Macbook Air M1 Vs Pro M1

By | 22/10/2022

M1 iPad Pro vs M1 MacBook Air: which 1 should you buy

iPad Pro vs MacBook Air

(Image credit: Apple)

If you want a thin and lite Apple estimator, one large question might exist M1 iPad Pro vs M1 MacBook Pro – with the same processor powering both, and the option of using a keyboard and trackpad to command the iPad, they seem to be more than akin than ever before.

In this iPad Pro vs MacBook Pro guide, nosotros’ll take a await at all the ways they however diverge, from the hardware features to the software support. In that location’due south a huge amount of crossover in their Venn diagrams, but where they’re separate, they’re

The iPad Pro is the flagship tablet in the electric current iPad generations list and is packed with high-stop capabilities. It admittedly earns its ‘pro’ title, and with its fantastic HDR brandish and elite stylus – plus the option of 5G connectivity – it does things that the MacBook Air can only dream of.

On the flipside, the M1 MacBook Air brings the ergonomics of a laptop and the flexibility of macOS, and the performance of the M1 chip in such a small frame means information technology’southward absolutely 1 of the all-time MacBooks bachelor today. Be sure to bank check out our cheap MacBook Pro deals guide for the electric current best prices on this machine!

MacBook Air

(Epitome credit: Futurity – TechRadar)

M1 iPad Pro vs M1 MacBook Air: design

The M1 MacBook Air was unveiled in late 2020, merely shares the aforementioned chassis as its predecessors going back for the final few years. Its wedge shape helps it to shed book compared to the M1 MacBook Pro, and it’s just 4mm at its thinnest point, and 16mm at its thickest.

It weighs 1.3kg (2.8lbs), which is actually simply a pilus lighter than the 13-inch MacBook Pro, and is much heavier than the iPad Pro (sans keyboard case).

Inside you’ll detect Apple’due south latest keyboard design, which has a nice clickiness for feedback, and none of the reliability problems that plagued MacBooks for a time. The trackpad is nice and large, and always responds perfectly.

To the left and right of the keyboard are speaker grilles, and these are massively impressive for a thin laptop – sound is elevated so that it doesn’t seem to exist pumping out from under your easily, and in that location’s clear stereo separation between left and correct.

On the left side of the base, yous’ll observe ii USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports; on the correct is a 3.5mm audio jack connector.

The MacBook Air gets so many things about existence a laptop correct, despite beingness small – it has merely enough body to exist a wrist residuum while typing, its little lip makes it like shooting fish in a barrel to open, the hinge is totally stable, and the residuum is just right so it never tips while the screen is up. These are all things that are easy, and infuriating, to get wrong – but Apple doesn’t.

The M1 iPad Pro comes in ii sizes: ane with an 11-inch screen, and one with a 12.ix-inch screen. The smaller version is merely 5.9mm thick, while the larger is six.4mm thick – both make the Air await swollen by comparison. Their sleek sparse-bezel fronts and stark apartment sides only add to the feeling that their design comes from slightly in the futurity compared to the MacBook Air’s.

The smaller iPad Pro weighs 466g, while the larger weighs 682g – so once more, massively lighter than the MacBook Air. Notwithstanding, these measurements are just for the tablet section – to be a true replacement for the MacBook Air, we need to include the Apple tree Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro case, which delivers an excellent keyboard and mini trackpad.

Adding this brings the weight of the eleven-inch model to i.06kg in total, and the 12.9-inch model to (1.3kg in total). So if you choose the tablet at the same screen size as the MacBook Air and add the best keyboard, yous end upwardly at the same weight. Even so, the iPad Pro’s keyboard can be detached and left at domicile when yous don’t need, which is non a luxury the MacBook Air affords you.

The iPad Pro has a unmarried USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port, which can be used to accuse and/or connect accessories. It has speaker grilles on its shorter ends, with a speaker in each corner for impressive stereo sound that automatically orients correctly whichever way you agree it.

Apple iPad Pro M1

(Image credit: Apple)

M1 iPad Pro vs M1 MacBook Air: display

The M1 MacBook Air has a 13-inch IPS LCD screen with a resolution of 2560×1600, which works out as 227 pixels per inch. This is nice and sharp for only near whatever use – it’s not quite as ultra-sharp as some Windows laptops go, just it’s more enough pretty much whatsoever type of work to look crisp and detailed.

It supports the P3 colour gamut, and has a effulgence of 400 nits, which is good compared to most laptops and monitors, though isn’t as bright as Apple’due south Pro laptops or any of its tablets.

Apple Truthful Tone tech is included here, which adjusts the colour temperature so that it matches the ambient lighting in your room, so you don’t end upward looking at a blue-seeming screen when everything else in the room is yellowish-tinted to your eyes – it’south really squeamish for working in the evenings (or only on dark days).

The iPad Pro models offer screens that are a stride up from the MacBook Air’s, though. They’re also IPS LCD screens with P3 support, merely they both hitting 600 nits in typical use, which is a meaning brightness increment, and really helps with visibility in daylight, also every bit color vibrancy.

