iPad Pro vs MacBook Air: what to buy?

Updates to the iPad Pro added robust cursor control for the first time, and its magic keyboard gives it a laptop-like experience, complete with a trackpad. In addition, the iPad Pro is now even faster with its A12Z Bionic chip, and it incorporates a new dual camera system to capture content on the go as well as a new LiDAR scanner to deliver advanced AR experiences.

iPad Pro vs MacBook Air: Specifications

iPad Pro vs MacBook Air: Price

Don’t be fooled by the starting price. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro (which we’re comparing because its screen is the closest to the 13.3-inch MacBook Air display) starts at $ 999 for the tablet itself, but costs increase dramatically once you get it. start adding accessories. For example, the Magic Keyboard costs between $ 299 and $ 349, and the second-generation Apple Pencil costs $ 129. That’s $ 1,348 for the iPad Pro plus the keyboard, and $ 1,477 if you include the pencil as well.

The iPad Pro also offers a Wi-Fi + Cellular option that adds built-in LTE connectivity, which the MacBook Air does not have. In terms of storage, you have 128GB to start with, but you can upgrade to 256GB ($ 100 more), 512GB ($ 300), or 1TB ($ 500).

The price of the MacBook Air is simpler. It starts at $ 999 with the M1 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage, which is double the storage of the iPad Pro. You also get a keyboard included. The $ 1,249 configuration of the Air offers the integrated 8-core GPU version of this M1 chip (the $ 999 model has a 7-core GPU) and boosts storage to 512GB.

iPad Pro vs MacBook Air: Display

The MacBook Air has a slightly larger screen than the iPad Pro at 13.3 inches versus 12.9 inches, but the iPad Pro’s screen is superior in almost every way. Plus, only the iPad Pro’s panel has a fast 120Hz refresh rate.

As for resolution, the iPad Pro’s screen is sharper at 2732 x 2048 pixels, compared to 2560 x 1600 for the MacBook Air.

In our lab tests, the iPad Pro’s screen averaged 559 nits, which exceeds the MacBook Air’s 365.8 nits. The iPad Pro has also taken the lead in terms of sRGB color gamut (122% vs. 114%), so you should expect more vivid hues from Apple’s tablet.

The only area where Air has won is color accuracy. The iPad Pro got a Delta-E score of 0.34, a bit higher than Air’s 0.22, where 0 is perfect.

iPad Pro vs MacBook Air: keyboard and touchpad

The MacBook Air features an upgraded scissor keyboard that provides a much more comfortable typing experience than the previous MacBook Air with its butterfly keyboard. The layout not only offers more travel (1mm vs. 0.5mm), but is overall more lively. The MacBook Air also has a large 4.75 x 3.2 inch touchpad.

The optional Magic Keyboard on the iPad Pro uses the same scissor mechanism as the MacBook Air and offers the same 1mm of travel, and delivers an equally enjoyable typing experience.

IPad Pro magnetically attaches to the Magic Keyboard’s floating cantilever design, allowing you to adjust the screen angle up to 130 degrees. The iPad Pro Magic Keyboard’s touchpad is smaller than that of the MacBook Air, but that didn’t prove to be a problem in our review of the iPad Pro Magic Keyboard.

The biggest difference between keyboards is that you have to pay – a lot – extra for the iPad Pro Magic Keyboard. It starts at $ 299, which is enough to make you wonder why you aren’t just buying a laptop.

iPad Pro vs MacBook Air: Ports

This tour is not a competition. The MacBook Air sports two Thunderbolt C ports as well as a headphone jack. The iPad Pro has a single USB-C port and no headphone jack, although you do have an additional USB port for on-the-go charging if you opt for the Magic Keyboard.

iPad Pro vs MacBook Air: performance

The iPad Pro has arguably one of the most powerful processors of any tablet, and the MacBook Air was also a game-changer by being much faster than any previous Air.

The Apple Silicon M1 chip in the new MacBook Air and the A12Z Bionic chip in the iPad Pro both have 8-core processors. The Air is sold with a 7- or 8-core GPU, while the iPad Pro only has 8-core GPUs.

