Apple's new iPad 9 is almost as good as the iPad Air 4, at half the price
If you compare themiPad 9 (2021)againstiPad Range 4 (2020)It can be difficult considering how similar they are, at least at first glance. Now that Apple has unveiled the new iPad 9 at its September 2021 event (read ourSummary of the Apple eventfor all the cool new stuff), one has to wonder if the older, more expensive iPad Air 4 is worth the extra money.
Our review of the iPad Air 4 called it one of thebest tabletsYou can buy, largely due to its slim design, great hardware and ability to replace a laptop as long as you pair it with onemagic keyboard.
When choosing between theiPad 9 (2021)It is iniPad Range 4 (2020), you see that the first has a slightly outdated design and a less powerful processor. However, it's almost half the price of the iPad Air 4 and has a better front-facing camera that supports Apple's new Center Stage video chat feature.
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So which iPad is right for your needs? This article will help you answer that question with a detailed comparison of the strengths and weaknesses of the two tablets.
iPad 9 (2021) vs. iPad Air 4 (2020): Specifications
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|Cell Header - Column 0||iPad Range 4 (2020)||iPad 9 (2021)|
|starting price||599 $||$329 ($299 for schools)|
|show||10.9 inch (2360x1640)||10.2 inches (2160x1620)|
|processor||A14 bionisch||A13 bionisch|
|Save on computer||64 GB, 256 GB||64 GB, 256 GB|
|rear cameras||12MP wide (f/1.8)||8MP (f/2.4)|
|Front cameras||7MP TrueDepth (f/2.2)||12 MP true depth (f/2.4)|
|Dimensions||9.7 x 7 x 0.24 inches||9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29 inches|
|Weight||1 scale||1.07 pounds|
|Accesories||Magic Keyboard, Smart Keyboard Folio, Apple Pencil (Gen 2)||Smart Keyboard, Apple Pencil (Gen 1)|
|connectivity||Wi-Fi 6, 4G optional||Wi-Fi 6, 4G optional|
iPad 9 (2021) vs. iPad Air 4 (2020): Preis
The entry-level iPad has always been Apple's cheapest tablet, and the company isn't changing that in 2021 either. Like its predecessor, the new iPad 9 (2021) starts at $329, although Apple has discounted it to $299 for students and teachers.
However, there is one notable change from what you get for this price: storage space. Apple eventually upgraded the base iPad's storage capacity to 64GB, double the paltry 32GB that came standard with previous iPad models. Honestly, 32GB is an absurdly small amount of storage if you plan on using your iPad for using apps, playing games, and watching videos, all of which require a lot of storage space.
The fact that the new iPad 9 (2021) comes with at least 64GB is a welcome change, although you might want to pay a $150 premium for the 256GB model, as even 64GB fills up quickly can if you download a lot of media.
Starting at $599, the iPad Air 4 (2020) costs almost twice as much as the iPad 9. It comes with 64GB of storage as standard, with the option to get 256GB for an additional $150. However, that $600-plus price tag comes with some significant benefits: the iPad Air 4 is more powerful, smaller and lighter than the iPad 9, and has a slightly better display.
iPad 9 vs. iPad Air 4 (2020): diseño
There are major design differences between the iPad 9 and the iPad Air 4: The iPad 9 follows the classic design of Apple's iPad, with rounded edges and thick bezels around the screen. It comes in the same two colors as its predecessor (silver and space gray) and has the same dimensions of 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29 inches. When you picture an iPad, you probably see something like the new iPad 9.
The iPad Air 4 looks a little different: it's a little smaller and lighter, weighing just 1 pound and measuring 9.7 x 7 x 0.24 inches. Notably, it has thinner bezels than the classic iPad (thanks to the edge-to-edge display) and flat edges. It's practically the same design and size as Apple's.iPad Pro 11 inch (2021), although the iPad Air 4 is slightly lighter. It's also available in five different colors (green, silver, space grey, sky blue and/or rose gold), a marked improvement over the iPad 9's rugged choice of silver or space gray.
iPad 9 (2021) vs. iPad Air 4 (2020): Connections
If we compare the design and ports of these two tablets, it becomes clear that they represent the two remaining input/output philosophies of the iPad.
Despite its release in 2021 when it looks like every device (including iPads) will be charged via USB-C, the iPad 9 still has a Lightning connector. That's disappointing because it means you need to have a Lightning cable with you if you want to keep your iPad charged (the iPhone charging cable starts to work over time). There's a silver lining to the iPad 9's dated design, though: it still has a headphone jack, making it the only contemporary iPad to offer such a luxury. If wired headphones are important to you, this is important.
Of course, the iPad Air 4 does not offer this luxury: If you want to listen to music privately on this tablet, you have to use Bluetooth headphones. However, it offers the most convenient USB-C port for charging and the rear-mounted Smart Connector port for excellent Apple performance.magic keyboard(with USB-C pass-through charging).
iPad 9 (2021) vs iPad Air 4 (2020): Screen
Despite being slightly smaller than the new iPad 9, the iPad Air 4 actually offers a slightly larger and better display thanks to its edge-to-edge display.
The iPad Air 4's 10.9-inch screen has a resolution of 2360 x 1640 pixels, which corresponds to an approximate pixel density of 264 ppi. It also supports the P3 color space, as well as Apple's True Tone technology, which adjusts the screen based on the ambient lighting.
The new iPad 9 has a slightly smaller screen with a similar pixel density. Its 10.2-inch display has a screen resolution of 2160 x 1620, which means it also has an approximate pixel density of 264 PPI. It doesn't have the same P3 color space support as the iPad Air 4, but it does support True Tone.
