Despite the fact that the iPad is clearly a tablet computer, designed for entertainment and connectivity on the move, and the Macbook Air is a fully functional laptop, the two are often compared to one another. Now that Apple have released the lightweight, sleek and small Macbook Air, there seems to be a crossover between the two. But which one of these devices should you choose? Portability The main selling point of both of these gadgets - although they do things differently - is that they're portable. Although the Macbook Air is very small and razor thin, it still doesn't beat the iPad in terms of size. The iPad can easily be held in your hands, even if you're squashed into a small seat on a bus, train or airplane. This makes it great for bringing out where you might feel slightly uncomfortable with a laptop on your lap, and it's also slightly lighter to carry around. The battery life inevitably comes into any argument about portability. How long will you be able to use it for on the go without finding a charger? For the Air, it's 5-7 hours depending on which model you choose. It can also go for 30 days in standby. For the iPad, it's 9 hours on 3G or 10 hours on Wifi - very impressive and more useful if you'll be away from power for a while. However, the Air does come with mains charging as standard, whereas you'll need to charge your iPad by USB or buy an adaptor separately. Ease Of Use If you've ever used an iPad then you'll know that it's very simple to use - especially if you've already got an iPhone or an iPod Touch. However, when it comes to functions such as typing, you'll find it a lot easier with the full keyboard that comes with the Macbook Air. The Air also features the famous Apple trackpad, helping you to control various functions as easily as possible. Connectivity If the main reason for your purchase is to stay connected when you're on the go then the iPad could be the device for you. Although it comes at a price, you can purchase a monthly 3G data plan in order to stay connected to the internet even when you're away from a WiFi hotspot. The Air, on the other hand, only includes WiFi connectivity. However, there are third party solutions that you can use to stay more connected, at comparable prices to a 3G plan for your iPad. However, it will mean you have to carry around a dongle to plug into a USB port. Speaking of USB ports, the iPad's lack of any has also been an issue for some users. Functionality This really does depend on what you need it for, but the Air is far more functional in terms of working just like a standard Mac computer with OS X. You can download software and play games, and use the Air just as you would normally would a desktop computer. The iPad, however, is far more limited with iOS. You can only download apps that have been officially approved to be sold or given away free in the iTunes store, and they are far more limited in the way they work and how many you can run at once. Although the iPad 2 runs faster than the original iPad, you'll still find the Air faster to use in general. The good news is that both will do most things you'll need them to on the go. You can check emails, listen to your music, watch movies, play games and more. Cost Even the most expensive iPad model is significantly lower in price than the cheapest Macbook Air. It isn't too difficult to understand why. After all, the Air can do everything that a standard Macbook can, just in a lighter casing and with less power and storage. The iPad simplifies things and works more like a larger, more powerful version of a smaller iPhone or iPod Touch. That said, as an addition to the computers you already own, the iPad is far more affordable for a portable option. Conclusion The truth is that it really does all depend on you. While the markets for the iPad and the Macbook Air may cross over, they are not the same type of device. You may want an iPad that you can easily slip in and out of your bag for some entertainment on your daily commute, or you may prefer the fully functional OS X operating system that you'll get with the Macbook Air. Some people have even found a use for both of these products in their lives!
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