iPad Air (2022) vs iPad Air (2020): Which one should I buy?

iPad Air (2022) vs iPad Air (2020): Which one should I buy?

Apple has presented its new iPad Air (2022) which brings with it the powerful M1 processor and some other interesting updates. But is that enough to justify upgrading from a 2020 model? Should we pay attention to the iPad Air (2020) deals?

Below, we offer a quick comparison of the two in order to advise you with your new purchase.

Design and build quality

The iPad Air received a major facelift in 2020, when Apple ditched the ‘Home’ button for good and switched to a full-screen borderless design (same as previous models). iPadPro) with more varied and colorful finishes.

Two years later, things have not changed at all. In fact, the comparison of the dimensions shows that both have a chassis of 247.6 x 178.5 x 6.1 mm, while the weight is practically identical: the newer version tips the scales at 3 grams more than its equivalent. of 2020 that weighs 461 grams.

Based on this, various reviews of the recent iPad Air (2022) have emerged on the net that show how if you press on the back of the tablet, the material gives slightly and creaks when flexed.

In our analysis by David Price, we found that the sample unit did not suffer from the problem, but our sister publication Tech Advisor I did have a model that had this problem.

At the time of writing, it’s not clear if this is a production fault, or just a faulty batch, but it’s something to be aware of if you think it might be a problem.

Leaving aside this event, there is no aesthetic difference between the two versions, since both have 10.9-inch Liquid Retina screens. There’s no home button, and while you won’t find Face ID, you can always use the fingerprint sensor located on the power button.

You’ll find support for the second-generation Apple Pencil on both models, as well as Smart Connectors that let you use Apple Magic Keyboard and Smart Folio Keyboard and covers.

iPad Air Smart Folio Keyboard

The key here is that if you decide to upgrade from the older model to the newer one, you won’t have to replace any of its accessories since they are compatible.

One way to differentiate the new from the old is based on the colors in their finishes. You can get them in a wide variety, but with little overlap. Only space gray is offered in both cases. The rest of the colors are different. The purple of the new one is the one that attracts the most attention.

performance characteristics

When the iPad Air (2020) was released, it was labeled by some as an affordable iPad Pro for regular people. Apple took note of this and executed it to perfection on the new model as it has upgrades that make it a very serious computing machine.


The main feature of the new iPad Air (2022) is the inclusion of the M1 processor, which replaces the A14 Bionic used in the 2020 model. This gives the Air professional-level performance, since it is the same chip used by the iPad Pro of Current 11 and 12.9 inches, not to mention Macs.

If you want to use your iPad Air to create digital art, edit photos, or play high-end games, then the M1 will make it a breeze. If your use is more content consumption, note taking, or light photo editing, then the A14 Bionic handles it with aplomb.

As this is the key differentiator between the two models, those wondering which model to buy should consider what they want to do with their iPad. The A14 Bionic isn’t slow, so if you don’t need professional performance, you’ll save money by going with the iPad Air (2020).


As we have already mentioned, the screens of the two iPad Air are identical. That means you get a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina panel running at 2360 x 1640 resolution, 264ppi, with identical brightness levels and all the usual True Tone.

screen ipad

They are fully laminated Wide Color (P3) screens. The refresh rate hasn’t changed for the new model, staying in the low 60Hz figure, so if you want a 120Hz ProMotion display, you’ll need to opt for the iPad Pro range.


For the most part, the main camera on the iPad Air (2022) is the same as its predecessor. It’s an identical 12MP f/1.8 sensor that features Smart HDR 3 and Wide Color, and can record video up to 4K at 60fps.

It also offers options for slow motion (1080p/240fps), continuous autofocus and cinematic video stabilization. The only difference is that it offers extended dynamic range for video up to 30fps and can record 1080p at 25fps and 30fps, in addition to the 60fps offered by the 2020 model.

Whether these are valuable things to use on a tablet is debatable, but you have to recognize the value of including them. The most significant change is the front camera where Apple has replaced the old 7 MP f / 2.2 HD camera on the iPad Air (2020), with an improved 12 MP f / 2.4 ultra wide camera on the new one.

The main benefit of this is that it allows the newer iPad to offer Center Stage, the intelligent ability to track people in video calls. There’s also extended dynamic range for video up to 30fps and additional HD fps options from the main camera.

iPad Air cameras

Basically, if you use your iPad for video calls and you like the sound of the Center Stage feature, then that’s a great reason to buy the new iPad Air over the previous generation.


The last of the features that Apple gave the new iPad Air (2022) is 5G connectivity. This obviously only applies to models that come with cellular connections. So, if you plan to buy a Wi-Fi model, this novelty will not influence it.

If you consider that sooner or later you will need to use a data network connection, choose to buy the new iPad Air (2022) which will always be better with a view to being able to use 5G speed connections.

Take a detailed look at the specifications of both devices:


iPad Air (2022)

iPad Air (2020)


10.9-inch Liquid Retina, 2360 x 1640 resolution, 264ppi, True Tone, Wide Color, Laminated display

10.9-inch Liquid Retina, 2360 x 1640 resolution, 264ppi, True Tone, Wide Color, Laminated display



A14 bionic


64GB/ 256GB

64GB/ 256GB

main chamber

12 MP wide, f/1.8, SmartHDR, 4K video at 60fps, slow motion 1080p at 240fps, continuous autofocus, cinematic video stabilization, extended dynamic range for video up to 30fps

12 MP wide, f/1.8, SmartHDR, 4K video at 60fps, slow motion 1080p at 240fps, continuous autofocus, cinematic video stabilization

Frontal camera

12 MP Ultra Wide, f/2.4, 2x Zoom out, Center Stage, Retina flash, Smart HDR 3 for photos, extended dynamic range for video up to 30fps, 1080p at 60fps

7 MP FaceTime HD, f/2.2, 1080p video recording, Smart HDR 3 for photos


WiFi 6

WiFi 6





5G (sub-6GHz)

gigabit class





USB-C, smart connector

USB-C, smart connector


Touch ID

Touch ID

Apple Pencil

Generation 2

Generation 2


247.6mm x 178.5mm x 6.1mm

247.6mm x 178.5mm x 6.1mm


461 g (462 g cell)

458g (460g cell)


Starlight, Space Grey, Pink, Purple, Blue

Silver, Space Grey, Rose Gold, Green, Sky Blue


From €679

From €619

To buy




Now that Apple has stopped selling the iPad Air (2020) in its stores, you might be able to snag some cool deals if you shop around. Take a look at our summary of best ipad deals to find better prices.

In any case, there is no doubt that the new iPad Air (2022) is an excellent device that brings the full potential of the iPad Pro to a new entry point of much cheaper prices.

The M1 processor is tremendously powerful, so there will be no task that the new iPad cannot perform with ease, whether it is sporadic work, or something more professional or with creative tools.

Improved cameras are another big plus, along with the addition of 5G connectivity. In any case, if you have an iPad Air from 2020, we don’t think they are such significant evolutions as to justify the purchase of the new model.

The power of the M1 is great, but we think that buying the previous model at a discounted price can be a great option, especially when you get the same design and type of screen when consuming content.

Take a look at our article on when is the best time to buy a new iPad.