MacBook Air vs iPad Air: How should you choose?

Xiaobai Software  2022-04-24 18: 55  read 445 views

M2020 to be launched in late 1 MacBook AirThe first Mac to feature Apple silicon, and at just $999, it offers incredible value for money that Windows laptops can't match.Fast forward two years, and Apple is now iniPad AirThe same Apple Silicon M1 chip is available in XNUMX for about half the price.

Does this move by Apple make the M1 MacBook AirBe eliminated?oriPad AirToo much power for the software it runs on?Here, we'll compare the M1 MacBook Air to the M1 iPad Air so you can make an informed decision.


Since price is the deciding factor for most people, we'll start with that.As we briefly mentioned earlier, the iPad Air is about half the price of the MacBook Air.But that's not all, especially if you plan to use it as a laptop replacement.

For $599, you can get a 64GB iPad Air with Wi-Fi, but that's not enough to replace a laptop.All you get for this price is a tablet.For a laptop-style experience, you'll need at least one keyboard accessory.The best Apple has to offer is the Magic Keyboard for the iPad, which costs $299, half the price of the iPad Air itself.

Now, when you think about it, the total cost of your iPad Air suddenly becomes $898, making you wonder if it's worth the extra $100 for a MacBook Air.If you plan to draw on it, don't forget that there's also an optional $129 Apple Pencil fee.

At $999, the MacBook Air is a complete package.You don't need to spend extra on accessories to get the ideal laptop experience.Plus, you get 256GB of storage, four times as much as the base model iPad Air.

operating system


The operating system is a huge differentiating factor between the two devices, but the best choice for you mostly comes down to personal preference.Do you prefer a full-fledged desktop OS, or a lighter, mobile-based OS?

The M1 MacBook Air runs macOS, an operating system designed from the ground up for desktops and laptops.The M1 iPad Air, on the other hand, runs iPadOS, which is basically an enhanced version of iOS to take advantage of the larger screen.

So the iPad Air restricts you to software from the App Store, while you can install any desktop app on your Mac.Plus, you can even install supported iPhone and iPad apps on the M1 MacBook Air from the Mac App Store.

Apple's iPadOS may seem rather limited to existing Mac users, but if you haven't owned a Mac before, you'll probably be happy with an iPhone-like experience on a larger screen.On the software side, I believe the M1 MacBook Air is the more versatile of the two machines, especially since the M1 Mac can natively run some useful iPad apps likeLumaFusion.



We already know that both devices pack Apple's impressive M1 chip, but does that mean they both offer the same performance?Theoretically yes, but it's hard to compare because they run different operating systems.

Notably, the base model MacBook Air has an M7 chip with a 1-core GPU, while the iPad Air has a full-fledged 8-core GPU.Granted, there are theoretical nuances in GPU performance, but that hardly translates into practical use.

Both the MacBook Air and iPad Air perform more than you need for their price.However, if you plan to run CPU- and GPU-intensive tasks on your Mac with production software like Final Cut Pro or DaVinci Resolve, you're better off buying a high-end 1-inch MacBook Pro with the M14 Pro chip.

Whether you buy a MacBook Air or an iPad Air, you'll get 8GB of RAM, so there's no comparison here.However, if you really need to, you can custom configure the MacBook Air to have 16GB of RAM.

Also, keep in mind that iPadOS and MacOS manage system resources differently.Apple only allows iPad apps to use up to 6GB of available memory, leaving the rest for core system functions.However, macOS has no such restrictions on the memory usage of applications.



Until recently, laptops (including MacBooks) didn't have high-quality cameras, especially compared to tablets and phones.In recent years, however, video calling has become more popular, making camera quality a priority for many.

The MacBook Air's 720p HD camera for FaceTime calls is mediocre at best.So if you plan to make a lot of video calls or participate in online meetings, this can be a deadly problem.On the other hand, the M1 iPad Air has a 1200-megapixel ultra-wide camera that supports smooth video calls up to 1080p/60fps.Among other things, it supports Apple's "Center Stage" feature, which keeps you in the picture as you move.

Don't forget, the iPad Air is a tablet, just like any other tablet, it has a more powerful 1200-megapixel main camera that takes great photos and records video at 4K/60fps.Granted, most people won't take pictures with a tablet, but it's handy for scanning documents.

Battery Life


The MacBook Air and iPad Air are highly portable machines, so you'll want them to last as long as possible while traveling.Thankfully, the efficiency of the Apple M1 allows the new MacBooks to have a noticeable improvement in battery performance over the previous generation.

While the iPad Air's 10-hour web browsing battery life is good for a tablet, the MacBook Air can provide up to 15 hours of web browsing, or 18 hours of video playback in the Apple TV app.This laptop leads the pack when it comes to battery performance, where only the heavier and more expensive 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro beats it.



Screen size can be another big factor in your buying decision.It depends on whether you want more screen real estate or a more portable device, as both machines have nearly identical panel quality.

The iPad Air has a 10.9-inch IPS display with a resolution of 2360x1640 pixels and 264 pixels per inch, while the MacBook Air has a 13.3-inch IPS screen with a resolution of 2560x1600 and 227 pixels per inch.Both displays support P3 wide color gamut and True Tone.However, the iPad Air maxes out at 500 nits, which is a bit brighter than the MacBook's 400 nits.

Learn how the M1 laptop differs from the M1 tablet

Before you decide to buy one of these devices, it's necessary to know exactly what you plan to do with them.While the iPad Air is a tablet running a mobile-based operating system, it's still better than a MacBook for certain use cases, such as taking notes, video calling, and consuming media.But for most people, the M1 MacBook Air is a safe bet, a more convenient work tool that gives you good value for your money.


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