2020 MacBook Air vs 2020 IPad Pro: Which Should You Buy?

Apple’s iPad Pro (2020) and MacBook Air (2020) have finally landed in our shores. Both devices boast much-anticipated features like new keyboards, new processors, and increased RAM. A lot of you guys have been asking me to compare the two devices. In reality, I am lucky enough to lay my hands on both devices, so it’s time for me to highlight the biggest differences between the two. Let’s see how both devices stack up against each other.


Both MacBook Air (2020) and iPad Pro (12.9 inch – 2020) start at $999 for the entry-level models. Of course, they come with a variety of configurations. The new price tag makes the new MacBook Air the cheapest Apple laptop you can buy right now.

In reality, you can get the smaller iPad Pro (11-inch) for $799. To be honest, I prefer the the 11-inch iPad Pro as it’s more comfortable to hold and carry around. However, I will compare the bigger one to the 2020 MacBook Air given the similar screen size and price tag.

According to Apple’s tradition, you can upgrade your MacBook Air to meet your needs. For this year’s MacBook Air, I recommend you pay $100 more and get I5 processor rather than the base dual-core I3. That’s a quad-core chip which is more power-efficient and faster, which is a better option if you plan to use your laptop for the next few years.

The Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro

Let’s go back to the iPad Pro. I suggest you get the Smart Keyboard Folio which acts as both a full-size keyboard and a case. That’s a 200$ more, but it’s really a good money if you want to use your iPad as a laptop replacement. Also, the new Magic Keyboard, which is specifically designed for the iPad Pro, will be coming out in May and cost $349. That’s a lot of money if you want a laptop-like experience

In short, if you now have about a thousand dollars to spend and you have your heart set on a new Apple device, then which one of these two should you buy? To be honest, I am leaning slightly towards the 2020 MacBook Air in terms of value for money. In reality, it’s not cheap given that there are lots of cheaper Windows alternatives out there. However, it’s worth the upgrade when compared to the iPad Pro.


Apple did not make any major exterior changes to both devices, instead focusing on hardware upgrades. I got the chance to use both devices for some time and I have to admit that the Air is a bigger upgrade when compared to its tablet sibling.

In reality, the new MacBook Air is the first Air model to offer the latest 10th-Gen Intel Core processors coupled with faster Iris Plus Graphics, allowing for a huge performance boost when compared to the previous model. There is also a much-improved Magic Keyboard that’s more responsive and more comfortable to type on.

To get the idea of how well the MacBook Air ( Corei3 – 2020) is working, I ran some benchmarks tests.

Benchmark Scores MacBook Air 2019 (1.6GHz dual-core eighth-gen Intel Core i5) MacBook Air 2020 (1.1GHz dual-core 10th-generation Intel Core i3 processor)  
Single Core 842 1076 +27.8% faster
Multi-Core 1778 2251 +26.6 % faster

The 2020 MacBook Air (Core I3) was surprisingly faster than the 2019 model with Intel’s 8th gen Corei5 processor. In reality, everything is smooth and responsive on the new Air model. I did not get the chance to run the performance tests on the I5 model, but I am sure the scores will be higher on the I5 and I7. You can see the table below for details of MacBook Air (Corei5-2020) Geekbench 5 tests

MacBook Air (I5-2020) Geekbench 5 test scores. Source: idownloadblog

As for the iPad Pro (2020), the new table is now powered by the Apple’s A12Z chip coupled with 6GB of RAM. Personally, I did not see any huge difference between the 2020 model and 2019 model in terms of the overall performance. It is still so smooth and super-fast, partly thanks to its high refresh rate screen.

iPad Pro (2020) Geekbench 5 Scores

On the surface, the MacBook Air 2020 might be a bigger deal than the iPad Pro in terms of performance. But, when we look inside, the iPad Pro did get a few upgrades that make a difference where it counts.


One of the best things about the new iPad Pro is the App Store. And, it’s the main reason why the iPad has dominated the tablet market for the past 10 years. In reality, there’s an iPad-optimized app for nearly everything you need on the App Store. In many cases, some iPad apps are even better than their desktop counterparts.

Netflix is so smooth on the iPad Pro (2020)

You can find anything from the App Store, ranging from Netflix to Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and Apple Pencil-optimized apps. Every app looks amazing on the iPad Pro. Personally, I love the fact that I can digitally sign and draw something using the Apple Pencil on the Pro.

One major drawback is that the iPadOS does not fully support professional editing apps. Indeed, some apps like Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, or Xcode are not optimized for iPadOS. In this case, you are going to need your MacBook Air that offers a full-desktop experience. To be honest, I find easier to navigate in Final Cut Pro on the MacBook Air, mainly thanks to its highly-optimized macOS ecosystem.

The Verdict

Choosing between the 2020 MacBook Air and 2020 iPad Pro is a tough call. And it all comes down to how you are going to use your device. Personally, I spent more time with the MacBook Air for my daily tasks. And I am not somebody that hates on the iPad lineup. The new iPad is great, smooth, and super-fast.

However, unlike a laptop that we all have been used to for many years, you need to learn all the iPad gestures and learn how your favorite apps and programs work on a multi-touch screen. That’s not a big deal for some users, but that does not fit my workflow.

If I had a thousand dollars to spend right now and I had to buy an Apple device, not the iPhone, of course, I think I would go for the MacBook Air.

What about you? Which one of these two would you choose? Let me know in the comments below.

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