Macbook Air or Surface Pro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by blanka, Sep 6, 2014.

  1. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #1
    What should I get? MBA 11 inch or Surface Pro (1)
    Use:
    Mainly in the classroom, showing youtubes, writing classes on the smartboard, managing classes (webbased with silverlight), taking notes in my own classes (teacher training). School runs fully on Windows network.
    I'm very used to OSX (since 1987), but Windows 8.1 looks great.
    Price is 929€ vs 499€ (128GB), so the SFP is also a steal compared to the MBA.
    SFP needs a BT keyboard (won't type much since it also has pen writing input), that is another 30€
    MBA 1366x768 TN display vs 1920x1080 IPS
    Speed the same: 1.4Ghz i5 with turbo to 2.7
    HD5000 in MBA much better than low speed HD4000 in SFP.
    Battery life of SFP is way worse than MBA, but I don't use it on commutes or anything
    MS OneNote and Fresh Paint with Wacom pen seem very promising too
    Anybody experience with both, and maybe even in the classroom?
     
  2. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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  3. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

    556fmjoe

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    Apr 19, 2014
    #3
    I would get the Air. It's much more versatile. You can dual boot OS X and Windows if you need to, whereas you'll only have Windows on the SP. Keyboards are always better for real typing on a laptop than on a tablet trying to be a laptop.

    If you don't need or want OS X and won't be doing much typing on it, then the SP is a much better buy at those prices.
     
  4. s15119 macrumors 65816

    s15119

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    Nov 20, 2010
    #4
    The Air is such a sweet machine. You won't be disappointed.
     
  5. tdale macrumors 65816

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    Christchurch, N.Z.
    #5
    Weird post.

    So, its only about the price? To me the OS is paramount. For you get the SFP as its only about price :confused:
     
  6. blanka, Sep 7, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2014

    blanka thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Jul 30, 2012
    #6
    I will make both machines dual boot, so the OS is no difference. But the integrated stylus seems a big benefit, together with the much better screen. I came across OneNote demo's on Youtube, and it is the killer feature. I'll get the SFP.
    I don't mind the integrated Air keyboard. It just sucks a bit less than the horrible clicket option for the SFP. I'll hook up a full size Microsoft Keyboard anyway (I have it on all my desktop macs too).

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    Netherlands.

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    Please clarify...
    I have the idea that it is slightly better built and it has great resell value, and that it allows typing on the lap on the couch, the latter not in my plans.
     
  7. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #7
  8. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    Boston
    #8
    I'd say the MBA is a better product, just from the fact that its far easier to type and input data then the SP3. I obsessed over getting a SP3 earlier this year, but opted not too after a lot of analysis. One major reason for me to keep my laptop over the SP3 is the keyboard and trackpad.

    The MBA/MBP's keyboard is far superior then the SP3's type cover. Sure the type cover is a great product, but for actual typing over the course of hours, the MBA/MBP has it beat. The track pad while improved on the type cover 3, is still quite inferior to the MBA/MBP as well. People continue to complain about that aspect of the SP3.

    Also, consider how it will be used. The MBA sits nicely on your lap with the weight distribution being on under the keyboard. With the SP3, most of the weight is on the display, making for typing to less then enjoyable.

    The SP3 doubles as a tablet, but its so big and heavy, many people complain about it wrist fatigue with extended use. There's a reason why Apple continues to make iPads lighter and lighter. You want it avoid your hands/wrists from getting tired.

    I'm not down on the SP3, I think its a great product but I don't think its a good product to replace a laptop.
     
  9. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #9
    Listen to maflynn! Try to get the 11" mba on a discount.
    I think you will be much, much happier with it.
     
  10. blanka, Sep 7, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2014

    blanka thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Jul 30, 2012
    #10
    Does Mediamarkt offer VAT-free buying for businesses? Effective price of MBA here is 720€, 410€ for the SFP. Benefit of 410€, you can deduct full costs in one year, no amortisation over 5 years.

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    Dunno... I'm in a hip area of my city, with a friggin lot of tattooed MBA hipsters. Don't want to identify with them. And again: lap use is not relevant.
     
  11. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #11
    I don't know. Just give'em a call ;)

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    ... ???

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    You will notice a big difference typing on a desk, too.
     
  12. blanka thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Jul 30, 2012
    #12
    On the desk the MBA is further away since there is a keyboard in the way. The one I type on will be in front of it.
     
  13. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #13
    in that case, try out both inside a store and see what suits you best.
    Since you seem to want to run windows, a surface pro might not be such a bad idea after all.

    I just can't justify recommending win to anyone.
     
  14. phositadc macrumors 6502

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    Dec 9, 2012
    #14
    You are posting in a Mac forum so expect most people to say Air. My wife has an 11" Air and I recently bought a surface pro 3, and I prefer the SP3 for its versatility. Being able to take handwritten notes, highlight and annotate PDFs, etc., is amazingly useful, especially for a student. And the Air can't do that.
     
  15. Ainippe macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2014
    #15
    What is the reasoning behind this

    I repeatably see this phrase "If you don't need or want OS X" when people want to compare with a Windows based machine.

    What does this mean "If you don't need or want OS X??
     
