Surface Pro 4 or MacBook Pro?

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by saintforlife, Apr 19, 2015.

  1. saintforlife macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    I have a 2010 MacBook Air that I am thinking of upgrading later this year. I mostly use it for web browsing, Netflix streaming, MS Word and Excel and light photo editing. I have narrowed my search down to the Surface Pro 4 or a MacBook Pro. I don't really care about the OS. I am completely at ease using both OSX and Windows (have to use Windows at work anyway).

    Just wondering if the Surface Pro 4 might be a better option if it comes with Skylake processors and is possibly thinner and lighter than the Surface Pro 3? The only thing I don't like on Windows machines are the sub-par trackpads. The MacBook trackpads have really spoiled me. Can we expect some improvements on the trackpad on the Surface Pro 4's touch keyboard (larger and better multi-touch capabilities)?

    p.s. I do not want to consider the Surface 3 because 10.8" is too small for me for my primary personal computer at home.
     
  2. maflynn, Apr 20, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015

    maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #2
    You're asking purchase decisions on an unreleased product. We have no idea what MS will be doing, i.e., making thinner, making if larger, making it quad core, etc etc.

    As it stands the SP3 fits that bill very well
     
  3. AustinIllini macrumors demi-god

    AustinIllini

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    #3
    Basically, if you want ONLY a laptop or ONLY a tablet, the Surface Pro line isn't for you. SPs aren't better at anything except being good at both.
     
  4. Technarchy macrumors 603

    Technarchy

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    #4
    Revisting this thread after the Surface 4 drops.

    I'm hoping for thinner, lighter, fanless, and USB-C.
     
  5. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    #5
    I don't think this is universally true for everyone. The SP3 is easily the best tablet I've ever owned, and I've owned a lot of them. As a laptop I don't fully disagree with you, but that's mainly because of the keyboard, although the portability and the touchscreen make it a superior laptop in some aspects, it's inferior in others, close to a wash IMO. In the OPs case if the trackpad is important then yeah stay with the MacBook. Personally I hate trackpads and far prefer either a mouse, or to use my finger for navigation if I'm using the SP3 in laptop mode, much more efficient IMO.

    For the OP if you want a great tablet that can do double duty as a decent laptop get the SP3. If you want a very good laptop that has zero function as a tablet get the MacBook. Although it's all just rumors at this point, a 14" SP4 would be pretty awesome and blow away any laptop IMO.
     
  6. tbayrgs macrumors 603

    tbayrgs

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    #6
    Doc, understand your preference for mice but if you ever are near an Apple Store and have a few minutes to kill, you should try the new Force Touch track pad on either the new Macbook or 13" rMBP. Apple hasn't done much in the way true innovation recently...until this bit of voodoo magic. If you didn't know what it was ahead of time, you'd never guess it isn't a mechanical trackpad--it truly feels like your pressing through multiple levels when you access the multiple click options. The additional functionality offered now isn't extensive (yet) but the potential functionality that could be offered down the road is intriguing. If they add it to upcoming iPhone and iPad as expected, it could lead to some really cool new innovations there as well.
     
  7. Michael Goff macrumors G3

    Michael Goff

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    #7
    So you want a device that's less powerful than the current Surface Pro device?
     
  8. Technarchy macrumors 603

    Technarchy

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    #8
    In this instance, something like the Core-M makes perfect sense for the intent and form factor of the Surface.
     
  9. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    #9
    I've played around with one, I agree they are phenomenal. I just don't really like pinching my hand for long periods of time on any trackpad, it's very uncomfortable over long periods of time. Simply reaching out and touching the screen is just much more efficient. If I am forced to use a trackpad that's when I'll just connect a mouse. I can use a mouse for long periods such as when I need to hunker down and get work done or for delicate work such as constantly having to choose items from menus.

    But still, being able to use the touchscreen just feels so connected for things like web browsing, for example. Scrolling up and down, pinching to zoom, gestures, going forward/backwards, selecting web links, etc versus pinching my fingers open and shut constantly on a trackpad.
     
