MacBook Pro vs Surface Pro: which is right for you?
(Image credit: Apple / Microsoft / Future)
MacBook Pro vs Surface Pro is a question that will come up for many creatives looking for a portable device to work on. Both are billed as ‘pro’ devices, and they both have creatives among the pros they have in mind, but while Apple’s MacBook Pros and Microsoft’s Surface Pros might be in direct competition with each other, they’re actually very different machines from top to bottom.
The Surface Pro, now in its 9th generation, is a tablet that runs the innards of a thin and light laptop. It doesn’t lack power, but that’s not its main focus either. Its main focus is flexibility, offering a highly portable creative tool with a touch screen that makes it suitable for drawing and note taking as well as video editing (also see our best drawing tablets and best laptops for video editing for more task-specific devices). It runs Windows, so if you attach Microsoft’s Type Cover, you effectively have a very compact laptop.
Apple’s MacBook Pros are clearly in the laptop cam, and they’re all about offering stunning performance and displays in sleek bodies that run quietly and efficiently, offering excellent battery life. They’re targeted at creatives that need a lot of power, with Apple leaving drawing capabilities to its array of iPad generations.
There’s much more that divides the MacBook vs Surface Pro, including starting price and even screen capabilities, so let’s dive into what separates them. We’ll compare the Surface Pro 8 and the newer 2022 Surface Pro 9 against the 13-inch, 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros to try to help you decide which is best for you.
We’ve based all our opinions on our own reviews of the devices and a detail comparison of their specs (learn more about how we test and review laptops). You can also compare the prices of MacBook Pro vs Surface Pro using the direct retailer links below and at the end of this guide.
Today’s best MacBook Pro and Surface Pro deals
Microsoft Surface Pro 8
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Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021
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Microsoft Surface Pro 7
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Microsoft Surface Pro 9
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Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021)
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MacBook Pro vs Surface Pro: performance
The new MacBook Pro houses a beast of a processor (Image credit: Future)
There’s no question here: if you want raw performance, the MacBook Pro models are the way to go, or at least the 14-inch and 16-inch models. The Surface Pro 8 is available with quad-core Intel 11th Gen processors, all with HyperThreading so that they can act as eight virtual cores. You can step up from a Core i5 to a Core i7 to add a bit more power to both processor and graphics.
The newer Surface Pro 9, released in October 2022, is very much an incremental upgrade, with 12th Gen Intel Core i5 1235U / i7 1255U. The difference is that you have the option of a Microsoft SQ 3 version, but from what we’ve seen the performance of that is actually slower than the Intel versions, at least on emulated apps.
For graphics, these processors all come Intel Xe integrated graphics, which will do perfectly well for light photo and video editing, and is of a similar level of power to the GPU in the Apple M1 processor used in the 13-inch MacBook Pro – the larger MacBook Pros double and even quadruple this power. You can get the Surface Pro 9 and 8 with 8GB, 16GB or 32GB of RAM, and it’s available with 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB of SSD storage.
The cheaper Surface Pro 7 is available with an Intel dual-core i3 processor in its cheapest version, but we wouldn’t recommend that for creative work. The quad-core Core i5 or Core i7 options are what you’d want to stick with. All are Intel 10th Gen processors, but the Surface Pro 8 and 9 offer better performance and battery life. That’s doubly true when it comes to graphics power: the Intel Iris Plus graphics of the Surface Pro 7 are around a third less powerful than the Intel Xe chip in the Surface Pro 8, making it drastically behind any of the Apple options.
You can get the Surface Pro 7 with 4GB (again, not recommended), 8GB or 16GB of RAM, plus 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB of SSD storage.
The cheapest MacBook Pro option is the 13-inch model, which comes with the Apple M1 processor. This is an eight-core processor with 8GB of RAM as standard (16GB is an option), and is around 10% faster than the Surface Pro 8 with Core i7 for single-core tasks, and up to 40% faster for multi-core tasks, thanks to having twice the number of physical cores. As mentioned above, the GPU power is at a similar level, if not slightly higher.
The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros feature the M1 Pro processor, which is available as either an eight-core or 10-core CPU, with 16GB of memory as standard (configurable to 32GB). The M1 Pro is about the same level of power as the regular M1 for single-core tasks, but is more powerful for multi-core – particularly the 10-core model, unsurprisingly.
The 8-core M1 Pro is around 30% faster for multi-core than the regular M1, while the 10-core M1 Pro is up to 60% faster than the M1. That makes it around double the power of the Surface Pro 8’s highest-end option. The M1 Pro’s GPU is double the power of the M1’s GPU – again, putting it way beyond anything available in the Surface Pro models.
The Apple M1 Max processor is also available in the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, and this keeps CPU power at essentially the same level (though it’s only available in the 10-core version), but comes with 32GB of memory as standard, which can be upgraded to 64GB. More excitingly, it doubles the capability of the GPU again, offering around 10TFLOPS of raw graphics computation power (see our full Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) review for details on our experience with the laptop).
