My MacBook Pro vs Surface Book Comparrison

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by dannys1, Oct 29, 2016.

  1. dannys1 macrumors 68020


    Sep 19, 2007
    I thought i'd do a little comparison of the two without the mainstream media lack of understanding or comparison and post it on the worlds most depressing and miserable forum right here haha. Seriously though we've reached peak moaning and negativity reading moan after moan actually started to make me feel depressed last night and I watched Black Mirror to cheer me up - yes Black Mirror is happier than MacRumors forum.

    Anyway I had a look at the Surface Book and it's UK pricing - what I find odd is there no mention of clock speed for the Intel chip anywhere on their sales page. I selected the top model which just says "i7, dGPU, 16gb 1TB" - thats it?! What clock speed, what read and write does the SSD have? What dGPU?

    Further down the page it mentions it's an Nvidea dGPU but that's it just "Nvidea Geforce" is this taking Apples old stance of "specs don't matter" because it comes out at £2400 and I don't even really know what i'm buying.

    I've had to resort to Wikipedia to note its the 2.6ghz Skylake chip, so lets compare that to the Apple varient.

    It's only dual core and as this is only a 13" machine it seems unfair to compare it to the 15" rMBP so i'll go with the 13" - there is no 2.6ghz i7 for the 13" its 3.3ghz, so the MacBook Pro already has a more powerful chip.

    So the closest I can get is the 13" rMBP with Touch Bar, 3.3ghz i7, 16gb Ram and 1TB PCI-E SSD at £2759 - So the MacBook Pro is £359 more expensive - comparing the two, what do we have?

    Lets remove the touch screen vs Touch Bar argument. I personally vastly prefer the Touch Bar interaction idea and will die inside the day (if ever) Apple launches a touch screen laptop. But lets just say, like Windows vs macOS you chose the one you prefer and that works best for you day to day and as this it the unique point of each, we'll put them to one side as a draw in "touch input" methods. - draw.

    So the screen - both 13", both HIDPI/Retina, the Surface book has 30 more PPI but no one's eyes are going to notice that. Its a 3:2 layout vs 16:10 - so thats a factor for some. The Surface Book screen isn't as bright and doesn't' feature a wide colour gamut. In real world use the MacBook Pro's screen should look better and is definitely a more expensive display technology.

    Last years Surface book had horrible diabolical SSD's that were slower than the 2012 MacBook Pro ones!

    I can't find anything about what the newer Surface Book uses, they're definitely not boasting the insane 3000MB/s read and write the new MacBook Pro is - and bizarrely this is an often overlooked spec by many - they're obsessed with what generation Intel chip it has (we've got entire threads about it) but "any SSD will do" the 2015 rMBP has a market leading SSD speed for 1400MB/s I can't even see anything that suggests the Surface Book uses this - if you're going to compare value for money and specs, surely you have to compare a 3000MB/s PCI-E SSD to one that was only doing 250MB/s last year - the price difference of the component on the open market is huge and we're talking about current specs here aren't we? Apple is constantly leading in the drive speed section.

    Connections - for all the moaning about USB-C ports, it is the right thing to do - its time to kill off the 15 year old hideous type-a USB connector. It's been superseded by a superior connector (as has HDMI) and USB-C is easily mature enough to do this, without bloody dongles - all the cables are out there to buy now - it's a minor transition not even a big one to bin your USB-A cables and swap to the smaller one you can insert either way. Whats more the Surface Book has none of these, it's still using legacy technology - even worse it doesn't even have USB 3.1, it's stuck with technology from 2012, nevermind Thunderbolt 1, 2 or 3. And its only got two of them - this is a massive fail for the Surface Book. No HDMI, you'd have to use minidisplay port to HDMI adapter...a USB-C to HDMI cable is far better and you can plug it into any port. The only advantage it has here (for some) is the SD card reader - I admit having that hanging out as a dongle if you use one is not great - but I'd sort of expect SLR cameras to be coming with USB-C too at some point or at least support USB 3.1 for data transfer faster than the SD card reader would do.

    Design wise I don't think there's any comparison here - the Surface Book with that hinge is ugly. The new MacBook Pro is beautiful. I'm sure people will disagree but whilst Microsoft have really stepped things up for the PC world (finally right? What took you so long) it's still not on Jony Ive's attention to detail.

    So for £360 more you're getting a faster I7 processor, much faster SSD, Bluetooth 4.2, better speakers, a better design, faster RAM, a better screen.

    You'd chose the Surface Book if you really really want a touch screen, a detachable all in one tablet and a pen, plus you prefer Windows 10.

