M2 MacBook Air vs M1 iPad Pro Comparison [VIDEO]

After using the M2 MacBook Air for over a week, I’m excited to share how it stacks up against the M1 iPad Pro. Here’s everything you need to know.

While the M1 iPad Pro is a powerful machine, I’ve still found myself using the MacBook Air for 5% of the tasks I can’t easily do on the iPad. However, I still use both tools for all kinds of tasks from creative work for YouTube and professional work in corporate suites like Microsoft to custom CRM software and more.

Because of this, I think I’d recommend giving some in-depth considerations on which “computer” is the better buy for you and your workflow to help you decide between the M1 iPad Pro and the brand new M2 MacBook Air. I am fully deployed.

For comparison, we’ll be talking about the M1 iPad Pro with 256GB of storage. The baseline MacBook Air will set you back about $1200. That’s the latest M2 chip, with 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM. The 256GB iPad Pro has 8GB of RAM while the one for the same configuration starts at $1,200. To really be able to compare the M1 iPad Pro and the M2 MacBook Air, we’ll also need the Magic Keyboard accessory for the iPad Pro, which will add another $350 to the base price.

Adding that $350 accessory puts the M1 iPad Pro at $1550, and the optional Apple Pencil costs an additional $130. fortunately, there are Third-Party Bluetooth Accessories Which are very cheap and work with iPad. Like most Apple products, to get the absolute best usability and functionality, you just need to get the Magic Keyboard.

Check out the table below for a full price comparison:

m2 macbook air M1 iPad Pro (Wifi only.)
worth storage to hit worth storage to hit
$1,199 256 GB 8 GB $1099 128 GB 8 GB
$1,399 512 GB 8 GB $1199 256 GB 8 GB
$1,599 1 TB 8 GB $1399 512 GB 8 GB
$1,999 2 TB 8 GB $1799 1 TB 16 GB
$2,399 2 TB 24 GB $2199 2 TB 16 GB

It’s unfair to compare the M2 MacBook Air directly to the M1 iPad Pro, as it requires a little extra hardware to be treated in the same way as a tablet “computer”—think keyboard and Bluetooth mouse.

The iPad Pro has some hardware features that may justify a price increase depending on how you use the tablet. The first is a 12.9-inch mini LED display. The 120Hz Promotion display has a base 1000 nits brightness level and a peak brightness level of 1600 nits. Because of this, you don’t have to worry about using the iPad Pro in bright or sunny environments. What’s more, the MiniLED screen on the iPad Pro is still the cheapest way to get Apple’s Pro Display XDR level of quality. This puts the display in a league of its own.

In comparison, you get a 13.6-inch LED IPS Retina display in the M2 MacBook Air. In itself, that’s great. When compared directly to the iPad Pro’s display, you can easily notice a 60Hz refresh rate and 500 nits maximum brightness.

M1 iPad Pro vs M2 MacBook Air
M2 MacBook Air Left, M1 iPad Pro Right

When it comes to cameras, the iPad Pro easily wins. While you can’t use the dual rear cameras, you still have access to capable photo and video sensors. Even if you don’t initially intend to use the rear camera setup, it is meant as an option and is more than capable if you need to use it.

Obviously, the M2 MacBook Air doesn’t have rear sensors. The new MacBook Air has a brand new, upgraded 1080p webcam, and while it’s a nice upgrade, the selfie camera on the iPad still circles around the MacBook Air’s camera. On top of that, the iPad has center stage built in. For security, the iPad benefits from FaceID, but the M2 MacBook Air includes Touch ID. Both biometric security options are very fast, but FaceID is passive, and doesn’t require any action from the user to unlock the device.

listen for yourself video below, And you can hear that the iPad’s speakers are fuller, louder, and more grounded than those on the MacBook Air. Technically both have quad-speaker systems but the iPad is just a better speaker system.

If you value ports and detail, the M2 MacBook Air is the obvious choice. Apple has reintroduced MagSafe on the MacBook Air, and it frees up an additional Thunderbolt port. This means you can have two devices or accessories plugged in, whereas on the iPad you only have access to one port. It has to be shared with power and data passthrough, but can be expanded with Compatible USB-C Hub,

If you pick up the Magic Keyboard, it’s worth noting that there’s a port for power. However, it is only usable for power access and cannot be used as an additional iPad Pro access or expansion port. Although there are two ports, the MacBook Air still supports only one external display at up to 6K resolution. The same is true with the iPad Pro, thanks to the addition of Stage Manager with iPad OS 16.

iPadOS 16 Stage Manager
iPadOS 16: Stage Manager

When discussing charging, battery life is one area where you’ll notice the biggest difference. The MacBook Air is an absolute champion when it comes to battery longevity. Apple’s website claims that the M2-powered laptop has a maximum lifespan of 18 hours. In our testing, we didn’t manage a full 18 hours, but after a full day of heavy use with third-party apps like Google Chrome and Microsoft Suite apps, the MacBook Air has zero issues. With this use case, we were still able to end the day with around 50% battery remaining. In our opinion, you can take it for heavy weekend use and no need to bring a charger.

Sadly, the iPad Pro can’t compete on the lifespan stakes here. Under heavy use with the Magic Keyboard, we regularly managed five to six hours before even looking for a charger.

When it comes to raw battery longevity, the M2 MacBook Air is a clear winner. Furthermore, the iPad Pro’s maximum charging speed is pegged at 33W as compared to the MacBook Air which can charge up to 67W via MagSafe.

The iPad Pro with the optional Magic Keyboard combo makes the iPad heavier and thicker than the MacBook Air. It’s hard not to look towards the iPad Pro though, at least in terms of versatility and overall portability. Not only is it a tablet aimed at entertainment, but it has also become a powerful workhorse tool for many people.

In many ways, the iPad is still a “must have” device in the market. Having owned an iPad since 2018, I personally made this decision based on aesthetics. It is incredibly light, thin and powerful. In many ways, it still feels too good to be true. Sure, the new MacBook Air design is wonderful on its own, but something about the iPad — and its unique floating hinge design — feels like a better package when paired with the Magic Keyboard.

So from a pure hardware perspective – price aside – I think the iPad Pro has the edge. With great versatility, better onboard cameras, and arguably better performance, it’s a top-notch piece of technology, and that’s why Apple continues to dominate this segment of the market.

In the end, which device is right for you is still entirely based on preference and price. In my opinion, I would choose the iPad Pro because of its portability, usability and the fact that it is generally more fun to use. There are millions of apps on the App Store for you to choose from, so you can always find something useful or entertaining. It’s simply more versatile—it’s a tablet, a digital notepad, a computer, and a game console.

It’s hard to argue with the fact that many people just want a laptop that’s familiar, works with everything—from work to productivity—to be usable on a daily basis, and has good battery life. . For this group, I generally recommend the MacBook Air’s overall cost-to-performance and familiarity ratio.

If you can afford both, the M1 iPad Pro and M2 MacBook Air complement each other, thanks to features like side cars, universal controls, and Apple’s ecosystem.

Even though the M1 iPad Pro is a great option for me, the M2 MacBook Air would be hard to look back on if I had to recommend a computer to use exclusively for the next five years. It delivers powerhouse desktop-level performance in a portable chassis, with true desktop applications, a great keyboard, touchpad, and external display support without compromising.

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