The 13-inch MacBook Pro is available with 256GB, 512GB, 1TB or 2TB of storage. The 14-inch and 16-inch models are available with 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB or 8TB of extremely fast flash storage.
One thing to note is that all of these devices are designed to operate well on the go. The Surface Pro 8 uses Intel’s Evo platform for strong performance with low energy and heat usage, while the Apple processors are effectively the most efficient pro-level processors on the planet. All of these machines produce only the minimum heat and fan noise levels – the more powerful 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros are obviously the ones most likely to kick up a fuss, but even these are stunningly quiet even when pushed with tough 3D rendering tasks in our experience.
MacBook Pro vs Surface Pro: software
The Surface Pro looks like a tablet, but runs the full version of Windows (Image credit: Microsoft)
The Surface Pro 8 and 9 ship with Windows 11 Home, while the Surface Pro 7 comes with Windows 10, but you get a free upgrade to Windows 11… if you want. The MacBook Pros both ship with macOS Monterey. However, it’s important to note that the Apple M1 Pro or Max chips used here can cause some compatibility issues with software. A large amount of pro software has been updated to run on these chips natively, but by no means all.
The good news is that anything not updated will still run, though a conversion process that doesn’t cause any major slowdown (it’s estimated to slow down apps by around 20% on average, but Apple’s processors are more than 20% faster than the competition, so we haven’t really noticed that speed hit when we’ve reviewed the laptops).
The bad news is that it’s possible you’ll hit some compatibility problems with things like plugins. And some pro apps don’t have all their features in the M1 versions, including Photoshop and Pro Tools. The missing features are usually minor, but one person’s unnecessary feature is another person’s vital tool, so be sure to check that the graphic design software or otherwise you rely on will run in the way you need it to before buying. The vast majority of people will have no software issues at all – but it’s a good idea to check with the software you use before you buy.
The MacBook Pro features a gorgeous keyboard and generous trackpad (Image credit: Future)
The pretty obvious distinction between the Surface Pro machines and the MacBook Pros is that although they run on Windows, the Surface Pros are essentially tablets. You can attach a keyboard to make them into something very close to a laptop, but we don’t find that this feels as solid as working on a laptop. The results of this can be noted in everything from screen to the processing power. And, of course, the overall design.
The Surface Pro 8 and 9 both measure 287 x 208 x 9.3mm (11.3 x 8.2 x 0.37 in), and weight 891g (1.96 lb), but that’s without the Type Cover keyboard attachment, which weighs 310g (0.68 lb) itself, adding both a keyboard and small trackpad.
The Surface Pro 7 measures 292 x 201 x 8.5 mm (11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33 in) and weighs 790g (1.74 lb), again without the Type Cover. All three devices have a kickstand on the back so they can stand upright when not being held as a tablet – this is vital even when you add the Type Cover.
The MacBook Pros are traditional laptops. The 13-inch MacBook Pro has the same design Apple has been using for around the last decade, while the 14-inch and 16-inch versions have a new design. All have a full-size keyboard and generous trackpad.
The MacBook Pro 13-inch measures 304 cm x 21.2 x 16 mm (11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61 in) when closed, and weighs 1.4kg (3 lb).
The MacBook Pro 14-inch measures 313 x 221 x 16 mm (12.31 x 0.61 x 8.71 in) and weighs 1.6 kg (3.5 lb).
The MacBook Pro 16-inch comes in at 356 x 248 x 17 mm (14.01 x 9.77 x 0.66 in) and a weight of 2.1 kg (4.7 pounds).
MacBook Pro vs Surface Pro: display
The Surface Pro offers a touchscreen, which Macs just can’t match (Image credit: Microsoft)
The Surface Pro 8 and 9 have a 13-inch display with a resolution of 2,880 x 1,920, giving them a 3:2 aspect ratio, which is closer to a square than your average 16:9 or 16:10 screen. This has advantages and disadvantages. It can be better for documents because the extra height means you can see more on the screen at once. It’s also closer to what most cameras are likely to output, making it a little more optimal for image adjustments. And it can be great for drawing – again, depending on the aspect ratio of what you’re making.
But it means that video will leave larger bars at the top and bottom of the screen, and it’s generally less ideal for multitasking, since it means you’ve less width for putting windows side by side. It’s a similar story in creative software – it leaves less space to have tool palettes alongside your canvas. The shape isn’t necessarily better or worse – just different, and whether you find it more comfortable to work with is likely to be subjective.
Both Surface Pros also feature full multi-touch support, as well as Surface Pen support for stylus drawing and writing – the MacBook Pro doesn’t offer either of these. The Surface Pro 8 introduced Dolby Vision HDR support, though a limited maximum brightness (around 450 nits) means that while this is nice for video, it’s not game-changing.
