Are you looking for a portable device within the Apple ecosystem? If you are, you need to consider this iPad Pro vs MacBook Pro comparison article.
This article compares the iPad Pro 11-inch (1st Gen) to the 13-inch 2012 Apple MacBook Pro. It will involve a broad analysis of various areas of each device in comparison to the other.
To achieve this, I will analyze and compare both devices’ design, CPU, RAM, GPU, storage, and battery life performance. After reviewing both devices’ performance in the aforementioned sections, I will rate them based on the value they offer.
At the end of the article, I will share our preferred choice between the two devices. If you want to get to know which of the two devices we think is better, you should read this article to the end.
IMy Initial Thoughts
When Apple released the iPad Pro, they made use of impressive series of statistics as a means of pitching the device to customers. The statics Apple used made regular laptops seem like an element of old age.
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To give you more details, as of the time they released the iPad Pro, Apple claimed that more iPads were being sold than most other companies’ entire laptop lineup. They also claimed that the iPad Pro was faster than 92 percent of the portable PCs that were available as of then.
The entire message they aimed to push with these statistics was to support the claim that the iPad Pro could be anything you need it to be. At $488.89 (valid as of March 2022), you can get a device that’s powerful enough to double as a tablet and a functional laptop.
On the other hand, the less expensive MacBook Pro can’t serve as a tablet. Nonetheless, the $434.99 MacBook Pro makes up for its lack of versatility by offering most of the things you would want in a laptop.
Will these features be enough to put the MacBook Pro in a better position over the iPad Pro? We will find out in the subsequent sections.
IPad Pro vs MacBook Pro Design, Dimension and Weight Comparison
While the iPad Pro primarily serves as a tablet, the MacBook Pro is a full-fledged laptop. Consequently, this goes on to be the biggest difference-maker between the design and build of the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro.
Let’s kick off this design comparison section with a closer analysis of the iPad Pro.
For Apple and its engineers, the 2018 iPad Pro became the realization of what they had envisioned when they built the first iPad Pro. Until this iPad Pro 11 (2018), the common notion had been that Apple still needed to make a lot of improvements.
Though the previous iterations didn’t quite cut it for Apple, they were finally able to deliver with this iPad Pro. In fact, the iPad Pro 11 (2018) went on to become the face of the company’s iPads before the newer iPad Pro (2021) came to claim the title.
Nonetheless, it didn’t remove the fact that it was until the 2018 version that the iPad Pro 11 became a device that’s truly fit for professional users. Aside from its hardware power, its design was one major contributing factor.
To give more details, the 2018 iPad Pro featured a complete redesign that made its bezels much thinner and its chassis flat-edged. Making the iPad’s bezels thinner helped make the device’s display look slightly stretched out.
Though this design makes the iPad Pro look more modern, Apple had to make a sacrifice to achieve the look. As you may have anticipated, the stretched-out display means no room for the iconic home button or TouchID sensor.
Consequently, the lack of a home button also leads to another thing. You can now navigate around the iPad Pro using the same gestures you would use to navigate around your iPhone.
If you turn the iPad Pro over to its back, you’ll notice a camera bump that houses an f/1.8 lens and a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera. The only other obvious feature on the iPad Pro’s back is the half-eaten Apple logo that’s painted in black.
Its black color beautifully complements the overall silver color scheme on our comparison review unit. In case you are wondering, you can also get the iPad Pro in Space Gray color.
The MacBook Pro, on the other hand, is only available in silver. Also, unlike the iPad Pro, this version of the MacBook Pro still features the same design and build that its predecessors had.
From its shiny white Apple logo to its aluminum unibody chassis that’s beautified with a silver and black aesthetic, everything remains the same. The MacBook Pro also still feels rock-solid and carefully built.
This exemplary build quality is a result of Apple’s unibody design structure, which I mentioned in the previous paragraph. In this construction process, Apple builds the laptop with a unibody enclosure that’s milled from a single block of aluminum.
Consequently, this construction process makes the MacBook Pro much stronger and lighter than it would be if it was built from separate parts.
