi
Brightness (nits)500500500600
Display type:Retina, True Tone, fully laminatedRetina, True Tone, fully laminatedRetinaLiquid Retina display, ProMotion technology, True Tone
ProcessorA12 Bionic with Neural Engine and embedded M12 coprocessorA12 Bionic with Neural Engine and embedded M12 coprocessorA10 Fusion with embedded M10 coprocessorA12 X Bionic with Neural Engine, embedded M12 coprocessor
Apple PencilFirst generationFirst generationFirst generationSecond generation
Smart ConnectorNoYesYesYes
Dimensions (ins)8.0 x 5.3 x 0.249.8 x 6.8 x 0.249.8 x 6.8 x 0.29 9.74 x 7.02 x 0.23
Weight (lbs)0.681.021.071.03
Rear Camera (megapixels)88812
Video recording1080p1080p1080p4K
BiometricTouch IDTouch IDTouch IDFace ID
Speakers2224

One exception

Other than price, there is one feature that by itself may determine which is the right iPad for you, and that's the size. Specifically, it's the size of the iPad mini.

The 2019 fifth generation iPad mini has that 7.9-inch screen which might sound like an inadequate middle ground between a too-big iPhone and a too-small iPad. In practice, the size of the iPad mini makes it irresistibly handy.

That iPad mini is lighter than any other iPad, it is considerably smaller than the rest, and it gives you a display that has the highest density of pixels. Its 2,048x1,536 resolution means it has 326dpi compared to the 264dpi of the rest of the range.

Its display is a Retina, True Tone and fully-laminated one, too. Being fully laminated means that the device can be thinner, because the screen is thinner than a non-laminated one. The iPad Air third generation is the same, but the new seventh generation iPad is not.

That one has a Retina display, which means it is lacking True Tone, but also there is an air gap between the glass and the rest of the display technology. That doesn't sound as good, but it should provide an advantage -- if you crack the glass, it is much easier to replace it than replacing the entire unit on a laminated model.

Full-size iPads

What you get with display on the new seventh generation iPad, and the current iPad Air, though, is size. The 10.2 inches of the new iPad is arguably easier to read than the denser iPad mini display, but it's also better than the old iPad's 9.7 inches.

2019 iPad 7th Generation vs iPad Pro
Deciding whether to buy the latest iPad 7th generation vs iPad Pro vs Air or even mini can be a difficult decision


You can get slightly more screen display by buying the iPad Air, but it's hair-splitting. The iPad Air screen is 10.5 inches instead of 10.2 inches, for instance, and it retains the same 264dpi resolution.

The casing of the latest iPad has the same overall width and height of the iPad Air, but it's a fraction thicker -- at 0.29 inches compared to 0.24 inches -- and weighs more at 1.07 pounds instead of 1.02 pounds.

Visible differences

You're not going to see much in the way of physical differences between the two full-size iPads, the new seventh generation iPad and the current iPad Air, not without a magnifying glass. However, you will see a difference when you use them both.

Apple's new iPad has an A10 Fusion chip with an embedded M10 coprocessor, while both the current iPad Air and the iPad mini have an A12 Bionic processor, with Neural Engine and embedded M12 coprocessor.

Written down, you can see which is going to be the best, but the numbers don't really convey how significant the differences are.

The new seventh generation iPad is the slowest of the range.

Not pro

However, even though you will see and feel the difference in performance between these machines, you're not likely to notice it unless you have the two side by side. The iPad's A10 Fusion processor is not exactly a slouch.

You can use an Apple Pencil with it just as much as you can with the iPad Air and the iPad mini. Though note that in all these cases, it's the first-generation Apple Pencil that you can use.

Then, too, you'll not only be able to watch videos on any of these iPads and not notice a difference, you'll be able to shoot them, too. They have the same front and rear cameras for taking photographs and for recording video.

Choosing

It's true that Apple has made it less obvious which iPad to buy, but it has also smoothed out some differences to make sure that you like whichever one you get.

