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iPad vs Laptop Pros and Cons: Replacing a Laptop with iPad

iPad vs Laptop Pros and Cons: Replacing a Laptop with iPad

When considering an iPad vs Laptop and the pros and cons between the two; its important to consider whether or not you want to replace your laptop with your iPad. Doing so will allow you the capabilities of a laptop when you add a wireless keyboard and mouse as an attachment.

There are a few advantages of using an iPad rather than a MacBook. These include a touch screen that is both super portable and will let you use an Apple Pencil or stylus to draw, write, and enhanced navigation of the screen. It will also provide additional apps you can’t find on traditional devices, and most importantly the extreme portability and durability a tablet provides.

Having an iPad or tablet in your car as a second device to your smartphone is extremely convenient and fun to use.

An iPad is more portable than a phone and more convenient than a Laptop. However a iPad is not “upgradable” the same way a laptop is.

See our research on: How Long do Tablets Last (The Truth) – iPad, Android, Samsung

However, it is more of a luxury than a necessity for many… That is, until your phone battery dies and you really need another device (and you don’t want to wait)

Unless you’re getting a touchscreen laptop, then an iPad or tablet will provide a number of benefits and disadvantages that are to be considered.

In this post I’ll go over the pros and cons, compare the differences, and provide alternative and in-depth knowledge on choosing an iPad versus a laptop.

I’ll also be covering whether you should buy an iPad or Laptop based on your specific needs.

Advantages of an iPad over a laptop

Advantages of an iPad over a laptop

iPads had apparent advantages over laptops since their appearance, but the number of things they can do better has been enlarged significantly by technology over the years.

If you prefer having an ultimately portable, lightweight but also powerful device that will easily cope with your everyday needs, then the latest iPad Pro and iPad Air are probably the perfect choices.

Apple released a iPad Pro with Wo-Fi 6E and hover experience via apple pencil. It also has a M2 chip which makes it even more threatening to laptops.

Also see: How to find a Single AirPod thats missing

With the amount of power an M2 chip provides, it would not be a surprise to see more and more people using an iPad like a laptop. When considering an iPad vs a laptop note that iPad has a new media engine and imagine signal processor in most iPad Pro models beyond Q4 2022.

I spoke with several graphic designers and video editing professionals that use an iPad over a laptop now.

Related: reMarkable 2 Vs iPad Pro & Air – Which is better?

In the past, it was observed that people only used a tablet or iPad rather than their laptop if they don’t use the computer for work purposes.

However, with the release of the M1 & M2 iPad models, a laptop appears to be used less often amongst both experienced as well as less tech savvy consumers.

Related: Ways to Write and Draw on a Non Touch Screen Laptop

Let’s dive more deeply into the advantages of the latest iPads over laptops:

Supreme Portability

Many models of the iPad are 4x lighter, 3x thinner, and almost half as big as MacBooks; allowing you not only to carry, but also use them almost everywhere.

Any action that you can do on your phone such a shopping on Amazon or writing notes down can be done in an iPad instantaneously.

Compare this to using a laptop for the same scenario and you won’t be able to as quickly or stress free. Opening the laptop and booting it up takes a minute and you have to set it down to use it properly.

See our post: How Often Should I Shut Down my MacBook?

Being able to use an iPad on the couch or at the dinner table or in social gatherings to display a YouTube video, Instagram feed, tick tock and other social apps is extremely convenient because can see the screen on the fly (And you won’t have to use a Bulky laptop or MacBook Pro to do so).

Related: Where is the calculator app on iPad?


iPads are less expensive than laptops. For example, the iPad Pro 12.9 inch (the most powerful iPad) costs half as much as the corresponding MacBook Pro. even if you were to buy a wireless keyboard and mouse the iPad would still be able to likely cost less than most MacBooks.

Related: How to use the Flashlight on iPad

Now, if you’re looking to use a cheap laptop versus an iPad, and it’s up to you if you want to trade the portability of a tablet for the performance of the laptop.

Related: Best Digital Graph Pad Tablets (Custom grids & graphs)

User-friendly Design

The modern design of the iPads for most people, including us, beats the outdated design of most laptops. It’s extremely user-friendly to use an iPad. Navigating the iPad is much more smooth than the standard laptop because it has a touchscreen and is designed for this purpose.

Related: Best Touch Screen Laptops for Drawing

The iPad environment is intuitive, which makes it easy to be used by everyone, no matter their age or tech expertise.