With a dimension of 325 x 227 x 24.1 mm (W x D x H) and a weight of 2060 g, the MacBook Pro is light and compact enough to be your on-the-go workhouse. However, it isn’t as light nor as compact as the iPad Pro.
To give you more detail, the iPad Pro measures 247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9 mm (H x W x D) and weighs 468 g. Note, however, that the iPad Pro’s weight will increase if you include the weight of its Smart Keyboard.
Still, its total weight of 1060 g (with the weight of the Smart Keyboard included) doesn’t make it as heavy as the MacBook Pro. Despite being lighter, the iPad Pro feels almost as sturdy as the MacBook Pro.
Where the iPad Pro’s build begins to disappoint is in the aspect of its Smart Keyboard that I mentioned earlier.
In my opinion, this iPad’s Smart Keyboard has a long way to go before it can offer a satisfying typing experience. First of all, it lacks a touchpad.
This makes it compulsory for you to always make use of on-screen touch gestures to navigate around the device.
One would have thought that the absence of a touchpad would have at least created room for larger keys, but it isn’t so in this case. Instead, the keys on the iPad Pro’s Smart Keyboard are frustratingly small.
If you have large fingers, you will be constantly infuriated by how small the iPad Pro’s keyboard keys are.
To make matters worse, the keyboard has shallow key travel. The keyboard is so flat that it feels as though you are typing on a flat surface.
Each key on this iPad Pro’s Smart Keyboard has key travels of 0.5 mm. To paint you a clearer picture, I will explain what key travel means.
Key travel is the distance a keyboard’s key travels from its state of rest to its actuation point, where it registers input commands.
As for the MacBook Pro, its chiclet-style keys have a good amount of travel that makes them pleasurable to type on. There is a good amount of balance between the sensitivity and tactile feedback of its keys.
Not only that, but you also get a backlighting feature to help you type clearly in dimly lit environments. It even gets better when you consider that, unlike the iPad Pro, the MacBook Pro features a large 4.1 x 3-inch glass touchpad below its keys.
This touchpad is very smooth and responsive. It executes multitouch gestures flawlessly and provides satisfying clicks when pressed.
Having talked a bit about the MacBook Pro, let’s see some features the iPad Pro offers to try to counter the MacBook Pro.
Since the iPad Pro lacks a touchpad, Apple seems to aim towards making up for it with the Apple Pencil and its remarkable display. First, let’s consider the Apple Pencil.
This pencil’s design is one of the things Apple redesigned alongside the iPad Pro itself. The Apple Pencil now has a flat edge that allows it to magnetically clip to the tablet’s flat edge and recharge itself for later use.
In use, this pencil is great for freehand drawing and writing tasks. It has an awesome level of sensitivity and pressure awareness that makes it offer an almost completely lag-free input.
Besides, the iPad Pro’s incredible 120Hz screen refresh rate helps to aid a smooth experience and provides a natural feel when using the Apple Pencil. This iPad’s superb display does more than just enhance the Apple Pencil experience though.
Let me give you more details about the iPad Pro’s display. The iPad Pro features the same LED Liquid Retina display that Apple equips the iPhone XR with.
This iPad Pro’s 11-inch display has a screen resolution of 2388 x 1668. This screen resolution makes the iPad Pro produce very sharp and detailed images.
To add to its list of impressive features, the iPad Pro’s 11-inch screen can also get very bright. It can offer a maximum brightness of 572 nits.
The MacBook Pro also features an LED Liquid Retina display, but it doesn’t offer the same level of quality and brightness that the iPad Pro’s display offers. Nonetheless, the MacBook Pro is still capable of producing sharp images with accurate colors.
Its 13.3-inch display offers a screen resolution of 1280 x 800 and a maximum brightness level of 313 nits.
Compared to the MacBook Pro, you will enjoy using the iPad Pro more to watch your movies or listen to music. However, the sound production on the device could be a limiting factor.
Even though all the four-set speakers on each edge of the iPad Pro have a woofer and tweeter each to improve sounds, they are still not good enough. Sometimes, the sound production on this device comes off as flat and tiny.