  16. tdale macrumors 65816

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    Christchurch, N.Z.
    #16
    Quite obvious I thought. You cannot beat Mac hardware, although there is more choice in Windows. If you use OSX and see its superior then you wont be having the conversation "Mac or Windows" or MBA vs Surface" as your bound to the hardware that runs OSX. It will be "As OSX is the best OS, which device do I get, it wont be Windows as a Windows machine cannot run OSX"

    And for the geeks, no, a Hackintosh is too much hassle, its a geek tech interest.
     
  17. imaccooper macrumors regular

    imaccooper

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    May 29, 2014
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #17
    Air

    I have experience with both. I have an air and one of my friend whom i teach with uses the surface pro 3. They are very comparable machines in most ways. Prices are much different here in the US so i wont comment on that aspect but as far as in the classroom performance, my air is significantly better at getting wifi signal. The battery is much better on the air than the surface (although there are typically outlets around). You want to consider the USB ports especially in classroom usage because I use a presenter which requires 1 usb port but the air gives me an additional port for CD/DVD player (that neither have internally obviously) or flash drive whereas the surface will require you to remove the presenter or whatever other device you have. I believe you mentioned that you will have both OS systems on either device but i will say that i prefer OSX for several performance reasons in the classroom.
    Away from the facts and more to objective things. I find the air to be more durable, more attractive and more practical. I find that the detachable keyboard is not as good as the clam shell design of the air (again this is personal preference) and from what i have seen and used of both trackpad is SIGNIFICANTLY easy to use than any solution on the surface (i mention this because i often find myself needing to pull up something quickly in the classroom and if the smartboard you mentioned is anything similar to the ones i have used then they are great but you will want a easy to use mouse).
    I am not saying the surface is a bad machine or that it would not work (it is a good machine and it is good for many things), but if you want the best solution, my experience with both products would say that the air is the better product.

    P.S. I like the 13 in better because of better battery life and better screen size, but the 11 is super small and portable so thats your call.
     
  18. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

    556fmjoe

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    Apr 19, 2014
    #18
    Not everyone likes it, wants it, or needs it. The price difference is much more meaningful when one of the biggest selling points of the Air doesn't give it an advantage.
     
  19. blanka thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Jul 30, 2012
    #19
    I just got the Surface Pro and so far I really like the machine. As designer I even like the style better. The anodised black edgy tablet is a nice design take, and Win 8 looks awesome, very refined, no crap, and works great. Only horrible thing so far is installing the updates, 91 of them... Combo update anyone?

    Very nice to see how Microsoft copies Apple (well, both copy Japanese tradition). Very nice minimalist package, great unpacking experience.

    Booting and shutting down is magnificent: under 5 seconds. You almost have the instant-on feeling of an iPad, yet you boot a full featured OS.

    Most reviews bitch around about the flaky Surface keyboards. I don't use them. They are irrelevant most of the time: the onscreen one is very accurate, and I can blind-type on it. It types better than the iPad one. And the Pen is genius too, even for type-input (handwriting recognition). The OneNote sketchbook is very responsive, with nice presure sensitive lines. I can sketch better with the SFP than with my Wacom A4 tablet. I did some great classroom sketched on it and shared it right away with the students.

    Battery-life is not too great. I can get through 6 classes in a row, but then it is exhausted. I feel there is some room for improvement software-wise. Haswell is the same 22nm process chip as Ivy, so it is a matter of fine tuning mostly. I heard Win 8.1 is improving battery life a lot.

    Last hour I had to type a big story, and I hooked up an Apple BT keyboard. Works flawlessly.
     
  20. PapaC macrumors newbie

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    Apr 16, 2014
    #20
    The Surface works well as a full time tablet and a part time laptop. The MBA is only a flu time laptop. Based on the uses you identified, i would get the Surface. Handwriting and school use along with One Note native is great. And if you really need to get down to typing then you use a regular computer.
    I myself will get a Surface Pro 3 for university, for note taking and classwork. t's 100% better than typing away in a class.
     
  21. 1000 macrumors member

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    Mar 20, 2010
    #21
    I bought a Surface Pro 3 a couple of weeks ago. I love it so much I'm in the process of ebaying my desktop PC, iPad and MacBook Air. The surface is a perfect convergent device, and even though I have, and continue to be vocally critical of Windows 8 (or 8.1) if you use a touchscreen it's actually quite an awesome touch OS, I find gesturing and navigation far superior to any other tablet I've ever used.

    All that said, there are TWO instances where I'd recommend a MacBook Air over a SP3:

    A. If you are completely married to OSX
    B. If you use the machine on your lap for extended periods. Even through type cover is AWESOME for hours/days when using it on a table, or for quick periods of use on the lap, for extended periods on the lap it's a bit of a strain due to the distribution of weight. All the SP3 weight in "laptop" mode is at the rear of the device (i.e. the screen) whereas with the traditional laptop all the weight is on your lap.

    1000
     
  22. Precision Gem macrumors 6502

    Precision Gem

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    #22
    You mention that on each machine you will run both Windows and OSX. Is it possible to run OSX on a surface pro? I didn't think so.
     
  23. bt22 macrumors 6502

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    Feb 15, 2009
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    Alabama
    #23
    I see that you say you like 8.1, but if you decided to upgrade to Windows 10 I would think twice based on the amount of privacy you give up. I wanted to like Windows again due to Apple's inability to upgrade their computers and their unwillingness to offer a consumer brand of desktop tower. After watching this youtube video I will keep using OS-X...

     
  24. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #24

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