The Surface Pro 8 also added an ambient colour sensor, meaning that it can tweak the colour temperature on the display to match the lighting in your room – adjusting the white point so that it matches a white piece of paper on your desk, which is great for eye comfort while working. Finally, the Surface Pro 8 and 9 have a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz (an improvement on the 60Hz of the Surface Pro 7). This reduces latency for input – a big improvement for drawing, and for gaming. The Surface Pro 9 adds Dolby Vision IQ support and Gorilla Glass 5 for a very tough screen.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro has a 13.3-inch screen at 2560×1600, which is a 16:10 aspect ratio. It hits 500 nits of brightness, and supports the P3 wide colour gamut. It also feature’s Apple’s True Tone tech, which is the same as the ambient light sensor feature mentioned above for the Surface Pro 8.
The 14-inch MacBook Pro features a resolution of 3024×1964, which is 16:10 again. Again, it supports the P3 gamut and Apple’s True Tone tech, but it also supports 120Hz refresh rates, and features a mini-LED panel, which means it’s capable for much, much higher brightness and HDR performance compared to the Surface Pro screens.
It’s capable of a full-screen brightness of 1,000 nits, with peak brightness in a small area of 1,500 nits, when provided HDR content, which can include Dolby Vision HDR, but also any app with HDR support, such as image or video editors. In general computer use, it sticks with a brightness of 500 nits, saving battery.
The MacBook Pro 16-inch has the same type of display as the 14-inch, but with a resolution of 3456×2234. Both of these screens also have a section cut out (a ‘notch’) at the top centre, where the camera lives. This is odd, but it’s not often you really need that space, and we’ve never had an issue with it. The OS works around seamlessly, 99.9% of the time.
When it comes to image quality, and the size of screen space you have to work with, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros are the clear winners here, but with no touch support whatsoever, the choice may be more about what you need practically than which looks better. If you want to work with a stylus, you’ll need to go for the Surface (unless you want to buy a tablet too).
MacBook Pro vs Surface Pro: connectivity
The new MacBook Pro has a better range of ports than its predecessor (Image credit: Future)
The Surface Pros offers great connection for tablet-style devices. The Surface Pro 8 and 9 have wo USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports and the Surface Connect and Type Cover ports. The Pro 8 also has a 3.5mm jack but that’s been dropped from the newer iteration, which will be an unwelcome move for those who prefer wired headphones. Connectivity comes in the form of Plus Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1, while the SQ 3 5G version of the Pro 9 also has a nano-SIM slot, something clearly not available on any MacBook.
The Surface Pro 7 has one USB-C port, a USB-A port, a 3.5mm audio jack, a microSDXC card reader, and the Surface Connect docking port, as well as a Surface Type Cover Port. Wi-Fi 6 (aka 802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.0 are on board as well.
The MacBook Pro 13-inch offers two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports, and a 3.5mm jack, plus Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0. The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros both offer three USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, a full-size SDXC card reader, and a 3.5mm jack with high-power output (for high-impedance headphones). And Wi-Fi 6, plus Bluetooth 5. 0.
MacBook Pro vs Surface Pro: battery life
The Surface Pro 8 offers up to 16 hours of “typical” use according to Microsoft’s ratings, though it doesn’t specify what qualifies as typical – in these tests, it’s usually video and/or light web browsing. In our own tests that we carried out for our full Surface Pro 8 review, we got over eight hours of medium to heavy use, including photo editing and video calling, which is almost double what we got our the Surface Pro 7. Microsoft says the Surface Pro 9 does fares very slightly worse at up to 15.5 hours of typical use but that the SQ 3 configuration with 5G can do 19 hours.
The MacBook Pro 13-inch offers up to 17 hours of wireless web browsing, which is the highest rating of anything here. Apple says you can get up to 20 hours of video playback, too.
The MacBook Pro 14-inch promises up to 11 hours wireless web, and up to 17 hours of video playback. The MacBook Pro 16-inch is rated for 14 hours of web browsing and 17 hours of video playback – though in our experience, it can exceed that web browsing figure.
MacBook Pro vs Surface Pro: price
The Surface Pro 8 starts from $1099 / £999 for a version with 128GB of storage and an Intel Core i5, but we’d recommend people look to the version with 256GB of storage and an upgrade to Intel’s ‘Evo’ Core i5 processor, which is more energy efficient. That also includes 8GB of RAM, and costs /$1199 / £1,099.
You can configure from there in various ways, including adding more storage, a faster processor or more RAM. For example, the version with a Core i7 Evo processor, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage costs $1,899 / £1,799. At the very top end, you can get a version with the Core i7 chip, 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage for $2,599 / £2,459.
Pricing is almost the same for the new Surface Pro 9, although it starts at just $999 in the US and has seen the price of higher configurations upped a little in the UK due to inflation and exchange rate changes (see our guide to the best Surface Pro 9 prices). If you’re planning to use the Surface Pro for photo or video editing, we’d recommend upgrading to 16GB of RAM in both cases.
The Surface Pro 7 starts at $799 / £899 for the minimum version we’d recommend, which includes the Core i5 processor and 256GB of RAM. This is discounted from its original price, with Microsoft appearing to be running down stock, though it’s still available at retailers.
