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The MacBook Pro vs. iPad Pro, the face to face of two powerful machines

If you are looking for portable power in the world of Apple, the MacBook Pro immediately jumps into view. However, the apple manufacturer often promotes its iPads, among which is the redesigned iPad Pro, as natural replacements for laptops. How true this statement when we compare MacBook Pro vs. iPad Pro? Ac we will decipher this unknown.


iPad Pro 2018The first obvious difference between MacBook Pro vs. iPad Pro is your design. Julian Chokkattu / Digital Trends

You don't need to be a space scientist to realize that the MacBook Pro vs. design. iPad Pro is very different, each device with its own specific characteristics and attributes.

First, the iPad Pro comes in sizes 11 and 12.9 inches, and in gray and silver colors. In October 2018, Apple presented its complete redesign, in which it reduced its bezels and incorporated a flat-edged chassis. On the back it has a 12 megapixel camera and Apple's smart connector for external peripherals, such as a keyboard.

Thanks to its flat edge you can magically attach the second generation Apple Pencil, which also allows you to charge this tablet wirelessly without the need of the Lightning port, as in older models.

The iPad Pro is Apple's thinnest tablet, with a thickness of 0.23 inches. And its weight of between 1.03 and 1.4 pounds (depending on size and configuration) transforms it into a light enough device to place it in a backpack and take it wherever you go.

The MacBook Pro is a different beast. It comes in sizes of 13.3 inches and 15.4 inches, and those larger dimensions compared to iPad Pro imply greater weight: 3.02 pounds and 4.02 pounds, respectively.

Like iPad Pro, the MacBook Pro has a fully metallic chassis. Both devices are extremely well manufactured and feel top quality, without flimsy plastic housings. They have other similarities, such as the way they use the USB-C ports (one on iPad Pro and two or four on the MacBook, depending on the screen size). However, you should consider that the Thunderbolt 3 ports on the MacBook Pro support transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps and support for external graphics.

No device allows you to change components after purchase. Although it is common on a tablet, it is strange on a laptop. Changing any component in a MacBook Pro, from RAM to SSD, is a complicated task that requires several tools and a lot of patience. Whichever device you choose, make sure you are satisfied with its configuration before buying it.


MacBook Pro vs. iPad Pro The operating system is a relevant difference between MacBook Pro vs. iPad Pro. Julian Chokkattu / Digital Trends

The key feature of iPad Pro is, as expected, its screen. Apple did not skimp and equip its first level tablet with a screen that will make working on the move a pleasure. It is easy to see why we rate this feature as “impressive” in our review.

On the one hand, its True Tone function automatically adjusts the white balance of the screen according to the environment, facilitating vision and a more natural sensation. Although it may not seem like much, it really makes an important difference during use.

The iPad Pro also uses the same Liquid Retina technology of the iPhone XR. It has a resolution of 2,732 x 2,048 in the 12.9-inch model and 2,388 x 1,668 in the 11-inch model. Both use Apple's ProMotion technology, which automatically adjusts the refresh rate up to 120Hz. That is faster than the 60 Hz screen of the MacBook Pro and results in a smooth experience, both when you scroll through the web pages and with the Apple Pencil. The softness of the latter helps you feel incredibly natural in use.

Let's talk about the Apple Pencil. You can use it on iPad Pro as a digital laptop of all kinds. It is completely redesigned in conjunction with iPad Pro. It now has a flat edge so you can magnetically attach it to the tablet and charge it. In addition, it facilitates rapid tool changes, for example, from pencil to eraser. It is ideal when you are doing drawing or writing tasks, helping you improve your productivity.

As for the MacBook Pro, you also get True Tone technology and IPS Retina displays. The 13-inch model has a resolution of 2,560 x 1,600, while the 15-inch has a resolution of 2,880 x 1,800.

