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October 28, 2016updated 07 Nov 2016 2:29pm

Apple MacBook Pro vs Microsoft Surface Book: Which is better?

CBR puts the new MacBook Pro and SurfaceBook Pro models head-to-head.

By Alexander Sword

Apple and Microsoft unveiled flagship PC devices within days of each other, the Surface Book with Performance Base and the new 15 inch version of the MacBook Pro. The two devices both make a play for the premium market, but how do they compare on key metrics such as cost and specifications?

CBR puts the two devices head-to-head. (The review will compare the similarly priced models).


1. Cost

Cost is unlikely to be the deciding factor here as they are both priced at the high end of the market.

dollarThe 15 inch version of the new MacBook will cost $2,399 in the US and £2,349 in the UK. The 13 inch version of the new MacBook is considerably cheaper, costing $1,799 in the US and £1,749 in the UK.

Microsoft’s device is the same, clocking in at between $2399 and $3,299 for the highest specification model.

Winner: Tie

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2. Stats

If you buy either of these devices you will get pretty good performance, but with little difference in price it makes no sense to skimp on the fundamentals. The characteristics below are the very essence of the devices, reflecting directly on the performance the user will experience.

macbook-pro-1The 15 inch MacBook Pro features a quad-core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. It features a high-end graphics chip, the AMD Radeon Pro 450, offering up to 4GB of video RAM.

The Surface Book has an i7 processor, dual-core, with RAM of 8GB and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M providing 8GB video memory. It has the same storage capabilities of 256GB.

This means that on performance the MacBook wins out, as RAM represents the resources available for the PC to carry out tasks. With the Microsoft model be prepared to shell out some more money for the extra power.

Winner: Apple


3. Availability

As the old saying goes, time is money; you may want to get your hands on these devices sooner rather than later.

surface-book-1The new MacBook Pro will be for sale immediately, shipping in two to three weeks according to Apple. This gives it an arrival date of the week of 14 November at the latest.

Meanwhile, the Surface Book will ship from 10 November.

Winner: Microsoft

4. Features

Highlights of the Surface Book include enterprise-grade facial recognition technology for login and the new updates to Windows 10 such as the Creators Update.

MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro Touch Bar in action.

Apple’s device boasts the new Touch Bar which can be used for navigation in browsers, photo manipulation and text suggestions as the user types.

Both devices have touch screens. The Microsoft device can also be used as a tablet when not connected to the keyboard.

Much of this decision will come down to individual preference. Some people swear by Mac, whereas others struggle to come to grips with it and long for the Microsoft apps and user interface.

Winner: Tie


5. Convenience

These are laptops rather than desktop devices, designed to be used when out and about or carried from room to room, so portability comes into play.

Microsoft’s device weighs 1.6kg while Apple’s weighs 1.83kg.

In terms of size, another key factor in convenience, the Apple device is 15 inches while Microsoft’s is 12 inches.

Winner: Microsoft


All in all, the choice will come down to personal preference more than anything. The devices compare well across most categories, although the extra RAM in the Apple device may clinch it for many.

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