Microsoft Surface Laptop vs. Apple MacBook Air: Tech spec showdown

The actual target market audience may be a little different because Microsoft is going after the students directly. However, Apple laptops have long been a favorite of those with student loans. So any comparison seems fair.

Let's take a quick look at these two laptops side by side.

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Surface Laptop vs. MacBook Air Technical Specifications

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CategorySurface LaptopApple MacBook Air
Display13.5-inch Pixel Sense display
10 point multi-touch
13.3-inch LED display
Display resolution2256 x 1504i
Aspect Ratio: 3:2
1440 x 900
Aspect Ratio: 16:10
SoftwareWindows 10 SmacOS Sierra
Processor7th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7Intel Core i5 or i7
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB Solid State Drive (SSD)128GB, 256GB, 512GB PCIe Solid State Drive (SSD)
Memory4GB, 8GB or 16GB RAM8GB RAM
Graphicsi5: Intel HD graphics 620; i7: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640Intel HD Graphics 6000
PortsOne full-size USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, Headset jack, Surface ConnectTwo USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 2, SD card slot, headset jack
Battery14.5 hours of useUp to 12 hours
PenSurface PenNo
Weight2.76 lbs2.96 lbs
Dimensions12.13 inches x 8.78 inches x 0.57 inches12.8 inches x 8.94 inches x 0.68 inches (thickest point)
PriceFrom $999From $999

Not a close fight

For once, Apple is pretty much outclassed across the board. And again, that's down to the fact the MacBook Air hasn't had a meaningful upgrade in some time. Considering the entry level models of both cost the same, it's utterly damning to see what you get extra with Microsoft's laptop.

There is no room for Thunderbolt 2 in 2017.

A better display, better processors, better graphics, potentially higher RAM, it's lighter, it's thinner, has better claimed battery life and has digital pen support. When you look down the MacBook Air specs, the fact it still runs a Thunderbolt 2 port shows its age.

It's almost insulting to the premium laptop space that Apple even still sells the MacBook Air. Let alone still sells it for a thousand dollars. No-one should buy this MacBook Air in 2017. No-one.

So, the choice is pretty clear. If you're comparing these two, get a Surface Laptop, because it's actually a 2017 laptop and is worth the money. Windows 10 is superb and honestly, even this Windows-specific site can recommend you a better MacBook to buy if you're absolutely dead set on one of those.

Any of them. Just not the MacBook Air.

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Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at