Microsoft’s VP Panos Panay stated that the Surface Pro 3 is able to compete and also overcome the highly appreciated MacBook Air. So, can this be true? We know that Microsoft has been trying to come with an alternative for the MacBook Air since Surface Pro 2, though unfortunately since now the company only succeeded in providing a high end Windows powered tablet and not the promised tablet / laptop hybrid.
But, things are about to get changed, as with Microsoft Surface 3 you can now have an interesting MacBook Air alternative. But, should you buy the Surface 3 instead of MacBook Air?
Well, in order to decide in which device to buy, first you should check our versus debate, where we will detail some relevant aspects that can clarify things up for good. In that matter we will talk about design, performances, user usability and of course about pricing offers.
But first, you should take a look over the table from below where we have placed together the main specs and features that are included on the Microsoft Surface 3 and MacBook Air. As you will see, both devices comes with similar performances and also with similar price tags, though maybe the main difference between these handsets is made by the accessories that you can buy in order to improve your user experience.
At this point, Microsoft is our winner even though, equipping your Surface Pro 3 for the best laptop-like experience will be quite expensive while MacBook Air offers the same out of the box.
- Editor’s Note: If you’re interested in other laptops, check out our wide collection of guides.
Microsoft Surface 3 vs MacBook Air
|Microsoft Surface 3||MacBook Air|
|Screen Size||12 inch||13.3 inch|
|Resolution / Pixel Density||2160 x 1440, 216ppi||1440 x 900, 128ppi|
|Weight||2.42 pounds (with keyboard)||2.96 pounds|
|Processor||Intel Core i3, i5 or i7||Intel Core i5 or i7|
|GPU||Intel HD Graphics 4400||Intel HD Graphics 5000|
|RAM||4GB or 8GB||4GB or 8GB|
|Camera||5 MP, 1080p capabilities||720p Face Time HD|
|In Built Storage||64GB, 128GB, 256GB or 512GB||128GB, 256GB or 512GB|
|Battery||Up to 9 hours||Up to 12 hours|
|Operating System||Windows 8.1||OS X 10.9 Mavericks|
|Ports||USB 3.0, miroSD, Mini Display Port||USB 3.0, SDXC, Thunderbolt (Mini DisplayPort)|
|Prices||$799 – $1949||$999 – $1749|
Now, if we are to talk about design, the Surface 3 is a classic tablet that is equipped with its docking station, kickstand and with the redesigned type cover keyboard. All these are Microsoft accessories that aren’t offered along with the Surface 3 so you will have to pay extra money in order to ensure that you can anytime use your tablet as a laptop.
As for the MacBook Air, we don’t have to deal with such aspects as the device is already a smooth and thin laptop, which is easy to carry and to use in any conditions.
Thus, in matter of design and user usability I think the MacBook Air is own winner – of course, if you prefer the laptop-side of this field, as Surface 3 will be perfect for those who wants a tablet with a large display that can also be used for desktop-like operations.
As you were able to notice, both the Surface 3 and MacBook Air come with similar performances, which of course depend on the model you prefer or on the budget you have. So, as far as specs concerns, we have a tie, with a small plus on the Microsoft side.
The Surface 3 is featuring Windows 8.1 OS while the MacBook Air comes with OS X 10.9 Mavericks pre installed along with built in programs like iWork (Pages, Numbers, Keynote) and iLife (iPhoto, iMovie, Garageband). On the opposite side, the Surface is featuring a dedicated Pen, which as you know can be used only on supported apps – you can get the same through Windows Store anytime you want.
Bottom line, the Microsoft Surface 3 will cost you more money than the MacBook Air especially if you choose to buy additional accessories. Also, with Surface 3 you will get the latest version of Windows 8 OS and lots of business and entertainment apps that can anytime help you manage your work schedule or your free time.
So, considering the Surface 3 can be easily used as a regular tablet and as a high end laptop, or ultrabook, we must conclude our debate with the following statement: in case you want a device that can be used for various activities, then Microsoft Surface 3 should be your choice while on the other hand if you want a laptop experience out of the box, go ahead and pick the MacBook Air as you won’t regret it.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2014 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.