On Geekbench 5, which measures overall performance, the iPad Pro was previously faster when compared to the Intel MacBook Pro. The iPad scored 1,126 for the single-core portion of the test and 4,720 for the multi-core portion. The MacBook Air did even better, hitting 1,303 and 5,925 respectively.

iPad Pro vs. MacBook Air: iPadOS vs. macOS

This is the biggest difference between the iPad Pro and the MacBook Air. The iPad Pro runs iPadOS, which is a touchscreen operating system that now supports cursor input on the operating system. Now you can easily select text using a Bluetooth mouse, external trackpad, or Apple Magic Keyboard with trackpad, as well as perform various gestures, such as flick with three fingers up to see all your open applications.

iPadOS continues to support multitasking features like Slide Over (running apps on top of others) and Split View (running two apps side by side), and the customizable Today screen gives you useful widgets. to stay on top of your day. In addition, only iPadOS supports Apple Pencil for drawing, taking notes, and annotating documents.

macOS offers a more traditional desktop experience. The Dock is still visible and you get more robust desktop apps. For example, the Chrome browser on macOS has a bookmarks bar, which the iPadOS version lacks. You also have a lot more choice in terms of software and what you can download on macOS, whether you choose to go through the Mac App Store or the web.

That said, macOS Big Sur has added the ability to run iOS and iPadOS apps, as long as your computer is running on an Apple Silicon processor.

iPad Pro vs MacBook Air: Cameras and Special Features

If you want to create content, the iPad Pro is the way to go. Apple’s tablet includes a 12 MP wide camera and a new 10 MP ultra-wide camera that lets you fit more into the scene while shooting. The iPad Pro can also shoot 4K video at up to 60 frames per second, which the MacBook Air cannot.

The iPad Pro also has a 7MP TrueDepth front camera for selfies and quick unlocking of devices with facial recognition. And, unlike the MacBook Air, the iPad Pro has a LiDAR scanner that dramatically improves the performance of augmented reality applications.

Another key benefit of the iPad Pro is the support for Apple Pencil. With the $ 129 accessory, you can easily take notes, draw, and annotate documents. And the Apple Pencil charges when placed magnetically on top of the iPad Pro.

Unfortunately, the MacBook Air only has a low-resolution 720p camera for video chats, though it does use machine learning tools to improve the quality of your stream. And you can’t use your face to log in; instead, there is a Touch ID button on the keyboard. Again, however, when it comes to special features, the ability to run iPhone and iPad apps on the MacBook means the Air can’t be put aside easily.

iPad Pro vs MacBook Air: Battery life

This turn was near. In our battery test, which involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi with a screen brightness of 150 nits, the iPad Pro lasted 10 hours and 16 minutes. The Intel MacBook Air couldn’t match that, running at 9:31 a.m.

But once Apple ditched Intel for its own ARM-based Apple Silicon, the MacBook Air lasted much longer, clocking 2:41 p.m.

iPad Pro vs. MacBook Air: verdict

This one is close, and while the Air came out ten points clear, it might not be the best for everyone. But after comparing this tablet and laptop across multiple categories, it’s clear where these devices excel and where they don’t.

The iPad Pro is the best option for those who want to travel light and want a touch experience with a superior screen. Apple’s Slate is also a better choice for buyers looking to create content, as the built-in cameras and optional Apple Pencil provide a level of versatility the MacBook Air can’t match.

But that being said, the MacBook Air edged the iPad Pro in terms of speed and battery life. Plus, those who are just looking for a solid laptop will find that the MacBook Air is the best choice and the best value for money. The Air is much more affordable than the iPad Pro when you consider the costs of the optional iPad keyboard. Plus, the macOS interface is simply better suited for day-to-day productivity tasks, and the Air also benefits from having more ports.

Bottom line: The iPad Pro is the best tablet you can buy that can double as a laptop for some people, and the MacBook Air is the best laptop for most people. Personally, I would choose the Air despite a few shortcomings, but overall you can’t lose.

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