  10. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #10
    I hope they don't go with the core m, I want some more horsepower not less.
     
  11. Lukkee24 macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Couldn't agree more! I purchased a 13" MBP, but returned it yesterday. I felt really restricted having no touch screen, probably because my laptop beforehand was touch screen and 90% of the time I'd be using Windows. I also only got around 4 hours battery life when using Windows on it, but I did love the trackpad.

    I don't think we'll see a Surface have a touchpad as good, simply because it's on the type cover. It definitely won't be as big anyway. Can't wait to see what they do with SP4 though as I am considering getting a surface.
     
  12. p3ntyne macrumors 6502

    p3ntyne

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    #12
    It doesn't. Their non-pro lineup is perfect for a fanless setup but the pro version is not. Comparing it to the new Macbook, with a core M processor and similar use case, is really only powerful enough to do some web browsing and word processing. The Surface on the other hand can have an i7 proccessor and I find that I pretty much use mine as my only computer because of that.
     
  13. Abbara macrumors member

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    Feb 11, 2014
    #13
    MBA 2015 13' is completely fine for your use, it's lighter, cheaper and has more battery. Why go with the Pro?

    If you need retina, then I'd consider that perhaps we'll see an upgraded Macbook in the fall, or next year in Spring, probably not unlikely to coincide with a new MBP refresh.

    I mean I have a MBP and love it, but it's way overpowered for Netflix and Word, as well as light photo editing. I mean hell, a new MBA can output 4k video at 60h, it can handle some photos.

    On the Windows side... The Surfaces are quite nice, but they're nice because they're very small, have a touchscreen and can be used as a tablet. But if you don't want a small screen, and don't care about touch/tablet, I'd be more interested in say the Dell XPS or the new Asus Zenbooks.

    Both have terrific value that generally puts Apple to shame, if it weren't for the fact that a few million people can't stand Windows and are familiar with OS X. But if you don't care about that... man I'd go with any of those two devices, and for your use, probably the Asus Zenbook.

    e.g. for $780 you get: http://www.microsoftstore.com/store...-Signature-Edition-Laptop/productID.313303100

    8gb mem, 256gb drive, Full HD, specs that are fine for your use (Macbook 12" type specs) and less than half an inch thick.

    Bump that up to $1080 for a fast i5 (MBA/MBP range), at QHD+ resolution (higher pixel density than any Mac)

    Then there's the Dell XPS lineup that goes into higher price ranges and delivers even better value. I mean don't get me wrong I have a rMBP and I love it, but I need something beefy for work, and OS X is necessary for work (I run Windows in a VM). But if you don't need something beefy and don't need OS X, well... the trackpad is nice on the Mac.

    Anyway, it's a bit early. If you're buying later this year, I'd wait for post-summer rumours on what the new MB and MBP delivers, and if there'll be an update to the MBA lineup. But chances are, windows will be closing the gap in quality at lower prices, both with Windows 10, as well as on the hardware side, and if you're OS agnostic, I'd lean windows.

    As for the Surface 4, too early man. Nothing is really known afaik.
     
  14. burgman macrumors 65816

    burgman

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    #14
    ----------

    [/COLOR]
    Add slower performance with those design choices
     
  15. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    #15
    Not necessarily. I'd be curious to see benchmarks with the SP3 throttled down next to a core-m, as it does throttle down often. The SP2 was the best design for pure power as it didn't throttle down. Hopefully they resolve this issue.
     
  16. burgman macrumors 65816

    burgman

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    #16
    Can't change physics, fanless if used, means lower TDP which means slower performance. I bought a new Macbook 1.2GHz and I agree my SP2 512GB feels like a tank compared to the MB.
     
  17. Technarchy macrumors 603

    Technarchy

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    #17
    That's a problem for the any future Surface iterations, if they come in bigger and heavier than Macs, but are trying to also function as a tablet.

    A Core-M Surface makes more sense than Macbook.
     