Better Battery life

When it comes to battery, the full-day autonomy an iPad offers, can be competed by only a few laptops on the market. It seems the iPad doesn’t perform as many advanced CPU intensive tasks like a laptop will and perhaps this is why many experts report longer battery duration, as well as battery length per session.

For example the old model iPad Air offers an all day battery about to 10 1/2 hours. But newer models provide even longer battery life.

For more on the iPad battery, see our post: How to Fix iPhone Battery Draining Overnight

Previous models of the iPad was roughly half that; we can be agreed that we technology advancing tablets are catching up to the usefulness in power of laptops, but its not quite complete there just yet.

Related: How Long Does a MacBook Pro Battery Last?


Apple has developed a vast number of free and paid apps to control all of your regular tasks like safari browser, mails, calendar, alarm clock, notepad, word processors, etc.

In fact most people of any age can use one without too many issues or frustration… The same can’t be said for using a MacBook, which can provide many advanced apps and that the iPad cannot.

If your using the laptop for Autocad, then see our post: 9 Best Laptops for AutoCAD & Cad


You might not be able to play high-end, GPU demanding, PC games but iPads offer numerous games for the whole family, including your pets. After all, what’s more hilarious than watching your cat messing with fish mimicking games or jumping on the screen to grab different graphics.

The Laptop will win vs the iPad or tablet in every scenario when it comes to serious gaming. However, many tables, especially iPad Pro with the M1 and M2 chips are becoming much more useful for gaming than previous models. Even so, it’s unlikely for us to expect streamers to be swapping over instantly from laptop to iPad.


Although laptops also support e-books, reading on an iPad is easier, as an iPad allows you to read everywhere and it feels like holding a real book.

If you are looking to make cool font on the iPhone or apple products, try our iphone font generator.

While, I still consider a Kindle Paperwhite or kobo Clara, a tablet can still be used as an E reader. However if you’re using it only for reading you could consider the Amazon fire HD versus the kindle paper white and weigh out the pros and cons.


Having access to Apple’s digital assistant is another important advantage of iPads over laptops, as Siri helps you keep track of your schedule, set alarms, text people, and much more without touching the screen of your device.

GPS replacement

The iPads’ advantage of having a cellular data connection makes it a great stand-alone, alternative GPS device for your trips. Using an iPad as a GPS replacement can be really useful it is one of the main reasons someone may choose an iPad or a laptop.

Related: Best iPad Hand Holders & iPad Cases with a pencil holder

Apple Pencil

Apple Pencil iPad Advantages over using a laptop

The ability to write and draw visual notes, and the rest designing capabilities of the apple pencil, is another big advantage that iPads have over Laptops. Being able to use an Apple Pencil and iPad over a regular stylus has its advantages. Wacom, digital pencil, or graphics tablet with a stylus is extremely useful for teachers and benefits both remote learning and students in the classroom.

Apple Pencils allow you to scribble and write notes and use your own ‘personal script font’. However, there is also an alternative to standard font called a font generator.

Using an Apple Pencil and an iPad has several advantages over using a laptop and a writing pad. Here are some of the best ways you can use an apple pencil on an iPad:

  • Scribble notes
  • Edit photos in markup that you screenshot from your MacBook
  • Navigate through the iPad without using your finger
  • Create graphs on the iPad with the apple pen
  • Navigate through google sheets with the Apple Pencil
  • Draw on advanced apps such as procreate or sketchup.

However, for designing fonts, you won’t need an apple pencil for this as we have evolved a tool to allow you to make cool text. If you want more custom designs, then an Apple Pencil and Procreate or Krita are ideal.

When comparing the Apple Pencil 1 vs Apple Pencil 2 , you’ll see you can navigate the screen more quickly on the newer model.

You can also eliminate the use of shortcut buttons since they have something called gestures on the evolved model.

Whether you use an Apple pencil 1 or 2 you’ll eliminate the need for a Wacom or drawing tablet. You can see more on this by visiting our comparison post on iPad vs Wacom.


The latest iPads support extensions that help to transform them into laptops, from keyboards with trackpads and mouses, to multi-port hubs for the connection with external devices. This allows for better capability that more closely matches that of a laptop, but with tablet functionality.

We have a full guide on how to turn your iPad into a laptop that can be followed quite easily depending on your needs.

The alternatives are also using a touchscreen laptop instead if you’d like the best of both worlds. In most cases, this is a bit more pricey for the specs and hardware that come with it.

