iPad Pro: How it stacks up against laptops, gaming consoles, even other iPads

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Flirting with buying the brand new iPad Pro? The big question for most is whether the latest Apple device will get the job done.

First things first: At $799 to start for an 11-inch model and 64GB and $999 on up for the 12.9-inch version I’ve been testing, the newest power-user tablet unquestionably is Apple’s best iPad yet.

It’s also the most expensive by a wide margin, especially if you pile on the accessories most of you will need or crave – notably the $129 Apple Pencil stylus and a $179 or $199 Smart Keyboard Folio. Max out on storage (1-terabyte), choose a model with cellular, pick up the Pencil, keyboard and other accessories and you’re spending – yikes – considerably more than $2,000.

That’s a small ransom. To figure out whether it’s worth it to you, you first have to consider: What will you need it for?

Since Apple often compares iPads to a variety of different devices, let’s examine how the new 12.9-inch Pro stacks up in a head-to-head matchup against other potential options.

iPad Pro vs. MacBook Air

It’s no secret Apple promotes the iPad as a stand-in for a laptop.

Apple CEO Tim Cook pointed out at a launch event for both products in Brooklyn, New York, last week that iPads have outsold all the notebooks from rivals in the past year and that iPads are faster than 92 percent of the laptops sold during that time.

Cook was talking about competition from Windows PC vendors, not Apple’s own new notebook, but the not-so-subtle suggestion is that the iPad Pro could probably sub for or replace any laptop.

As it turns out, Apple just gave its iconic MacBook Air a long overdue refresh. (Let’s assume there’s room in your budget for only one of these expensive new toys.)

The new iPad Pro has plenty of oomph, thanks to an A12 Bionic chip that is a speed demon. The graphics are splendid, too. And the USB-C port on the iPad Pro – yep, it’s on the new MacBook Air, too – connects to a gaggle of devices, including external displays and power chargers.

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