Android tablet or iPad? Windows 8 ultrabook or MacBook Air? Both comparisons are irrelevant to the true Apple believer. But Forbes contributor Larry Magid has written a comparative product review that will resonate with the most died-in-the-wool Apple fanatic. Which is best for the road warrior: The MacBook Air or the iPad?
One of the major differentiators from a traveller’s point of view was once battery life; with an estimated 10 hours per charge, the iPad was the hands-down winner for those looking to avoid plugging in. But the newest MacBooks rival or even outperform the tablet. Then there’s the weight issue. The 13-inch MacBook Air may weigh nearly double what the iPad does, but that’s a difference of less than a pound-and-a-half.
So, really, it comes down three objective factors and an intangible.
Objectively, it’s keyboard versus slate, operating system and price. Those who do a lot of typing, editing and content creation will likely prefer the Air to tapping on glass or carrying a separate Bluetooth keyboard. (That’s actually a pretty good argument for the Dell XPS 12, but we promised to keep this an Apples-to-Apples comparison.) With respect to the operating system, there’s more power under the MacBook hood and more powerful applications, but it doesn’t run iOS apps (not really a dealbreaker, IMHO). The MacBooks are also considerably more expensive.
The intangible: What are you most comfortable with? As a sweeping generalization, tablets are better for consuming content, ultrabooks for creating it, but many don’t fit firmly into one camp or the other. We’ll have a whole generation on our hands shortly that was raised on tablets and doesn’t have the same keyboard bias that those of us of a certain age harbour.