Surface Pro or MacBook Air?

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by redryder, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. redryder macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    #1
    Hi all!

    I have an ipad (3rd gen) but I don’t use it for travel anymore. There are a couple of reasons, but mainly there are windows software that I need to run, and I am tired of having to convert video files before being able to watch them on the ipad. I know there are apps that purport to play all types of movies, but I’ve tried them and they don’t work as advertised. Sometimes there is no audio, sometimes the picture and sound doesn’t sync after a while.

    Instead I’m using a 2008 Macbook unibody, running windows on a virtual machine. Everything works, but the battery life is terrible (less than 2 hours) and it’s heavy. And I miss the form factor of holding a tablet for general reading and web surfing.

    Should I upgrade to the new Macbook Air or Microsoft’s Surface Pro, which can work as a tablet and a windows PC. Surface Pro sounds perfect for me, but battery life is poorer than the MBA and it’s more expensive.
     
  2. mathi-vadhanan macrumors member

    mathi-vadhanan

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2011
    Location:
    Socal
    #2
    Macbook air. I upgraded to the 2013 MBA just for the battery life. It is amazing. Surface and windows 8 are amazing concept, but i will give it a 2 more generations for MSFT to iron out the teething issues.
     
  3. cnev3 macrumors 6502

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    Sep 13, 2012
    #3
    To me, it makes more sense to have a dedicated tablet, and a dedicated laptop, then having a niche product that does a mediocre job at both.

    The Surface has a far smaller selection of tablet specific software than iOS, and using full desktop programs on a tablet will be more cumbersome than on a laptop. Also, the Surface is still a risky bet at this point, and it's longevity and ecosystem is questionable. It could very well go the way of the Zune HD.

    I'd sell your 2008 macbook and use the money towards a new Macbook Air, then setup a dual boot with Windows 7 on it. You'd cover more ground that way. I'd much prefer to have the macbook air's larger screen, better battery, nice keyboard, and magic trackpad (which is awesome), for doing any real work, than to mess with the flimsy Surface keyboard, smaller screen, and tiny trackpad.
     
  4. ebbygoo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    #4
    Do you want 4-5 hrs battery life, or 12 on the 13".
    + Pro doesn't have office, which will cost you however much, compared to keynote numbers and pages totalling $60.
     
  5. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #5
    Pre WWDC I'd have said surface pro, but with the new MBA Battery life now I'd say get the air unless you specifically need a tablet. You can also dual boot into bootcamp, windows runs much more efficiently that way.

    A 3rd alternative would be an atom powered windows tablet, now you get iPad size, weight, form factor AND battery life. It depends on how much power your programs need as their is some tradeoff in horsepower.
     
  6. superstarmc macrumors regular

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    Jun 13, 2011
    #6
    Macbook Air. It's been my main computer for the last 2 years. You can't beat the SSD drives. Perfect for college and travel.
     
  7. mattopotamus macrumors G4

    mattopotamus

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2012
    #7
    Have you ever used a surface pro for an extended length? It really does a great job as both. I would say with what currently is available the Air is better b.c of haswell. If you wait until the surface gets a refresh it is a great buy. The major draw to mac is OSX, and you can still use windows. If you get the surface then no OSX. That factor alone makes the Air the better buy IMO.

    ----------

    another very important thing to consider. The samsung atom powered tablets are pretty solid. If you do light task they are easily suffiecent, and the battery life is on par with an ipad. Also, they have the s-pen which adds some really cool features.
     
  8. jamezr macrumors G3

    jamezr

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    Aug 7, 2011
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    US
    #8
    This is great advice.....I would love to have the Surface Pro....but I think it will need to mature a little as a product offering. Maybe the next version will have better battery life....
    The new haswell MBA with 12 hour battery sounds amazing. It does have an low voltage power chipset in it. I wonder what the benchmarks will be on the new MBA?

    ----------

    I am curious though......i can DL movies in avi format and play them on my ipad 4 with no conversion or modes at all.....
     
  9. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    Colorado
  10. blitzer09x87 macrumors 6502

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    May 19, 2013
    #10
    i love both of them, but i'm more comfortable with the windows 8 as i have been using windows since windows 95 and a windows phone since windows 7 and i really dig the "tablet and laptop(whatever you want)" design , that's why i'd go with the windows surface pro.
     
  11. jamezr macrumors G3

    jamezr

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    Location:
    US
    #11
    see now that is what intrigues me about the Windows 8 platform...one operating system across multiple devices......But for me...i don't this it is mature enough yet for me to get into it yet.....
     
  12. mattopotamus macrumors G4

    mattopotamus

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    Jun 12, 2012
    #12
    You really need something like the surface to make is useful. If the screen is not detachable, there is not reason to use the metro side. Everything is easier with an actual browser.
     
