Surface pro 2 VS MacBook Air 11?

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by gdourado, Oct 26, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502

    gdourado

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    #1
    Hello,
    How are you?
    I am not wanting to start a flame war here, but this is an honest question for a debate.
    A lot of people online are comparing the iPad air with the surface Pro 2.
    But since the surface runs a full os, I think it is closer in specs, price and function to the MacBook Air 11.
    So this is my question. Do the features of touch and hybrid make the surface pro 2 a better device and a better purchase against the air 11?

    Cheers!
     
  2. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2009
    #2
    Personally, I would go with Surface Pro 2 since it can be used as both a tablet and laptop while offering MUCH better screen than MBA at a lower price.
     
  3. macrumors 6502

    verpeiler

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    Munich, Germany
    #3
    Tough choice, but it really comes down to preferences. I'd rather go with the Air just for OSX since I don't like Win8 that much. And a "real" keyboard with the nice glass touchpad is a lot more comfortable than that rubber thing.
     
  4. macrumors 601

    Vegastouch

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    Location:
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    #4
    Um, you can get the other keyboard that isnt rubber. The only reason why i didnt get a Suface Pro over the Yoga 11s that i got is because of the battery life. Though my Yoga's battery life isnt a lot better. It goes 5 hours compared to 4....and it was $100 cheaper. $200 cheaper counting having to buy a keyboard for the Suface but i really initually wanted a Surface Pro.
     
  5. macrumors member

    KarmaRocket

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #5
    If you're willing to deal with Windows 8.1 (which in my opinion really isn't that bad) check out the Thinkpad Helix from Lenovo. It can be detached from the keyboard dock and be used as a standalone tablet, but has a fabulous keyboard and trackpad. It has some design issues that I think can be overlooked but offers a fast i5 or i7 processor and 4 GB or 8GB RAM options. It is pricier than the surface pro 2 or Macbook Air but gives you a tablet and ultrabook experience in one. Plus it also includes a stylus.

    I'm seriously considering purchasing one, since I need something light and powerful for traveling. I also do a lot of writing and need something with a good keyboard and battery life, which the Helix offers. It would be cheaper for me to get this than get a Retina iPad mini and macbook air/pro
     
  6. macrumors 6502

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  7. apolloa, Oct 27, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013

    macrumors 603

    apolloa

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    #7
    I think the Surface Pro 2 is better. It's more powerful, faster, has a better screen and more compact and convenient, plus dare I say more compatible as everything works with Windows. IMO Apple have screwed themselves a bit. I have always proclaimed that the full size iPad is one of the best things Apple has ever made, period. I've never had one but I got my mum one and she can use it great and it does everything she wants.
    But that also highlights Apples problem, my mum finds the touch interface so much easier to use, I got her a plastic MacBook years ago and it hardly gets touched. Now if Apple produced a full blown tablet MacBook it could get the same response from people but with the power. But it can't really do that as it'll jeapordise iPad sales, plus it'll end up pricing itself way out of the market, I can see any touch screen tablet Apple computer being $1500 to $2000 starting price easy, way more than any equivalent Windows device.

    But for a comparison between the 11" Air and the Surface Pro 2, I would say the Surface Pro is the better computer.
    Another huge plus point for the Surface Pro 2 is next year Microsoft will introduce a Type 2 keyboard with built in battery that will keep the computer going for over 10 hours! More then enough for a full day and 1 hour extra over Apples claimed 9 hours of the 11" Air.
     
  8. MRU
    macrumors demi-god

    MRU

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Location:
    Ireland
    #8
    If i was spending €1299 on a computer at the moment the Surface Pro 2 would edge out the Mac Book Air current for me, but edging both of them is the newly released Mac book Retina 13".

    When Mac Book Air gets refreshed with hopefully a retina display that would be my first choice of laptop.
     
  9. macrumors 601

    tbayrgs

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2009
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #9
    The problem with the Surface Pro 2 is that it's a jack of all trades yet master of none. It's too thick and heavy as a tablet and Metro is nice but there are far too few useful tablet apps. The touch experience really offers very little benefit when the available content is limited. One example--I wanted to sync my Google calendars--sorry, can't do that. The most widely used services and can't sync most with the device. Even Apple, the master of the closed system, allows that. And if you'd like to use something other than IE for web browsing as a tablet? No Chrome, No Firefox, nothing else. :( So this is Windows working with everything?

    And using is as a laptop is inferior to, well, a laptop. Yes, it has a high resolution display, but in Desktop mode, text is far too small and using the touch interface is terrible. The typepad keyboard is fine, but the touchpad is tiny and nearly nearly as useful--overall not anywhere near as good as as a laptop's and far worse than the MBA's. And frankly, Windows is still Windows. But if you must absolutely use it, you can still do that on a Mac. So you get OS X and Windows, if you need it.

