Categories: AppleiPad

Apple iPad 9th gen vs iPad Air 3 – Is It a Worthy Upgrade?

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Nowadays, all of Apple’s new iPads feature relatively new looks except for the base iPad. While the new iPad Mini has also received a complete redesign. So, if we talk about the Apple iPad 9th gen vs iPad Air 3, the iPad 9th gen still has an old iPad-like round home button at the bottom. And the screen still has large bezels surrounding it. There is no USB-C port. There is no support for the Magic Keyboard or the updated Pencil. However, on the other hand, the iPad Air is Apple’s uncomfortable, destined-to-be-underappreciated series in the tablet range. No, it’s not as adorable as the 7.9-inch iPad mini, and its classic design makes it a wallflower compared to the eye-catching premium iPad Pro 11 and iPad Pro 12.9. However, it competes very well with the iPad 9th gen as they share the same old design.

The iPad Air 3 looks like a rebranded version of the iPad Pro 2017 that Apple no longer sells. It seems virtually comparable & comes with a strong 10-hour battery life. As the iPad 9th gen is the newer iteration in the iPad line-up, it comes with a newer and better version of the processor than the iPad Air 3. Let’s compare the Apple iPad 9th gen vs iPad Air 3 to see whether you should upgrade to the newer iPad 9th gen or not.

Overall Summary

Our Pick
Description:

Apple 10.2 inch iPad is one of the best iPad Apple has launched. It gives the best performance and features combined. You can say that it is a very obliging masterpiece for you to work on. Its features are fanatics. It comes with the same body as the previous models - bezels around the screen and a home button between it. It is a worthwhile creation. Also, it gives the best battery performance, which will help you to work all day long. It has storage of 62GB and 256GB. But it is not enough for all users nowadays. But for that necessity to be fulfilled, the company provides the option of cloud storage. When it was launched, it was expensive, but the prices were slowly reduced. Now, this product is just $279.00 which seems to be affordable. Bezels surround the display.

Description:

iPad Air 3 costs the same as the iPad Pro 10.5 (2017) - but it's not the same tablet. If you want an iPad with a low budget, you should go with the iPad 9th gen. It offers a new hardware chip and costs less than the iPad Air 3. iPad Air 3 is thinner & lighter than the iPad 9th gen. Both iPads come with two stereo loudspeakers at the bottom, which are conveniently loud. The bottom of both iPads retains the standard lightning port, but it would be a better deal if they support USB-C. iPad Air 3 has a laminated back with an anti-glare coating, so it doesn't have the glare that iPads can. It also helps DCI-P3 wide gamut colour, so your colours pop up very bright and crisp. After using this screen, it's unable to switch to those plain old sRGB displays.iPad Air 3 comes with the year-old Bionic A12 Chip. The basic model now has double the storage space, with 64GB instead of 32GB. On the other hand, the iPad Air 3 basic model offers 32GB of Internal Storage. The Apple iPad Air 3 takes better pictures than the other tablets on the market. Apple's new Center Stage technology focuses on people in the frame and crops/pans as you move.

$343.54
$290.00
Pros:
  • Fast performance and WiFi speeds
  • All-screen design
  • Adventurous color choices
  • Works with Pencil 2 and Magic Keyboard
  • Healthy battery life
  • Impressive spatial audio
  • USB-C means better support for chargers and dongles
  • Trackpad support means true laptop replacement
  • Compatible with iPad Pro accessories
Pros:
  • Beautiful, thin, and impressively light weight design.
  • Bright, high-resolution and crisp 10.5" IPS LED-backlit 2224x1668 (264 ppi) display.
  • Quite fast for the price with 3 GB of RAM.
  • Excellent battery life.
  • System-wide mirroring support.
  • Built-in support for extensive 4G/LTE (28 bands) on cellular-equipped models as well as 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
  • Bluetooth 5.0 support.
  • Dual cameras (front and rear) with 1080p support.
Cons:
  • No Face ID.
  • The selfie camera could be better.
  • No rear camera flash.
  • No 120Hz or OLED screen.
  • The screen has medium brightness.
  • Lacks the extra rear cameras and lidar of the iPad Pro.
  • The Magic Keyboard is still pricey.
  • The only step-up storage option is a big jump, $749 for 256GB.
Cons:
  • Slower than the iPad Pro line.
  • No support for the much better Apple Pencil (2nd Gen).
  • The battery is not intended to be replaced and self-replacement is quite difficult.
  • No SD card slot.
  • No bundled headphones (a particularly miserly omission given the price of the device).
  • Fairly expensive compared to the iPad mini and some third-party tablets.
Our Pick
Description:

