Apple iPad Air 4 vs iPad Air 3: Should you upgrade?

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Apple iPad Air 4 vs iPad Air 3: Should you upgrade?
With Apple's new iPad Air 4 (2020) sporting notable external and internal upgrades over the 2019 iPad Air 3, a reasonable question to ask yourself is "Should I upgrade?" if you own the latter.

Let's compare the new 2020 Apple iPad Air 4 with its predecessor, the 2019 iPad Air 3, and see if the new one really offers enough to justify an upgrade.

iPad Air 4 vs iPad Air 3: Design and display differences


As many rumors had suggested, the iPad Air 4 does indeed come in a modern new design, similar to the iPad Pro. It includes much smaller, symmetrical black bezels, while the iPad Air 3 still had a large chin and forehead.

While the 2019 iPad Air 3 sports a 10.5-inch display at a resolution of 2224 x 1668 pixels, the new 2020 iPad Air 4 has a larger and sharper 10.9-inch 2360 x 1640 display. Both iPads support True Tone.


The new iPad Air's main camera is the same as the one found on the iPad Pro, 12-megapixel, and can shoot 4K video at 60 frames-per-second (FPS). Its front Facetime camera is capable of HD video capture (1080p) and Smart HDR. The iPad Air 3 is a noticeable downgrade, as its 8-megapixel main camera can only shoot 1080p video at 30 FPS itself. The selfie camera on the Air 3 is more similar to the one on the new model, though, so it isn't going to be a noticeable upgrade.


While the iPad Air 3 has two speakers on the same side of the tablet, thus not producing a true stereo experience for the user, the new iPad Air 4 has each speaker placed on a different side of the tablet. With that, in landscape mode users can now enjoy true stereo sound when watching movies and playing games on the Air 4.

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Gamers on the iPad Air 3 are at a significant disadvantage, as in many multiplayer games, such as PubG Mobile, it's crucial being able to hear which side explosions and gunshots are coming from, for example.


As we mentioned, the design upgrade of the iPad Air 4 over its predecessor can't be overstated. If you want a modern-looking and feeling iPad, the iPad Air 4 is the one for you. Its symmetrical slim bezels, new top button that features integrated Touch ID, and the fact that the new Air has a USB Type-C port instead of Lightning make upgrading to it from the iPad Air 3 undeniably worth it.


Professional iPad users will be happy to know that the new 2020 iPad Air 4 has support for the Apple Magic Keyboard and the 2nd generation Apple Pencil. In turn, the older 2019 iPad Air 3 only supports the 1st generation Apple Pencil and in terms of first-party keyboards – the more clunky Apple Smart Keyboard.

In addition, due to the new iPad Air 4 having a USB Type-C port instead of Lightning, it can do data transferring at up to 5 gigabits per second, which is 10 times faster than the iPad Air 3. The USB Type-C port on the new model also allows it to connect easily with cameras, external drives and external monitors (at up to 4K resolution).

iPad Air 4 vs iPad Air 3: Performance differences

While a performance boost was expected for the newer iPad Air 4 over it's year-old predecessor, it's a serious leap ahead. The new 2020 iPad Air 4 is sporting Apple's most advanced chip so far – the A14 Bionic, making its performance 40% faster than that of the iPad Air 3.

Thus, the Air 4 is more future-proof, and more capable for professional tasks such as video editing, music production and the likes. The iPad Air 4 is also capable of 30% faster graphics processing over the Air 3, which will be especially noticeable to gamers and video editors.

iPad Air 4 vs iPad Air 3: Should you upgrade?

While previous iPad Air models weren't that much different from each other, the new 2020 iPad Air 4 is a major leap ahead, and is definitely worth upgrading to. If you're a professional who needs top specs, or even if you're simply using your iPad for watching movies and YouTube videos, you will find that the new model will provide you a significantly better experience.

But, if you already have your iPad Air 3 set up with a keyboard and a 1st generation Apple Pencil, and still aren't fully convinced that any of the above-mentioned upgrades are worth starting all over – getting a new keyboard and pencil on top of a new iPad – then you may be just fine with your 2019 iPad Air. It's still a fairly new device that will be getting updates for years to come.

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