  18. burgman macrumors 65816

    burgman

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    #18
    Owning a Macbook, SP2, and a company supplied I7 SP3 I disagree, the tablet functions of a SP* is not very good for me. Some hardware, some software created. I'm not a spec whore, I just use it and it works or not, right tool for job attitude.
     
  19. mi7chy macrumors 68040

    mi7chy

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    #19
    Core M option makes perfect sense since SP3 is nearly perfect minus Haswell. I replaced a Surface Pro 3 with a Thinkpad Helix2 for the Core M but prefer Surface Pro 4 quality in 13-14". Surface Type keyboard is much better than rMacbook and on par with Air and Pro but neither are as good as Thinkpad. Trackpad is also better than rMacbook but could benefit from being larger which is possible with a larger 13-14". Suggestion for OP is try the SP4 when it comes out. After using you'll find the MBP limiting without laptop/tablet convertibility and touch and pen inputs.
     
  20. rowspaxe macrumors 68000

    rowspaxe

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    #20
    If you dont need the pen functionality--i dont think its really a compelling buy. If you want the pen--its worth the compromise. I you type on your lap and are a heavy track pad user...a mac book will suit you better
     
  21. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #21
    I'm concerned about the performance, and I'd like to see MS go with a core i5/i7 and not the core m. Yes, MS throttles the SP3, but hopefully the SP4 won't have as much of a heat issue with the broadwell chipsets.

    Also a faster chip set may be needed if some of the rumors (based on nothing I assume) mention that a larger form factor may be in the works for the SP4, so if that's the case you'll want a better chipset pushing all those pixels.
     
  22. tbayrgs, Apr 22, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2015

    tbayrgs macrumors 603

    tbayrgs

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    #22
    Now you're showing your bias--trackpad and keyboard better on the Surface Pro's? Not in a million years--especially the trackpad. The keyboard on the new MacBook may feel peculiar at first but that's because it's an entirely new mechanics with less key travel than other laptops. Use it for more than a couple minutes and you adjust--it is rock solid. I can see someone not necessarily liking it if they prefer very clicky, mechanical keyboards but they definitely not what you get with the SP3's version. I found typing on the MacBook to be near effortless--my rMBP felt comparatively unstable afterwards, and I think it has a terrific keyboard. And the new touchpad is the best out in the market. It's huge and the touch response is terrific. 'Clicking' in any area, even a far corner, gives the exact same tactile response since it's not actually moving. The keyboard/touchpad on the SP3 is comparatively primitive. You can only prefer that if you're a masochist.
     
  23. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    #23
    I have to agree, the MacBook (not Air though) has a better keyboard and a much better trackpad. I completely disagree that the SP3 keyboard is primitive, the SP3 keyboard is VERY decent, I regularly type out multi page reports on it with no issues. The trackpad is usable, but it does kind of suck, but then again for my needs ANY trackpad sucks and being able to use the touchscreen completely and utterly blows away any trackpad. The keyboard/trackpad is the only thing that's worse though IMO, otherwise the MacBook is a MASSIVE trade off/downgrade for my uses, but that's me and others such as yourself find your needs fit the MacBook better.
     
  24. tbayrgs macrumors 603

    tbayrgs

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    #24
    Well, to be clear, I said primitive comparatively. Yes, it's better than using an on screen keyboard and better than many cheap laptops but vs. comparatively priced laptops, it's a big step down.

    I was also speaking only to the keyboard and touchpad, just comparing those specific pieces of hardware from a functional standpoint. I won't begin to judge what's better from a use case because as you said, that's going to vary widely between individuals. I personally cannot stand Windows and also, don't find it convenient to constantly shift from keyboard to touchscreen vs. keeping my hands at a keyboard and mouse/touchpad. I also hate having fingerprints all over my laptop screen, but that's just me.
     
  25. M5RahuL macrumors 68020

    M5RahuL

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    #25
    Considering how Windows 10 is shaping up... I'm quite interested in seeing what the SP pro 4 offers in terms of hardware

    The SP Pro 3 is simply amazing, except it's not convincing as a laptop for me at this point.
     

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