Plus it's ended up giving you just two yardsticks by which to measure these iPads. There's the price, in which case the new seventh generation iPad wins because it is $70 cheaper than the iPad mini. And it's $170 cheaper than the iPad Air.

Budget is the only reason to buy a seventh generation iPad, though. The iPad Air third generation is much better value for your money.

If you can spend more, though, you might be straying into the market for the 11-inch iPad Pro. That beats all the rest for having the biggest screen size, the fastest processor -- the A12 X Bionic -- and the fact that it has to use the improved, second generation Apple Pencil.

It's also got a better Liquid Retina display that includes ProMotion, the ability for the iPad to save power and provide performance by invisibly speeding up or down different parts of the screen. Then the iPad Pro 11-inch model has a better rear camera -- 12 megapixels instead of 8 -- and overall a better front camera too.

2019 iPad 7th Generation vs iPad Pro tablet
The iPad Pro is more expensive, but offers a lot to professional users compared to the 7th generation iPad


The current iPad mini and iPad Air have the same 7-megapixel count on their front cameras, but they are in FaceTime HD quality where the iPad Pro 11-inch has TrueDepth.

It's just that the iPad Pro 11-inch is $799, although it can often be found on sale at Amazon. That's $300 more (retail) than the iPad Air. It's $480 more expensive than the new iPad.

If these features mean the iPad Pro is worth your extra cash, you know it and should go for it. For the rest of us, the iPad Air is the best combination of size, power and price.

Where to buy

Apple's latest iPads are currently available for purchase from multiple Apple Authorized Resellers. In the case of Adorama, the prices displayed are the final prices for shoppers in 46 states. B&H is also throwing in free expedited shipping within the contiguous U.S. on most iPad orders, including the 7th generation iPad.

iPad Price Guides

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    I jumped on the mini 5 LTE 256g as soon as it hit. It is a wonderful piece of gear. I have an iPad 6 128g also a wonderful piece. A huge factor for how they both fit my usage is that they both retain the 3.5mm audio line output. It would be a real hassle to use iPad for professional audio apps without the jack.
    cgWerksGeorgeBMacargonautwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 15
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,314member
    MisterKit said:
    I jumped on the mini 5 LTE 256g as soon as it hit. It is a wonderful piece of gear. I have an iPad 6 128g also a wonderful piece. A huge factor for how they both fit my usage is that they both retain the 3.5mm audio line output. It would be a real hassle to use iPad for professional audio apps without the jack.
    That is a great point about the 3.5mm jack. My son's old mini is having some issues (volume auto maxes out sometimes... probably a switch issue), but he's been wanting a newer one some days soon anyway. He often ends up charging while using it with headphones. I suppose there is some odd dongle/cable thing that can do both, but having that jack is quite nice (and should make it more durable too).
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 15
    The difference between the 10.2” new iPad and the fully laminated 10.5” iPad Air are much more than stating the thickness of the device.

    It’s noticeable looking through the thicker glass and when you’re tapping your fingers away on it, it feels chintzy and hollow with low drumming tap sounds.

    Comparably the thinner laminated display is thick and solid and feels like you’re viewing the display right at the surface.

    i know this because I manage an iPad program at a Japanese Language school and I’ve spent too much time with iPads for the last four years. 🤪
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 15
    I've never understood why the differences in the A series chips is always downplayed with "you won't notice unless they're side by side" etc. when differences in Intel chips in laptops is rarely treated that way. Laptop chips always have the how-many-months-since-the-last-refresh attached to them like it's vitally important to get a next generation chip to run the exact same legacy software people have been running for years and years.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 15
    Are there any WIFI differences between the models?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 15
    For me, the difference in handling between the Mini and any other iPad tends to make the Mini the clear choice:  Picking it up, holding it, putting it down all feel normal, easy and natural.   The larger iPads all feel awkward and unstable -- I have to worry about dropping them.

