The rise of the iPad prompted an interesting question: “MacBook Air or iPad Pro?” And this question has never been so topical, because the new MacBook Air with M1 chip (who is the best MacBook bar none) sees the revolutionized Mac with more speed and endurance than ever before.
While iPadOS 14 and the Magic keyboard do the iPad Pro More than a laptop than ever (and its A12Z chip is pretty fast, too), Apple has redefined the iconic MacBook Air in a way no one expected. So we decided to do what we do best: pit these devices against each other in a showdown between MacBook Air and iPad Pro, to see what your next computer should be.
Of course, some might say it’s like comparing apples and pineapples. The MacBook Air is a full-fledged laptop, while the iPad Pro is a tablet that can be a laptop replacement (provided you pony up some extra money).
That hasn’t stopped a lot of people I know, including a video producer and podcaster friend, from thinking the iPad Pro is their next main computer. But should it be yours?
Let’s find out.
MacBook Air vs iPad Pro: specifications
|MacBook Air (M1, 2020)||12.9-inch iPad Pro (2020|
|Starting price||$ 999 ($ 899 for education)||999 $ (1348 $ avec Magic Keyboard)|
|Screen||13.3 inches (2560 x 1600)||12.9 inches (2732 x 2048)|
|Processor||M1 chip (8-core, 7/8-core GPU)||A12Z Bionic chip with Neural Engine|
|Storage room||256 Go à 2 To||128 Go à 1 To|
|Cameras||Webcam 0,7 MP||12MP Wide + 10MP Ultra Wide (arrière), 7MP TrueDepth (avant)|
|Video recording||1080 x 720 pixels||Up to 4K at 60 fps|
|security||Touch ID||Face ID|
|Apple keyboard support||Magic Keyboard et Smart Keyboard Folio||Magic Keyboard et Smart Keyboard Folio|
|Pencil holder||Apple Pencil (2nd generation)||Apple Pencil (2nd generation)|
|Dimensions||12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches||11 x 8.4 x 0.2 inches | 11 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches with Magic Keyboard|
|Weight||2.8 lbs||1.4 pounds | 3 books with Magic Keyboard|
MacBook Air vs iPad Pro: conception et ports
While the MacBook Air with M1 chip works like the MacBook of the future, it still looks like the MacBook of the past. That’s not really a bad thing, as it still has the wedge-shaped design which is strong and iconic. However, its 0.5-inch and 0.3-inch bezels look outdated and give it a larger footprint than we would like in a laptop.
Conversely, the iPad Pro’s 0.2-inch bezels (on all sides) make it look more modern, and we’re hoping the MacBook Airs of the future will learn. The iPad Pro also has this flat-rimmed design that Apple brought back in its iPhone 12 lineup, which is pretty cool.
The 12.9-inch (11 x 8.4 x 0.2-inch) iPad Pro has a smaller footprint than the 13.3-inch (12 x 8.4 x 0.6-inch) MacBook Air, but the chassis is larger. end of the iPad Pro will be a plus for many. However, those who get the iPad Pro with the Magic Keyboard (a must for creating a laptop-like experience) add 0.4 inches of thickness, which makes it equal to Air.
Likewise, the iPad Pro weighs 1.4 pounds, which is half the weight of the 2.8-pound MacBook Air. Until you add the Magic Keyboard, which brings it to 3 pounds, which makes it heavier than the MacBook Air. The MacBook Air rarely wins a port battle, but its 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports and headphone jack trump the iPad Pro’s only small USB-C port.
So basically the design benefits of the iPad Pro are only really useful when you are just using it as a tablet. And it’s great for those who are able to blackmail an Apple Pencil, but those of us who want a typing experience may prefer the Air, as you’ll always need something from a stand or a base for using the iPad Pro.
MacBook Air vs iPad Pro: Display
The iPad Pro may have its design drawbacks when you plug in the Magic Keyboard, but its screen is the superior display in all respects.
We measured the 2020 12.9-inch iPad Pro as producing 122.9% of the sRGB range and 559 nits of brightness, making it slightly more colorful and much brighter than the MacBook Air (114.3%, 365.8 nits).
The iPad Pro also beats the MacBook Air on display technology. Both offer True Tone white balance, but only the iPad has the 120Hz ProMotion display refresh rate, which allows everything on your screen to move more easily and be a lot. more agreable. The MacBook Air, like all Macs, has a 60Hz refresh rate. It might not matter to you yet, but if you see a 120Hz screen, you’ll see the light.
Another major advantage of the iPad Pro’s screen is that it enables touch input. Apple has yet to give its Macs touchscreens, although this is something that macOS Big Sur regards as he should argue.
