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Macbook Air v Surface Pro

March 22, 2013

I love my MacBook Air. It’s small, light, and it works well as a traveling laptop for me. It starts and stops instantly, and the only complaint I have is that my 2011 version only has 4GB of RAM and no USB 3.0. The 2012 version improves, and I’d upgrade, but I’m waiting to see about the refresh that is supposed to come this summer. If the update is substantial, I’ll be ebay’ing mine and finding a new one.

However I’m not blind to other options. I hadn’t seen many Windows laptops that are as small and light as an Air (or as well-built). However I ran across this article on Living With A Surface Pro for a week. In it, the author mentioned the Pro specs are better than the Air specs.

Hmmmm. Intriguing. Let’s see.

Surface Pro (from Microsoft ):

  • 2lbs
  • 42 Wh battery – 4,5 hours (from Microsoft) 2.5 hours (from the author)
  • 10.81” x 6.81” (1920×1080)
  • 128GB storage
  • Intel i5, 4GB
  • USB 3.0

Macbook (from Apple)

  • 2.38lbs
  • 35 Wh – up to 5 hours (my current one gets 4 hours on Netflix according to my daughter)
  • 11.6” display (1366 x 768)
  • 128GB storage
  • Intel i5, 8GB
  • USB 3.0

 

Those are fairly comparable. I’ve somewhat listed things in the order that they matter to me. Weight is big for me, and both of these are similar. If I add in a type keyboard, then the weight is probably similar. Battery is next, and I think this is a bit of a killer. I have to think about it, but that might be an issue.

The Surface display is a much higher resolution. Does that matter? I’m not sure. A good display matters to me, but I’m not watching blu-ray on this thing, and for the most part, I won’t have anything to compare it to most days. I like the Air display, and I need to check out a Surface to see if it really makes a difference.

Storage is the same, and with USB 3, not sure I care here. Both are Intel i5s, but the Air can go to 8GB. For me, doing work (as in SQL Server work), this matters. If the Pro can’t be upgraded or won’t come with more, not sure it’s a valid choice.

My Air will be two years old later this year, and it’s working well, though depending on the talks I plan to give later this year, the 4GB might not be enough for me. I hate to think about a MacBook, both in size and weight, and I’m not sure I’ve seen a Wintel that I like. I’m also not sure a Surface will cut it. I have nothing against the Surface, and it intrigues me. I’ll have to go spend an hour at the MS store one day and see what I think.

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