Overnight, Microsoft and Apple’s battle to control the high-end notebook space heated up. Microsoft was the first to throw down the gauntlet. Last year’s Surface Pro 3 proved that the company could create a very thin and light notebook PC with high-end flourishes that people would want to buy. Just releasing a serious MacBook Air competitor wasn’t enough. Microsoft launched a series of promotions and ad campaigns trashing the iPad and the MacBook Air for essentially, not being a forward-thinking 2-in-1 PC.
The new MacBook is Apple’s answer to Microsoft’s challenge. The new MacBook is forward thinking. It embraces new trends in mobile devices and takes mobile productivity to a place it’s never been before. Here’s how the new MacBook compares to its natural direct competitor, Microsoft’s own Surface Pro 3.
MacBook vs. Surface Pro 3 – A Difference In Approach
Chances are you’ve already seen the Surface Pro 3. In fact, it’s one of the few Microsoft hardware products that normal people can pick out of a crowd. That’s how successful the device has been for the company’s image.
The Surface Pro 3 is a full-size notebook that looks like a tablet. It’s what Microsoft calls a 2-in-1, a device that can be more than what you expect it to. The body is painted silver and has slightly tapered edges that give it a high-end feel. The front of the device is dominated by a 12-inch high-definition screen with a resolution of 2160 x 1440. There are dual speakers and a touch-sensitive Windows button flanking that display. The things that sit on the Surface Pro 3’s edges reveal its true nature. There are fan vents because even the entry-level Surface Pro 3 for $799 has a Intel Core i3 processor for notebook like productivity. That model also features 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage.
You can have any old notebook that transforms into a tablet. By adding support for a drawing stylus, a full-size USB port, Display Port, adjustable kickstand and optional physical keyboard Microsoft turned the Surface Pro 3 into the best Windows notebook you can buy too.
Read: Surface Pro 3 Review
Like the Surface Pro 3, the new MacBook embraces mobile technology. It just doesn’t do so in the ways users might have expected. Apple’s most-portable notebook ever isn’t a tablet with notebook internals and a removable keyboard. Instead, the new MacBook is a refined device so thin that Apple might have gone a bit too far.
Apple has ruthlessly cut down on the weight and thickness of the MacBook Air to give users what it is simply calling the new MacBook. This new MacBook starts at $1299 and is just 0.52-inches tall. It weights 2.03 pounds.
The new MacBook is dominated by a 12-inch LED display with a resolution of 2304 x 1440. Inside the base model is a 1.1Ghz, dual-core Intel Core M Processor that can turbo boost to 2.4GHz if it feels the extra raw power is necessary. Every version of the new MacBook Air comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, giving users plenty of space to put all of their valued music, pictures and video on.
Apple has chosen to embrace mobile with the MacBook by ditching the things that have made it’s computers still feel like relics of a bygone era. It’s Intel Core M processors allow it to run all the same apps that it could before, but Apple has ditched the fan needed to cool older MacBooks entirely. Yes, this means that the new MacBook is a bit less powerful than the MacBook Air, on the other hand, it’s what allows the machine to be so incredibly thin.
The new MacBook borrows from the iPhone and iPad’s design too. It’s the first machine from Apple to come in Space Gray, Gold and Silver. Now buyers can match all of their favorite Apple products.
Lastly, it complete ditches each and every port of value. On the new MacBook there’s just a single way to connect devices physically. This plug is based on the new USB C standard. That’s right. Like the iPhone and iPad before it, the MacBook has a just single way for users to connect things to it. To achieve it’s thin profile Apple developed a new keyboard with LEDs under each light and a new butterfly hinge. There’s also a ForceTouch trackpad that understands when you want to move through things faster.
Apple is banking on new wireless technologies filling in any connectivity gaps. Wi-Fi 80211 AC, Bluetooth 4.0 are built-in.
When that’s not possible, users can purchase a $79 adapter that adds the crucial ports from the MacBook Air back. With the add-on users get USB 3.0, a charging port and Display Port out for connecting to monitors and televisions. It’s this port that also charges the new MacBook.
MacBook vs. Surface Pro 3 – Conclusion
Many have compared the Surface Pro 3 directly to the new MacBook. That makes sense, they’re aimed at the same mobile-first buyer. A Surface Pro 3 with an Intel Core i5 Processor and 256GB of storage costs $1,299. That’s without the $125 keyboard accessory. Adding that it makes the Surface Pro 3 a slightly bigger purchase.
That being said, its pretty hard to argue that the Surface Pro 3 – even at $129 more – isn’t a better purchase than the new MacBook. Obviously, users who need Mac OS will choose the new MacBook, but the Surface Pro 3 has more ports and is more versatile. This is one of those rare times when Microsoft actually comes out winning on the hardware front.