This makes the cheapest here, though as we’ve detailed above, it’s the lowest-specced, easily. Remember, however, that all Surface Pro models still need the Type Cover keyboard attachment for actually writing on. That costs /$129 / £149. And if you want to add the basic Surface Slim Pen for drawing, that’s $129 / £119.
The MacBook Pro 13-inch starts from $1,299 / £1,299 with 256GB of storage and 8GB of memory. From there, you can upgrade the memory to a maximum of 16GB, and the storage to a maximum of 2TB.
The MacBook Pro 14-inch starts from $1,999 / £1,899 for the version with an 8-core CPU and 14-core GPU, 16GB of memory and 512GB of storage. You can then step up to a model with a 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU, 16GB memory and 1TB of storage for $2,499 / £2,399.
From there, you can pay for up to 8TB of memory, and you can switch to the M1 Max, which massively increases GPU power, and offers up to 64GB of memory.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro starts from $2,499 / £2,399 for a version with the M1 Pro 10-core CPU/16-core GPU, with 16GB memory and 512GB storage. You can get a version with the 10-core CPU/32-core GPU M1 Max, 32GB memory and 1TB of storage for $3,499 / £3,299. Again, you can upgrade to 64GB of memory, and up to 8TB of storage.
MacBook Pro vs Surface Pro: which should I buy?
Aside from the macOS vs Windows question, the big thing to answer here is whether you’d rather have a laptop/tablet hybrid or a full-power laptop. The Surface Pro range offers a solid amount of computer power in a frame that’s very portable, and makes it easy to draw on.
The MacBook Pro range offers a major increase in performance, but in a very traditional laptop form factor. The MacBook Pro is also better for ergonomics when it comes to long periods of typing, and the 14-inch and 16-inch models have class-leading screens for creative work. It comes down to priorities – both machines might live up to their branding of offering lots for pros, but they have different needs in mind.
Today’s best MacBook Pro and Surface Pro deals
Microsoft Surface Pro 9
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Microsoft Surface Pro 8
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Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021
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Microsoft Surface Pro 7
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Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021)
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- The best MacBook you can buy
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Matt has been testing technology for over a decade, working in specialist Apple publications as well general technology and creative journalism. By day, you can find him covering TV, audio, smart home gear and more at T3.com, as Home Tech Editor. By night, he’s probably updating or pairing or installing some new piece of technology in the quest for the perfect setup.
Surface Pro vs MacBook Pro
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Should You Get a New Apple M1 MacBook Pro?
The new processor chip for Mac, the M1, is a game changer for Apple computers. Apple states, “Until now, a Mac needed multiple chips to deliver all of its features…with M1, these technologies are combined into a single system on a chip (SoC), delivering a new level of integration for more simplicity, more efficiency, and amazing performance.”
What is the Same? The MacBook Pro model that now has the M1 chip is the 13” model with 13.3” Retina display. (The MacBook Pro 16 does not have the M1 chip yet.) The exterior of the MacBook Pro 13 hasn’t changed. It has the same keyboard, trackpad, fingerprint sensor, webcam, touch bar, and lack of SD card slot as the MacBook Pro with Intel chip. It is WiFi 6 capable. It has two Thunderbolt (USB 4) ports and 720p FaceTime HD camera.
The Advantages The M1 chip advantage: 8 core CPU with up to 3.5x faster CPU performance. It also utilizes unified memory architecture (UMA). All memory in one place improves performance, graphics, and enables faster processing.
Apple says M1 can run up to 2x faster CPU performance with 25% of the power needed by the latest PC laptop chip and has “best battery life ever on a Mac. ” Reviewers noticed that it runs cool. The fan doesn’t have to come on as often because the computer is not heating up.
The reviewer at PetaPixel, an online photography blog, noted that the battery life of the MacBook Pro (M1) was almost three times longer than the MacBook Pro (i7). The reviewer stated that he could work for two days before having to charge the computer.
The Cons Some Mac users were hoping for an improvement in the exterior design and features of the MacBook Pro 13. Perhaps more USB 4 ports or the ability to capture 1080p video. (Although, Apple maintains that the webcam has sharper video with less grain because the M1 chip improves processing.)
Also, a con for some want-to-be early adopters, is the price. The MacBook Pro starts at $1299 and comes with standard 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM. Someone who recently bought a laptop may not find it cost effective to upgrade so soon.
Another con, especially if you are comparing it to the Surface Pro X, is no touch screen. Surface Pro X is applauded for its portability and it has 4G LTE connectivity. Surface Pro X has two USB-C ports plus a port for charging. The MacBook Pro does not have cellular connectivity or a separate port for charging.
Of course, the Surface Pro X and the Apple M1 Macbook pro are two different machines. The MacBook Pro appeals to photographers, videographers, and image creators. For some, this Mac will be a welcome, even necessary, addition to their work tools. For others, the draw of using Microsoft’s well-known suite of business applications, all available in the cloud, will be stronger. A big factor in which one is right for you is answering the question: what will you use it for?