Winner: iPad Pro
MacBook Air vs iPad Pro: magic keyboard and pencil
Hilariously, Apple gave the MacBook Air and iPad Pro’s typing interface the same name: the Magic Keyboard. And while both are comfortable to type, with similar comments, they have two giant differences.
For starters, the iPad Pro Magic Keyboard isn’t included – it’s an optional $ 349 accessory. Second, the iPad Pro’s Magic Keyboard can be detached, which is very convenient.
And then there’s the Apple Pencil (also an optional accessory, which costs $ 129), which only works on the iPad Pro and not the iPad Air.
Creatives and handwriting enthusiasts will love the stylus, but there are also WACOM tablets and styluses for Macs, so it’s not like the Mac is closed here.
MacBook Air vs iPad Pro: performances
The best way to compare the performance of the M1 chip on the MacBook Air and the A12Z Bionic chip on the iPad Pro can be found in the only comparable performance benchmark that works on both systems: Geekbench 5.
On this test, the iPad Pro posted a solid score of 4,635, as the MacBook Air leaps up to its 5,925. Still, the iPad Pro is no slouch and remains good for video editing in its own apps.
A more drastic victory appears in the GFXBench Metal Aztec Ruins graphics test, which did not work on the iPad Pro. Meanwhile, the MacBook Air posted a strong 54,332.
Winner: Macbook Air
MacBook Air vs iPad Pro: battery life
The MacBook Air outlasts the iPad Pro by many. In Tom’s Guide’s battery test (surfing the web at 150 nits of brightness), the MacBook Air posted an epic time of 14 hours and 41 minutes, while the iPad Pro was empty at 10:16 a.m.
Winner: Macbook Air
MacBook Air vs iPad Pro: software and applications
Inside the new MacBook Air, you have the combination of Apple Silicon processors and macOS Big Sur, which unlock the ability to run iPhone and iPad apps in addition to macOS apps.
It must be said that macOS applications are currently made up of native universal applications written to run on the M1 chip, and converted Intel applications that run through Rosetta 2. The latter may have performance problems in applications. level applications, such as Adobe Premiere Pro.
And while the MacBook Air can run iPhone and iPad apps, not all of them will be written for the Mac. This means that you get apps designed for a touchscreen phone or tablet, but you’ll be interacting with them using a touchpad. Additionally, some video streaming programs cannot run in full screen, which looks like a mistake made by app makers, which should be fixed soon.
As for the iPad Pro, it will run iPadOS apps correctly and natively, and we haven’t seen any signs that it is running macOS apps. However, universal apps should provide the opportunity in the future.
Winner: Macbook Air
MacBook Air vs iPad Pro: cameras
We like that the MacBook Air has a slightly better webcam, thanks to image signal processing, but it’s still a 720p, 0.7MP webcam.
The iPad Pro has a 7MP front camera and a pair of rear cameras (12MP Wide + 10MP Ultra Wide), which are actually excellent.
Winner: iPad Pro
MacBook Air vs iPad Pro: value and price
The MacBook Air and iPad Pro start at $ 999, but that’s not the fairest comparison, as it leaves the iPad without its keyboard at $ 349. Plus, the iPad Pro starts off with half the storage. It is therefore a point in favor of the Air to begin with.
And if you want to make them comparable in specs, the Pro’s price goes up to $ 1,099 with 256GB of storage – and $ 1,448 with the Magic Keyboard.
If you want an 8-core GPU in your MacBook Air, its price goes up to $ 1249 and its storage goes up to 512 GB. Then a comparable iPad Pro is always more expensive, at $ 1648.
Winner: Macbook Air
MacBook Air vs iPad Pro: verdict
|Macbook Air||iPad Pro|
|Design and ports (10 points)||8||8|
|Display (20 points)||15||19|
|Magic keyboards and styluses (10 points)||8||8|
|Performance (10 points)||dix||8|
|Battery life (20 points)||20||13|
|Software and applications (5 points)||5||3|
|Cameras (5 points)||3||5|
|Value and price (20 points)||18||13|
|Overall (100 points)||87||77|
There you go, Apple Silicon and the M1 chip give the MacBook Air plenty of performance, endurance, and even the versatility it needed to keep the iPad Pro at bay.
But for those who want a touchscreen device that really sings and feels integrated into your work – not a WACOM tablet that you plug into your Mac – Apple’s decision to keep touchscreens out of its Macs may push you. to iPad Pro. And I can’t blame you. Its screen is brighter and undocking it from the Magic Keyboard allows for greater portability.
But when it comes to value, some people will cringe at the Magic Keyboard’s hefty price tag of $ 349. That’s over a third of the price of the entry-level MacBook Air M1 and the money that could be spent on upgrading the Air to the 8-core GPU, more RAM, or more storage.
That’s why we’re very curious about what 2021 has in store for both the Mac and the iPad. Stay tuned, reader.