As a gigantic player in its field, it is natural for Microsoft to want to conquer as many relevant markets as possible. That’s why the company releases a competitor for a new market every year, besides its regular Windows product.
This time, Microsoft aims at the education market with its new streamlined Windows 10 S operating system. But that’s not all, as the new OS comes with a new line of devices, designed to run it from day one.
The main highlight of the Windows 10 S line of devices is definitely the Surface Laptop. But, as the Surface Laptop isn’t a budget laptop, we can’t put it in the education category. It’s more logical to look at the Surface Laptop as a direct competitor to Apple’s MacBook Pro. And that’s exactly how people see it.
Microsoft itself advertises the Surface Laptop as a better choice than any MacBook out there. But, does the Surface Laptop really has what it takes to beat the MacBook Pro, or is it just a pure marketing? Well, to find the answer, we’ll have to look at the details, because offers are quite similar, and it really depends on what aspect of a laptop people value more.
So, check out our ‘Surface Laptop vs MacBook’ comparison, and we hope you’ll be able to find the answer.
Let’s start with what the majority of people think is the most important thing when buying a new laptop – hardware specifications. And to be honest, it’s not going to be easy to decide the winner, because, as we said above, the difference is in details.
So, for a start, let’s take a look at the raw specs:
|Specs:||Surface Laptop:||13-inch MacBook Pro:||15-inch MacBook Pro:|
|Processors:||Dual-core 7th-gen Core i5/i7||Dual-core 6th-gen Core i5/i7||Quad-core 6th-gen Core i5/i7|
|Graphics:||Intel HD 620/640||Up to Intel Iris 550||Up to AMD Radeon Pro 460|
|Storage:||128GB-512GB SSD||256GB-1TB SSD||256GB-2TB SSD|
|Dimensions:||1.25kg; 14.5mm||1.37kg; 15mm||1.83kg; 15.5mm|
|Battery life:||Up to 14.5 hours||Up to 9.5 hours||Up to 10.5 hours|
|Screen:||13.5-inch 2256×1504-pixel touch screen||13.3-inch 2560×1600-pixel screen||15.4-inch 2880×1800-pixel screen|
|Ports:||USB 3.0, 3.5mm audio, mini DisplayPort||2-4x ThunderBolt 3/USB-C||4x ThunderBolt 3/USB-C|
As you can see from the table, the piece of hardware we’ll be putting in first battle rows is the processor. Microsoft says that the Surface Laptop outperforms any processors found in a MacBook Pro, and provides a faster and better performance. But is it really the case?
All MacBook Pro models sport 6th generation Intel processors, while the Surface laptop features the latest, 7th generation, chips. Because of that, the Surface Book certainly promises more power, and better experience than the 14-inch MacBook Pro.
That’s not the case with the 15-inch MacBook Pro variant, though. Even though the Surface Laptop sports the 7th generation Intel’s CPU, Pro’s quad-core processors are extremely fast, and can easily outperform the Surface Laptop. At least that’s how it looks on paper. We have to remind you that no one actually tested the Surface Laptop yet (at the time of writing this text), so this comparison probably isn’t one hundred percent accurate.
When it comes to other pieces of hardware, the package is pretty much the same. Both contestants come with up to 16GB of RAM (depending on what you’re willing to pay). Both Surface Laptop and MacBook Pro 14-inch come with integrated Intel graphics, and once again, the Surface Laptop comes with a better one. Just like its the case with processors, the 15-inch MacBook Pro has the advantage, as it comes with dedicated graphics. And another benefit of the MacBook Pro is that its most expensive variant comes with 2TB SDD storage, while the Surface Laptop’s maximum is 512GB.
Another aspect of the Surface Laptop that Microsoft values high (and so should users) is its brilliant design. Maybe the Surface Laptop doesn’t win the hardware race with the most expensive MacBook Pro, but it’s certainly packed into a better box.
When you take a look at the Surface Laptop, you’ll get an impression that somebody took pieces of material, and glued them together. Don’t get us wrong, it’s a perfectly stable and reliable device, without any tracks of manufacturing. There are no signs of screws or hinges, so it’s a perfectly ‘silent’ design. The keyboard is surrounded by the Alcantara fabric, and speakers are put underneath it, so you’ll hear the sound more naturally.
With its 14.5mm of thickness and 1.25kg of weight, it’s more portable than any MacBook Pro. The laptop features a 13.5-inch PixelSense display with 3.4 million pixels (2256 x 1504). Microsoft says it’s the thinnest LED display you’ll find on any device.
What really gives the Surface Laptop’s touch-enabled display advantage over the MackBook Pro is that it’s manufactured by Microsoft. Yes, that’s exactly what we mean, the Surface Laptop is perfectly compatible with the Surface Pen and other accessories, like the Surface Dial. So, in combination with the recent features the company brought to the system with the Creators Update, it makes a powerful hub for artists and other creative people.
We’re not going to compare Windows 10 and Mac OS here, let’s leave that discussion for another time. We’ll just talk about what you get on both devices. As you probably know, the Surface Laptop runs Windows 10 S. Microsoft’s new operating system designed to exclusively run apps from the Windows Store.
That brings Windows 10 S much closer to Mac OS, in terms of a concept. But as it appears, for the first time in many years, Mac OS has a better offering of available apps, at least quantity-wise. It’s known that Microsoft struggles with attracting developers to make Windows 10 apps, which definitely makes Windows 10 S suffer.
But Microsoft is aware of that, as the company offers you upgrade from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro, in case you don’t want to only use Windows Store apps. The upgrade is completely free until the end of December 2017, so you really have nothing to lose if you go for a new Surface Laptop. That way, you’ll get a more versatile operating system than Mac OS, once again.
Long battery life is what really separates the Surface Laptop from any MacBook Pro. According to Microsoft, the battery can last up to 14.5 hours of video playback. That’s a great accomplishment when we take into consideration that the MacBook Pro can’t even last for full 10 hours.
This aspect of the device is also heavily advertised by Microsoft, but once again, we’ll have to wait for someone to try it, to confirm this claim. Nevertheless, even if the battery lasts a little less that those 14.5 hours, it’s still a sweet deal, which, compared to the laptop’s extreme portability, should be a very attractive offer for all frequent travelers.
There’s nothing special to compare here. The Surface Laptop comes with the price tag of $999-$2199, while the MacBook Pro is available for $2399-$2799. You do the math, each variant of the Surface Laptop is more affordable than its MacBook Pro counterpart.
But what you get for the price? Taking into account everything we’ve just talked about, the Surface Laptop emerges as a better deal. For $999 you get a beautiful, stable, fast, ultra-portable laptop, that can accomplish more than most MacBooks.
Of course, if the Windows 10 Pro upgrade option wasn’t available, we’d have a completely different conversation here. But since you can upgrade to ‘the regular’ Windows 10, the Surface Laptop is the more thorough choice, and we’d take it over the MacBook Pro.
Does it really matter?
Everything we just said doesn’t have to mean anything to you. The logic is simple – you’re either an Apple person or a Microsoft person. So, no matter what the comparison says, you’ll end up purchasing a laptop from your favorite brand.
On the other hand, if you don’t label yourself that way, we recommend the Surface Laptop. Because, for a more affordable price, you can get as good as, or even better laptop than the MacBook Pro (depending on the variant). And if you combine it with other accessories and features, you’ll get even more possibilities.
Do you agree with our comparison? What do you think about the Surface Book and Windows 10 S? Let us know in the comments section below.
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