Which one should you get?

  • Apple/Pocket-lint

    Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022)

    The safe bet

    $999 $1099 Save $100

    The 2022 MacBook is simply one of the finest laptops money can buy. Powerful, portable and pretty with very little to complain about.


    • Powerful
    • Long battery life
    • Built for portability

    • Lacks Apple Pencil support

  • Apple iPad Pro 12.9 - square tag image

    Apple / Pocket-lint

    Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2022)

    Most versatile

    Apple’s iPad Pro is the company’s high-end tablet that has the same M2 chip as the MacBook Air, but in a smaller form factor, with a muti-touch display and a streamlined interface. 


    • Performance
    • Apple Pencil support
    • Premium design

    • Not all accessories are included
    • Battery life could be an issue for some

For some, the idea of replacing their MacBook Air with an iPad Pro is tempting for a long list of reasons, including portability and simplicity. Apple’s iPad Pro can offer a streamlined way of working without skimping on overall performance, while laptops can become complicated and intimidating. On the flip side of that, however, is that iPadOS still can’t quite do everything macOS can, which is a clear drawback for going all-in on working from an iPad.

And that’s just the software differences. Apple’s tablets offer cellular connectivity and Apple Pencil, but require extra accessories to make it a true laptop-like experience. The Mac, however, is ready to work out of the box and has stellar battery life. If you’re struggling to figure out if the MacBook Air or iPad Pro is better for you, let us help. Below we’ll break down the similarities and differences between the two.

Price, availability, specs

Apple announced the 15-inch MacBook Air in June 2023, joining the 13-inch MacBook Air and marking the first time its thinnest and lightest laptop would have two screen sizes. You can buy either model right now, with the 13-inch version starting at $1,099 in the US or £1149 in the UK for the base build, which includes Apple’s M2 processor, 8GB of memory, and a 256GB SSD for storage. The 15-inch MacBook Air starts at $1,299 in the US and £1399 in the UK for the same M2 processor, 8GB of memory, and 256GB of SSD storage.

The base model iPad Pro 11-inch is $799 in the US and £899 in the UK, while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at $1,099 in the US and £1249 in the UK, each with 128GB of storage. Both models come in either Silver or Space Gray. You can add cellular connectivity to any iPad Pro model for an additional $200/£200. That means a fully loaded 11-inch iPad Pro with 2TB of storage and cellular connectivity costs $2,099 in the US and £2329 in the UK. The 12.9-inch model fully loaded is $2,399 in the US and £2679 in the UK.

Those prices are just for the tablet – that doesn’t include accessories like the $129 Apple Pencil or the Magic Keyboard that starts at $299 for the 11-inch version or $349 for the 12.9-inch model. The MacBook Air and iPad Pro are available directly from Apple or major retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy. The iPad Pro is more affordable than the MacBook Air, but that only includes the tablet itself. If you plan to add a keyboard, mouse/trackpad, or an Apple Pencil, the total price quickly rises above the MacBook Air’s starting price of $1,099/£1149.

Apple MacBook Air

Apple iPad Pro

Operating System




13-inch, 15-inch

11-inch, 12.9-inch


Apple M2

Apple M2


256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB

128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB


8GB, 16GB, 24GB

8GB, 16GB (only with 1TB and 2TB models)


18 hours of use

10 hours of use


2 x Thunderbolt/USB 4, 3.5mm headphone jack

1 x Thunderbolt/USB 4


Starts at $1,099

Starts at $799


Apple MacBook Air - 9

Even though there are two distinct sizes of the MacBook Air in Apple’s lineup now, there aren’t any major differences between the two displays outside of size. The smaller MacBook Air’s display measures 13.6-inches, and has a resolution of 2560 x 1664 pixels. The bigger MacBook Air is 15.3-inches and has a resolution of 2880 x 1864 pixels. Both screens have a notch cutout centered along the top of the screen for the FaceTime HD camera.

The iPad Pro, of course, is a touch-first device, so both models support multitouch, unlike the MacBook Air. The size of the display isn’t the only difference between the two iPad Pro models. The 11-inch model has an LED display with ProMotion (up to a 120Hz refresh rate), True Tone, and SDR brightness of 600nits max. The 12.9-inch display, however, has more features graphic designers and photographers are likely to want. The display is a mini-LED panel, supports ProMotion and True Tone, while boosting overall XDR brightness up to 1600nits for HDR content. It also boasts a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio.

Both iPad Pro models will work with the second-generation Apple Pencil, including Apple Pencil hover, a feature that was introduced late last year. Both the MacBook Air and iPad Pro have displays that are bright, vibrant, and look great. If you’re an artist, graphic designer or someone who wants to take handwritten, digital notes, the iPad Pro’s displays are the clear winner thanks to the Apple Pencil support. Otherwise, it’s a toss-up.


Stage Manager on Apple's iPad Pro allows for external monitor support, multiple apps open at the same time.


