Should You Get a New Apple M1 MacBook Pro?
The new processor chip for Mac, the M1, is a game changer for Apple computers. Apple states, “Until now, a Mac needed multiple chips to deliver all of its features…with M1, these technologies are combined into a single system on a chip (SoC), delivering a new level of integration for more simplicity, more efficiency, and amazing performance.”
What is the Same? The MacBook Pro model that now has the M1 chip is the 13” model with 13.3” Retina display. (The MacBook Pro 16 does not have the M1 chip yet.) The exterior of the MacBook Pro 13 hasn’t changed. It has the same keyboard, trackpad, fingerprint sensor, webcam, touch bar, and lack of SD card slot as the MacBook Pro with Intel chip. It is WiFi 6 capable. It has two Thunderbolt (USB 4) ports and 720p FaceTime HD camera.
The Advantages The M1 chip advantage: 8 core CPU with up to 3.5x faster CPU performance. It also utilizes unified memory architecture (UMA). All memory in one place improves performance, graphics, and enables faster processing.
Apple says M1 can run up to 2x faster CPU performance with 25% of the power needed by the latest PC laptop chip and has “best battery life ever on a Mac.” Reviewers noticed that it runs cool. The fan doesn’t have to come on as often because the computer is not heating up.
The reviewer at PetaPixel, an online photography blog, noted that the battery life of the MacBook Pro (M1) was almost three times longer than the MacBook Pro (i7). The reviewer stated that he could work for two days before having to charge the computer.
The Cons Some Mac users were hoping for an improvement in the exterior design and features of the MacBook Pro 13. Perhaps more USB 4 ports or the ability to capture 1080p video. (Although, Apple maintains that the webcam has sharper video with less grain because the M1 chip improves processing.)
Also, a con for some want-to-be early adopters, is the price. The MacBook Pro starts at $1299 and comes with standard 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM. Someone who recently bought a laptop may not find it cost effective to upgrade so soon.
Another con, especially if you are comparing it to the Surface Pro X, is no touch screen. Surface Pro X is applauded for its portability and it has 4G LTE connectivity. Surface Pro X has two USB-C ports plus a port for charging. The MacBook Pro does not have cellular connectivity or a separate port for charging.
Of course, the Surface Pro X and the Apple M1 Macbook pro are two different machines. The MacBook Pro appeals to photographers, videographers, and image creators. For some, this Mac will be a welcome, even necessary, addition to their work tools. For others, the draw of using Microsoft’s well-known suite of business applications, all available in the cloud, will be stronger. A big factor in which one is right for you is answering the question: what will you use it for?
Regardless if you are a diehard Apple fan or a Windows devotee, the M1 is making a splash on the laptop market today and it may lead to even more innovation in processor chips in the future.
Surface Pro X vs. MacBook Pro – Which is right for you?
You have heard of the new Surface Pro X with its edge to edge screen, instant on and light weight for great portability. How does it compare to the MacBook Pro?
On the go: The Surface Pro X comes in one color, matte black. It is only .28 in. thick, compared to .64 in. for the latest MacBook Pro. The new Surface weighs 1.7 lbs. (without the keyboard/cover). The latest MacBook Pro, a 16-inch model, weighs 4.3 lbs. Furthermore, the Surface Pro X comes with WiFi and LTE capabilities. Obviously, the Surface Pro X is easy to carry around and therefore attractive to those of us who take our work with us.
But, how is its performance?
Specifications: The Surface Pro X has Windows 10 OS. It also has a 13” touchscreen, with a resolution of 2880 x 1920. It has two USB type-C ports, plus a port for attaching a keyboard or charging the device. It comes with either 8GB or 16GB of RAM, and a special processor made for Microsoft by Qualcomm, called the Microsoft SQ1. The SQ1 is supposed to make the Surface Pro X, a tablet 2-in-1, work just as well for you out in the field as if you were working on a desktop in the office. A reviewer writing for Forbes.com, who is on the road 45 weeks of the year, put it to the test. He was able to work for 5-7 hours in the field, with several apps running and no lags. He found the Surface Pro X to be fast and capable with the programs he uses: Skype, OneNote, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.