Both tablets are advertised at up to 500 nits brightness, although in our lab tests we measured the iPad Air 4's display at an average brightness of 440 nits. Both also offer a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating, although the iPad Air 4 includes a fully laminated screen with an anti-reflective coating.
iPad 9 (2021) vs iPad Air 4 (2020): Performance
There is a small but significant difference in performance between the iPad 9 and the iPad Air 4. Although the iPad 9 (2021) is the newer tablet, it's powered by Apple's older A13 Bionic chip, while the iPad Air 4 (2020 ) includes the more powerful A14 Bionic.
The Apple A13 Bionic chip that powers the iPad 9 is an improvement over its predecessor's A12 Bionic chip, and Apple claims it gives the iPad 9 20% faster performance in CPU, GPU, and CPU activities. However, we cannot verify these claims until we have proof.
However, we tested the iPad Air 4 and can definitely say that its A14 Bionic chip offers enough power to speed up most daily tasks. The iPad Air 4 scored 4,262 on the Geekbench 5 performance benchmark, easily beating the 2,685 scored by the 2020 iPad with its A12 Bionic chip.
While we can expect the iPad 9 to perform better than its predecessor thanks to the A13 Bionic that also powers the iPhone 11 range, it probably won't beat the iPad Air 4 and its A14 Bionic chip.
iPad 9 (2021) vs. iPad Air 4 (2020): Kameras
If there's one big notable new feature on the iPad 9 (2021) that helps it stand out from the iPad Air 4, it's the front-facing camera.
Gone is the iPad 8's outdated 1.2-megapixel selfie camera, replaced by a new 12-megapixel ultra-wide front camera with a remarkable 122-degree field of view. The new iPad 9's updated selfie camera also supports Apple's new Center Stage feature, which debuted on the iPad Pro (2021). Center Stage uses AI to automatically move the camera and focus it on your speakers during video calls, and it's a nice feature if you plan to use your new tablet for a lot of Zoom calls. On the back of the new iPad you'll find a less impressive 8MP widescreen camera, which is still good if you want to use your tablet as an impromptu point-and-shoot.
In comparison, the iPad Air 4 has a 12 MP widescreen camera on the back and a 7 MP camera on the front. The rear camera has more features and better panoramic abilities than the iPad 9 (2021) rear camera and can record 4K video while the iPad 9 cannot. However, the iPad Air 4's selfie camera isn't quite as good as the new iPad 9's and doesn't support Center Stage.
When it comes to taking selfies and making video calls, the new iPad 9 is significantly better equipped than the old iPad Air 4. However, if you mainly want to use the cameras on your new iPad to take photos and videos, you would probably be better off with the iPad air 4.
iPad 9 (2021) vs. iPad Air 4 (2020): battery life
iPad 9 and iPad Air 4 are rated for up to 10 hours of web browsing over Wi-Fi and up to 9 hours on mobile.
That's pretty standard for Apple, and while we can't say for sure which tablet offers better battery life until we get a new iPad 9 to test, we can say that iPads are one of those rare devices that the manufacturer's actually does appear to meet or exceed battery life indicators under simulated real-world conditions.
When we set the iPad Air 4 to continuously surf the web over Wi-Fi and set the display to 150 nits brightness, the tablet lasted 10 hours and 29 minutes before shutting down and the 10 hours -Battery life surpassed announced by Apple. We're expecting similar performance on the iPad 9, but we'll have to wait to test one ourselves.
iPad 9 (2021) vs iPad Air 4 (2020): Accessories
If you're worried about adding a stylus or keyboard to your new iPad, an iPad Air 4 gives you more and better options.
The iPad Air 4's Smart Connector (three small dots on the back of the tablet) and magnets allow you to connect it to the excellent $299 Magic Keyboard or the cheaper $179 Smart Keyboard Folio. The iPad Air 4 is also compatible with the $129 Apple Pencil 2nd generation, a great stylus that magnetically attaches to the edge of the iPad Air 4 for easy charging and pairing.
The new iPad 9, on the other hand, is incompatible with many of Apple's best accessories. It can't work with a Magic Keyboard or the latest Apple Pencil, but it can connect to a $159 Smart Keyboard if you need to write something on your tablet.
The iPad 9 is also compatible with the first-generation $99 Apple Pencil, which charges via the Lightning connector when you open the bottom of the stylus and insert it into the iPad.
iPad 9 (2021) vs. iPad Air 4 (2020): Perspektive
Now, if we take a closer look at these two tablets, it's clear that the iPad Air 4, despite being about a year older, offers a number of advantages that the iPad 9 doesn't.
The iPad Air 4 is slightly smaller and lighter than the new iPad 9, with a slightly better screen and a more powerful chip under the hood. It also has a better rear camera capable of recording 4K video, which the iPad 9's cameras can't match. And with support for the latest Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil, iPad Air 4 offers better accessory options than iPad 9.
However, we have to keep in mind that the iPad 9 is almost as good as the iPad Air 4, but costs about half as much, making it a great option for iPad buyers on a budget. And the new iPad 9 is still excellent in some specific situations, especially if you're worried about using wired headphones or expect to spend a lot of time on video calls, and you can take advantage of iPad 9's greatly improved 12MP ultra wide front interface . with support for Center Stage.
Stay tuned for our full Apple iPad 9 (2021) review, which gives us a better idea of its performance and lifespan on a full battery.
- Consequences:iPad Pro x iPad: Which tablet is right for you?
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Alex Wawro is a lifelong gaming and technology enthusiast with over a decade of experience in both mediums such as Game Developer, Black Hat and PC World Magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he is currently the senior editor at Tom's Guide, covering everything from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.
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