Apple MacBook pro vs Microsoft surface laptop 3: which one is better?

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Microsoft The Surface Laptop 3 and Apple MacBook Pro are for very different target audiences. The Surface Laptop 3 is not targeted at the serious power user. The MacBook Pro has the hardware for that type of buyer, with the bonus of being able to boot into Windows 10 as well.

While the Surface Laptop 3 is in contention to be the best Windows laptop right now, Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro will always be a contender in this market. The 13-inch laptop space has some of the finest notebook computers you can buy, so competition is fierce.

Battle of the superexpensive flagships

Best for most
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
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The Surface Laptop 3 now comes in two sizes and uses both Intel and AMD hardware inside. Everything that made the first two great remains, except it now has USB-C as well!

Pros

  • Stunning touch display
  • Digital inking support
  • Great battery life
  • Two sizes
  • Intel and AMD processors

Cons

  • No Thunderbolt 3
  • Not all colors available in all configurations

Professional powerhouse
Apple MacBook Pro

Apple MacBook pro
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The MacBook Pro is packed with hardware to excite the professional market, but all that comes at a high price, though you do also have the option for dedicated graphics

Pros

  • Optional eight-core processors
  • Stunning Retina Display
  • Can run Windows 10
  • Thunderbolt 3
  • Dedicated graphics options and eGPU support

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No legacy ports

The next big event is Black Friday, and it’s worth keeping an eye out for deals, especially if you’re still leaning towards a MacBook Pro. Apple is notorious for avoiding discounts on its hardware, but that doesn’t stop authorized resellers like Amazon offering cuts. If you see a discount on the MacBook Pro spec you want on Black Friday, snap it up.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (13-inch) vs. Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch)

Specs
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
Apple MacBook Pro
Display13.5 inches, 2256 x 1540, 3:213 inches, 2560 x 1600, 16:9
CPUCore i7-1065G78th-Gen, 1.4-GHz Intel Core i5
Battery life15.5 hours with keyboard attached (13.5-inch), 17.5 hours (15-inch)10 hours
RAM8 GB, 16 GB, 32GB8GB, 16GB, 32GB
SSD256 GB, 512GB, 1TB256 GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
GraphicsIntel Iris Plus, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650Intel UHD, Intel Iris Plus
PortsOne USB 3.1, one USB Type-C, headphone jack, Surface Connect portTwo Thunderbolt 3, headphone jack
ColorsSandstoneSpace Grey
Size12.1 x 8.8 x 0.6 inches12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches
Weight2.9 pounds3 pounds

If you’re looking for the most premium Windows alternative to a MacBook, consider Microsoft’s Surface lineup. The company has been trying to catch up with Apple for the past few years by releasing compelling premium products.

Design

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
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The Apple MacBook Pro sports its usual Space Gray aluminum chassis, and while this machine is sleek, it’s not exactly striking. Meanwhile, Microsoft has been playing with a bunch of new colors, such as the pretty Sandstone shade on the new Surface Laptop 3 (13-inch), which presents a brighter and more approachable look.

Apple MacBook pro vs Microsoft surface laptop 3
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Lifting the lid of the MacBook Pro reveals a look you’d imagine a gray laptop with black keyboard keys to have: standard but clean. What I like about the interior is that the bottom bezel of the MacBook Pro is superslim. The sandstone deck that surrounds the Surface Laptop 3’s slightly darker keyboard gives the laptop a playful appearance. Its bottom bezel is slightly thicker than the MacBook’s, but the top bezel is thinner, so there’s some give and take

Winner: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3.

Microsoft Surface Book 3 vs Apple MacBook Pro: Display and camera

Microsoft Surface Book 3
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Even though both are 13-inch laptops, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 and Apple MacBook Pro support different screen sizes, aspect ratios and resolutions. The former sports a 13.5-inch, 2256 x 1540 panel at a 3:2 aspect ratio, while the latter features a 13.3-inch, 2560 x 1600 screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio.

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The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is a 2-in-1, so it comes with a 10 finger touch. The Surface Book 3 sports a 5MP sensor on the front for making video calls and an 8MP sensor on the back for taking photos

Apple MacBook pro
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If you will watch a video on both the devices, like when I was watching Netflix. The Surface Laptop 3’s panel made the red rocket car pop, the MacBook Pro’s screen highlighted not only the car, but also everything else around it, including the dirty concrete wall and the steel crates in the background. MacBook Pro takes the cake on brightness, as the Apple device detailed the surrounding tunnel during Han’s surprise entrance. The MacBook’s panel also has a better anti-reflective coating. On the front panel, it sports a 720p Face Time camera sensor. The two screens revealed the same amount of stitching in Dom’s shirt. According to our colorimeter, the MacBook Pro nailed 163% of the sRGB color gamut, sliding past the 121% from the Surface Lapto 3.

The MacBook Pro’s panel was brighter, too, emitting 441 nits to beat the 348 nits from the Surface Laptop 3.

Winner: Apple MacBook Pro.

