Surface Laptop

On the face of it, it'd be easy to assume the Surface Laptop is a MacBook- or MacBook Air-class device. That's certainly true in terms of design. But when it comes down to it, the Microsoft team squeezed some serious hardware into the Surface Laptop.

That makes it worth comparing to the top of Apple's notebook tree: The MacBook Pro.

So let's see how two devices stack up. We're looking at the smaller, 13-inch MacBook Pro here, not the 15-inch model which is larger and a bit pricier. The 13-inch version is the best, closest comparison to the Surface Laptop.

Surface Laptop vs. MacBook Pro technical specifications

MacBook Pro

Category Microsoft Surface Laptop Apple MacBook Pro
Display 13.5-inch Pixel Sense display
10 point multi-touch
13.3-inch Retina display
Optional Touch Bar
Display resolution 2256 x 1504
Aspect Ratio: 3:2
2560 x 1600
Software Windows 10 S macOS Sierra
Processor Seventh-gen Intel Core i5 or i7 Seventh-gen Intel Core i5 or i7
Storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB Solid State Drive (SSD) 128GB, 256GB, 512GB PCIe SSD
Memory 4GB, 8GB or 16GB RAM 8GB or 16GB RAM
Graphics i5: Intel HD graphics 620
i7: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 or 650
Ports One full-size USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, headset jack, Surface Connect Up to four USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, headset jack
Battery 14.5 hours of use 10 hours of use
Pen Surface Pen No
Weight 2.76 lbs 3.02 lbs
Dimensions 12.13 inches x 8.78 inches x 0.57 inches 11.97 inches x 8.36 inches x 0.59 inches
Price From $999 From $1,299

This is a tough one to call. In some areas, the Surface nudges ahead, in others the MacBook Pro.

Trying to make a little sense of it, there are some key points that stand out:

  • The Surface Laptop has a lower-spec, lower priced entry point that's $300 less with the main differences being half the RAM and lesser graphics. But it has a touch-screen.
  • The high-end models actually favor Apple slightly, with better graphics and a $200 saving over the highest end Surface Laptop, at the sacrifice of 8GB of RAM compared to 16GB (without adding additional configurations).
  • Neither of these laptops is great for port selection. Surface Laptop has the advantage of a regular USB 3.0, while MacBook Pro has Thunderbolt 3 and a dongle to use for every occasion.
  • The Surface Laptop's claimed battery life is significantly better than Apple's reported life for the MacBook Pro.
  • They're both about the same size and weight.

What you don't get on the MacBook Pro, of course, is an Alcantara keyboard and a choice of color that isn't gray or silver.

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Surface Laptop vs. MacBook Pro: Which one wins?

So which one comes out on top? It's basically a draw. The Surface Laptop and MacBook Pro are evenly matched across the board. One jumps ahead in one area, only to have the other claw back in another. The difference really comes down to the OS, which is a whole different kind of comparison. Also, remember if you do go for a MacBook Pro, it's pretty handy with Windows 10 installed on it.

More: Surface Laptop review

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