Comparing the unique features of the iPad Air 5th and 4th Gen
Dec 07, 2023
As with all mobile technology, every few years Apple releases an updated version of a device we already have. We are then presented with a choice, to upgrade or not to upgrade. In the case of Apple's iPad Air, the 2020 4th Gen model has been slightly outmoded by the iPad Air 5th Gen (2022). But does that mean we absolutely have to upgrade or is it possible to simply compare stats and decide we're happy with what we have?
If you are a general user that is happy with a working tablet that plays your movie and television shows without too much trouble, then most of the upgrades in the iPad Air 5th Gen might not impress you much. Sometimes, what we have is certainly good enough, especially if not used for advanced graphics rendering or statistical analysis, challenging the graphics and memory processing. Let's run down some of the major changes, and some minor ones as well.
The most notable improvement in the iPad Air 5th Gen over the 4th Gen is the chipset. Apple replaced the A14 Bionic chip found in the 4th Gen CPU with its M1 chip, which puts it on the level with the iPad Pro and even MacBooks. There's some power here, coupled with 8GB RAM instead of the 4GB found in the 4th Gen. If your tablet use encompasses a lot of digital video editing, 3D modeling, or heavy calculations, then this change is quite appealing.
That doesn't mean the 4th Gen is some slouch. The A14 Bionic chip makes regular use of your iPad a speedy breeze. And both tablets offer up to 256GB of internal storage.
But increased performance doesn't always mean efficient performance. It could mean that it drains the battery much faster. Apple isn't always forthcoming with battery life, but both the 4th and 5th Gen iPad Air tablets should give you around 10 hours on Wi-Fi and a bit less on 5G. So whatever power the extra chip may pull, it's likely not noticeable enough to make a difference.
If you are using an iPad to take photographs, well, that's your deal. The cameras on tablets have always been an afterthought, as we use our phones as our primary cameras. In that, there wasn't much of a change between the 4th and 5th iPad Air cameras. Both rear cameras are 12MP cameras with 5X digital zoom capable of 4K video recording. The only difference between the cameras on these devices is the iPad Air 5th Gen front camera has been upgraded to 12MP from 7MP on the 4th Gen.
Outside of that, there aren't too many other differences. Both iPads support Apple Pencil (2nd Gen), Magic Keyboard, and the Smart Keyboard Folio. Of course, all these accessories cost extra, but if your iPad is your primary computing device, then it's a no brainer.
The most notable difference in the feature set is cellular capability, and this might be a sticking point for buyers. The 4th Gen iPad only supports 4G and LTE networks, while the 5th Gen supports full 5G. If you travel a lot and rely on cellular networks to get your work done rather than Wi-Fi, then you are going to want the 5th Gen iPad Air. Without question.
Everything about the design is nearly identical between the 4th and 5th Gen iPad Air. Same bezels, same screen dimensions and resolution (10.9-inch IPS Retina panel with 2360 x 1640 pixels). Both feature an oleophobic coating to resist fingerprints and an anti-reflective coating. And both tablets are not IP rated in any way, shape or form, so you are going to need something to protect them from the elements.
There are tons of 3rd party options for protecting your iPad Air 4th or 5th Gen. From screen protectors, to leather cases, and plastic folios. These are fragile devices, as you've likely learned at least once over the years. That's why WingoCase created a tablet case that not only offers superior physical protection against drops and whacks, but ergonomics as well. With four extendable wings, WingoCase makes it easier to hold your tablet comfortably, and prop it up in either portrait or landscape mode. When you are spending between $600 - $1000 on a tablet (storage dependent), WingoCase is the best way to protect your investment.