Regardless if you are a diehard Apple fan or a Windows devotee, the M1 is making a splash on the laptop market today and it may lead to even more innovation in processor chips in the future.
Surface Pro X vs. MacBook Pro – Which is right for you?
You have heard of the new Surface Pro X with its edge to edge screen, instant on and light weight for great portability. How does it compare to the MacBook Pro?
On the go: The Surface Pro X comes in one color, matte black. It is only .28 in. thick, compared to .64 in. for the latest MacBook Pro. The new Surface weighs 1.7 lbs. (without the keyboard/cover). The latest MacBook Pro, a 16-inch model, weighs 4.3 lbs. Furthermore, the Surface Pro X comes with WiFi and LTE capabilities. Obviously, the Surface Pro X is easy to carry around and therefore attractive to those of us who take our work with us.
But, how is its performance?
Specifications: The Surface Pro X has Windows 10 OS.
It also has a 13” touchscreen, with a resolution of 2880 x 1920. It has two USB
type-C ports, plus a port for attaching a keyboard or charging the device. It
comes with either 8GB or 16GB of RAM, and a special processor made for
Microsoft by Qualcomm, called the Microsoft SQ1. The SQ1 is supposed to make
the Surface Pro X, a tablet 2-in-1, work just as well for you out in the field
as if you were working on a desktop in the office. A reviewer writing for
Forbes.com, who is on the road 45 weeks of the year, put it to the test. He was
able to work for 5-7 hours in the field, with several apps running and no lags.
He found the Surface Pro X to be fast and capable with the programs he uses:
Skype, OneNote, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.
Two other notable features of the Surface Pro X: the stylus and quick charge. First, if you purchase the Slim Pen stylus, it fits into the keyboard attachment (also sold separately), where it charges. Second, if your Surface Pro X battery runs down, the new Surface’s quick charge feature can power it back up to an 80% charge in one hour.
Cons of Surface Pro X vs Macbook Pro
Cons: Buying the tablet, keyboard and pen is going to
be expensive. Another drawback noted by more than one reviewer is the fact that
the tablet and keyboard, while sleek and lightweight, will not sit comfortably
in your lap as a laptop like the MacBook Pro would. You’ll need something hard
and flat to set your Surface on if you are using the keyboard accessory.
In the end, it depends on how you will use your equipment. Will you be travelling a lot? The Surface is much more convenient. Do you work with graphics and video editing? You might consider the MacBook Pro instead. A reviewer at LaptopMag.com found that the 16-inch MacBook needed just 8 minutes flat to convert a 4K video into 1080p. Some computer users prefer iOS and some are more comfortable with Windows OS. For collaboration on the go when using programs like Word, Excel and PowerPoint, the Surface Pro X should work well.
Our original article from 2013:
With the Apple MacBook enjoying good success for years, it seems that Microsoft has been a bit behind in its entry into the laptop market. Recently, Microsoft has accessed the market with the Surface Pro, the Windows equivalent of the MacBook Pro. Here’s how the Surface Pro vs Macbook Pro compare:
Aesthetics: From a cosmetic standpoint, there isn’t much to differentiate between the Surface Pro and MacBook Pro. They’re both about the same size with a stylish metallic color. There’s; however, a subtle difference that has an impact on usability. The Surface Pro has a hinged back that allows the keyboard to detach from the rest of the unit. On the other hand, the MacBook Pro has a ‘Force Touch’ trackpad, which detects different levels of pressure for varied functions.
Power/Battery Life: The base models of the Surface Pro and MacBook Pro are pretty similar with both featuring 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD and an Intel Core i5 processor. The i5 processor in the Surface Pro is a little newer; however, while the MacBook Pro can be upgraded a little larger RAM memory. The number and types of ports are also similar, although the MacBook Pro also has a Thunderbolt 2 port.
Screen Resolution: Both the MacBook Pro and Surface Pro have impressive screen resolutions. The MacBook Pro has a 13-inch Retina display with 2560 x 1600 resolution, emphasizing color and clarity. The Surface Pro, however, wins in this department with a 13. 5-inch Retina display, 3000 x 2000 resolution and PixelSense technology to tell the difference between your finger and a stylus.
Operating System: The Surface Pro vs Macbook Pro each feature their respective manufacturers’ latest operating systems – OS X 10.11 Yosemite in the MacBook and Windows 10 in the Surface. While the systems share many of the same capabilities, there is one notable difference between the two. The Surface Pro has the digital voice assistant Cortana while Apple has yet to incorporate Siri into its MacBook Pro.
Ultimately, both the Surface Pro vs MacBook Pro are great laptops. The detachable keyboard may win a lot of consumers to the Surface Pro’s corner, but it’s almost evened out by the nifty trackpad on the MacBook Pro. Oddly enough, Windows fans will likely gravitate to the MacBook while iPhone users may find the Surface Pro more familiar to use.
Last but not least, if your office is in need of remote IT Support for Small Business call us 888-596-3998 or use our contact form today!
Microsoft Surface Pro and Apple Macbook Pro FAQ
What is best Macbook Pro or Surface Pro?
