Can an iPad Pro Replace My Laptop or Desktop Computer?

Yes, but it really depends on what you want to do with it

The iPad Pro is more powerful than many of the entry-level laptops lining the store shelves. It earns that "Pro" name with a processor that's on par with a mid-level PC and a screen resolution that exceeds many of those same laptops, and the graphics power of an Xbox 360. When you combine these specs with an operating system that supports slide-over and split-screen multitasking and a virtual touchpad, it's time to reevaluate the iPad as a laptop replacement.

When the iPad Can Replace Your Laptop

The common tasks people perform on their laptop or desktop PC are the same tasks in which the iPad excels:

  • Exploring the web.
  • Checking email.
  • Finding out what friends and family are up to on Facebook.
  • Playing games.
  • Balancing your checkbook.
  • Writing a letter or a paper for school.

You Use Microsoft Office

Productivity has become increasingly easy on the iPad. The virtual touchpad makes manipulating text easier; the iPad supports Microsoft Office and includes a free version of Apple iWork. If you do a lot of typing, connect a Bluetooth keyboard.

You Film and Edit Videos

Perhaps just as importantly, the iPad can do some tasks better than a laptop. It has a back-facing camera, so you can film your own home movie. With the iPad Pro's 12 MP camera, the movie will look fantastic. You can also edit the video on your iPad.

Need to get online while on the go? You don't need to look for a coffee shop with Wi-Fi. If you buy the 4G LTE version of the iPad, you can connect anywhere you can connect with your smartphone.

You Play Portable Games

The iPad has become a portable gaming machine. It doesn't compete with a high-end PC, a PlayStation 4, or an Xbox One in terms of hardcore gaming, but it's more than enough for most of us. The graphics are nearly on par with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and with its touch controls and motion sensors, the iPad can deliver unique ways to play some good games.

When the iPad Can't Replace Your Laptop

The number one reason why you can't replace your laptop with an iPad Pro is if you're tied to a proprietary piece of software that's not available for the iPad. While businesses are increasingly leaning toward cloud-based solutions—which is a fancy way of saying they're building software on the web—many of them still use software that requires Microsoft Windows.

You Use Proprietary Software

Proprietary software isn't found only in the workplace. Any application you run on your Windows PC or Mac would need a replacement for your iPad. This substitution is easy for email and web browsing but can be more difficult for other types of software.

The iPad has become increasingly competent for photo and video editing, and you certainly won't miss iMovie on your Mac when you have a capable iMovie on the iPad. However, if you need professional video-editing software like Final Cut Pro, the iPad isn't quite there yet. The iPad Pro may have the power to do it, but Apple still needs to make a version for its newest heavyweight tablet.

You Need a Lot of Storage Space

Another challenge with the iPad is storage space. While the internal storage of an iPad can range up to 1 TB with the latest Pro models, this space doesn't compete with the storage offered by many laptops.

The offset of this is that the iPad doesn't require as much storage. For example, running Windows 10 costs you around 16 GB of space. The iPad's operating system takes up less than 2 GB of space. The same is true for software, with Microsoft Office taking around 3 GB of space to install on a PC and less than half that on an iPad.

The portability of an iPad makes it great for videos, photos, and music—all of which consume storage space.

The best solution for the iPad is cloud storage, such as iCloud, which also provides a backup for this data in case anything happens to your iPad. Although the service is free for a small amount of storage, you may need a monthly subscription to get enough storage to support your photo collection.

You're a Hardcore Gamer

Hardcore gaming is another area where the iPad won't be able to compete with a PC. For Xbox and PlayStation gamers, this limitation might not be a big issue, but if your idea of fun involves cutting back the demonic hordes in World of Warcraft, farming for the best loot in Star Wars: The Old Republic, or throwing some beat-down in League of Legends, you simply won't find the same experience on the iPad. There are some good games there, but nothing that will rival a game like Skyrim.

If an iPad won't work for your needs, don't fret. We researched and reviewed a ton of laptops for you. Here's our take on the best laptops to purchase this year. Maybe one of those will work for you.

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