Microsoft Surface Laptop is here: Is it better than MacBook Air?

Microsoft claims over 50% better performance on the Surface

Reading time icon 3 min. read

Readers help support Windows Report. We may get a commission if you buy through our links. Tooltip Icon

Read our disclosure page to find out how can you help Windows Report sustain the editorial team Read more

surface vs m3 macbook air

During this Build conference, we saw many innovations, including new Surface devices that utilize the power of AI.

New devices offer great performance, but how do they perform against their biggest competitor, MacBook Air?

Copilot + AI Surface vs MacBook Air, which one is better?

Microsoft has introduced Copilot + PC computing with the new Snapdragon Surface laptops during this year’s Build conference.

It’s obvious that Microsoft wants to challenge Apple with this new series of devices, and The Verge made an interesting comparison between the two devices.  Both devices offer similar designs with several key differences:

 Surface Laptop 13.8/15 inchM3 MacBook Air 13/15 inch
Thickness:0.69/72 inches0.44/0.45 inches
Weight:2.96/3.67 pounds2.7/3.3 pounds
Resolution:2304 x 1536/ 2496 x 16642560 x 1664/ 2880 x 1864
Screen ratio:3:216:10
Refresh rate:120Hz60Hz
Authentication:Windows Hello face authenticationTouch ID fingerprint scanning
Connectivity:Two USB 4 Type-C ports, 3.5 headphone jack, USB-A port, microSD card reader (only on the 15-inch model)Two USB 4 Type-C ports, 3.5 headphone jack

When looking at physical specs, the MacBook Air is lighter and thinner, and it offers better resolution, but it doesn’t have the same refresh rate, touchscreen, or connectivity options as Surface.

As for hardware, here’s a quick rundown:

 Surface Laptop 13.8/15 inchM3 MacBook Air 13/15 inch
Battery capacity:54Wh/66Wh52.6Wh/66.5Wh
Battery life:20/22h of 1080p video playback 13/15h of web browsing18h of 1080p video playback 15h of video playback
Memory:16GB (models with up to 64GB available)8GB (models up to 24GB available)
CPU:Snapdragon X EliteM3

Right off the bat, we can see that the Surface has better battery life than the MacBook Air, but keep in mind that this is according to internal testing, and real-life results might differ.

Memory is also better on the Surface, but Apple is better when it comes to memory optimization. As for NPU, Surface offers better performance, and it even outshines NPU on M4 processors.

The biggest question is the CPU performance, and Microsoft has been boasting that the CPUs they use are more efficient than Apple’s, as reported by 9to5Mac. Executive VP Yusuf Mehdi said the following:

It’s going to outperform any device out there, including a MacBook Air with an M3 processor, by over 50 percent on sustained performance.

Early Surface 6 benchmark scores look promising, but we’re still looking to see real-life results.

It’s also worth mentioning that Surface devices have fans, unlike the MacBook Air, so expect some noise, and perhaps a slight advantage due to it. Some say it’s unfair to compare the two devices, because Surface has fans, unlike MacBook Air.

Tom Warren, an editor at Verge commented on benchmark results:

Except, this time around, the Surface pulled ahead on the first test. Then it won another test and another after that. The results of these tests are why Microsoft believes it’s now in position to conquer the laptop market.

It seems that Microsoft plans to give Apple a run for its money, and these results do look impressive.

It’s safe to say that Surface is a better device in terms of battery life, AI performance, refresh rate, and connectivity. Lastly, Windows on ARM devices support gaming at 30FPS, which is another plus.

Early benchmark results seem to sway in Microsoft’s favor, but we still have to wait and see the real-life performance.

If you’re looking to get a new Surface device, you can get discounts on Surface Copilot + PCs, so don’t miss them.

More about the topics: mac, Surface Laptop