The Macbook Pro is hard to beat when it comes to overall performance. However, Windows users will more than likely feel more comfortable opting for the Surface Pro.
Is the Microsoft Surface Pro considered a laptop?
By itself the Surface Pro is a tablet, but an attachable keyboard can be added to it (Known as a Type Cover) turning it into a tablet with laptop features.
What is the best Surface Pro to purchase?
We always recommend purchasing the latest model of Surface Pro. With each new model, the display, performance and battery life is improved over previous models.
How long does a Macbook Pro last?
Macbook Pro’s are known to hold up very well. With proper care and handling one can easily last 5-7 years. If you plan on purchasing a Macbook Pro and keeping it for several years, we recommend opting for the Applecare+ coverage.
Filed Under: Product Guides
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What is the difference between MacBook Pro and MacBook Air?
When choosing a brand new Macbook, it is worth understanding how one model differs from another. There are many different Macbooks in the Apple range today – with a Retina display, super-light, super-performing. All these models have a different price tag. We offer you to figure out how the Macbook Pro differs from the Macbook Air and who these laptops are suitable for.
The latest MacBook Pro and MacBook Air: features and price
What’s special about the MacBook Pro?
The 2019 MacBook Pro is Apple’s fastest Macbook ever, according to the manufacturer. It is suitable for programming, high-quality photo processing, 3D graphics and 4K video processing.
Available with and without Touch Bar. Notebooks with the Touch Bar received an update in May 2019 with more powerful processors, but the MacBook Pro 2018 13.3 ″ without the Touch Bar was not updated. MacBook Pro 2019 starts at $1,799 for 13.3″ and 239 models$9 for a 15.4” laptop.
The latest MacBook Pro with Touch Bar features 8th or 9th Gen Intel Core i9 octa-core processors. The top configuration includes 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of SSD.
The main difference between MacBook Pro and MacBook Air is the Radeon Pro 560X graphics card, which allows you to comfortably work with graphics and play games.
The base 13.3” MacBook Pro with Touch Bar comes with a quad-core Intel Core i5. The amount of RAM is 8 GB, the capacity of the SSD is 256 GB. This configuration does not have a discrete graphics card, but it still performs better than any version of the MacBook Air.
Customer can assemble their own MacBook by choosing the required processor, memory and hard drive capacity. These MacBooks are called custom.
What makes the MacBook Air different?
The MacBook Air is billed as Apple’s lightest laptop, but that claim is a little outdated. A couple of years ago, the company introduced the MacBook at 0.92kg, so it’s now the lightest, while the MacBook Air weighs 1.25kg.
9The 0002 MacBook Air is less powerful than the MacBook Pro, but weighs less and costs less.
The base MacBook Air includes a dual-core Intel Core i5, 1.6 GHz – 3.6 GHz. The amount of RAM is 8 GB, in the top version – 16 GB. The capacity of the SSD-disk is 128 GB, in the most expensive configuration – 1.5 TB.
Where the MacBook Air really differs from the Pro version is the presence of the Touch ID sensor, which is responsible for the safety of personal information. Using the sensor, you can make purchases in an online store, unlock a laptop, enter applications. Touch ID is available on the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, but it costs a lot more than the Air. If you need reliable protection of personal data, but do not want to overpay, it is better to choose MacBook Air.
A MacBook Air with basic hardware will cost $1,119.
The new MacBook Air is expected to be released in autumn, probably, the novelty will get a more powerful processor, will decrease in weight, but will remain the same autonomous and will work up to 12 hours without recharging.
The MacBook Pro is a true performance machine designed to tackle any challenge, and it’s compact too. MacBook Air can’t boast of cool stuffing and clearly loses in performance, but wins a little in weight.
Comparison of MacBook Air and Pro specifications
|Apple MacBook Pro 15 Retina Silver with Touch Bar (MV932) 2019||Apple MacBook Air Space Gray (MRE92) 2018|
|Screen resolution 0055||Processor||Octa-core Intel Core i99th Gen||8th Gen Intel Core i5 Dual Core|
|Storage 9005 7||512 GB||256 GB SSD|
|Video card||Intel HD Graphics 630 + Radeon Pro 560X discrete graphics with 4 GB memory||Intel UHD Graphics 617|
|Battery life||Up to 10 hours||Up to 12 hours|
|Price, UAH||79 999||35 199|
Comparison of MacBook Pro and MacBook Air screens
Previously only MacBook Air was sold with Retina display , but today Retina is also in MacBook Air, and 13, 3-inch laptops Air 2018 and Pro 2019 with Touch Bar are the same, absolutely:
resolution 2560×1600 pixels;
brightness 500 cd/m²;
pixel density 227 ppi;
16:10 aspect ratio.
The 2019 15.4-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar has a resolution of 2880×1800 pixels, a screen brightness of 500 cd/m², and a pixel density of 220 dpi.