Advantages of having a laptop over an iPad

Advantages of having a laptop over an iPad

On the other hand, laptops also have unique advantages over iPads and these advantages are the main reason why certain categories of people will continue to prefer owning a laptop over an iPad.

If you always put comfort over design and portability and you need devices that can easily handle demanding software or games, then you should definitely consider a laptop or a desktop as your main device.

Let’s have a look at the core advantages of the laptops over iPads:


Gaming is one of the strongest advantages of laptops over iPads. There is an enormous amount of laptops developed for you to play high-end, modern PC games like PUBG, which are unplayable on an iPad. Laptop simply provide a much more powerful graphics card and they are also a upgradable.

Larger display

Laptops offer wider displays that are larger by 2-4 inches in many cases. Laptops more comfortable to use than a Tablet or iPad, especially if you use your device for many hours every day.

See: Touch Screen Cleaning: How to safely clean a laptop screen

The only scenario where an iPad would be more ideal is if you value mobility over stationary work. For example, you can use an iPad on your couch or while traveling with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse; the display may be smaller but it may be easier to use compared to a bulky laptop.

If you’r using your Mac for music production, you’ll likely want a larger screen. See more on this on our Top 3 MacBooks for Music Production.

The display on a laptop can often be useful because you don’t have to hold the laptop up in the same way you do a tablet – it has a built-in stand compared to requiring a additional external accessory.


Although iPads have been improved a lot, laptops still have the advantage of effortless multitasking, especially when you need to open more than 3 windows (two applications + browser for example) at the same time. Unlike streaming devices, iPads have a built-in browser… even the best Roku web browsers can’t compete.

Storage capability

The amount of storage a laptop offers is on average larger than a tablet, in most cases upgradable, and thus can’t be compared with the iPad’s smaller SSDs. However, iPads and tablets have become much more technologically advanced and are catching up with the storage capacity of a laptop.

Demanding software – Business use

Along with the benefits of a full keyboard, the faster processors in most laptops make them better than iPads for office work, as laptops will easily handle demanding software, advanced spreadsheets, and word processing.

For more info, see our post: Can an iPad Replace a Laptop for a College Student?

Ipad Air vs laptop: pros and cons

Ipad Air vs laptop_ pros and cons

Could everyone use an iPad Air instead of a laptop? The answer is no. However, many people don’t need the high-end CPU and GPU performance of a laptop in their everyday life.

If you are one of those people, then we suggest you take a look at the advantages of an iPad Air over laptops first, and then make your choice by taking into account the pros and cons of each alternative.

What are the advantages of an iPad Air vs laptops:

  • Price – Lower price point compared to laptops
  • Weight and Portability – ( Weights 1 pound, measures 9.74x 7x 0.24 inches)
  • Design – (Modern, Bazel-free, minimalist design)
  • Battery Life – (up to 10 hours of surfing the web and watching videos)
  • Unique features – (E-reader, Siri, GPS, Apple pencil)

If while reading this list, you were thinking that those advantages are actually priorities for you, then the iPad Air is probably the best device for you. The iPad Air offers a high-quality, 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, which might be smaller than most laptop screens but has stunning details and vibrant colors.

To sum up, the new iPad Air is a great option for those in need of an ultimately portable, inexpensive (compared to an iPad Pro and most laptops), and powerful device that will easily cope with all basic everyday tasks like browsing or video streaming, while offering unique features and apps such as apple pencil and Siri, that prove to be really useful.

Ipad Pro vs laptop: pros and cons

Ipad Pro vs laptop_ pros and cons

The title Apple uses to advertise the new iPad Pro is “Your next computer is not a computer”. With this statement, Apple officially argues that the iPad Pro is faster than most laptops, easily transformed from a tablet to a high-end computer and vice versa, and in overall a better choice for your main device, than most laptops out there.

Let’s have a look at the iPad Pro’s advantages over laptops:

  • Weight and Portability – ( 11inch version: Weights 1.04 pounds, measures 9.74x 7.02x 0.23 inches, 12.9 inch version: Weights 1.41 pounds, measures 11.04×8.46×0.23 inch)
  • Design – (Modern, Bazel-free, minimalist design)
  • Super-fast, large capacity SSD – (Capacity options: 128GB – 1TB)
  • High-end performance – (Except for demanding software and games, iPad Pro is faster than most laptops of the market)
  • Battery Life – (up to 10 hours of surfing the web and watching videos)
  • Unique features – (E-reader, Siri, GPS, Apple pencil)

The iPad Pro includes a stunning, 10.9-inch or 12.9 inch (iPad Pro Max) Liquid Retina display, the A12Z CPU which will swallow everything you throw at it without delays, and one of the fastest and most compact SSDs on the market. This build, combined with 6GB RAM, makes the iPad Pro more powerful than all entry-level but also some high-level laptops.