Ports availability

Even though there are no longer any legacy ports on the MacBook Pro, it has one fairly significant advantage over the Surface Laptop 3. It has Thunderbolt 3 support on top of USB-C, and Thunderbolt 3 opens up a world of possibilities. You can attach high-resolution displays to it, connect fast external storage, and perhaps most exciting of all, hook up an eGPU, putting a full desktop graphics card into your MacBook Pro.

Apple MacBook pro vs Microsoft surface laptop 3
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At 0.6 inches thin, both the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 and Apple MacBook Pro are skimpy on ports, but the Surface Laptop 3 gives you more variety. The MacBook Pro packs two Thunderbolt 3 ports and a headphone jack, while the Surface Laptop 3 offers one USB Type-C port, one USB 3.1 port, a headphone jack and the Surface Connect port.

Winner: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3.

Processor performance and operating system

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Microsoft’s Surface Book 3 is powered by Intel’s 10th-Gen Ice Lake Core i5 and Core i7 processors. Whereas, the new MacBook Pro is powered by the company’s own custom silicon, called M1. The M1 chip includes the CPU, GPU, RAM, memory and more on a single chip. This means that the RAM and memory are not user-replaceable.

The MacBook Pro runs the company’s own macOS Big Sur, whereas, the Surface Book 3 runs on Windows 10.

Surface Book 3 packs four cores and eight threads on the Ryzen CPU portion, and either a Vega 9 or Vega 11 integrated GPU. Both of these have an additional GPU core over the Vega that AMD would put in other Windows laptops, giving it a little added grunt.

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Besides this, the MacBook Pro has six-core processors from Intel right up to a Core i9, options for dedicated graphics that go up to AMD’s Radeon Pro graphics, up to 64GB of RAM, and up to 8TB of storage. In all cases, the AMD graphics options for the MacBook Pro are stronger than the Vega 9 or Vega 11 you’re able to get on the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3.

Apple’s 128GB SSD nailed a transfer rate of 1,220 megabytes per second on the Blackmagic test, whereas Microsoft’s 256GB M.2 PCIe SSD copied 4.97GB of multimedia files in 9.4 seconds, for a rate of 541.4 megabytes per second.

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On a real-world graphics benchmark, we put both laptops’ Intel Iris Plus GPUs to the test. On the Dirt 3 benchmark, the Surface Laptop 3 nailed 47 frames per second, surpassing the MacBook Pro’s 31 fps.

Winner: Apple MacBook Pro.

Battery Life

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 and Apple MacBook Pro both have good battery life, but only one can be the victor here. When the laptops continuously surfed the web over Wi-Fi at 150 nits, the MacBook Pro lasted 10 hours and 48 minutes, while the Surface Laptop 3 died at 9 hours and 17 minutes. Both laptops will easily last you a full workday, but the MacBook Pro will get you there and then some.

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Winner: Apple MacBook Pro.

Price and configurations

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 and Apple MacBook Pro are offensively overpriced for what you get, but the Microsoft device is still the better deal.

You can get the base Surface Laptop 3 (Platinum) for $799, and it’ll come with a Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. For $999, you can get a 256GB SSD and expand your color options to include Sandstone, Cobalt Blue and Black. We reviewed the $1,299 model with a Core i7-1065G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. Doubling storage to 512GB raises the price to $1,699. If you want a 1TB SSD, it’ll cost you $2,099.

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The 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,299 and is outfitted with a 1.4-GHz 8th-Gen Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. The $1,499 model we tested bumps you up to a 256GB SSD. For $1,799, you can expand the ports from two to four Thunderbolt 3 ports and get a faster, 2.4-GHz 8th-Gen Core i5 CPU. For $1,999, you get a 512GB SSD, and if you want to bump up to a Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD, it’ll cost you a hefty $3,099.

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Paying for additional storage in a laptop should not cost an arm and a leg, but both companies seem to believe so. Ultimately, the Surface Laptop 3 gets you a better price for the components.

Winner: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3.

The Bottom line

Different laptops for different people

The Surface Laptop 3 is generally a closer match to Apple’s MacBook Air in the sense that they’re both highly portable yet capable Ultrabooks and they appeal to the same type of laptop buyers.

The MacBook Pro targets a different class of buyer. It’s a pro-grade laptop with many powerful options, much better graphics capabilities, and if your wallet will go far enough, a ridiculous Core i9 processor. There’s also the little matter of Apple’s software and services. If you’re already using or want to start using apps like Final Cut and Logic Pro, there’s no fully like-for-like substitute experience on Windows.

The Surface Laptop 3 does come in two sizes for the first time, though, and they’re both touch-enabled, something you don’t get on any MacBook, with pen support for digital inking. The 15-inch model with AMD Ryzen and Vega inside is the better choice there, but the MacBook Pro can still offer more outright power.

If you’re already looking at the Surface Laptop 3 as something you think you’d like to buy, get it. The MacBook Pro isn’t a direct competitor, and you’re going to end up spending a lot of money on the Mac to get anything significantly better than the Surface Laptop.

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Devhttps://devjha.medium.com/
I am an undergraduate computer science student, a content writer, full-stack web developer, SEO writer, Digital market influencer. Yet, despite these hyperbolic statements, I am a seeker who is always ready to learn different aspects of all the possible dimensions.

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