Apple 10.2 inch iPad is one of the best iPad Apple has launched. It gives the best performance and features combined. You can say that it is a very obliging masterpiece for you to work on. Its features are fanatics. It comes with the same body as the previous models - bezels around the screen and a home button between it. It is a worthwhile creation. Also, it gives the best battery performance, which will help you to work all day long. It has storage of 62GB and 256GB. But it is not enough for all users nowadays. But for that necessity to be fulfilled, the company provides the option of cloud storage. When it was launched, it was expensive, but the prices were slowly reduced. Now, this product is just $279.00 which seems to be affordable. Bezels surround the display.

$343.54
Pros:
  • Fast performance and WiFi speeds
  • All-screen design
  • Adventurous color choices
  • Works with Pencil 2 and Magic Keyboard
  • Healthy battery life
  • Impressive spatial audio
  • USB-C means better support for chargers and dongles
  • Trackpad support means true laptop replacement
  • Compatible with iPad Pro accessories
Cons:
  • No Face ID.
  • The selfie camera could be better.
  • No rear camera flash.
  • No 120Hz or OLED screen.
  • The screen has medium brightness.
  • Lacks the extra rear cameras and lidar of the iPad Pro.
  • The Magic Keyboard is still pricey.
  • The only step-up storage option is a big jump, $749 for 256GB.
Description:

iPad Air 3 costs the same as the iPad Pro 10.5 (2017) - but it's not the same tablet. If you want an iPad with a low budget, you should go with the iPad 9th gen. It offers a new hardware chip and costs less than the iPad Air 3. iPad Air 3 is thinner & lighter than the iPad 9th gen. Both iPads come with two stereo loudspeakers at the bottom, which are conveniently loud. The bottom of both iPads retains the standard lightning port, but it would be a better deal if they support USB-C. iPad Air 3 has a laminated back with an anti-glare coating, so it doesn't have the glare that iPads can. It also helps DCI-P3 wide gamut colour, so your colours pop up very bright and crisp. After using this screen, it's unable to switch to those plain old sRGB displays.iPad Air 3 comes with the year-old Bionic A12 Chip. The basic model now has double the storage space, with 64GB instead of 32GB. On the other hand, the iPad Air 3 basic model offers 32GB of Internal Storage. The Apple iPad Air 3 takes better pictures than the other tablets on the market. Apple's new Center Stage technology focuses on people in the frame and crops/pans as you move.

$290.00
Pros:
  • Beautiful, thin, and impressively light weight design.
  • Bright, high-resolution and crisp 10.5" IPS LED-backlit 2224x1668 (264 ppi) display.
  • Quite fast for the price with 3 GB of RAM.
  • Excellent battery life.
  • System-wide mirroring support.
  • Built-in support for extensive 4G/LTE (28 bands) on cellular-equipped models as well as 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
  • Bluetooth 5.0 support.
  • Dual cameras (front and rear) with 1080p support.
Cons:
  • Slower than the iPad Pro line.
  • No support for the much better Apple Pencil (2nd Gen).
  • The battery is not intended to be replaced and self-replacement is quite difficult.
  • No SD card slot.
  • No bundled headphones (a particularly miserly omission given the price of the device).
  • Fairly expensive compared to the iPad mini and some third-party tablets.
01/25/2023 10:40 pm GMT

Specifications Comparision

FeatureiPad 9th GeniPad Air 3
Price$298.00$244.00
Display Size10.2 inch10.5 inch
Display Resolution2160 x 1620 pixels2224 x 1668 pixels
RAM3GB3 GB
Storage64 GB64 GB
CPU Clock Speed2.65 GHz2.49GHz
CPU CoresHexa CoreSix Core
Rear Camera8 MP8 MP
ProcessorBionic A13Bionic A12
Front Camera12 MP7 MP
Weight498 g464 g
Thickness7.5 mm6.1mm
Unique FeaturesTrue Tone Display, 500 nits Brightness, Fingerprint-resistant OleophobicRetina display, LED-backlit Multi-Touch display, Wide colour display (P3)
True Tone display, Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating, Fully laminated display.
Antireflective coating.

