iPad Air 3
Last updated: 2 months ago
The iPad Air 3 is right in the middle of the iPad product line. Offering the versatility of the iPad Pro with the smart connector and Apple Pencil, and the older design of previous models that allows for a cheaper price and familiar form factor. This model with its A12 processor is the perfect tablet for those seeking a great iPad, but not ready to spend iPad Pro money.
● A12 Bionic processor
● Touch ID
● 10.5-inch screen
● 1st generation Apple Pencil support
● 64GB or 256GB
● Wifi or Cellular
● 500 nit, P3 gamut display
● Records video at 1080p
The iPad Air line originated in 2013, named with the same "Air" moniker used for thin and light MacBooks. The iPad Air 3 is a mid-tier tablet for those who don't want Face ID or to spend too much. Thin, light, and capable; you're not compromising much for the price.
It runs iPadOS, which means you get all the features and apps you've come to expect from an iPad.
iPad Air 3 Features
The iPad Air uses the first-generation Apple Pencil. Previously reserved for the iPad Pro line, the Apple Pencil has since propagated through the entire iPad lineup. With the laminated display of this model, using the Apple Pencil on its screen still feels as natural as ever.
The Apple Pencil charges via the iPad's lightning connector and does not offer the magnetic charging capabilities required to use the second-generation pencil.
The mid-tier iPad has a 10.5-inch P3 gamut display at 500 nits of brightness. It uses True Tone and has a laminated display. The resolution of the screen is 2224x1668 at 264 PPI.
Of note, even though this iPad shares many similarities with the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, it is missing one key element. There is no ProMotion display, which means you are not getting the automatically-adjustable 120Hz refresh rate that iPad Pros have.
The A12 Bionic is Apple's go-to chipset for their most recent mid-tier tablets. With 3GB of RAM, you can run any app and multitask using iPadOS. Games run great at 60fps with no perceived lag, as AppleInsider tested Fortnite on the hardware.
The Smart Connector was launched with the original iPad Pro with the hope that third-party accessory makers could design new pro accessories with an easy connection. Very few accessories ever took advantage of this and almost all were keyboards. The Apple Smart Keyboard is what Appleinsider recommends for the iPad Air, along with these accessories.
Cameras and Speakers
The rear camera is 8MP and is capable of capturing Live Photos in wide color, and is limited to 1080p video recording. The front-facing camera was upgraded this generation to 7MP and allows for 1080P FaceTime and video.
The audio is limited to two stereo speakers, unlike the iPad Pros with four. These speakers still sound great, although it is easy to block one of the speaker grates when holding the iPad.
Air or Pro?
When looking into the iPad Air, you likely will notice it encroaching quickly onto the iPad Pro, especially when buying the higher memory model. The difference between the models will be design, Touch ID vs Face ID, Apple Pencil generation, camera system, and chipset generation.
The iPad Pro starts at $799 with just 64GB of memory and no accessories, so keep this in mind when comparing the two. If money is no object, the design and power are obvious in the iPad Pro series and is an easy decision.
iPad Air 3 Options and Pricing
You can purchase the iPad Air in three colors; space gray, silver, and gold. It is configurable to have 64GB or 256GB of storage and a cellular option can be added. Pricing at $499 or $649 respectively. Add $130 if you want to add cellular to either option.
The iPad Air 3 is sometimes on sale, so use our Price Guide to help with your purchase.