    But in terms of cost, once you compare the cold hard specs of the two and remove preferences, the MacBook Pro doesn't really look all that different in price.
  2. mikeo007, Oct 29, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2016

    mikeo007 macrumors 65816

    Mar 18, 2010
    I've put together a little (incomplete) comparison that includes the Surface Book and 2016 MBP.
    I've dug up some benchmarks that should clear things up for people.
    Keep in mind both devices offer different advantages, like if you want a tablet with 3 hr battery life, the Surface Book offers that.

    2016 MBP by comparison offers the touch-bar, and future-proof I/O.

  3. Silvestru Hosszu macrumors regular

    Oct 2, 2016
  4. David58117 macrumors 65816

    Jan 24, 2013
    Really, I don't think you can compare the surface book like this...

    I have a 15" rMBP and a SB - it's entirely missing the point of the SB to break it down and treat is as simply a laptop.

    The SB is one of those devices where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

    With the SB, I can:

    Download sheet music, detach the clipboard and place it on the piano stand, make edits to the sheet music with the pen, attach it to an external display and run VMs, use split screen to take handwritten notes from a PDF/video, turn the clipboard around and use a bluetooth mouse/keyboard/usb midi controller for recording, or just take it somewhere and use it as just a laptop..or a tablet, or a notebook.

    Hell, even just taking photos of stuff to sell: in the past I had to use my iPhone to take pictures, add them to dropbox, download them on my macbook to organize them/make edits/upload them.

    Now, I just use the camera on the SB, edit them with the pen, and upload them. It's so much easier than trying to do everything through the phone or computer/phone.

    There are so many minor uses like that you'll really is more than just the sum of its parts.
  5. dannys1 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 19, 2007
    I suppose yeah, but none of those things really appeal to me - and I just airdrop from my phone to my Macbook in seconds (why fiddle around with Dropbox sync?)

    As I said, it's horses for courses, and someone will love one device and hate the other. But the Touch Bar is something new - HP have been making detachable tablet screens that fold back since 2015 now. It's taken 2 baulked versions of Windows to create a touch screen version that people accept (8 and 8.1) I'd hate to see macOS go through that process.

    But really i just wanted to look at what you get in terms of technology cost and specs as everyone is going crazy about how much the MacBook Pro costs - and its either in line with everything else or both devices cost too much - maybe this is just the cost of engineered products these days with lots of R&D in them - people I think seem to expect to pay the component cost for these things when they've got no idea how much design went into making it all fit together.
  6. maflynn, Oct 30, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2016

    maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I own a Surface Book, I paid only about 1200 (or there abouts thanks to some promotions), is plenty fast, the keyboard is great, the trackpad is awesome. The screen is downright gorgeous. I've had no issues with the SSD and performance.I love that compared to spending nearly 2k for a 13" laptop and well over 2k for the 15" MBP

    I know the SB is not for everyone, especially on a Mac Forum, but I found the SB to be an excellent computer, and it has what I think for the most part the MBP doesn't have - innovation. I love the fact that I can easily detach the base and use the display as a tablet. The use the pen and having a touchscreen has bene a huge benefit as well.

    One size doesn't fit everyone but I love my SB, its a great laptop, especially as I'm away on a trip right now and I can easily get my camera's photos into my laptop via a SD card, something that can not happen with a MBP unless I buy an adapter. So the SB allows me to carry less :)
  7. cyb3rdud3 macrumors 65816

    Jun 22, 2014
    You CAN do all those things, but you know what in the 1.5 years I've owned my Surface Pro 3 I've never really used the touch screen much at all. I don't find it as easy to use as say an iPad. I find it cumbersome. The pen is neatly attached to my docking station and hasn't really left that place.

    In reality I never found a good use for the touch screen features, mainly because it wasn't easy to use like an iPad, and secondsly as the software just doesn't seem integrated, popups from tiny windows 10 file dialogs, it is just not a great experience.

    In my opinion ofcourse.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 30, 2016 ---
    @OP if you compared it with the same 512SSD then there wouldn't be much price difference at all ;)
  8. PhoneI macrumors 68000

    Mar 7, 2008

    Agreed. I quickly gave up trying to use my Surface Book and Surface Pros as a tablet (because they make for terrible tablets). I rarely ever touch the screens anymore.
  9. andreyush macrumors 6502


    Oct 24, 2015
    I went on Microsoft's site ( rare thing for me to do) and I noticed that section Compare to Mac.... Oh my sweet holy Noodle....That section is pure cancer. The comparison is sooo dumb :/.

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8 October 29, 2016