- The iPad Air 5, while offering comparable hardware to Apple’s pricier tablets, does not have a 120Hz display like the iPad Pro models.
- The 60Hz refresh rate on the iPad Air may not be noticeable to most users and is sufficient for reading or watching videos at a leisurely pace.
- 120Hz displays are exclusive to the iPad Pro lineup and have been available on these models since 2017.
The iPad Air 5 has hardware that rivals even Apple’s most expensive tablets, but does that include a 120Hz display? Powered by an M1 processor, the fifth-generation iPad Air is just as fast as the 2021 iPad Pro, and shares compatibility with Apple Pencil 2 and keyboard covers as well. That makes the iPad Air a great option at a more affordable price, suggesting there are other significant differences. For example, it lacks LiDAR and a second rear camera.
Unfortunately, the differences also apply to the display, since the iPad Air does not have a 120Hz refresh rate. The iPad Pro 11-inch and 12.9-inch are the only Apple tablets with ProMotion displays that can refresh the screen at up to 120Hz. More frequent updates make the on-screen movement appear smoother, particularly for computer-generated content that lacks the natural motion blur. The eye even accepts the 24Hz rate of film as long as the camera doesn’t pan too quickly. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t state the actual display refresh rate of the iPad Air 5 or any earlier models. However, some Apple Developer documentation references 60Hz as standard for most iPad models.
iPad Air Video At 120Hz
While the display refresh rate of the fifth-generation iPad Air is 60Hz, it can record slow-motion video at 120 frames per second, which is a very different technology. Incidentally, 240 fps is also possible, and slow-motion video is captured at a reduced resolution of 1080p instead of the full 4K resolution of standard video. Regardless of the capture speed, playback is slower, which is what creates the time-stretching effect, and the actual content seen on the iPad Air 5’s screen can happen no faster than 60 times each second.
In the end, a 60Hz display isn’t bad and may not even be noticeable since the maximum delay or lag would be less than two-hundredths of a second. This is not to say a 120Hz screen refresh is irrelevant, which is an advantage of the iPad Pro models. Faster display updates are easy on the eyes, particularly when quickly scrolling through a long page of information scanning for a particular section. However, when reading at a more leisurely pace or watching a video, it’s hard to see the difference, and in almost every other way, the iPad Air 5 is a great option, nearly matching the iPad Pro at a lower price.
Which iPads Have A 120Hz Display?
Apple has restricted 120Hz displays to the Pro models of its iPhones (iPhone 13 Pro and later), and adopts the same strategy for its iPads. As a result, 120Hz displays are only found on the iPad Pro lineup. 120Hz displays aren’t new to Apple. In fact, the first iPad Pro with a 120Hz screen was released back in 2017, and the technology has been available on every iPad Pro model released since.
The iPad Pro models with a 120Hz refresh rate display include the iPad Pro 10.5-inch, iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation and later), and iPad Pro 11-inch (all generations). Apart from iPhones and iPads, 120Hz displays are also found on the MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch (2021 and later models). The MacBook Air, like the iPad Air, has not been upgraded to a 120Hz screen yet.
Apple iPad Air (2022)
Apple’s 2022 iPad Air comes with a 10.9-inch laminated Liquid Retina Display with a resolution of 264 ppi and a peak brightness of 500 nits. The device features Apple’s M1 chip, which has an eight-core CPU, eight-core GPU, and a 16-core Neural Engine combined with 8GB of RAM. It comes with 64GB or 256GB storage. The 2022 iPad Air has a 12MP (f/1.8) wide camera on the rear panel and supports 4K video recording at up to 60 fps. On the front, the iPad has a 12MP (f/2.4) ultra-wide camera that can record 1080p videos at up to 60 fps and supports features like Center Stage and FaceTime video. With dual speakers/microphones, Wi-Fi 6, USB-C port, and Touch ID, Apple’s 2022 iPad Air is one of the best tablets in its segment.