Two other notable features of the Surface Pro X: the stylus and quick charge. First, if you purchase the Slim Pen stylus, it fits into the keyboard attachment (also sold separately), where it charges. Second, if your Surface Pro X battery runs down, the new Surface’s quick charge feature can power it back up to an 80% charge in one hour.
Cons of Surface Pro X vs Macbook Pro
Cons: Buying the tablet, keyboard and pen is going to be expensive. Another drawback noted by more than one reviewer is the fact that the tablet and keyboard, while sleek and lightweight, will not sit comfortably in your lap as a laptop like the MacBook Pro would. You’ll need something hard and flat to set your Surface on if you are using the keyboard accessory.
In the end, it depends on how you will use your equipment. Will you be travelling a lot? The Surface is much more convenient. Do you work with graphics and video editing? You might consider the MacBook Pro instead. A reviewer at LaptopMag.com found that the 16-inch MacBook needed just 8 minutes flat to convert a 4K video into 1080p. Some computer users prefer iOS and some are more comfortable with Windows OS. For collaboration on the go when using programs like Word, Excel and PowerPoint, the Surface Pro X should work well.
Our original article from 2013:
With the Apple MacBook enjoying good success for years, it seems that Microsoft has been a bit behind in its entry into the laptop market. Recently, Microsoft has accessed the market with the Surface Pro, the Windows equivalent of the MacBook Pro. Here’s how the Surface Pro vs Macbook Pro compare:
Aesthetics: From a cosmetic standpoint, there isn’t much to differentiate between the Surface Pro and MacBook Pro. They’re both about the same size with a stylish metallic color. There’s; however, a subtle difference that has an impact on usability. The Surface Pro has a hinged back that allows the keyboard to detach from the rest of the unit. On the other hand, the MacBook Pro has a ‘Force Touch’ trackpad, which detects different levels of pressure for varied functions.
Power/Battery Life: The base models of the Surface Pro and MacBook Pro are pretty similar with both featuring 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD and an Intel Core i5 processor. The i5 processor in the Surface Pro is a little newer; however, while the MacBook Pro can be upgraded a little larger RAM memory. The number and types of ports are also similar, although the MacBook Pro also has a Thunderbolt 2 port.
Screen Resolution: Both the MacBook Pro and Surface Pro have impressive screen resolutions. The MacBook Pro has a 13-inch Retina display with 2560 x 1600 resolution, emphasizing color and clarity. The Surface Pro, however, wins in this department with a 13.5-inch Retina display, 3000 x 2000 resolution and PixelSense technology to tell the difference between your finger and a stylus.
Operating System: The Surface Pro vs Macbook Pro each feature their respective manufacturers’ latest operating systems – OS X 10.11 Yosemite in the MacBook and Windows 10 in the Surface. While the systems share many of the same capabilities, there is one notable difference between the two. The Surface Pro has the digital voice assistant Cortana while Apple has yet to incorporate Siri into its MacBook Pro.
Ultimately, both the Surface Pro vs MacBook Pro are great laptops. The detachable keyboard may win a lot of consumers to the Surface Pro’s corner, but it’s almost evened out by the nifty trackpad on the MacBook Pro. Oddly enough, Windows fans will likely gravitate to the MacBook while iPhone users may find the Surface Pro more familiar to use.
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FAQ’s Surface Pro vs Macbook Pro
Choosing between a Microsoft Surface device and a MacBook depends on your specific needs, preferences, and priorities. Both options offer unique features and advantages, so the "better" choice varies based on individual requirements. Here's a comparison to help you decide:
- Versatility: Surface devices, like the Surface Pro and Surface Book, offer a versatile 2-in-1 design that can function as both a laptop and a tablet. This flexibility is ideal for creative tasks, note-taking, and on-the-go productivity.
- Touchscreen and Pen Support: Surface devices come with touchscreen capabilities and support for the Surface Pen, making them great for artists, designers, and those who prefer handwritten notes.