They’re besides made with a more than advanced lamination process and have an anti-reflective coating, once more helping visibility in hard conditions. They also include Apple’south True Tone tech, besides.

The 11-inch iPad Pro has a resolution of 2388×1668, which is a density of 264ppi – a pace up for sharpness compared to the MacBook Air, which is handy if you desire to closely examine (or describe) images. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a resolution of 2738×2048, which again is 264ppi.

Both iPad Pro models have a touchscreen, naturally, which the MacBook Air doesn’t – and in both cases that screen features ‘ProMotion’ tech, which means its refresh charge per unit can vary from 10Hz up to 120Hz. The faster refresh rate – 120Hz – triggers when y’all’re scrolling effectually (so that it looks smoother) or when you’re drawing with Apple Pencil (so that yous see the results more apace, and be draw more accurately). It’southward merely fantastic for artists.

The MacBook Air’s screen is 60Hz, which is absolutely fine – especially since you tin can’t draw on it.

The 12.nine-inch iPad Pro has another crucial feature that neither its smaller sibling nor the MacBook Air does, though: a mini-LED display with HDR back up. This side by side-gen screen tech provides much college brightness levels, likewise as more precise dimming of the backlight for dark areas.

As a result, with HDR video and photos (including Dolby Vision video), the iPad Pro 12.9 reaches a full-screen brightness of ane,000 nits, and peak HDR effulgence of one,600 nits – this is huge, and bests almost every TV on the market, let lonely tablets and laptops.

You lot don’t just meet the benefits of this tech in HDR video, though: the improved contrast is evident fifty-fifty in regular use – light icons on dark backgrounds appear crisper, and images with darker areas expect more nuanced.

(Paradigm credit: Apple)

M1 iPad Pro vs M1 MacBook Air: performance

The MacBook Air and iPad Pro both use Apple tree’s M1 processor, which means they’re finer identical for operation, with a couple of differences to note.

First is that the MacBook Air is available with either a 7-core or eight-core GPU depending on which model y’all buy – this makes a pretty minimal corporeality of difference. The iPad Pros only come up with the viii-core GPU in.

Second is that the MacBook Air tin can be configured with 8GB or 16GB of RAM equally you similar, but the RAM in the iPad Pros is tied to the corporeality of storage you buy – up to (and including 512GB gets you 8GB of RAM, but the 1TB or 2TB options get you 16GB of RAM).

Otherwise, they’re the aforementioned, even downwardly to the fact that they’re both fanless designs, meaning in that location’southward not much difference in thermal throttling during long workloads.

The M1 includes 8 CPU cores, with four high-ability cores and four efficiency cores for lighter tasks, though all viii can be deployed at once for maximum output. And information technology really does perform like an eight-core desktop-grade processor – it’s a truly astounding amount of power for either of these thin and low-cal machines to take.

The GPU (in either form in the MacBook Pro) is at the level of a dedicated graphics bit, rather than an integrated 1, and tin handle pretty advanced 2d and 3D graphical needs.

No other machines in either of these class factors comes shut to the level of ability these produce, and in terms of raw operation, they’re right in line with each other.

MacBook Air

(Epitome credit: Apple)

M1 iPad Pro vs M1 MacBook Air: software

The operating systems are a huge factor in which of these yous might cull for working on, considering the MacBook Air runs macOS, with all the flexibility and legacy support that means, while the iPad runs iPadOS, which is a variant of the iPhone iOS software, but with tablet-specific actress features.

Then on the MacBook Air, you tin can employ software yous’ve used for years, from free amateur stuff to expensive pro suites, and it’ll run really smoothly on the beastly M1 processor.

The iPad Pro only runs apps available from the App Store, and this tin can exist both blessing and curse. The apps are all really easy to apply and touch-friendly, and in many cases yous can exercise things that you just tin’t on the MacBook Air – including using the touchscreens for art apps, of course, merely also things like music-making apps exercise incredible things on iPad – merely in that location are also lots of tools that just aren’t as capable on iPad as they are on MacBook.

And while things similar document editing and spreadsheets can be washed well on both devices, the MacBook Air does tend to be amend for things similar huge spreadsheets with fiddly structures.

It comes downwards very much to what kind of creative work y’all want to accomplish on the device. The iPad Pro is simply astounding in some areas, and gives yous frustrating ceilings in others. The MacBook Air can exercise pretty much anything at whatever level you need… except that its form factor means there are things information technology tin can’t do
at all.

We should note that on the MacBook Air, apps would ideally exist compiled specifically to run on the MacBook Air’s M1 chip, because it works differently to the Intel chips Apple previously used. Apps that aren’t compiled will be run through a translation manner, and this has little detrimental effect on speed, but can crusade some other problems.

Glitches may creep in, and people have reported things like legacy plugins for apps not working quite right. For 95% of people, the MacBook Air volition run apps only whatever Mac you’ve used before, but if your workflow involves some really niche software, it’s worth checking how well they run on M1, if y’all can, before buying the machine.

M1 iPad Pro vs M1 MacBook Air: features & battery life

Both of these devices use a biometric security organization for logging in easily. The iPad Pro include Face ID face scanning tech, while the MacBook Air has a fingerprint sensor at the top correct of the keyboard.

