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iPad 10th gen vs iPad Air 2022: Which is best for you?

Apple has refreshed both its base iPad and iPad Air range this year, introducing new designs and features. But of these two new additions to the series, which is best for you?

Apple has released three new iPads this year, including the iPad 10th gen, iPad Air 2022 and the iPad Pro M2. With three new additions to the most iconic ranges, we thought it was high time to figure out which tablet is best suited for you.

Since we have reviewed both the iPad 10th gen and iPad Air 2022, we’re going to be running through some of the key specs of each tablet, including the price point, design, battery and display, so you can see every way that they differ. Read on to find out which iPad is best for you.

Pricing

The iPad 10th gen has become a lot more expensive when compared to its predecessor, the iPad 9, thanks to its new design and specs, which we will touch on later. The price breakdown of the iPad 10 and its various configurations are listed below.

  • 64GB with Wi-Fi: £499/$499/€589
  • 64GB with cellular: £679/$599/€789
  • 256GB with Wi-Fi: £679/$599/€789
  • 256GB with cellular: £859/$749/€989

The iPad Air range is more expensive than the base iPad series, especially if you’re looking for the highest storage option with cellular support. We have broken down the iPad Air 2022 prices below.

  • 64GB with Wi-Fi: £699/$599/€789
  • 64GB with cellular: £849/$749/€989
  • 256GB with Wi-Fi: £849/$749/€989
  • 256GB with cellular: £1,029/$899/€1,189

Design

The iPad 10th gen underwent a massive redesign, bringing in a modern look with the flat back and sides. The Touch ID button has been ditched for a biometrically skilled power key, and the bezel has been slimmed down to create a sleeker look.

It comes in at 10g lighter than the iPad 9, and we noted that it felt sturdy and rigid to use, even when pressure was applied. Moreover, it now features a USB-C charging port instead of Apple’s own Lighting port. Not only does this allow for faster charging but it means that you can easily attach SD card dongles and HDMI ports, turning it into a much more versatile device.

ipad 10th gen front
iPad 10. Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

There is no 3.5mm audio jack, which is a little disappointing seeing as this device is aimed at students and children, who may not have a pair of Bluetooth earbuds handy.

In terms of colourways, Apple has opted for a pastel aesthetic, offering the iPad up in Blue, Pink, Silver and Yellow. We really liked the Pink and Yellow options as we thought they popped, and Silver is a good pick for someone that’s after something a little safer.

iPad Air 2022
iPad Air 5. Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Turning to the iPad Air, it sports a very similar design to its predecessor, the iPad Air 4 and is certainly the inspiration for the iPad we’re comparing it against.

It features an enlarged power button on the top with Touch ID smarts, in the same vein as the iPad 10, as well as the same USB-C charging port and lack of an audio jack. Unlike the iPad 10, however, we noticed an odd quirk, wherein if you grip the tablet and twist it slightly you will hear a distinct cracking noise, which we assume is the battery.

The App Store on the iPad Air 2022
iPad Air 5. Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

While this did not cause any noticeable problems, it was an uncomfortable noise to hear especially on a tablet that costs this much.

The iPad Air has a few more options in terms of colour, sticking with the same pale pastel colour wheel as the iPad 10. It can be purchased in Space Grey, Blue, Pink, Purple and Starlight.

Display

The base iPad comes with a 10.9-inch LED-backlit display with a 2360×1640 resolution. It has up to 500 nits of brightness and supports True Tone, as well as the 1st generation Apple Pencil.

We thought that the display felt very similar to the last generation of iPad, lacking the P3 colour gamut for extra depth in movies and no anti-reflective coating, which is very noticeable if you’re working in bright environments. While this is expected on a lower-end iPad, the higher price does make this pill harder to swallow, as it packs the least appealing screen of any iPad.

USB-C port on iPad 10
iPad 10. Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

However, we did think that it was perfectly serviceable for reading, watching movies and playing games and that the touch screen was very responsive when used with the Apple Pencil or a finger.

The iPad Air comes with the same 10.9-inch LED-backlit display, with a 2360×1640 resolution. However, it comes with support for P3 colour and the wider selection of colours that come with it, a fingerprint-resistant coating, anti-reflective coating and support for the 2nd generation Apple Pencil, as well as True Tone.

Front on view of the iPad Air 2022 in the Magic Keyboard
iPad Air 5. Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

We were disappointed to see that Apple did not upgrade the screen to an OLED display, sticking with the same LCD panel, with no ProMotion technology in sight, meaning that you’re stuck with the same 60Hz refresh rate as the iPad 10th gen.