Price & Availability

The Apple iPad 9th Gen was launched on September 12, 2019, with two storage variants. The price of the 64GB variant was $329, which is around £319. And 256 GB variant comes with a higher price tag of $479, which we don’t prefer unless and until you really need an iPad with more storage. On the other hand, iPad Air 3 was launched on 25 March 2019 and cost $499, which is around £479.

However, the price of the iPad Air 3 was a bit complicated at the time of its launch. Cause it costs less than the iPad Pro 10.5 (2017), but it costs the same as this two-year-old Pro tablet. However, if you want an iPad with a low budget, you should go with the iPad 9th gen as it offers a new hardware chip and costs less than the iPad Air 3.

Design

Dimensions: Both iPad 9th Gen & iPad Air 3 share the same old design with each other. However, the Apple iPad Air 3 is a bit thinner & lighter compared to the iPad 9th Gen. iPad 9th Gen is 9.87 inches tall, 6.85 inches wide & 0.30 inches in thickness. On the other hand, iPad Air 3 shares the same height-width as the iPad 9th gen, but it’s 0.24 inches thick, making it sleeky and lightweight compared to the iPad 9th gen.

Lightning Port and USB-C – The bottom of both iPad frames retain the standard lightning port. It will be a better deal if they support USB-C. That’s a good design decision for folks who already have a plethora of lightning cords. There are just two speakers here at the bottom of the tablet. Both iPads come with two stereo loudspeakers at the bottom, which are conveniently loud. However, the quad setup, like the old iPads, would also be a better deal.

Colours- The iPad Air 2019 comes in silver, gold, and Space Gray, with the latter having a black front and the others being white. Surprisingly, Rose Gold is not an option on this iPad. On the other hand, the iPad 9th gen also offers the same colour as iPad Air 3.

Apple Pencil compatibility – Both iPad is compatible with the first gen Apple Pencil, which is a good thing for users who own old iPads and have old Apple Pencil. Pencil compatibility is excellent in iPad 9th gen. However, the older Pencil has nowhere to go unless you buy a cover with a loop to retain it. And the front-facing camera is still positioned on the side in landscape mode, as it will be when used as a laptop.

Display

The Apple iPad 9th gen comes with a 10.2-inch (25.91 cm, 322.2 cm²) IPS panel that is not fully laminated. Although at first, it feels a little empty when writing with the pencil, this is a plus in terms of maintainability. One of the critical improvements done by Apple in the iPad 9th gen is in the brightness section. iPad offers more brightness than its predecessor. However, it’s an IPS LCD screen, so users will have to face some difficulty reading the screen during direct sunlight. On the other hand, Apple cut costs on the basic 9.7-inch iPad by ditching the laminated screen from the previous iPad Air 2 and switching to a non-laminated screen on the original iPad Air. Again, it’s not something everyone always notices, but if you’re indoors or in bright outdoor lighting, you tend to see it.

The new 10.5-inch iPad Air 3 has a laminated back with an anti-glare coating, so it doesn’t have the glare that iPads can. It also supports DCI-P3 wide gamut colour, so your colours are gonna pop up very bright and crisp. As there is DCI-P3 wide gamut colour support, it enhances your drawing experience on iPad Air 3 a lot. After using this screen, it’s unable to switch to those plain old sRGB displays.

Specifications & Performance

When we talk about performance in iPad 9th Gen vs iPad Air 3, the Apple iPad 9th Gen is the clear winner as it comes with the more powerful and efficient Bionic A13 Chip. As Apple claims, in the iPad 9th, the significant change is the new A13 chipset, which increases CPU, GPU, & Neural Engine performance by 20%. Moreover, the basic model now has double the storage space, with 64GB instead of 32GB.

In contrast, the iPad Air 3 comes with the year-old Bionic A12 Chip. On the other hand, the iPad Air 3 basic model offers 32GB of Internal Storage which is a significant downgrade. Both iPads provide the same 3GB of RAM.

As both iPads are also compatible with the first gen Apple Keyboard. Apple iPad Air is the most affordable iPad featuring Apple’s Smart Connector, which magnetically secures the fabric tri-fold keyboard cover to the tablet’s bottom. There’s no need to fool around with untrustworthy third-party Bluetooth keyboards.