To summarize, the new iPad Pro offers everything an iPad Air contains, plus a bigger display, better CPU performance (can be compared with high-end computing systems), more storage, and a better camera. You can see Tablets with a Good Camera that we tested. It is definitely the right option for those who want to purchase the most powerful portable device out there.

Should I buy an iPad or a Laptop?

Should I buy an iPad or a Laptop

Whether you should buy an iPad or laptop can be determined by several factors that are influenced by your requirements and need for work and play.

You should choose an Apple iPad over a laptop if you require mobility, iOS only applications, do not need to take for long periods of time, and if the smaller display size compared to a laptop is sufficient.

You should choose a laptop rather than an iPad when you need a larger display, spend three consecutive hours or longer homework, require desktop only or windows based softwares, or work in graphic design, development, technology, and need to run CPU_intensive applications. This is because laptops, on average have a more powerful processor, memory, and graphics card.

To determine if you should buy an iPad versus buying a laptop, you’ll need to know exactly which applications and software’s you need for work, gaming, or graphic design. If you are using software that requires a very strong graphics card than a laptop is the device you should purchase.

This is because an iPad or a tablet will not be able to handle certain applications because they are not strong enough in regards to the CPU, graphics card, and utility to be used with a mouse as well as an external monitor.

1. Determine your requirements before choosing the purchase of a laptop or iPad.

1. Determine your requirements before choosing the purchase of a laptop or iPad

Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself before deciding whether you should buy an iPad or laptop:

  • Am I using this laptop for work and what amount of ram is required? Is it more than 4G Ram?
  • Will I use this laptop for gaming or for recreational use such as browsing the web?
  • Am I using the device for both work and play
  • Is a keyboard required?
  • Is an external monitor or large built in screen required that is over 13 inches?

For example, if you only need the device for work and Internet browsing, then you may only need and inexpensive laptop with 4- 8 GB of RAM. However, even 4GB of RAM memory is considered quite low and 8GB minimum is a common recommendation to run business focused software smoothly.

In most cases, the type of iPad you choose won’t matter, whether it’s an iPad Air, iPad Pro, iPad mini, or just a standard iPad – they all run very smoothly and generally run the same apps.

Simply be sure you can run the latest operating system and update it. Ensure it’s not an outdated model that is over 7 years old.

If you only need the device for zoom and a few things, then a iPad should work wonders because it is mobile and it can be used on the go. It also is made by Apple, which is a reputable tech company that focuses on design, intuition, and ease of use.

2. Do you value mobility or larger display size?

2. Do you value mobility or larger display size

Both an iPad and laptop can be used on the go, but the iPad is significantly more thin, light weight, and flexible in regards to where and when you can use it.

Because it doesn’t have a built-in keyboard you’ll be forced to use the on screen touch screen which works very well if you are constantly moving to new places such as laying on the couch or even switching rooms for remote work or distance learning.

  • The true downside of using an iPad over a laptop is that there are many situations where you need to quickly have an external keyboard and do not want to set up or buy an Bluetooth keyboard that connects iPad.
  • Another disadvantage is that iPad only runs iOS applications and software’s… this means that if you need a desktop only software, you will not be able to run it.
  • A laptop will also have a larger display size on average, which will triumph the iPad or tablet in situations where work is required for three consecutive hours or more.

For example certain animation software’s as well as architecture and design focused applications will likely not be able to be used to the full extent on an iPad. However on a laptop the software is work flawlessly when they are updated to their latest versions and when the laptop has its latest operating system downloaded and installed.

3. Know the your average screen time before choosing

3. Know the your average screen time before choosing

If you were spending a long amount of time on your laptop or iPad, then the factor that will determine which device you want to use is whether or not you were sitting upright or laying down.

For example if you only want to stream movies and browse the web casually, then the iPad is absolutely the better choice because it is more comfortable to use, more ergonomic and you will not be spending extra money on processing power, ram, and a powerful graphics card that you do not require.

However you can also use a laptop because it is mobile, it’s just not as lightweight and flexible as the iPad because you have to open it up every time you want to use it. On an iPad all you have to do is look at the screen or use a fingerprint code and it will unlock immediately. If you spend a long period of time working, the laptop is almost always the better choice compared to an iPad or tablet.

