Tech Review: Microsoft Surface Book vs Apple MacBook Pro

surface-book vs macbook pro

Microsoft and Apple rolled out incredibly advanced, high-quality laptops in 2016. Selecting the best laptop for your purposes can be tough with so many options. We compare the specs, features, upgrades and functionality of the Microsoft Surface Book and the Apple MacBook Pro. Hopefully the following information will help you make the best decision for your needs.

Microsoft Surface Book Features

The Microsoft Surface Book is built to perform, boasting incredibly quick performance when you want to access programs, watch videos or listen to music. The main perk of the Surface Book is that it can easily transform into a tablet (called Clipboard Mode). This flexibility is what puts it ahead of the MacBook Pro, at least for people who need their technology to adapt to them throughout the day. The latest Microsoft Surface Book also includes the following features:

  • * Intel Core i5 / i7 processor
  • * 2GB of video memory
  • * 16 hours of battery life
  • * 1TB SSD
  • * Increased speed
  • * Enhanced graphics and images
  • * Thin and light; easy to transport
  • * Detachable PixelSense

The Microsoft Surface Book with Performance Base is the most powerful Surface Book available, while the i5 and i7 models cost a bit less. The Surface Book Intel Core i7 is best for design, particularly 3D modeling, while the i5 is best for professionals who use their laptop at work. Each model comes with a detachable screen that turns into a tablet thanks to its own built-in processor.

MacBook Pro Features

On the new MacBook Pro, the function keys have been replaced by a Touch Bar, helping you easily access the tools you use often, like brightness and volume. The Touch Bar will also change and adapt based on what you’re doing, so it always offers the tools you need in the moment. The Mac’s Touch ID keeps your laptop secure and also makes it possible to make purchases online using Apple Pay.

The Mac’s speakers have been improved, now offering 58% more volume, 2.5x the bass and 2x the dynamic range. The keyboard has been redesigned as well, making it more responsive and larger for convenience.

The latest MacBook Pro also includes the following features:

  • * 130% faster graphics
  • * 3.8GHz Turbo Boost processing
  • * 100% faster flash storage
  • * 10 hours of battery life
  • * Retina Display with LED backlighting
  • * P3 color, which includes 25% more colors than RGB
  • * Thunderbolt 3
  • * Siri voice assistance
  • * iCloud storage and Apple device sync

There are three types of MacBook Pros to choose from: 13-inch, 13-inch with Touch Bar and Touch ID, and 15-inch with Touch Bar and Touch ID. Each MacBook Pro has four ports that can be used with a variety of devices and cables.

Microsoft Surface Book vs. MacBook Pro

There are some big differences between the Microsoft Surface Book and the MacBook Pro. Here are the main ones to consider when selecting your next laptop:

Connectivity: The Surface Book i7 has two USB ports as well as an SD card reader. However, the MacBook Pro has four USB ports that can do practically anything thanks to Thunderbolt technology, including act as a USB, HDMI or VGI port and more. In order to attach various devices to the Surface, you may need more adaptors or cables.

Continuity: The MacBook Pro is especially helpful for people who use other Mac devices. You can answer a phone call on your computer instead of your iPhone. If you open a Safari tab on your iPad, it can show up on your laptop. Windows 10 and the Surface Book don’t have anything comparable to this functionality, although they are developing Continuum, which is along the same lines. Ultimately, Mac uses the same operating system – one that can seamlessly sync – no matter what device or devices you’re on.

Display: The Surface has a better overall display than the MacBook. The Surface has a larger display at 13.5 inches when compared to the MacBook Pro’s 13.3 inches. The Surface has more pixels as well (3,000 x 2,000 vs. 2,560 x 1,600). Additionally, the color quality and contrast is better on the Surface than the MacBook Pro.

Input: The main difference between the Microsoft Surface Book and the MacBook Pro is input. In the MacBook, the new Touch Bar, which replaced the function keys and is located at the top of the keyboard, will change its functions depending on what you’re working on. For example, if you’re typing, it will provide suggestions. When you’re in Safari, it will suggest your most-visited websites. When you’re editing photos, it will act as a straightening tool. You can customize the Touch Bar to perform the functions you want.

Sensor: The MacBook has a Touch ID sensor which lets you access your laptop without entering a password. It also makes it super fast and easy to authorize payments when making a purchase. The Surface Book doesn’t have this type of Touch ID, but they do have Windows Hello for face recognition. The technology scans your iris as a security feature.

Storage: The Surface Book and the MacBook Pro both have the same storage options: 256GB, 512GB and 1TB. If you opt for the larger MacBook model, you can get up to 2TB of storage. The Surface Book still has an SD slot, but the MacBook no longer does, something that photographer’s will be unhappy with.

