iPad Pro 2020 vs 2021
Apple announced their new iPad Pro model for 2021 in April this year, and just a month later it set a new standard for iPads as one of the most powerful tablets in the world. While the iPad Pro 2020 was discontinued around the time that Apple announced the newest model, it's still easy to get hold of the 2020 model from third-party sellers.
Before you splash out on either iPad, it's important to consider the technical specs of both so that you can make a smart decision on whether the latest iPad Pro is worth the extra cash. So, let's compare: iPad Pro 2020 or iPad Pro 2021, how do they stack up?
The 2020 model of the iPad Pro sports a 12.9-inch Liquid Retina LED that features 120Hz ProMotion, full lamination, and anti-reflective coating, P3 wide colour, and True Tone. Images and videos are crisp and clear, and they're visible in bright light as well as lower lighting. The 2021 iPad Pro also sports a 12.9-inch display, though this time it's a Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED display. It packs in all of the same features listed above, as well as improved screen brightness and a 1 million-to-1 contrast ratio. It's a better screen, especially for darker images, videos, and games.
One big benefit of the 2021 model's display is that creative professionals and editors can view and edit HDR content on the 2021 iPad Pro. This will also benefit film fans keen to consume HDR media on the go.
There's a decent difference between the processing power of the 2020 model and the 2021 model of the iPad Pro. While the 2020 iPad Pro contains an A12z chip that is descended from the A12x chip first used in the 2018 iPad Pro, the 2021 iPad Pro runs on the M1 chip that is also featured in Apple's recent MacBook releases.
Both chips are octo-core, featuring four high-performance and four high-efficiency chips, though the maximum clock speed of the M1 is considerably faster than that of the A12z with both chips coming in at 3.2GHz and 2.49GHz respectively. While the 2021 iPad Pro no doubt offers better performance than the 2020 model, for most casual users this extra boost won't be needed. However, it does mean that the 2021 model might be a little bit more future-proof than the 2020 model for buyers hoping to make this iPad last.
The 2020 iPad Pro packs in 6GB of RAM while the 2021 iPad Pro offers either 8GB or 16GB depending on the model you choose. For most users, this difference won't matter much, since 6GB is plenty for casual tasks like web browsing and streaming. However, if you intend to put your iPad through its paces with intensive tasks like editing and coding, then the extra choice of RAM offered in the 2021 model might come in handy.
Both the 2020 iPad Pro and the 2021 iPad Pro are available in various models offering 128GB, 256GB, and 1TB of storage. The 2021 model also offers an extra option of 2TB storage, for those buyers for whom 1TB isn't enough. This is a small boost for the 2021 model and not one that will come into play for most users. The abundance of external memory options on the market today means that 2TB of memory should only really come in handy for the most intensive iPad users.
The rear camera of both the 2020 and 2021 models of the iPad Pro are exactly the same in terms of hardware, with both tablets sporting ƒ/1.8 12MP Wide and ƒ/2.4 12MP Ultra Wide rear cameras, though the 2021 model adds Smart HDR 2 and an extended dynamic range for videos. But the real differences between the two tablets' cameras come out in the front-facing camera, where the 2021 iPad Pro is a clear winner.
The 2021's ƒ/2.4 12MP TrueDepth camera with an Ultra-Wide lens offers a solid improvement over the 2020's ƒ/2.2 7MP TrueDepth offering, and the latest model also offers 2x optical zoom out and Center Stage on video calls, a feature which uses the camera's largest field of view to keep users centred in the frame during calls. It's a small bonus, but it's especially useful during group calls.
Two crucial differences also emerge between the models when it comes to connectivity. While the 2020 iPad Pro maxes out with a 4G LTE connection, the 2021 model also connects to 5G, which offers a considerable boost for those users with a 5G data plan. The 2021 model also offers a Thunderbolt USB-C port, which allows for faster charging and enhanced compatibility with peripherals including external hard drives and monitors.
The final verdict
If you're considering buying a new iPad in 2021, there's no doubt that the latest iPad Pro offers the most power under the hood. But both models have lots in common, and if money's an issue then saving some extra cash by buying the 2020 model makes a lot of sense. The biggest differences between the two models are in the details: enhanced 5G connectivity, a better front-facing camera, and a faster processor might be big draws for some users with data plans and intensive needs, but for most casual iPad users the 2020 iPad Pro is still a fantastic choice of tablet with many years of use ahead of it.