    Don't even try to compare battery life. The 11" MBA is quoted as having 9 hours of battery life yet early tests of Macbooks using Mavericks are getting up to 30% more (13" MBA getting 15 hours of battery life vs. expected 12 :eek:). The Surface Pro 2 did see approximately a 40% increase in expected battery life...up to 6 hours. :rolleyes:

    And then there's price. Configure both with 4GB RAM and 128GB and the MBA costs $999 and so does the Surface Pro 2...but you still have to spend another $129 if you want the typecover. And the price difference gets worse if you bump the storage up to 256GB.

    The only true advantage I see the Surface Pro 2 having is the Wacom based stylus functionality--no argument here if you need that functionality.

    Otherwise, I don't think this is even a contest.
     
  10. macrumors 603

    jamezr

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2011
    Location:
    US
    #10
    I agree with most of your great points......
    But also throw in the touch screen.....ability to have a keyboard or a tablet mode. The Surface Pro 2 also has 2 cameras. You can take pictures and full motion video.
    Plus the Surface Pro 2 has an micro SD card slot....so you can upgrade the storage easily and very affordably. As you mentioned throw in the Wacom stylus and editing functions for added functionality. But it really comes to to OS preference. It really comes down to need and preference. I think the Surface 2 is great but.......just not quite there yet. But it could evolve into something great.
    Edit:
    I played around with one at BestBuy and that thing is very fast and responsive........
    If it had the added cellular functionality with 4G....i would get one......
     
  11. macrumors 601

    tbayrgs

    Joined:
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    Florida, USA
    #11
    Agreed that the potential is there, but as is right now, it's not worth it. Yes, it has a touch screen but what's the benefit? Apps selection is terrible, touch functionality in desktop mode is terrible and holding the tablet is like holding a brick. The benefit of a rear facing camera? Except for very specialized circumstances, why on Earth would you use the Surface Pro 2 to take a video? Have fun holding it up for any prolonged period of time. Adding features just to say you have them is pointless. Add usable functionality.

    Yes, the microSD slot is a benefit (though it's not hard to quickly plug in a USB card reader if you're transferring data) and I agree the Wacom stylus is clearly an advantage--but only if you need that specific functionality.

    Right now it's a subpar tablet and a subpar laptop. My needs certainly aren't applicable to everyone but in this comparison, I think the MBA is a better choice by a long shot. And if one really needs the hybrid device in the Windows world, there are better alternatives from other manufactures (Dell, Lenovo, Asus, Sony).
     
  12. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2013
    #12
    Seriously? No wonder these things aren't selling. Anyone spending $1200 on a Surface when you can get a much better built laptop with better specs for half the price is seriously on drugs.
     
  13. Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #13
    I keep looking and I keep not finding a good balance for me.

    My work laptop is a Lenovo T413s which is about as close to a 13" MBA that I've found on the Windows side of life. And, I have a desktop running Windows 8.1. So I've been looking at some of the other alternatives you mention and not finding anything compelling.

    I want some device that has decent battery life, is relatively lightweight and has a Wacom digitizer that can beat my MBA (or the Lenovo) + an external drawing tablet.

    The Surface Pro 2 seems to provide the closest thing that I am looking for of the devices I've looked at, but I still can't bring myself to buy one. The 64 GB model seems overpriced and the 128 GB model is fairly equivalent to a 2013 11" MBA. The 256 GB model is priced equivalently to a base model 13" rMBP. The trade there is if the small screen and tablet mode outweigh the retina screen and PCIe storage.

    Meh.

    B
     
  14. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #14
    You're right, but personally what holds me back from getting a Macbook air is the horrible screen res.. I couldn't read on such a display for a long time, especially after being used to the retina display.

    Wouldn't get a Surface Pro 2 though; tries to be both, and fails to be anything in my opinion.
     
  15. macrumors 601

    tbayrgs

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    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #15
    I haven't done a ton of research but the upcoming Dell Venue Pro 11 looks very promising, as does the Asus Transformer Book Trio (being able to dual boot Android makes the tablet infinitely more usable). The Asus in particulare will offer oustanding battery life, especiallyl with the dockable keyboard. I've also seen lots of praise for the Lenovo Yoga line (though these are convertibles rather than hybrids) and the Sony Tab 11 is a better version of the Surface Pro 2 (thinner, lighter, slightly larger display). I also don't know if any of these have stylus support--believe the Dell and Sony do, not sure about the Lenovos.

    Again, I don't have any particular need for either Windows are stylus support in my computer (though I have to admit I'm starting to put it to good use on my Note 10.1 (2014) tablet) so that probably has much to do with why I didnt' like my brief time with the Surface Pro 2.
     