Camera

Both iPads come with an 8MP rear camera. However, the image quality on iPad 9th Gen is a lot better thanks to its Bionic A13 Chip for faster & better photo processing. The other significant change you’ll notice immediately is the new 12MP, 122-degree ultrawide front camera. Until last year, the basic iPad had a 1.2 megapixel “Facetime HD” camera that took awful photos and low-res 720p video.

The Apple iPad Air 3 takes better pictures than the other tablets on the market. However, due to the powerful Bionic A13 Chip, the iPad 9th gen offers better picture quality. The front camera is a real deal in iPad 9th gen. It shoots significantly better images and produces crisper 1080p video. It also supports Apple’s new Center Stage technology, which focuses on people in the frame and dynamically crops/pans as you move about.

Battery Life

Apple claims 10 hours of battery life for both iPad 9th gen & iPad Air 3. However, talking about real-life experience, the iPad 9th Gen usually lasts about 8 hours on a single battery charge. In contrast, the iPad Air 3 does last about 10 hours on a single battery charge which is a plus point compared to the iPad 9th Gen.

Both iPads support fast charging, which is up to 30W. The Apple iPad Air 3 can charge 17% in just 15 mins. In my opinion, it’s not that fast compared to other companies offering up to 65W of fast charging on budget phones, like Xiaomi & Vivo.

Key Differences

Coming to the key differences, there’s a lot aside from the same design.

  • One of the significant differences which make the iPad 9th Gen a good deal is the new upgraded processor, that is Bionic A13 Chip which performs better than the last-gen Bionic A12 present in iPad Air 3.
  • Both offer the same kind of display sizes; however, iPad Air 3 display has slightly more resolution compared to the iPad 9th gen. Also, iPad Air 3 offers a Retina display, LED-backlit Multi-Touch display, and Wide colour display (P3), which makes it display far better than the iPad 9th Gen.
  • Coming to the camera section, iPad Air 3 comes with a 7MP of the front camera, however, on the other hand, iPad 9th Gen offers a 12MP of Front camera with center stage feature which makes the video calling experience a lot better than iPad Air 3.
  • Also, the iPad 9th Gen can shoot 1080p videos from the front camera, which is better than iPad Air 3, which can only shoot up to 720p.
  • However, the image processing is good enough on iPad 9th Gen due to its new chip.

Key Similarities

There’s a lot from a design perspective that both iPad 9th Gen & iPad Air 3 shares with each other.

  • Both shares the same iconic design of Apple products.
  • They both have a build-quality of aluminium body and share a single home button at the bottom of the display.
  • Both have kind of similar display sizes.
  • Also both the iPads also support first-gen Apple pencils.
  • Furthermore, they both have display that comes with Fingerprint-resistant Oleophobic coating.
  • Coming to the specs side, both iPads come with 3GB of RAM coupled with 64GB of Internal Storage for the base variant.
  • Aside from performance, they both share the same type of rear camera, 8MP.
  • Also, both iPads support fast charging.

Is iPad Air 32GB enough?

32GB is enough to provide about 100 programs, about 1000 photos, and enough space to download a movie from a streaming service like Amazon Prime. The rest of the time, you’ll need to uninstall apps to make room for a new app update.

Can iPad 9th Gen replace a laptop?

The simplest answer is no. While it has created some good laptops under-tightening, the new iPad Air is still not as good as the best Windows-supported computer or MacBook.

Conclusion

In the debate of Apple iPad 9th gen vs iPad Air 3, the iPad 9th gen is a clear-cut winner as it comes with a faster and more efficient processor Bionic A13 Chip. It offers a 10.2-inch display with the same old design and big bezels around the display. However, the display is not that great compared to iPad Air 3.

On the other hand, iPad Air 3 comes with a year-old Bionic A12 chip which is quick & efficient too. iPad Air 3 shares the same old design as the iPad 9th gen. However, suppose you’re more of a creative person or do a lot of drawings on your iPads. In that case, you should consider Apple iPad Air 3 as it offers Color DCI-P3 Gamut Colour Support, enhancing your drawing experience to the next level.

So this is it; if you want a simple and efficient new iPad on a budget, then you should go for iPad 9th gen. Or else, if you want a sleek-looking lightweight iPad with a beautiful crisp display, you should consider Apple iPad Air 3.

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