The screens of Apple laptops are not particularly different, only the 15-inch model has a higher resolution, which is explained by the increased diagonal. The image quality in Air and Pro is the same – a clear, realistic picture with maximum detail.
Dimensions and weight
The Air was considered the lightest version of the original MacBook at 0.92 kg. In fact, the MacBook Air (1.25 kg) is lighter than the MacBook Pro (1.37 kg), but the difference of 120 grams, in our opinion, is not significant. The top configuration of the MacBook Pro weighs more – 1.83 kg, here the difference is already felt. But on the other hand, this is the most powerful and productive MacBook at the moment, so the buyer knows why he needs an extra 500 grams of weight. If a powerful filling is not needed, then choose a lightweight model.
The length and width of laptops are the same, only the thickness differs, for the MacBook Air the thickness of the case decreases from 1.56 to 0.41 cm, and for the MacBook Pro the thickness throughout the body is 1.49 cm.
It is unlikely that the dimensions and weight will become decisive parameters of choice, although earlier the MacBook Air was indeed chosen for its lightness and compactness, but today other MacBooks have overtaken it.
According to the manufacturer’s official statements, the MacBook Air will last a couple of hours longer than the MacBook Pro.
MacBook Pro is backed by a 54.5 Wh battery that promises:
10-hour web surfing;
10 hour iTunes video playback;
30 days standby time without recharging.
The Touch Bar model has the same battery life, but with a slightly larger 58 Wh battery. The same operating time with increased capacity is due to the fact that the Touch Bar also consumes energy and approximately the same results are obtained with different battery capacities.
MacBook Air has a 50.3 Wh battery inside that provides:
Should I choose MacBook Air or MacBook Pro?
If you don’t need high performance and just want to upgrade to macOS or upgrade your old MacBook, consider buying a MacBook Air. It fully meets the needs of ordinary users, providing comfortable web surfing, watching movies, working with documents, etc. But working with 3D images, editing videos or coding will not work.
MacBook Pro is more powerful for compiling code, processing high-resolution images, rendering 3D graphics, editing multiple 4K video streams, and more. According to Apple on the official website, the MacBook Pro will suit music producers, 3D designers, developers, photographers, video editors.
As we have already found out, the MacBook Pro is more productive than the MacBook Air, because it has a more powerful processor and there is a version with a discrete graphics card. Accordingly, if you need a powerful laptop, it is better to choose the Pro version, and if you have enough power of a conventional processor, then the MacBook Air will be a great option, and it also costs much less.
Have you decided yet? Visit y.ua and choose the MacBook of your dreams, we have the most affordable prices.
READ ALSO: TOP budget laptops
to buy or save money by taking M1? (voting) / Sudo Null IT News The manufacturer has made improvements in virtually all systems, but, frankly, we are not talking about revolutionary changes. Therefore, the choice between 2020 models with an M1 processor or a new one with an M2 chip is really difficult. We offer you to dwell on the main differences in detail and decide whether to upgrade to the latest model or save money and get the MacBook Air M1 2020.
MacBook Air M1 and M2
The 2020 MacBook Air came out in a traditional design, with a wedge-shaped case at the end. At the mounts, its thickness reaches a maximum of 16.1 mm, and closer to the touchpad it narrows to only 4.1 mm. Many people like this design from an aesthetic point of view, but working while lying on the couch is not very convenient – the sharp edge digs into the skin. Not much, but it creates some discomfort.
MacBook Air M1 and M2
In 2022, for the first time in the line of “air” laptops, Cupertino changed the design. It has lost its wedge-shaped shape, and the thickness is now the same in all parts. To provide passive cooling, small legs were added from the bottom – as in the flagship MacBook Pro. However, due to the minimum thickness (11.3 mm) and lightness, the laptop definitely belongs to the Air line.
The width of the laptops is the same, the length has increased by 0.26 cm in 2022. The new model has indeed become lighter, but only by 50 grams – in practice it is almost imperceptible.
To summarize, there are differences, but it is difficult to make an unambiguous choice in favor of a new or old model. Both options will find support among users.
The 2020 MacBook Air 13 comes in three colors – Space Grey, Silver and Gold. In 2022, there are already four shades – Space Gray and Silver have been preserved, instead of golden, you can take Starlight and Midnight has been added. The latter made a splash – it looks simply gorgeous, but absolutely impractical. Fingerprints and traces instantly remain on the surface, with which it is useless to fight – they will return after the next touch. But visually it is a bomb, and you can forget about practicality in this case.
As for materials, there are no surprises. The body is made of recycled aluminum – durable, lightweight and environmentally friendly.
2.1. Dimensions and screen resolution
The old model received a Retina display with a diagonal of 13.3 inches and a resolution of 2560×1600 pixels. The new one already uses Liquid Retina, the diagonal has grown to 13.6 inches due to ultra-thin frames, and the resolution has slightly grown to 2560×1664 pixels. There are P3 and True Tone proprietary options in both lines, but the brightness in 2022 is slightly higher – 500 nits (was 400).
