Finally, an Apples-to-Apples comparison

MacBook Air

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.

iPad

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.

Read Magid’s take on the subject here.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Dave Webb
Dave Webb
Dave Webb is a technology journalist with more than 15 years' experience. He has edited numerous technology publications including Network World Canada, ComputerWorld Canada, Computing Canada and eBusiness Journal. He now runs content development shop Dweeb Media.

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