In any of its sizes, the MacBook Pro comes with the latest version of Apple's Butterfly keyboard. In addition, it has a large trackpad that works with a wide variety of movements in MacOS. Use hptic feedback to simulate movement. We call it "the best and biggest you can find on a laptop", comfortably surpassing its Windows rivals.

Depending on the configuration you choose, you should consider the touch bar, which replaces the function keys with an OLED strip with shortcuts for several common tasks. The function of these shortcuts change according to the application you are using and you can also customize them to add or remove buttons to your liking. To its right is a Touch ID button, to quickly log in or verify purchases with your finger.

As for the software, the MacBook Pro runs Apple's MacOS operating system, a mature system with many high-performance applications, such as Adobe Premiere. Meanwhile, iPad Pro runs iPadOS, which Apple has just released from iOS. It is less established than MacOS and, although it is a good operating system, it does not have the same range of applications that you will find on a Mac. Both platforms have limitations: iPad Pro benefits from the solid iOS application ecosystem, while MacBook Pro It has native professional desktop applications unlike its rival.

MacBook Pro vs. performance. iPad Pro

MacBook Pro vs. iPad Pro Regarding performance between MacBook Pro vs. iPad Pro there are no major differences in single core scores.

The “Pro” in iPad Pro is not only figuratively there, but it is indeed a powerful device. Apple has manufactured its own mobile processors for some years, and each new version is more powerful than the previous one. The chip of the last iPad Pro, the A12X Bionic, completely destroys the competition, with single-core and multi-core scores of 5,029 and 18,042, respectively. Samsung's alternative to iPad Pro, Galaxy Tab S4, only scored 1,891 and 6,423 in our tests.

In fact, Geekbench 4 scores for iPad Pro leave even the 2018 MacBook Air in shame. With an Intel Core i5, it reached 4,233 in single-core tests and 7,773 in multiple-core tests. That iPad Pro obtains twice and a half the performance in multiple-core tests that a MacBook Air is a sign of the strength of Apple's chips. No wonder there are rumors that Apple is thinking about equipping future MacBooks with A-series processors.

With all this power at your disposal in iPad Pro, how does it compare to the MacBook Pro? We tested a 15-inch model equipped with an Intel Core i9, the top processor with which you can buy a MacBook Pro. In our Geekbench 4 tests, it registered 5,423 and 29,708 in the single-core and multi-core tests, respectively.

It is interesting to note that the single-core tests are extremely close, with the MacBook Pro slightly surpassing iPad Pro. However, multi-core tasks are where the MacBook Pro shows its value and expands its leadership. You are more likely to perform tasks of this type on a MacBook than on iPad. Video playback will really benefit from that additional power, not to mention that most high-end applications will be limited to the MacBook Pro due to its operating system. If your needs include content creation in Lightroom or Premiere, the MacBook Pro's software capability is your choice.

The triumph of power and flexibility

MacBook ProThe power and flexibility defined the duel between MacBook Pro vs.. iPad Pro Dan Baker / Digital Trends

Ultimately, any decision you make is influenced in some way by price. With $ 1,299 dollars, the low-end MacBook Pro is a less likely alternative due to its dual-core processor and the lack of Touch Bar, considering that for $ 1,149 dollars you can get a powerful 12.9-inch iPad Pro with greater storage capacity. That said, the MacBook Pro's performance really adapts well to the price, and the high-end model makes iPad Pro out of the water. If what you need is energy, it is worth spending more on a MacBook Pro.

As our review showed, iPad Pro is an incredibly powerful machine that is undoubtedly the best tablet you can buy. Its screen is excellent, the Apple Pencil is an excellent drawing and writing tool, and its processor can perform any task you put in front of it. Its light and portable nature also makes it ideal for working on the move. If you combine it with the Apple pencil, you will have a perfect tool to paint, edit photos or take notes.

That said, the triumph in the showdown between MacBook Pro vs. iPad Pro is for the first for its power and flexibility. It has a wider range of options to customize it to your liking, and its faster ports allow you to connect high-speed devices (including external graphics cards) to expand its capabilities.

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