The same is the case with the MacBook Pro’s internal speakers. Don’t worry, though, sound production on both devices is still good enough for you to enjoy your movies.
However, if you always like to enjoy quality sound production on your devices, you may want to get yourself a headphone or boom box.
Unfortunately, if the device you have is the iPad Pro, you won’t be able to use wired headphones because it doesn’t have a headphone jack.
In fact, the iPad Pro has a very limited port selection. It only features a USB 3.1 Type-C port.
Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro comes with 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 Ethernet port, and 1 Thunderbolt port.
Though this design and build aspect of the comparison is a bit closely tied, the iPad Pro wins regardless – thanks to some of its better features. It scores a nine in this iPad Pro vs MacBook Pro design comparison.
The MacBook Pro, on the other hand, scores an eight for its solid design and build.
IPad Pro vs MacBook Pro Processor (CPU) Performance Comparison
Processor configurations of the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro are very different. For starters, you only get a single configuration option when you buy the iPad Pro 11-inch (1st Gen).
Meanwhile, you can choose between two-processor configuration options for the Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2012).
To be more precise, the iPad Pro comes with an Octa-core Apple A12X Bionic processor. This processor has a 2.5 GHz Vortex and a 1.6 GHz Tempest.
On the other hand, you can buy the MacBook Pro with a dual-core Intel Core i5-3210M or a dual-core Intel Core i7-3520M processor. It is important for you to note that these two processors have different performance capabilities.
To give you a hint, let’s consider their base and maximum frequencies. In case you don’t understand what the base and boost frequencies mean, I will explain.
A processor’s base frequency is the minimum speed at which it runs normally. Meanwhile, its maximum frequency is the highest speed at which it can run.
With that being said, I will proceed to give you the details about the frequencies of the MacBook Pro’s processor configuration options.
With the Core i5-3210M processor, you get a base frequency of 2.50 GHz and a maximum frequency of 3.10 GHz. Meanwhile, the Core i7-3520M processor has a base frequency of 2.90 GHz and a boost frequency of 3.60 GHz.
In case you are wondering, our MacBook Pro review unit features the Intel Core i5-3210M processor.
As for the performance of the iPad Pro 11-inch (1st Gen) vs Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2012) processors, they can both handle all your regular computing tasks. The iPad Pro and MacBook Pro have an immense amount of power that enables them to ease through tasks like web browsing or document editing.
Even when it comes to more intensive computing tasks like video and picture editing, these devices have no issues whatsoever. Their superb power makes them excellent companions for professionals and creatives.
That being said, both devices could be said to be equally well up to the task in terms of real-world performance.
What about their performance in benchmark tests? Let’s find out.
For clarity, the processor benchmark test we will be considering is known as the Geekbench 4 overall test. The major reason for choosing this benchmark tool is that it is one of the preferred benchmark tools for Mac OS devices.
When I retrieved both devices’ results on this test, I was surprised by the performance margin between them. The iPad Pro convincingly outperformed the MacBook Pro.
To give more detail, the iPad achieved a score of 17,878 points on this test. Its score far exceeded the MacBook Pro’s score of 6,817 points.
As a result of the iPad Pro’s superior performance in the benchmark test, it defeats the MacBook Pro in this round. Therefore, the iPad Pro scores a nine in this iPad Pro vs MacBook Pro processor performance comparison.
Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro scores an eight.
IPad Pro vs MacBook Pro Memory (RAM) Performance Comparison
For a fact, we can say that both the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro come equipped with the same memory sizes. However, I’m not certain if both devices feature the same memory types.
This is because Apple didn’t disclose the information about the iPad Pro’s specific memory type. The only information Apple shares with us is that the iPad Pro simply comes with 4 GB RAM.
On the other hand, we are well aware that the MacBook Pro features 4 GB DDR3 RAM.
Apple also informs us that the MacBook Pro has two RAM slots on its motherboard. This two-memory slot allocation allows you to upgrade the laptop’s RAM to a maximum supported size of 8 GB.