    And, the screen on the Mini is perfectly adequate for the things I tend to use it for:  Which are all single screen type things:  one thing running at one time.   If I started using multiple windows or split screen I might want a larger iPad.   But, for me, the Mini is the ideal size.
    argonautcgWerkswatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 15
    I've never understood why the differences in the A series chips is always downplayed with "you won't notice unless they're side by side" etc. when differences in Intel chips in laptops is rarely treated that way. Laptop chips always have the how-many-months-since-the-last-refresh attached to them like it's vitally important to get a next generation chip to run the exact same legacy software people have been running for years and years.
    It's incumbent upon the reader to separate the wheat info from the chaff marketing.    AI's axiom about not noticing without a direct comparison is true and can be applied to almost anything.  What you're describing with laptop chips happens with pretty much every product that has a yearly release cycle... including iPhones with A series chips.  Apple was just touting the %-age improvements of the A13 over the A12.  There's no mystery surrounding why the companies do it.  They want to sell their newest products.  Nothing wrong with that.

    A review or comparison is typically where you'll see the "you won't notice unless..." and it's entirely appropriate for it to be included there.  By and large, it's mostly true.  If I tell you my new app opens 15% faster than my old app it's not going to mean anything without proper context.  My old app opens in 0.5 sec.  So that would mean my new app opens in 0.425 sec.  Without a side by side comparison there'd be no way for you to gauge 15% faster.  More importantly, laptop reviews typically include benchmarks that show the side by side comparions so the argument really doesn't hold up.  
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 8 of 15
    I've never understood why the differences in the A series chips is always downplayed with "you won't notice unless they're side by side" etc. when differences in Intel chips in laptops is rarely treated that way. Laptop chips always have the how-many-months-since-the-last-refresh attached to them like it's vitally important to get a next generation chip to run the exact same legacy software people have been running for years and years.
    It's incumbent upon the reader to separate the wheat info from the chaff marketing.    AI's axiom about not noticing without a direct comparison is true and can be applied to almost anything.  What you're describing with laptop chips happens with pretty much every product that has a yearly release cycle... including iPhones with A series chips.  Apple was just touting the %-age improvements of the A13 over the A12.  There's no mystery surrounding why the companies do it.  They want to sell their newest products.  Nothing wrong with that.

    A review or comparison is typically where you'll see the "you won't notice unless..." and it's entirely appropriate for it to be included there.  By and large, it's mostly true.  If I tell you my new app opens 15% faster than my old app it's not going to mean anything without proper context.  My old app opens in 0.5 sec.  So that would mean my new app opens in 0.425 sec.  Without a side by side comparison there'd be no way for you to gauge 15% faster.  More importantly, laptop reviews typically include benchmarks that show the side by side comparions so the argument really doesn't hold up.  
    Yes, good points!  
    Much of it is marketing as we are conditioned to believe that more is always better.   But, that is only true if you use it.

    Buying a new car I was debating between a 4 and 6 cylinder and leaning towards the 6.   A good salesmen told me:  "Let's a take a 4 out for a drive and see if you need more".   I realized then, after driving a 4, I really didn't need a 6.

    Or, a friend's laptop was becoming slow to the point of being unusable.   I swapped her harddrive for $40 SSD and now the laptop is back to form and she is happy with it.

    Both Intel and A series procesors have been "powerful" enough for several years now.  I'm typing this on a 9 year old laptop that runs perfectly well (although it could use some new thermal paste).
    muthuk_vanalingamcgWerkswatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 15
    nhtnht Posts: 4,496member
    I've never understood why the differences in the A series chips is always downplayed with "you won't notice unless they're side by side" etc. when differences in Intel chips in laptops is rarely treated that way. Laptop chips always have the how-many-months-since-the-last-refresh attached to them like it's vitally important to get a next generation chip to run the exact same legacy software people have been running for years and years.
    It's incumbent upon the reader to separate the wheat info from the chaff marketing.    AI's axiom about not noticing without a direct comparison is true and can be applied to almost anything.  What you're describing with laptop chips happens with pretty much every product that has a yearly release cycle... including iPhones with A series chips.  Apple was just touting the %-age improvements of the A13 over the A12.  There's no mystery surrounding why the companies do it.  They want to sell their newest products.  Nothing wrong with that.