The MacBook Air’s fingerprint sensors works and so quickly it’south basically imperceptible, and the Mac instantly unlocks to your desktop. We love information technology.

The iPad Pro’southward Face ID organization is equally efficient provided the tablet has a adept view of your confront (such equally when it’s in the keyboard case) – simply if you lot have it on your lap or lying on a table and try to unlock, you may find that you need to bending it towards you and attempt again.

The MacBook Air has a front end-facing camera for video calls, and it’due south… fine. No more, no less. Information technology makes you visible, job washed, good work. The mic array is pretty proficient.

The iPad Pro has a much ameliorate and more than interesting forepart-facing photographic camera, with Apple’s Centre Stage technology built in. What this means is that the camera is actually an ultra-broad lens, merely the iPad crops into only a function of its view, based on where it detects your face. If y’all motion around, the iPad follows you lot within its ultra-wide view. If someone else comes into view, information technology changes the angle to fit you both in. Information technology’due south very clever, and quite handy at fourth dimension.

On the back of the iPad Pro are 2 other cameras: a wide-angle 12MP cam and a 10MP ultra-wide cam. Both are strong quality, and are paired with a LiDAR sensor, which can exist used for quick autofocus when needed, but is also a powerful tool for augmented reality apps, since information technology tin notice distances and surfaces with full precision.

The iPad Pro models have one side where the Apple Pencil 2nd Gen magnetically attaches, with a) keeps it to manus really usefully, and b) charges it wireless when information technology’due south attached, so it’s always ready to become.

The MacBook Air promises to be the better option of the two if battery life if a major concern, because it’due south larger frame means it tin fit in a much larger prison cell. It’s rated for xv hours of light web browsing, whereas the iPad Pro models are both rated for 10 hours of the same.

Now, we’d say you can become more that from these machines in our experience, only it depends entirely on what yous’re doing – something that pushes it both for processor and graphics will drain them in a fraction of that time. Only that still puts the MacBook Air equally the stronger choice overall – fifty-fifty when you push hard, you’ll go a little more time than from the iPad Pro in theory.

Having said that, macOS and iPadOS manage their apps differently, and iPadOS won’t allow apps pig power and bombardment in the groundwork in the way that macOS will, so you’re less likely to be surprised past bigger battery drops than expected on the iPads.

The iPad Pro with Apple's Magic Keyboard case being used at a desk

(Image credit: Apple)

M1 iPad Pro vs M1 MacBook Air: price

The M1 MacBook Air starts from $999/£999/AU$1,499 for the version with M1 with 7-core GPU, which also has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

Or you can cull the version that’southward a step up, which upgrades you to the M1 with 8-core GPU and 512GB of storage (still 8GB RAM). That costs $1,249/£one,249/AU$1,849.

You lot can and then configure further: y’all can boost the RAM to 16GB, and can choose 1TB or 2TB of storage.

The 11-inch M1 iPad Pro’s starting price is $749/£749/AU$i,199, which includes 8GB of RAM with 128GB of storage. You lot can configure it to 256GB of storage (8GB RAM), 512GB storage (8GB RAM), 1TB storage (16GB RAM) or 2TB storage (16GB RAM).

The 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro is available in all the aforementioned RAM and storage options as the eleven-inch model, but starts from $999/£999/AU$i,649.

You tin add 5G to the iPad Pro models for an additional $150/£150/AU$250 on top of whatsoever the configuration normally cost.

For your iPad Pro to exist a true replacement for the MacBook Air, though, you’ll need a keyboard instance too. The best option is Apple’s Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro, which includes a keyboard and trackpad, simply this costs a hefty $299/£279/AU$449 for the eleven-inch version, or $349/£329/AU$549 for the 12.9-inch version.

So the MacBook Air is going to accept an edge overall on toll for entry-level buys – once you factor in the keyboard, there’s no iPad Pro option that’s cheaper than the lower-end MacBook Air, fifty-fifty if yous become for the smaller screen. Yous can simply get more storage or fifty-fifty RAM for your money with the MacBook Air.

M1 iPad Pro vs M1 MacBook Air: which i is for y’all?

Either of these machines can exist a nifty lightweight work machine, and both accept huge reserves of processing power to draw on for when you need to get something demanding washed.

The MacBook Air offers a cheaper selection, and the flexibility of macOS’ about-space software options, plus the solid ergonomics of the laptop shape.

The iPad Pro offers the creative options of the touchscreen and Apple tree Pencil, plus the pick for an astounding HDR display. And, of course, you tin can only leave the keyboard (and one-half the weight) at home if y’all don’t need them, so at that place’s more concrete flexibility.

Related articles:

  • The best drawing apps for iPad
  • MacBook Air (M1,) review
  • iPad Pro (M1) review

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Matt has been testing technology for over a decade, working in specialist Apple publications as well general technology and creative journalism. By twenty-four hour period, you can find him covering Television set, audio, smart home gear and more at, equally Home Tech Editor. By dark, he’due south probably updating or pairing or installing some new piece of technology in the quest for the perfect setup.

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