Do I need an iPad if I have a Macbook?

Do I need an iPad if I have a Macbook_

Is it worth to have both a laptop and an iPad? The Touchscreen allows for so many different uses and having both work together quite well. The most important thing to consider for answering this question, is what will an iPad offer that your laptop can’t?

If you will use the iPad, then getting one is beneficial – it will provide a portability and convenience factor that can’t be beaten by a MacBook Air or standard Laptop.

As mentioned, it’s easier to slip your iPad into a purse or briefcase when you’re on the go because they are light and more compact than laptops. Using a laptop while walking or standing can be difficult, but with an iPad, you can literally use it anywhere and any way you want with ease. A few days ago for example, I saw a guy grocery shopping with an iPad in his hands.

Moreover, there are several situations where having an iPad could be really useful. During a discussion in MacRumors, a user argues: “Can I, or do I even want to use an iPad for 100% of my job? No. But, I’ve been in emergent situations where I was ‘off the clock’ and all I had was my tablet and was able to take care of business.”

In a few words, I wouldn’t call purchasing an iPad if you have a Macbook, an absolute necessity. However, most people agree that the differences between an iPad and a Macbook, and the unique features of an iPad, make it a great supportive device that will prove to be useful, even if you already own a MacBook.

Differences between an iPad and a laptop

Differences between an iPad and a laptop

The differences between an iPad and a laptop are depicted by their Operating System. Although the iPads are, for the first time, really closed to be called real computers, Apple’s iPadOS remind us of their primary use. IPads are, and will continue to be, tablets, but that’s not a bad thing.

By being a tablet, an iPad provides the ultimate portability a laptop will never have, a multi-touch display on which we can draw or write, cellular data and other useful mobile features like Siri or GPS. Accordingly, iPads are the best Hybrid Devices, as you can transform them to laptops, by adding a keyboard with trackpad and a mouse.

The option to do that, combined with the laptop-like environment the iPadOS 14 offers, make the iPads a great option for almost everyone.

And I say almost everyone, as there are tasks that iPads just can’t handle, mainly because of high CPU and GPU demands.

For instance, a MacBook Pro will always be the winner when it comes to handling computing software, music or video editing and other complicated programs that many people use daily. Accordingly, we really can’t generalise and say a laptop or iPad is better than the other, as it all depends upon you as a user and your workload.

How to use an iPad as a laptop

How to use an iPad as a laptop

You can use an iPad as a laptop by simply adding a keyboard, a mouse, and optionally mirroring your iPad screen to an external monitor.

There are a few different tablet accessories that will turn your iPad into a MacBook or laptop. Now, of course you’ll miss out on the increased speed and performance of a laptop, but you’ll still be able to do everything you can on an iPad or tablet.

See our post on How to turn your Ipad into a laptop or computer (Complete guide).

What’s more, is that you’ll be able to draw and write on the laptop screen itself which is some thing a standard non touchscreen laptop simply cannot do without adding a stylus, drawing pad, or digital whiteboard.

See our post: 7 Best Laptops for Animation Students


In this post, I compared the iPad vs Laptop in-depth, and discussed all the pros and cons of using an iPad as a laptop.

iPads can replace a laptop in scenarios where a laptop proves too clunky, like web or video browsing on the couch.

The iPad’s stock software is a major pro and con. Some advanced apps run a bit more slow compared to a laptop, yet iPhoto and iMovie are easy to navigate and can be a very useful tool for editing picture when the need arises.

Also see: The Best alternatives to the iPad

The Camera App is also very useful, as it comes with an array of filters and photo manipulation tools that most other apps do not offer. Apps can also be downloaded, which allow users to expand their iPad’s capabilities to closer match that of a laptop

Comparing the laptop vs iPad, the iPad has the benefit of portability, convenience and intermittent usage. It’s similar to having a more powerful, larger smartphone. A Laptop, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro on the other hand is more powerful and is more of a workstation for business, and longer use tasks such as serious gaming.

About the author:

Photo of Paul Michael, Founder of MediaPeanut

Paul Michael

Paul Michael is a media and technology expert whose research reveals how technology and media are being used in the world today. He has expertise on computers, the internet, streaming, Roku, electronics, and education. He also enjoys graphic design & digital art. Paul has his Bachelors of Arts and Science(s) from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, NJ