    A review or comparison is typically where you'll see the "you won't notice unless..." and it's entirely appropriate for it to be included there.  By and large, it's mostly true.  If I tell you my new app opens 15% faster than my old app it's not going to mean anything without proper context.  My old app opens in 0.5 sec.  So that would mean my new app opens in 0.425 sec.  Without a side by side comparison there'd be no way for you to gauge 15% faster.  More importantly, laptop reviews typically include benchmarks that show the side by side comparions so the argument really doesn't hold up.  
    specs matter now if you are a gamer or want to use multiple apps at a time.  The other spec not discussed is RAM.

    specs matter later when ios15 is slow on an A10 with 2GB RAM and ios16 is not supported for these iPads but are for the ones that have 3GB ram and an a12.

    The mini is likely far more future proof than the iPad.
    GeorgeBMacmontrosemacsmuthuk_vanalingamcgWerkswatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 15
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,728member
    nht said:
    I've never understood why the differences in the A series chips is always downplayed with "you won't notice unless they're side by side" etc. when differences in Intel chips in laptops is rarely treated that way. Laptop chips always have the how-many-months-since-the-last-refresh attached to them like it's vitally important to get a next generation chip to run the exact same legacy software people have been running for years and years.
    It's incumbent upon the reader to separate the wheat info from the chaff marketing.    AI's axiom about not noticing without a direct comparison is true and can be applied to almost anything.  What you're describing with laptop chips happens with pretty much every product that has a yearly release cycle... including iPhones with A series chips.  Apple was just touting the %-age improvements of the A13 over the A12.  There's no mystery surrounding why the companies do it.  They want to sell their newest products.  Nothing wrong with that.

    A review or comparison is typically where you'll see the "you won't notice unless..." and it's entirely appropriate for it to be included there.  By and large, it's mostly true.  If I tell you my new app opens 15% faster than my old app it's not going to mean anything without proper context.  My old app opens in 0.5 sec.  So that would mean my new app opens in 0.425 sec.  Without a side by side comparison there'd be no way for you to gauge 15% faster.  More importantly, laptop reviews typically include benchmarks that show the side by side comparions so the argument really doesn't hold up.  
    specs matter now if you are a gamer or want to use multiple apps at a time.  The other spec not discussed is RAM.

    specs matter later when ios15 is slow on an A10 with 2GB RAM and ios16 is not supported for these iPads but are for the ones that have 3GB ram and an a12.

    The mini is likely far more future proof than the iPad.
    I don’t think Apple has ever not supported a device for less than 2 iOS upgrades, so I’m quite sure iOS 16 will be supported on the A10, just not sure how responsive it will be. 

    My wife’s ipad is 5 years old. She’s used it consistently for the last 5 years and it’s served her well, but it’s definitely showing its age. I’m planning on getting her a new iPad for Christmas and it will be the iPad Air. The larger screen will be nice but more importantly for me is the processor. Even for someone who’s not a power user, the A12 processor will guarantee a significantly longer usable life span than the A10.
    MisterKitmuthuk_vanalingamargonautcgWerkswatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 15
    Wow this is a lazy article, AI. What about the storage size, RAM size and, most importantly, Geekbench scores? Apple keeps comparing its iOS devices to computers. You should include the same specs as computers when you compare them.
  • Reply 12 of 15
    I don’t think Apple would have released the new A10 iPad 7 if the A10 is not able to handle the next few iOS releases.

    Up until iOS 12 new versions really bogged down older hardware. iOS 12 and iOS 13 turn that trend around. They both improve performance. It is a good trend.
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 15
    MisterKit said:
    I don’t think Apple would have released the new A10 iPad 7 if the A10 is not able to handle the next few iOS releases.