2.2. “Bangs” on the screen of the MacBook Air M2
In the MacBook Air M2, the manufacturer returned the “bang” to the screen, which caused a lot of controversy among users. It does not look very good, but it can be hidden by using a dark theme or programmatically. Although bangs are really annoying only for the first couple of hours – then you just stop noticing it. So this is a minus, but a small one.
3.1. Technical data M1 and M2
This is a key difference between the two generations, so let’s look at the issue in detail.
The first proprietary “apple” M1 chip could already boast of top performance compared to Intel processors. It has 8 cores (equally productive and efficient) + 8-core GPU graphics chip. It supports up to 16 gigabytes of combined memory with the option of installing a 2 TB drive, but 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage are installed in the base configuration. By the way, the base in the new model is the same.
M2 has even better performance. The chip was created using the same 5nm technology and received 8 cores, but it has 20 billion transistors (it was 16), a graphics processor with 10 cores and a media engine. Such innovations made it possible to increase the data processing speed by 20% – this is really a lot, especially considering that only two years have passed since the presentation of Apple’s first own processor. The maximum amount of combined memory has grown to 24 GB. Plus, there is support for ProRes / RAW codecs, while before it was necessary to be limited to H.264 and HEVC.
M1 and M2
3.2. Test results and real work
In practice, the speed and power parameters declared by the manufacturer correspond to reality. But, as always, there is a nuance. With the simplest tasks, working with text documents or open 20-30 tabs in Safari, you will not notice the difference between the two generations – both pull such processes with ease. Speed plays a role when working with 3D graphics and editing video in 4K. The old MacBook does not pull them, the new one will cope, but not for long. The fact is that it has only passive cooling, and it is simply not intended for long-term continuous operation at high loads. And editing a video, rendering and compiling the program code initially provides for a lengthy process. So for such work it is worth buying a MacBook Pro.
Well, if you choose between these two models, both are good, but the M2 has more potential. Here the choice is clearly in favor of the novelty.
4. Autonomy of MacBook Air
4.1. Battery life comparison
The 2020 “Air” MacBook has a 49.9 Wh battery, while the 2022 version has a 52.6 Wh battery. But excellent autonomy is ensured primarily by the features of the proprietary processor. Speaking to the press, Apple’s VP of Marketing Bob Borchers even claimed that the Macbook Air M1’s battery life was so impressive that the company initially suspected a battery indicator failure. And the new M2 technology has further increased the battery life of the computer.
Thus, when using the MacBook Air M1 autonomy is up to 15 hours of Internet surfing and up to 18 hours of watching movies on Apple TV. This is enough time to not worry about charging all day long at work or while traveling. Compared to the previous version, the new MacBook Air M2 has even longer battery life – up to 20 hours of online viewing of Apple TV and up to 17 hours when searching for information on the Internet.
The new generation has a quick charge option – 50% of the battery can be replenished in just 30 minutes. But remember that you should not use it all the time – it “kills” the battery faster.
Wireless charging provides additional comfort, but it deserves a separate analysis.
4.2. Difference between M1 and M2 in daily use
Almost no difference. Both laptops hold a charge well, do not heat up and do not make noise. They have a passive cooling system – for a basic laptop for simple tasks, what you need.
5. Ports and connections
5.1. Return of MagSafe
Having a MagSafe 3 magnetic connector for wireless charging in the 2022 version is definitely a big plus. With it, you can not only quickly and without any hassle with wires to power your laptop battery, but also free up the Type-C port for other tasks. And given the limited number of connectors in both lines, this problem will be acute for many users.
5.2. Availability and number of USB-C ports With. But back to the fact that MagSafe can be used to charge the M2, so one of the connectors is released. Also in the new generation, several power adapters appeared – 35 W with two Type-C ports and 67 W with the fast charging option, but they need to be purchased separately.
Separately, we note the appearance in 2022 of a 3.5 mm jack, with which you can enjoy high-quality audio with high-impedance headphones.
6. Camera and audio enhancements
6.1. Updated FaceTime HD camera
The FaceTime HD camera is definitely better, with resolution up from 720p to 1080p. A very important improvement considering that after 2020 so many people have switched to telecommuting with constant video conferencing. In this regard, the MacBook Air M2 definitely gets extra points.
6.2. Sound System Improvements
Apple has always taken sound quality very seriously. There are 4 speakers in the M2 and they provide support for Dolby Atmos surround sound. 3 directional microphones are responsible for recording the sound track and video communication – with them you can easily make professional video voice acting without connecting third-party devices. Plus the 3.5mm stereo port we mentioned above.
The audio quality of the M1 is also excellent, but much better in the new generation.
7. Settings and prices
7.1. M1 and M2 Configuration Options
The base MacBook Air M1 comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, but you can choose models with 16GB of combined storage and a 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB SSD.
For the M2, the base remains the same, available in 16GB or 24GB combined memory and 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB SSD configurations.
7.2. Cost Comparison
This is the parameter where the MacBook Air M1 wins. In the basic configuration, its price starts at $9.99, while the M2 costs $200 more.
8. Selection guide