Performance-wise, the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro are trustworthy multitasking devices.
To give you an idea of their multitasking capabilities, consider this operation. On a multitasking test, both the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro were able to run smoothly with 14 Safari browser tabs while two 1080p YouTube videos were playing.
While this test was being carried out, Twitter and Slack were also running simultaneously in the background. Neither of the devices showed signs of lagging or slowing down while all the operations were running.
With the real-world performance test records out of the way, I went ahead to fetch the results of their benchmark performance test. The benchmark test I considered for their memory performance is known as the PCMark benchmark.
For clarity, the PCMark benchmark is a tool that helps to assess the memory performance capabilities of a laptop. It does this by simulating memory-intensive tasks like web surfing, video conferencing, and many more.
At the end of the test, the benchmark grades the performance of the laptop by awarding it a score. Generally, the higher a laptop scores, the better its performance capabilities.
Though both the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro performed well in this test, the iPad Pro displayed a superior performance. It was able to achieve a score of 8,159 points, surpassing the MacBook Pro’s 6,712 points.
With this result, we can conclude that the iPad Pro is capable of offering a better memory performance compared to the MacBook Pro. Due to this, the iPad Pro takes this aspect of the comparison too.
The iPad Pro scores an eight in this iPad Pro vs MacBook Pro memory performance comparison. Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro scores a seven.
IPad Pro vs MacBook Pro Storage Options and Performance Comparison
Both the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro have different options to offer when it comes to storage. First, let’s consider the options the iPad Pro has to offer.
When you want to buy your iPad Pro, you can equip it with either a 1 TB, 256 GB, 512 GB, or 64 GB internal storage. It would have been nice if the iPad Pro supported external microSD card storage expansion, but it doesn’t.
The MacBook Pro, on the other hand, comes with an SDXC card slot that allows you to expand your storage with an SD card. For primary storage, you can either buy the laptop with a 1 TB 5400 RPM SATA HDD or a 512 GB SSD storage drive.
Before you make your choice between the two storage drives, you should consider a few things. The first thing you should consider is if you will need a lot of storage space.
If you would, then I would advise that you go for the 1 TB 5400 RPM SATA HDD. However, if performance is your priority, then I would advise you to equip your MacBook Pro with the 512 GB SSD storage drive.
The reason for my recommendation is that SSDs are naturally very fast drives.
With all of that being said, let me quickly put it out there that our iPad Pro comparison review unit comes with a 64 GB internal storage capacity. Meanwhile, our MacBook Pro review unit features the 5400 RPM SATA HDD storage drive.
In terms of their performance, both devices’ storage drives run at considerably fair speeds. It’s however, unfortunate that I can’t provide you with a direct comparison of both devices’ storage speed performance.
The reason for this is that I was unable to find a similar benchmark test result for both devices. We would normally make use of the CrystalDiskMark benchmark test, but there is no information on the iPad Pro’s storage performance.
For those wondering what the CrystalDisMark benchmark is, it is a tool that helps to ascertain the read and write speeds of a laptop’s storage drive.
I was only able to get the MacBook Pro’s CrystalDiskMark test result. The test results show that the MacBook Pro is capable of offering sequential read and write speeds of 70.58 MBps and 69.69 MBps, respectively.
In case you don’t know what read and write speeds mean I will explain to you.
A storage drive’s read speed represents how long it will take to open a file on a device. Meanwhile, the write speed is the opposite of the read speed.
It shows how long it will take to save a file to a device.
To round off this section, I declare the MacBook Pro as the winner of this iPad Pro vs MacBook Pro storage performance comparison. The main reason for this is that the MacBook Pro offers better storage drive options compared to the iPad Pro.
As a result, the MacBook Pro scores an eight in this storage performance comparison. The iPad Pro, on the other hand, scores a seven.
IPad Pro vs MacBook Pro Graphics Card Performance Comparison
The iPad Pro and MacBook Pro feature very different graphic card configurations. To give more detail, the iPad Pro comes with a 7-core Apple GPU.
Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro features an integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000. This graphics card has a base frequency of 650 MHz and a boost frequency of 1250 MHz.
In case you are wondering, neither of the two devices come equipped with a dedicated VRAM (Video RAM) to help aid their graphics card performance. Nonetheless, both devices can still put up good graphics card performances.
First of all, let’s consider their performance on the 3DMark 6 benchmark test. In case you are wondering, the 3DMark benchmark test is a tool for testing a laptop’s graphical performance capabilities.
It runs its test by simulating graphically intensive tasks like gaming. At the end of the test, it rates the laptop’s performance with a score.
The higher a laptop scores on this test, the better a laptop’s graphics performance.
On this test, the iPad Pro had a good score of 5459 points. However, its good score wasn’t enough to outperform the MacBook Pro, which achieved a score of 5846 points.
In terms of real-world gaming performance, you shouldn’t expect much from either of the two laptops. After all, they are not gaming laptops.
Nonetheless, you will be able to enjoy playing less graphically intensive games on them. For instance, you can conveniently run Asphalt 9: Legends on both devices.
If you play Asphalt 9: Legends on the iPad Pro, you will be able to get frame rates of 29 frames per second. Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro is capable of offering you better frame rates of 48 frames per second.
Also, consider the game known as Arena of Valor. The iPad Pro is capable of playing the game at frame rate of 60 frames per second.
Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro can play the game at frame rate of 78 frames per second.
With all of these being said, I can conclude that the MacBook Pro wins this round. This is because it outperformed the iPad Pro in the benchmark and real-world gaming tests.
Therefore, the MacBook Pro scores an eight in this iPad Pro vs MacBook Pro graphics card performance comparison. Meanwhile, the iPad Pro scores a seven.
IPad Pro vs MacBook Pro Battery Life and Performance Comparison
The iPad Pro and MacBook Pro are vastly different in terms of their battery configuration. While the iPad Pro comes with a 7812 mAh battery, the MacBook Pro features a 63.5 Whr lithium-polymer battery.
As for how long their batteries last, Apple promises different runtimes for each device. According to Apple, the iPad Pro will be able to last up to 10 hours.
On the other hand, they promised that the MacBook Pro would be able to last up to 7 hours.
When I looked up both devices’ performance on the web surfing test, I discovered that neither of them offered the runtimes Apple promised. However, I found it quite surprising that the iPad Pro lasted longer than Apple promised.
Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro didn’t last as long as Apple promised.
To give more detail, the iPad Pro lasted for 15 hours and 20 minutes on the continuous web surfing test over Wi-Fi. It far exceeded the 10 hours runtime Apple promises.
In fact, if you only carry out regular non-intensive operations on the iPad Pro, it is possible that it lasts you through an entire day.
On the other hand, the MacBook Pro lasted just 6 hours and 6 minutes on the continuous web surfing test. It didn’t even meet up with the 7 hours runtime that Apple promises.
Since it is clear that the iPad Pro offers a longer battery runtime compared to the MacBook Pro, the iPad Pro takes this round. Therefore, the iPad Pro scores a nine in this iPad Pro vs MacBook Pro battery performance comparison.
Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro scores a seven.
Our Rating Summary
|Rating Areas||iPad Pro||MacBook Pro||Notes/Comments|
|Design||9||8||Though this design and build aspect of the comparison is a bit closely tied, the iPad Pro wins regardless, thanks to some of its better features.|
|Processor (CPU)||9||8||As a result of the iPad Pro’s superior performance in the benchmark test, it defeats the MacBook Pro in this round.|
|Memory (RAM)||8||7||Based on their benchmark test results, the iPad Pro is capable of offering a better memory performance compared to the MacBook Pro.|
|Storage||7||8||The MacBook Pro wins this round because it offers better storage drive options compared to the iPad Pro.|
|Graphics Card||7||8||The MacBook Pro wins in this aspect because it outperformed the iPad Pro in the benchmark and real-world gaming tests.|
|Battery Life||9||7||Based on the test results, it is clear that the iPad Pro offers a longer battery runtime compared to the MacBook Pro.|
|Our Average Rating||8.2||7.7||On average, the iPad Pro wins overall.|
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, it is. The iPad Pro is a functional device that can serve as a tablet and a laptop.