- Windows Operating System: If you're accustomed to the Windows operating system and need compatibility with Windows software, a Surface device is a natural choice.
- Variety of Models: Microsoft offers various Surface models with different specifications and sizes, allowing you to choose one that suits your performance and portability needs.
- Surface Studio: For creative professionals, the Surface Studio offers a high-resolution touchscreen display with pen support, ideal for graphic design and other creative tasks.
- Software Ecosystem: While Windows offers a wide range of software options, certain specialized software or applications may be more readily available on macOS.
- Build Quality: Surface devices are well-built, but opinions on build quality may vary compared to MacBook devices.
- macOS Ecosystem: If you're already invested in the Apple ecosystem or prefer macOS, a MacBook is a seamless choice. macOS offers a user-friendly interface and is known for its stability and security.
- Build Quality: MacBooks are renowned for their premium build quality, sleek design, and attention to detail.
- Retina Displays: Many MacBook models feature Retina displays with high-resolution visuals, making them great for tasks that require detailed visuals.
- Integration with Apple Devices: MacBooks seamlessly integrate with other Apple devices like iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watch, allowing for smooth cross-device interactions.
- Limited Touchscreen Support: MacBooks do not offer touchscreen capabilities or pen support, which might be a drawback if you value these features.
- Price: MacBooks tend to be relatively more expensive than some Microsoft Surface models.
- Software Compatibility: While macOS has a wide range of software options, specific Windows software or applications might not be natively available.
Ultimately, the decision between a Microsoft Surface device and a MacBook depends on factors such as your operating system preference, software requirements, design preferences, and intended usage. Consider your workflow, the software you use, and the features that matter most to you. It's recommended to try out both options if possible and evaluate how they align with your needs before making a decision.
The Microsoft Surface Pro is a versatile 2-in-1 device that offers a range of benefits, but like any technology, it also comes with certain disadvantages. Here are some potential drawbacks of the Surface Pro:
- Limited Lap Comfort: The detachable keyboard and kickstand design of the Surface Pro might not be as comfortable to use on your lap for extended periods compared to traditional laptops.
- Keyboard and Accessories Sold Separately: While the Surface Pro offers a detachable keyboard cover, it is often sold separately. This can add to the overall cost of the device.
- Battery Life: While the battery life of the Surface Pro has improved over the years, it might still be shorter compared to some dedicated laptops. Heavy use, particularly with resource-intensive applications, can drain the battery relatively quickly.
- Limited Ports: The Surface Pro features a limited number of ports, usually including a USB port, a Mini DisplayPort, and a Surface Connect port. This might require you to invest in adapters or docking stations to connect additional peripherals.
- Price: The Surface Pro is positioned as a premium device, and its cost can be relatively higher compared to traditional laptops or some other 2-in-1 devices.
- Upgradability: Surface Pro devices are not easily upgradable, as many components are integrated and not user-replaceable. This might limit the ability to upgrade components like RAM or storage in the future.
- Not Ideal for Demanding Tasks: While Surface Pro devices are capable of handling a wide range of tasks, they might not be the best choice for resource-intensive tasks like high-end video editing or gaming due to their compact form factor and thermal limitations.
- Lack of Dedicated Graphics: Most Surface Pro models rely on integrated graphics, which might not be sufficient for advanced graphic-intensive tasks.
- Limited Repairability: Due to their compact and sleek design, repairing or servicing a Surface Pro can be more challenging, and it might require specialized tools and expertise.
- Learning Curve for Tablet Mode: The transition between tablet mode and laptop mode might take some time to get used to, particularly if you're accustomed to traditional laptops.
- Software Compatibility: While Windows 10 is a versatile operating system, some legacy software or specialized applications might not be fully optimized for touch or tablet mode.
It's important to note that the disadvantages of the Surface Pro can vary based on individual preferences and requirements. While some drawbacks might be significant for certain users, they might not be a concern for others. Before making a purchase decision, consider how the Surface Pro's features align with your needs and usage patterns.