The MacBook Air uses Apple’s macOS, which is fully capable of anything you’d normally expect a computer to do. You can download and install apps from anywhere, not just Apple’s Mac App Store. It has a desktop, on which you can place files and shortcuts to your favourite apps, and it’s built for multitasking, allowing you to use multiple apps at the same time. In other words, it’s a traditional computer experience.

The iPad Pro is powered by iPadOS, and is similar to the experience you’d get on an iPhone, only on a larger display and with a larger focus on productivity features. For instance, like the Mac, iPadOS has a Stage Manager feature that allows you to use multiple apps on the iPad’s screen at the same time. Unlike split view that puts two apps side by side on the iPad, Stage Manager supports up to four different windows of varying sizes at the same time on the screen. Stage Manager is optional and not enabled by default.

Some users will appreciate the less is more approach that the iPad Pro and iPadOS can force you into when it comes to multitasking. Instead of having a bunch of different windows open and apps begging for your attention, you can focus on whatever task you’re completing.

That said, if you’re wanting to do more than edit photos, reply to email and browse the web on an iPad Pro, you’ll need to invest energy into learning which apps and workflows you’ll need to adapt. Depending on what you do for work, or what you expect out of the iPad Pro, that can be a daunting task.

Apple continues to slowly upgrade and improve the overall experience of iPadOS by bringing more desktop-class experiences to its tablets, but for some, iPadOS lacks the same robust software support and experience that you get from MacOS.

Hardware and performance

A MacBook Air 15-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro side by side.

The MacBook Air is equipped with Apple’s M2 processor, 8GB of memory and starts at 256GB of storage. Apple provides options to customise the Air, offering either 16GB or 24GB of memory and up to 2TB of storage for either size MacBook Air. A fully kitted 15-inch MacBook Air tops out at $2,499 in the US and £2599 in the UK, or $2,399 in the US and £2449 in the UK for the 13-inch MacBook Air with the same exact build.

Both models are available in four color options: Midnight, Starlight, Space Gray and Silver.

Both iPad Pro models also use the same exact Apple M2 processor, 8GB of memory and 128GB of storage. It’s kind of crazy to think about the fact that Apple is using the same processor in its high-end tablets as it does in the MacBook Air and the entry-level MacBook Pro.

You can add more memory and storage to both devices, with the iPad Pro topping out at 16GB of memory in the 1TB and 2TB models. The MacBook Air also goes up to 2TB of storage, but you can independently increase the memory to 16GB or 24GB.

Neither the Air nor the iPad Pro have any sort of active cooling system, or fan, to keep temperatures in check, and after using both devices, neither need one.

Comparing the performance of the MacBook Air to an iPad Pro isn’t really an equal playing field. They’re both going to be powerful devices capable of handling the various apps and tasks they’re designed for. Even with Apple pushing the iPad Pro’s performance further than it ever has with Stage Manager and allowing it to run up to eight apps at the same time – four on the iPad Pro, and another four when connected to an external display, the iPad Pro’s performance never feels like you’re pushing it to its limit.

And at the same time, with the MacBook Air using the same M2 chip, it’s plenty performant whether you’re simply browsing the web and replying to emails or doing light photo and video editing.

Battery life

The ports on the left side of the MacBook Air, including the MagSafe charging port.

The MacBook Air is the clear winner when it comes to battery life when compared to the iPad Pro. Both models of the MacBook Air – 13-inch and 15-inch – offer up to 18 hours of video playback or 15 hours of web browsing.

Both iPad Pro models top out at 10 hours of battery life for browsing the web or watching a video. And in our experience, that battery life estimate is reduced once you connect the Magic Keyboard to the tablet, meaning the iPad Pro may make it through a full work day of use.

The MacBook Air, however, will power through a full day of work and have enough battery left over to entertain you well into the night, or get through a second day of use. If you plan on most often using the iPad Pro at home, then battery life isn’t an issue as there’s always an outlet nearby. However, if you’re someone who’s constantly on the go, working on long flights and coffee shops, the MacBook Air’s long battery life is hard to pass up.

Which should you buy?

So, do you go with a MacBook Air that offers a full computing experience, extended battery life and includes everything you need to start working out of the box? Or do you go with the iPad Pro that’s capable of most of what the Mac offers, but brings Apple Pencil and cellular connectivity to the table? The MacBook Air is the safe bet, and for that reason we’re picking it over the iPad Pro.


Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022)

Editor’s Choice

$999 $1099 Save $100

The 2022 MacBook is simply one of the finest laptops money can buy. Powerful, portable and pretty with very little to complain about.

However, the iPad Pro is the way to go for artists and graphic designers who need a stylus and one of the best touchscreen experiences available on a tablet. Then again, if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t mind tinkering and figuring out new workflows, the iPad Pro is more than capable of replacing your laptop – you just have to be ready to change the way you think about getting work done.

Apple iPad Pro 12.9 - main image

Apple / Pocket-lint

Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2022)

Good alternative

The iPad Pro is a portable workhorse that offers cellular connectivity, Apple Pencil support and a streamlined interface. Those who spend the time to figure out how to use it to fully replace their laptop, generaly love it.

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