Updated 05:34 AM EDT, Sat, Oct 23, 2021

iPad Air vs MacBook Air: Which Device is Best for you? Comparing Specs, Build, Battery Life and Overall Hardware

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It's safe to say that the tablet market is in something of a shift in dynamics at the moment. Originally devices like the iPad were intended to be a stop-gap between your main computer and smartphones. Over the years, however, people have begun to ask why a device with primary touchscreen support couldn't be retrofitted for a more professional purpose. This led to the innovation of Microsoft's surface line of products.

With Apple just a few days away from reportedly announcing its latest line of its iPad products and supposedly shooting for a more professional slant in this iteration, it is interesting to see how the current iPad Air compares to the MacBook Air. These are two devices that are not intended to be a primary professional computer, but the latter is largely viewed as having more professional capabilities. Here is a break down of both devices to tell which one is best for users before Apple makes its big announcement on Thursday.

Build

Both devices are actually fairly similar in terms of weight, size and build. The aluminum exterior and light heft to the devices gives them a feeling of solid weight to them for mobile situations. The Air is obviously larger, but honestly, there have never been that many people complaining about the laptops size for what it is so that feel irrelevant.

Display

As far as screens go, even though the MacBook Air has a larger display, the iPad has an advantage: the Retina Display. Apple added this High-resolution display to its MacBook Pro line last year, but the iPad is where it was started after the iPhone. Hopefully this will become standard on all products in the future (perhaps even announced at the big event on Thursday)

Internal Hardware

When you analyze the internals, that is where the differences start to get more paramount. These are obviously two different devices with two different goals: one is mobile, one is desktop. Thus these statistics should be taken with a grain of salt.

That said, Intel Core i5 is a stronger chip than the Apple A7 chip. Surprisingly though, the internals match fairly well after that. Both have a 64-bit dual core processor and start out at 1.4 GHz (though with the MacBook has an option to up that to 2.7GHz). Both offer a fast performance for almost anything that you would use a casual computing device for, with the MacBook of course offering more fully featured apps because of it's more standard utility.

RAM is not going to be any competition. 4GB with the option to upgrade to 8GB is just going to beat a standard tablet sized 1GB of RAM.

Battery and Memory

Since the thing that people tend to use casual devices like these for tends to be just internet use, the 10 hours the iPad gets to the MacBook's nine is great. This is despite the battery of the laptop actually being slight larger as well.

Memory of course handily goes to the MacBook with the tablet topping off at 128GB, just the start of the laptop's memory potential.
Software and Utility

OS X Mavericks and iOS 8 are getting to be more and more comparable as time goes on. They both do what they are supposed to do and do it well. What's more, iWorks is now just given away with the purchase of either device. If you prefer Microsoft's Office suite, that is available on both devices too, but on the iPad it requires an Office 365 subscription.

Final Thoughts

There's no doubt that the iPad has gone above and beyond what was expected of it when it first launched a number of years ago. It now is much more aligned for proper productivity than ever before and chances are that it will only gain more ground on that front once Apple makes its announcements on Thursday. It could even be argued that it is the decision over PC's in many households.

That is not to say that laptops like the Macbook Air do not still have their place. When it comes to fully featured apps like Photoshop or the rest of the Adobe Suite, the PC is still the place to go for that sort of work. At least for now.

More will be revealed in just a few days when Apple takes to the stage to unveil the latest devices hitting store shelves soon. Expect the line between tablet and laptop to be blurred even further.

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