    Up until iOS 12 new versions really bogged down older hardware. iOS 12 and iOS 13 turn that trend around. They both improve performance. It is a good trend.
    I suspect that, like older laptops, the A10s will perform well for a number of years doing the standard functions (FaceBook, etc.).   But they will not be able to handle a lot of the fancy stuff coming down the pike like AR and AI and heavy duty gaming
  • Reply 14 of 15
    TimeManTimeMan Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    It's amazing to me that the reviewer left out the most important difference between the iPad Air and iPad. The GB storage space. iPad is limited to 128GB. iPad Air 256GB. That's a huge difference. I filled up my 64GB storage during my first year. Then I had to remove all my music and half my audio books because it kept going over the 64GB. Think how fast I'd go through 128GB. Note: I have no videos on my iPad. So for me this is a no brainer. iPad Air.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 15
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,314member
    For me, the difference in handling between the Mini and any other iPad tends to make the Mini the clear choice:  Picking it up, holding it, putting it down all feel normal, easy and natural.   The larger iPads all feel awkward and unstable -- I have to worry about dropping them.

    And, the screen on the Mini is perfectly adequate for the things I tend to use it for:  Which are all single screen type things:  one thing running at one time.   If I started using multiple windows or split screen I might want a larger iPad.   But, for me, the Mini is the ideal size.
    For sure. My wife wouldn't get anything but the mini, as one of her primary uses is like a Kindle reader, and watching videos, etc. The bigger iPads are just too huge for that kind of thing. Or, my son... a kid probably is going to prefer the smaller size too, especially after putting it in a bit more ruggedized case (a bigger iPad would just get unruly and massive).

    I, on the other hand, use my iPad mostly as a laptop replacement for mobile use, or for doing things when my Mac is in Bootcamp/Windows mode, so I don't have to switch. I'd love the compact nature of the iPad mini, but I just want/need that bigger size visually (easier on my aging eyes) and any more space I can get.

    GeorgeBMac said:
    Both Intel and A series procesors have been "powerful" enough for several years now.  I'm typing this on a 9 year old laptop that runs perfectly well (although it could use some new thermal paste).
    I think that is really the key point, at least for the average user.

    The reason that matters more to the 'power users' on Intel, is that a thousandth of a second in a UI element or launching an app, etc. doesn't matter too much where that same percent shaved off some bigger process might well matter (ie. instead of 24 hours of rending, if you can reduce it to 22, that's a big win worth $$).

    Few people are doing 'power user' type stuff on A-series yet, so it's just kind of trivia type statistics at this point.

    nht said:
    ... The other spec not discussed is RAM.

    specs matter later when ios15 is slow on an A10 with 2GB RAM and ios16 is not supported for these iPads but are for the ones that have 3GB ram and an a12.
    Good point. When I saw the story that all the new iPhones are 4GB of RAM, it makes me think the writing is kind of on the wall for most of our even slightly older devices. I kind of doubt we'll make it to iOS 16 with them. I'm guessing we'll be lucky if we get to iOS 14 with 2GB of RAM, maybe even with 3GB.

    MplsP said:
    I don’t think Apple has ever not supported a device for less than 2 iOS upgrades, so I’m quite sure iOS 16 will be supported on the A10, just not sure how responsive it will be. 
    Another good point. I guess we should be differentiating officially supported vs effectively supported. My iPad 2 went for a LONG time, but it was effectively dead once iOS 7 came out.

    MisterKit said:
    I don’t think Apple would have released the new A10 iPad 7 if the A10 is not able to handle the next few iOS releases.
    I don't know. Apple also sells iPhone 7 (now 8) as a new, lower priced devices. I think Apple thinks those devices (and probably the iPad 6, now 7) are so cheap (in their eyes) that they don't expect anyone to expect them to have as long of life as the higher priced models. I don't think that is a good idea, but I think it is the reality of the current Apple's thinking. Lower priced models should be less powerful or missing features, but shouldn't have lesser life-spans, IMO.

    MisterKit said:
    Up until iOS 12 new versions really bogged down older hardware. iOS 12 and iOS 13 turn that trend around. They both improve performance. It is a good trend.
    I don't have a huge range of hardware to test on, but for example, on my iPhone SE, I didn't notice much of a difference.
    watto_cobra
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