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iPad Pro or MacBook Air?

  • iPad Pro

    Votes: 12 70.6%
  • MacBook Air

    Votes: 5 29.4%

  • Total voters


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 11, 2021
I have a gaming laptop (ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15) which is my go-to device for gaming and personal tasks. However, it's a bit bulky to be used on the bed and carried daily, so I'm looking to buy a secondary light device that has great battery life that could be easily used on the bed and outside.

I've read many threads where people typically recommend a MacBook over an iPad, but the thing is, I'm not looking for a laptop replacement. I'm leaning toward the iPad Pro 11" M2 256GB Wi-Fi due to the following reasons:
  1. The iPad is much lighter (456g/1lbs vs 1.24kg/2.7lbs) for easier use on the bed.
  2. It is easier to read books and watch videos on the bed.
  3. The iPad could be turned on and used instantly.
  4. When I'm traveling or outside and want to whip out a device to do some light gaming, I think the iPad is better in this regard. I'd imagine that the Apple Store for iPad OS has much more gaming titles.
  5. I'm going back to grad school and I think the iPad Pro + Apple Pencil combo is great for note taking and annotating file.
The only pros I could come up for the MacBook Air is longer battery life and a killer Midnight Blue color (though I've heard it's a fingerprint magnet).

Please let me know if my thought process is correct and the iPad is a better purchase for me.


macrumors G5
May 16, 2015
I think iPad Pro will work wonders in your situation. Just keep in mind that Wi-Fi only iPad doesn't have GPS and you have no cellular connection to back off of should Wi-Fi quality drops. I went extra money to get cellular model + ongoing plan to make iPad Pro a near-replacement for iPhone. However, it is up to you to decide whether cellular (and GPS) is valuable or not for you.


macrumors regular
Feb 22, 2021
Take the iPad Pro plus Apple Pencil. There is so much you can do with the iPad which you cannot do with the MacBook. (I have both + iMac).

With the Pro model you get LIDAR and can tage 3D pictures of both objects and rooms. You dan download things like Netflix movies and watch off line. Reading books (and PDF) is much better on the iPad than on the Mac. The screen size on the iPad is better.

There are lots of games but it cannot compete here when compared to a PC gaming laptop. On the other hand you can find so many good apps for every interest on the iPad. Things which cannot be done on a PC or a Mac.

You will probably want to use the app Notability for school notes. It can both handle typed text, handwriting, photos and sound recording at the same time. Sound and handwritten notes are actually synchronized when you use both.

For annotating PDF files you will probably want PDF Expert. Like the rest of us do.


macrumors 601
Sep 8, 2011
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
IPad display puts the MacBook Air display to shame, too. I am using my iPad as a laptop replacement and I’ve considered going back to the MacBook Air or MacBook Pro but… can’t give up this display :/


macrumors 68040
Apr 15, 2019
You are comparing the weight without a keyboard, so you woundn't need a keyboard for the iPad?


macrumors G4
Apr 24, 2016
Go with the iPad and test it during the return period. Should be a nice experience. Any iPad with a pencil will probably do the trick.


macrumors 601
Mar 3, 2008
I would personally try the iPad Pro in your situation, since the need you identified is more supplemental to your everyday laptop, and you could benefit from the 'special' things the iPads can do that the MacBooks can't (e.g. be really light to watch videos, take notes, etc.)

I think the 11" Pro is often the perfect supplemental device, but I would also like to point out that if you're doing a ton of note-taking / markup and a ton of video watching then you may want to consider the 12.9" iPad Pro. There are some killer deals on the M1 model (really not much changed vs. M2) available right now, and some people aren't bothered by the extra half pound over the 11". The 12.9" has that awesome mini-LED screen for movies and a ton of real estate and space for notetaking. Up to you, but I would at least pick them up in a local store and try them out for a few minutes each.

Good luck with your search. :)

Also... there are a few more pros to the MBA, but they're mostly related to using it as a laptop. Larger / nicer trackpad, full function key rows, centered webcam on landscape, greater adjustability in viewing angle, more 'full-featured' OS, etc. etc. It's a very nice machine, but it does sound like what you need is a tablet.
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