Touch Technology: When it comes to flexibility and adaptability, the Surface Book wins hands-down. The display is sensitive to touch and you can engage with what’s on the screen. The Surface Pen is also included with the purchase of the Surface Book, providing an additional convenient way to interact with the screen. The stylus allows for drawing and taking notes, and it can be used when the screen is connected to the keyboard as well as when it’s disconnected and acting as a tablet. However, while the MacBook Pro doesn’t have a touchscreen, it does have Force Touch technology on its touchpad. The new touchpad is larger than in the past and it uses haptic feedback and sensitivity to pressure to react when you tell it what to do.

Voice Assistance: Both the Surface Book and the MacBook Pro have their own brand of voice assistance. The Surface, which runs on Windows 10, uses Cortana as the voice assistant. It’s highly accurate and can search through your computer’s files as well as create new notes. It will also transfer settings if you currently use Cortana on a Windows phone. The MacBook Pro has Siri voice assistance, which isn’t yet compatible with Spotlight search, making it a bit less useful than Cortana.

Weight and Thickness: The newest Surface is heavier than last year’s model, while the MacBook Pro is lighter than the Surface as well as previous MacBook models. The MacBook Pro is 14.9mm thick, while the Surface is 22.8mm thick. The reason for this is because the Surface has its own processor and touchscreen, making it possible to turn into a tablet when disconnected from the keyboard.

Microsoft Surface Book Drawbacks

When compared to the MacBook Pro, the Microsoft Surface Book has a few disadvantages:

  1. The Surface is a bit heavier than the MacBook Pro.
  2. While the Surface Book i7 has two USB ports, the MacBook Pro has four fully-functioning Thunderbolt ports that can connect to practically anything. If you need to hook up multiple devices to the Surface, you’ll need additional adapters and cables.

MacBook Pro Drawbacks


When compared to the Microsoft Surface Book, the MacBook Pro has a few disadvantages:

  1. The screen is not detachable and it does not have touchscreen capabilities. It’s not as easy to interact with the content on the screen as it is with a Surface Book.
  2. There is no NVIDIA graphics processor.
  3. MacBook security is the Touch ID, while the Surface has advanced facial recognition security.
  4. The MacBook has a lower screen resolution (227 PPI and 4.1M pixels in the MacBook versus 267 PPI and 6M pixels in the Surface).
  5. The camera is only front-facing, unlike the Surface, which has a rear-facing camera in addition to a front-facing camera.
  6. The MacBook Pro no longer has an SD card slot, while the Surface still does.

Surface Book Accessories

The Microsoft Surface Book has some helpful accessories, including:

Surface Dock: Turn your Surface Book into a desktop computer. The Surface Connect cable will charge your Book while you use a keyboard, mouse, printer and external monitor.

Pen and Tip Kit: One of the biggest advantages of the Surface Book is being able to draw or write directly on the screen. Choose the right Surface Pen Tip for you.

Keyboard Covers: Choose from a variety of keyboard covers, including colorful covers and ergonomic covers.

Mouse: There are several mouse options to use with your Surface, making it easy to find the one that feels best in your hand.

Screen Protectors: The Surface screen protectors keep your screen smudge- and scratch-free, and they also work with the Surface pen.

Surface Dial: The Surface Dial lets you see your tools displayed in a radial menu.

MacBook Pro Accessories

The MacBook Pro has a lot of accessories as well, including:

• The LG UltraFine 4K Display is great if you want to view your work on a larger screen while at home.

• The LaCie 1TB P’9227 Porsche Design USB-C Mobile Hard Drive provides extra storage that you can take with you.

• If you miss having a number keypad on your keyboard, order the Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad. Another option is the Magic Keyboard, which has a rechargeable battery built in.

• Choose your favorite Apple mouse, whether you want it to be connected to your computer or you prefer wireless.


Bottom Line

If you’re in the market for a new laptop, haven’t upgraded in a few years, and have a high budget in mind, the Surface Book and MacBook Pro are great options.

The Microsoft Surface Book, particularly the Performance Base and i7 models, is ideal for students in tech or graphic design fields, thanks to its enhanced performance for design and engineering. It also has strong gaming power. The i5 model, on the other hand, is the better option for professionals. Every model has the latest version of Microsoft Office, too.

For versatility, the Microsoft Surface Book can’t be beat, because it can easily turn into a tablet. Additionally, the Surface still has an SD card slot (something extra important to photographers), while the MacBook Pro has done away with its card slot.

The Surface Book basic model starts at $1,499 and the high performance laptop with 1TB/Intel Core i7, 16GB/dGPU starting price is $3,299.

For professionals who are on-the-go and love Apple devices, the MacBook Pro is for you. Your Apple devices can automatically sync and update so that you can start something on one device, like your iPhone or iPad, and then pick it up on another device, like your laptop.

The MacBook Pro basic model starts at $1,299 and highest performance Book with Touch Bad and Touch ID starts at $2,799.

Ultimately, artists and designers will love the advanced graphics and flexibility of the Surface Pro.