  13. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020

    Liquorpuki

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    Jun 18, 2009
    Location:
    City of Angels
    #13
    I pick the Pro, but if you're gonna get the Pro, hold out for the Haswell iteration, it'll be coming soon

    Pro and MBA internals will pretty much be the same - your decision should be based on form factor and ecosystem reasons. Do you need a converged device? That stylus is also a killer feature

    MS has been doing some good things lately
     
  14. TheHateMachine macrumors 6502a

    TheHateMachine

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    Houston, TX
    #14
    I would lean for the pro... but only after a Haswell refresh. Until then I wouldn't buy anything. :p
     
  15. RetepNamenots macrumors 6502

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    May 30, 2009
    #15
    I've currently got a 2012 Macbook Air, and have been toying with the idea of replacing it with a Surface Pro, but think I'll probably wait for the second generation before I jump.
     
  16. jamezr macrumors G3

    jamezr

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    #16
    ^^^^^^^^^^^ +1 on this.....

    When the Surface Pro matures a little and gets some hardware updates like the Haswell chipset and gets 8 to 10 hour battery lofe....it will be hard to pass up! :)
     
  17. cnev3 macrumors 6502

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    Sep 13, 2012
    #17
    I had a Surface Pro for a month before I returned it to best buy.

    It does a great job as both compared to other tablets, sure. But compared to the Macbook Air? Nope. Working on powerpoint and visio documents on a tablet was not an experience i'd prefer over doing it on a macbook.

    Like I said, the larger display, better keyboard, better battery life, better trackpad, and larger options having a dual boot with OSX/Windows, makes it a better overall machine for someone who still has an iPad.

    Also the amount of HDD space thats taken up on the device out of the box, and the $150 price of the OEM keyboard were major drawbacks.
     
  18. mattopotamus macrumors G4

    mattopotamus

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    Jun 12, 2012
    #18
    I would never use the metro side to do anything more than what i would do on an iPad: surf the web and play games.
     
  19. ijohn.8.80 macrumors 65816

    ijohn.8.80

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    #19
    If it's Windows based software you NEED to run, go with the Surface Pro. Logical move to me.
     
  20. blitzer09x87 macrumors 6502

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    May 19, 2013
    #20
    what's mature enough in your view? which things or fixes would you like to see in the surface pro?
     
  21. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    Jan 6, 2005
    #21
    For me it is battery life, weight, and Windows' ability to better handle high pixel density screens. A better tablet form factor wouldn't hurt either (at least 16:10)

    I have a Surface Pro and I'd definitely suggest the new MBA. Having a device that has a genuine 10+ hour battery life really changes how you use it. With the Surface your are still stuck carrying a bulky power brick everywhere. So much for portability.

    Of course I'd still also want a dedicated tablet. :)
     
  22. blitzer09x87 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 19, 2013
    #22
    isn't it better to carry one device(surface pro) than carrying two devices( MBA and a tablet)?
    maybe you should consider surface RT(better battery life)?
     
  23. jamezr macrumors G3

    jamezr

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    US
    #23
    The first thing is more apps......
    Doesn't the platform only have like 50K apps? That not enough considering the iPad have about 10 times that many.
    Ease of use....the metro interface needs to be more user friendly.
    I can make my ipad 4 look and feel anyway i like.
    My 5 year old can get on my ipad and play games and watch netflix with no help at all.....that says allot.
    Data service...i have my iPad on AT&T with data service. I have an internet connection anywhere i want to go. I can bring it on trips and my son can watch netflix and movies to keep himself entertained.
    I also have the option to use it for navigation as well. My other son plays sports...i go to pick him at at practice or go to games and bring my iPad. I am always connected to email and so forth.
    Better battery life......
     
  24. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #24
    You also have to consider native windows programs versus iOS apps, even though iOS apps number dwarfs w indows apps, I'm sure windows programs make iOS apps look like a drop in the bucket. And if you use the Metro side only it's as easy as an ipad IMO, although I'm personally not a big fan of Metro.

    I also have AT&T data service on my windows tablet. :) But the surface pro doesn't have that, but neither does the MBA.
     
  25. jamezr macrumors G3

    jamezr

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2011
    Location:
    US
    #25
    True...the Surface Pro or the Macbook Air have data service. But i was comparing the Suface Pro to my ipad and explaining why I think the product needs to mature as a product offering. I don't need a MBA...i have a rMBP.
    Personally....i would not consider replacing a notebook with a tablet. But that is just me. A better comparison would be tablet to tablet.
    So if I look at the Surface Pro...i compare it to my iPad 4
    Apps.....Data service....ease of use.....all day battery life.....
    I don't take my rMBP everywhere....unless i know it will have WiFi. But my iPad goes everywhere with me.......If i had the choice between my current iPad 4 and the newest MBA...i would choose the iPad every time.
    Edit: I am in no way putting down the Windows 8 platform. I want to try it very much....but for me it is not there yet....
     

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