M2 iPad Air vs iPad 10 – 9to5Mac

Alongside the new M4 iPad Pro and M2 iPad Air, the iPad 10 remains Apple’s lower-priced entry-level tablet in the lineup. Here’s a look at what’s the same and different when considering the M2 iPad Air vs the iPad 10.

The M1 iPad Air blurred the line between the more affordable iPads and the Pro models. Now there’s the M2 iPad Air, with the upgrades that the M2 iPad Pro called exclusive.

However, the iPad 10, with Apple’s modern thin-bezel design and priced lower than the iPad Air with many of the same features, remains in the lineup and has seen a price drop.

We have a detailed comparison of all the new iPads. Read below for a detailed look at what you get with the M2 iPad Air vs iPad 10.

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M2 iPad Air vs iPad 10

Performance

M2 iPad Air vs iPad 10 performance
image via Apple

The iPad Air 2024 uses an M2 chip. This includes a more powerful 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU. In contrast, the iPad 10 uses the A14 Bionic with a 6-core CPU and 4-core GPU. Apple says the M2 is 3x faster than the A14 chip.

However, unless you’re using your iPad hard with professional workflows (or aspiring professional workflows) like video editing, graphic design, etc., you probably won’t need or even notice the M2 chip upgrade.

M2 iPad Air iPad 10
Chip M2 A14 Bionic
CPU cores 8 6
GPU cores 10 4
Neuron engine cores 16 16
Storage space 128 GB – 1 TB 64 or 256 GB
FRAME 8 GB 4GB
USB-C
Cellular 5G (without mmWave 5G (without mmWave

Display

The iPad 10 offers many of the same display features as the more expensive 11″ iPad Air. It is a 10.9″ Liquid Retina panel with a resolution of 2360 x 1640 and 264 PPI. Other specs include 500 nits of brightness, True Tone and thin bezels.

M2 iPad Air vs iPad 10 displays
M2 iPad Air image via Apple

Funny enough, even though Apple uses the name 11″ for the iPad Air and 10.9″ for the iPad 10, the iPad Air panel is technically 10.86″.

However, an enticing new option for the M2 iPad Air is the 13″ model – meaning you can get Apple’s largest tablet size without having to jump to an iPad Pro.

The four features you won’t get with the iPad 10 on the M2 iPad Air are P3 wide color, anti-reflective coating, laminated display, and Apple Pencil Hover. But overall, you get a solid display with the iPad 10.

13″ iPad Air 11″ iPad Air iPad 10
Display 12.9″ 10.86″ 10.9″
Distinction 2732×2048 2360×1640 2360×1640
PPI (pixels per inch) 264 264 264
Display brightness 600 rivets 500 rivets 500 rivets
True Tone
P3 wide color
ProMotion (120 Hz)
Anti-reflective coating
Fully laminated display
Liquid Retina display
Apple Pencil Hover

Connectivity and accessories

iPad 10 is compatible with the Magic Keyboard Folio. Meanwhile, the iPad Air works with the same Apple accessories as the iPad Pro. This includes the Apple Pencil Pro and the Magic Keyboard.

The iPad 10 and M2 iPad Air continue to use Touch ID located in the top button.

M2 iPad Air iPad 10
Apple Pencil support Pro and USB-C USB-C and 1st gen
Magic Keyboard support
Magic Keyboard Folio support USB-C and 1st gen
Bluetooth 5.3 5.2
5G ✅ (without mmWave) ✅ (without mmWave)
Wi-Fi 6
Wi-Fi 6E
USB-C
lightning
Touch ID
Face ID

Like the iPhone SE 3, the iPad 10 and iPad Air do not have mmWave 5G support with cellular models. But since mmWave is the rarest version of 5G coverage to be found, it’s probably not a problem for most people.

Two other small improvements for the M2 iPad Air are support for Bluetooth 5.3 and WiFi 6E.

Splash of colors

iPad 10 colors
iPad 10 colors via Apple

With the M2 iPad Air and iPad 10, you have four color options.

The iPad 10 comes in silver, pink, blue and yellow. iPad Air comes in space gray, star, purple and blue.

iPad Air vs iPad 10 battery life

You get the same battery life with both iPads:

  • 10 hours of web or video usage on WiFi
  • 9 hours of using the web with a mobile connection

Storage and price

Here’s a breakdown of the price differences (MSRP) between the three iPads.

There are only two storage tiers available for the iPad 10, but 256GB should be enough for most users.

13″ iPad Air 11″ iPad Air iPad 10
64GB Wi-Fi 349 dollars
64GB + mobile 499 dollars
128GB Wi-Fi 799 dollars 599 dollars
128GB + mobile 949 dollars 749 dollars
256 GB Wi-Fi 899 dollars 699 dollars 499 dollars
256GB + mobile $1,049 849 dollars 649 dollars
512 GB Wi-Fi $1,099 899 dollars
512 GB + mobile $1,249 $1,049
1TB Wi-Fi $1,299 $1,099
1TB + cell $1,449 $1,249

Cameras

M2 iPad Air vs iPad 10 cameras
image via Apple

You get the same rear camera with the iPad 10 that’s on the Air, which uses a 12MP wide-angle lens.

After the iPad 10 was the first to get a front-facing landscape camera in 2022, the M2 iPad Air (and Pro) has the same, making video calls more convenient.

M2 iPad Air iPad 10
12MP wide-angle rear lens
Smart HDR 3 for photos
Smart HDR 4 for photos
4K video
Extended dynamic range
Slow motion video 1080p up to 240 fps 1080p up to 240 fps
Landscape ultra wide angle 12MP camera
2x optical zoom
Automatic tracking of the main scene
Wide stereo speakers ✅ (2x older bass guitar only for 13″ model)

As for speakers, you get the same dual-width speaker system on the iPad 10 and Air. However, the larger 13″ Air brings 2x louder bass.

Conclusion M2 iPad Air vs iPad Air 10

New 10.9" iPad 2022
image via Apple

Why buy an iPad Air?

If you’re going to push performance to the limit, the iPad Air might be more appealing with the M2 chip. But if you’re—or might become—a power user, the M4 iPad Pro might be a better fit, with up to 16GB of RAM, up to 2TB of storage, a 120Hz ProMotion display, and Thunderbolt support.

However, if you find an iPad Air on sale, it might be more convincing. Likewise, you can sometimes find an iPad Pro 2022 M2 on sale or refurbished.

Why buy an iPad 10?

When you consider all the similarities and differences, the iPad 10 is a great choice for casual use as well as light to medium work, school and creative workflows.

At regular price, it’s $150-$200 less than the iPad Air while packing many of the best features, making it the best choice for most users.

The iPad 10 is available from Apple, Amazon, Best Buy and more.

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