  16. macrumors 603

    apolloa

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
    #16
    Well, Windows and Mac OSX is personal preference plus it is a fact a lot more works with Windows then OSX. The Surface is a tablet, not a laptop, would you call the Asus Transformer a laptop? An iPad with a Keyboard a laptop?
    And I can compare battery life because again the quoted times are as I said, the Surface has an hour extra then the Air with it's Power Keyboard attachment.
    And as for price, well, in the UK a 4GB 128SSD Surface Pro 2 with type 2 cover costs £908.99, a MacBook Air with a slower and less powerful Core i3 CPU, 4GB ram and 128GB SSD costs £929, so you pay pretty much the same for a less powerful Mac.
    Maybe in the US your pricing is different? But I compare prices in my own country. And the 256GB Air with 8GB ram is £1109 with the core i3, the Surface with 256GB SSD and 8GB Ram and type cover is £1148.99, so again not much difference but you also get a Core i5 in all Surface Pro 2 computers with a higher clock speed.

    And I haven't mentioned the SD card slot or Wacom Digitizer.
     
  17. macrumors 603

    jamezr

    Joined:
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    Location:
    US
    #17
    Micro Sd cards come with adapters to share the content of the card to any Mac/PC that has a card reader slot. Why not record video? It is a tablet. Why not have a front facing and rear facing camera? You can do video and take pictures. Why not? Same as you mobile phone or iPad. These features might seem pointless to you.......but these are the same selling points that all tablets have going for them. Don't forget the Surface Pro 2 is a tablet with a full OS on it........ I will wait for it to evolve a little more and improve the battery life and weight and thickness of the tablet. You missed my point.....yhe Surface Pro is nit ready yet but it is headed in the right direction. But how will the 11 inch MBA evolve?
     
  18. MRU
    macrumors demi-god

    MRU

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Location:
    Ireland
    #18
    For me I did consider getting a surface (original model) but ended up buying a cintiq 13 because the wacom support on the surface is not perfect by any means lacking tilt and there was noticeable lag when I used it in photo shop for painting.

    Sadly it seems they haven't improved this with the surface 2. If I was now looking for a dedicated drawing tablet with windows 8 I'd probably buy the cintiq 13 companion.
    http://cintiqcompanion.wacom.com/CintiqCompanion/en/
     
  19. macrumors 601

    Vegastouch

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    #19
    Your saying you cant install Firefox on the Surface Pro 2? I think you are wrong about that. You can install programs and such on the SP.... but not on the RT.
     
  20. Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    #20
    He's saying that only IE has a modern (Metro) touch UI.

    Iirc Chrome has a metro interface.

    B
     
  21. macrumors 601

    tbayrgs

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    #21
    Sadly, no, Chrome doesn't have a Metro equivalent. At least I couldn't find one.
     
  22. tbayrgs, Oct 27, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013

    macrumors 601

    tbayrgs

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    #22
    And as I mentioned, a MBA can run both OS X and Windows. Can the Surface Pro do that?

    Yes it is, and in my opinion, not a very good one. The best functionality offered by the SP2 is in the Desktop mode and to use it as a tablet in Desktop mode is awful. It's better when mimicking a laptop propped up using the stand and a keyboard cover, but not as good as a laptop itself would be. Either use, tablet or laptop, is subpar. Shuri said it best in his post:

    Fine, where can I buy the Power Cover right now? ;)

    Well first you should double check the specs of the MBA as it comes with an i5, upgradable to an i7 CPU. And according to the Apple Store UK site, the base configuration costs £849 (i5 CPU, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD). And if you insist the battery life is comparable with the Power Cover, you better include the price of that instead of the Type 2--likely at least £199. That makes the difference nearly £150, not insignificant.

    I've acknowledged that's a check in the SP2's favor, but only if you need the stylus functionality--most don't.

    I understand much of this is about preference and that certainly should take precedence for each individual buyer. The OP asked our opinion about these 2 devices right now (not in the future when they may/may not improve) and I offered mine. That all. You find more value in the Surface Pro 2, that's great, hope you're able to get one at a good price.

    ----------

    Yes, you can install the desktop versions--absolutely horrid to use when using the SP2 as a tablet.
     
  23. tbayrgs, Oct 27, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013

    macrumors 601

    tbayrgs

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    #23
    You misunderstood my SD card statement. Yes it's nice to have an integrated card reader in your device. My point was it's also fairly easy to use the USB versions (such as the one in the attached image) if your intention is to just transfer data from a card to your computer (or vice versa). If you intend to use the SD as an external storage device to supplement the onboard storage, similar to how one would use it on their Galaxy S4, then yes, it would be much more convenient on the SP2 vs. the MBA.

    Yup, you're right. I need a device to take photo's with or shoot some video so I'm not using my camera or even my smartphone, I'm going to look for a nice heavy tablet with a subpar camera to take those shots. :rolleyes:
     

    Attached Files:

  24. macrumors 603

    jamezr

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    US
    #24
    Dude...why do you get this way? Anyone that disagrees with your POV and you drone on endlessly...... So you can take pictures and video with your 11 inch MBA? C'mon stay on topic and at least admit when your wrong. The SP2 offers much more options and versatility than the MBA11. Just because you don't use them doesn't mean others won't. Just because you might not like something doesn't mean other share that like or dislike. :rolleyes:
     
  25. macrumors 601

    Vegastouch

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    #25
    Works fine on my Yoga. In fact that's all I use in desktop or tablet mode.
     

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