However, we thought the screen was sharp, offering up the same 500 nits of brightness, and ideal for watching video content. Since the iPad Air is more expensive, it would be nice if it came with some high-end features, but thanks to the anti-reflective coasting and wider colour gamut it does offer a more nuanced experience than the iPad 10th gen.

Battery Life

The iPad 10th gen comes with a 20W charger, which takes over two hours to charge the device from 0% to 100%. We found that after a typical day of use it was left with around 50% of its battery, and we doubt that many people will deplete it in a single session.

Apple claims that the iPad can last up to 10 hours, which we think is pretty accurate, with the belief that you can exceed that if you’re purely watching video content on a loop.

camera on iPad 10
iPad 10. Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The iPad Air also boasts the same 10-hour life span, and we managed to stream 10 hours of video content with 3% remaining. With more tempered use, this iPad will be able to last more than 10 hours, and we found that we were left with around 15% of battery after using it throughout the workday for messaging, photo editing and Zoom calls.

It also comes with the same 20W plug and a USB-C to USB-C cable. A full charge took 2 hours and 20 minutes, with 50% attainable in just short of an hour.

Performance

Turning towards performance, the iPad 10th gen comes with an A14 Bionic chip, which packs a 6-core CPU, 4-core GPU and a 16-core Neural Engine. We thought that it matched what you would expect for an iPad in this price bracket, with the Apple Silicon chipset allowing for solid gaming performance and little to no lagging.

We noted quicker export times if you’re using a machine to edit video and that the GPU was more than powerful enough to handle gaming as well as productivity work.

There is 4GB of RAM here, however, we were disappointed with the storage options. The base model is 64GB, which we think is too small for most people, as it won’t be able to handle a couple of downloaded movies or games. Plus, since there is no option for 128GB you will need to jump to 256GB, which is arguably too much.

writing on ipad 10 gen
iPad 10. Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The cellular model comes with 5G support, with both models supporting up to Wi-Fi 6, but not Wi-Fi 6E. It also comes running iPadOS 16.1, giving users access to loads of excellent apps, many of which have been developed for this specific screen size.

The iPad Air has the same storage problems, coming in 64GB and 256GB, with 8GB of RAM. Unlike the iPad 10, it comes with the even more powerful M1 chip, which comes with an 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU and 16-core Neural Engine.

We noted that the A14 Bionic is no slouch, being able to handle almost anything you throw at it with ease. But the inclusion of the M1 chip makes the iPad Air even more capable, offering up almost double the scores in the Geekbench 5 benchmark.

The display on the iPad Air 2022
iPad Air 5. Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

However, the difference between these chips is harder to spot during day-to-day use, with apps opening and loading marginally faster, and importing 100 RAW snaps into Lightroom being 25% faster than the previous generation of iPad Air, which uses the A14 Bionic.

The iPad Air also has support for 5G on the cellular configuration, as well as Wi-Fi 6. Despite not coming with iPadOS 16.1 out of the box, this tablet can be upgraded, giving users access to the same library of apps and features as the iPad 10. Unlike the base iPad, it does come with support for Stage Manager, which allows users to access and navigate multiple windows at once on one screen for a more streamlined experience.

You can check out an in-depth look at the specs of each device in the block below.

iPad 10 vs iPad Air 5 spec comparisons

UK RRP
USA RRP
EU RRP
CA RRP
AUD RRP
Manufacturer
Screen Size
Storage Capacity
Rear Camera
Front Camera
Video Recording
IP rating
Battery
Fast Charging
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
ASIN
Operating System
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Resolution
HDR
Refresh Rate
Ports
Chipset
RAM
Colours

Verdict

The iPad 10th gen and iPad Air 5 are both fantastic tablets that offer up a lot of speed and performance power. They come with similar battery lives and the same screen size and resolution, even if the iPad Air does have the benefit of the P3 colour gamut and an anti-reflective coating.

And while the M1 chip is more powerful than the A14 Bionic, you will need to be engaging in graphically intensive work to see this during day-to-day use, meaning that unless you’re after a lot of power, both tablets will be perfectly serviceable for most tasks.

Ultimately, if money is no object then the iPad Air is likely the best way to go, as it includes a couple more features that are left out on the iPad 10. But if you’re looking to save a little money and don’t need the best specs on the market, the 10th-generation iPad is a great tablet that will serve you well.

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