Which Is Best For Road Warriors: MacBook Air Or iPad?

Forbes’ Larry Magid says that one reason he bought an iPad was for battery life, since until last week he didn’t have a notebook PC that could get him from coast to coast on a single battery charge.

Now there is one. Magid observes that Apple’s new 2013 MacBook Air can easily get though a typical workday without having to be plugged in, and up to 12 hours on a charge for the 13-inch model, while all three current versions of the iPad are nominally rated for 10 hours by Apple’s calculations. Ergo: the13-inch Air now offers 20% more battery life while the 11-incher lasts 90% as long.

On the other hand, the iPad is still cheaper and the touchscreen and slatelike form factor have certain advantages. But so does the MacBook with its real keyboard (you dont have to type on glass) and its ability to run all that great Mac software.

And while many iPad advocates insist iPads can be used for productivity, Magid (and your editor) contend that while the iPad is indeed great for consuming content, in most cases a laptop is better for those of us who produce it.

As for weight and bulk, an 11-inch MacBook Air weighs less than a pound more than a 9.7-inch iPad and is a fully powered PC with an excellent keyboard, and even the 13-inch Air is only about a pound and a half heavier than an iPad, and while iPads are cheaper than Macs, it’s arguable that when you consider the amount of flash storage per dollar the Macs value equation improves markedly making the Mac effectively cheaper or just a little more expensive.

Which is best for you will depend on what you want to do with it.

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