Apart from its design functionality, it also has an immense amount of power to offer. With the iPad Pro, you will be able to handle most of your regular computing operations with ease.
In fact, you can also tackle some more intensive computing operations with the iPad Pro.
You can get the MacBook Pro on Amazon for $434.99 (price accurate as of March 2022).
When I published this article in March 2022, the iPad Pro had a starting price of $488.89.
Yes. it is. The MacBook Pro is a powerful laptop that can efficiently handle all your regular and more intensive computing workloads.
To top it all, it has a beautiful design and an extremely sturdy build.
Yes, you can.
Since the iPad Pro is powerful enough to serve as a laptop alternative, all you need to effectively use it as a laptop is to purchase the Apple Smart Keyboard.
No, it isn’t. The MacBook Pro doesn’t have a touch screen.
Yes, it does. It uses either a Nano-SIM or an eSIM.
No, it isn’t. According to appletoolbox, the MacBook Pro is not waterproof.
Yes, it is. The iPad Pro weighs just 468 g and measures 247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9 mm(H x W x D).
The MacBook Pro weighs 2060 g.
My Final Thoughts
Ultimately, making a choice between the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro will come down to two things. These are the flexibility of the iPad Pro’s design vs the MacBook Pro’s less expensive price.
That being said, the ability to use the iPad Pro for drawing or taking notes, thanks to the flexibility of its touch display, may win you over. Moreover, the iPad Pro is also very light and more compact than the MacBook Pro.
If you are working on the move, the iPad Pro will be the perfect device to help you get jobs done while you commute back and forth. However, if you are a working professional, it will be hard not to go for the MacBook Pro.
The iPad Pro won’t give you the kind of support the MacBook Pro offers for desktop software. Besides, the MacBook Pro offers some additional tools and flexibility that almost every creative professional will not want to miss out on.
Nonetheless, based on our comprehensive comparison of the iPad Pro vs MacBook Pro, we recommend the IPad Pro 11-inch.
However, if you want to spend less and also enjoy better software flexibility, you should consider the MacBook Pro.
I hope you found this iPad Pro vs MacBook Pro comparison review helpful. If you found the review helpful, kindly spare a few minutes to share your thoughts with Itechguides Community.
You may also ask questions or make comments regarding this article at Itechguides Community. Our team and other community members will respond to your questions or comments as soon as possible.
References and Further Reading
- techradar.com – iPad Pro 11 (2018) review | TechRadar
- techadvisor.com – iPad Pro 11in (2018) Review: Still a Great Choice
- laptopmag.com – Apple iPad Pro 11-inch – Full Review and Benchmarks | Laptop Mag
- theverge.com – Apple iPad Pro review 2018: the fastest iPad is still an iPad – The Verge
- anandtech.com – The 2018 Apple iPad Pro (11-Inch) Review: Doubling Down On Performance
- cnet.com – iPad Pro, 2018 review: Blazing speed, but iOS is limited – CNET
- notebookcheck.com – Apple iPad Pro 11 (2018, WiFi, 64 GB) Tablet Review
- www.itechguides.com – iPad Pro 11-inch (1st Gen) – Specs, Reviews, and Deals
- engadget.com – MacBook Pro review (13-inch, mid-2012) | Engadget
- newatlas.com – Review: 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display (late 2012)
- techradar.com – 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro review | TechRadar
- cnet.com – Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display (2012, 13.3-inch) review
- au.pcmag.com – Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (Mid 2012) – Review 2012 – PCMag Australia
- support.apple.com – MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012) – Technical Specifications
- laptopmag.com – 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display Review | Notebook Reviews | Laptop Mag
- notebookcheck.com – Review Apple MacBook Pro 13 2.5 GHz Mid 2012 Notebook
- www.itechguides.com – Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2012) – Specs Reviews, Deals
- Itechguides Community