The Microsoft Surface Pro is not exactly a traditional laptop, but it is designed to offer similar functionality while incorporating additional versatility and features. It is often referred to as a "2-in-1" device, as it combines the characteristics of both a laptop and a tablet. Here's how the Surface Pro differs from a traditional laptop:
- Form Factor: Laptops typically have a clamshell design with a hinged lid that houses the screen and keyboard. They are designed primarily for keyboard-based productivity tasks.
- Keyboard: Laptops have a built-in keyboard that is permanently attached to the device.
- Operating System: Laptops commonly run operating systems like Windows, macOS, or Linux, which are optimized for traditional keyboard and mouse input.
- Performance: Laptops come in a range of performance levels, from entry-level models for basic tasks to high-performance models for demanding applications.
- Ports: Laptops usually offer a variety of ports for connecting peripherals and accessories.
- Lap Usage: Laptops are designed to be used comfortably on a user's lap or on a flat surface.
- 2-in-1 Design: The Surface Pro features a detachable keyboard cover and a kickstand, allowing it to transform from a tablet to a laptop-like configuration.
- Tablet Functionality: The screen of the Surface Pro can be detached from the keyboard, converting it into a standalone tablet for tasks like note-taking, drawing, and media consumption.
- Touchscreen and Pen Support: The Surface Pro features a touchscreen display with support for the Surface Pen, enabling touch-based interactions and digital inking.
- Operating System: Like laptops, the Surface Pro runs full desktop operating systems like Windows 10, making it compatible with a wide range of software applications.
- Portability: The Surface Pro is designed for portability and is typically lighter and more compact than traditional laptops.
- Flexibility: The 2-in-1 design of the Surface Pro offers flexibility for users who need both the convenience of a tablet and the productivity of a laptop.
In essence, while the Surface Pro can perform many tasks that a traditional laptop can handle, its design and features make it more versatile for users who value the ability to switch between tablet and laptop modes. Whether the Surface Pro is a suitable choice depends on your specific needs, preferences, and how you intend to use the device.
The Microsoft Surface Pro offers a range of advantages that make it a versatile and popular choice for various users. Here are some key advantages of the Surface Pro:
- The 2-in-1 design allows you to switch between tablet and laptop modes, offering flexibility for different tasks and scenarios.
- Detachable keyboard cover and kickstand make it easy to transition between typing, touch, and pen input.
- The compact and lightweight design of the Surface Pro makes it highly portable, ideal for users on the go.
- Its slim profile and relatively low weight make it easy to carry in a bag or backpack.
- Touchscreen and Pen Support:
- The touchscreen display with support for touch gestures and the Surface Pen enhances user interaction and creativity.
- Ideal for tasks like drawing, note-taking, digital inking, and other touch-based activities.
- Windows Operating System:
- Runs the full Windows operating system, providing access to a wide range of desktop applications and software.
- Familiar interface for users accustomed to Windows-based systems.
- Performance and Productivity:
- Offers a range of configurations with different processors and memory options, suitable for various levels of performance requirements.
- Suitable for productivity tasks, content creation, web browsing, and more.
- Battery Life Improvement:
- Recent Surface Pro models have shown improvements in battery life, allowing for extended usage without frequent recharging.
- Stylus Integration:
- Surface Pen support provides precision and pressure-sensitive input, enhancing creative workflows and digital artistry.
- Connectivity and Accessories:
- Offers a variety of ports, including USB, Mini DisplayPort, Surface Connect, and headphone jack.
- Compatible with a range of accessories, including the Surface Dock for expanding connectivity.
- Security and Biometrics:
- Some Surface Pro models feature Windows Hello facial recognition for secure and convenient login.
- Enhanced security features like BitLocker encryption and device management capabilities.
- Build Quality and Design:
- Premium build quality with attention to detail, featuring a sleek and modern design.
- High-resolution PixelSense display offers vibrant visuals and sharp text.
- Collaboration and Communication:
- Ideal for video conferencing, online meetings, and collaboration tools with the integrated front and rear cameras.
- Innovative Features:
- Continuum mode allows seamless transition between tablet and desktop modes.
- Some models offer LTE connectivity for on-the-go connectivity.
The Surface Pro's combination of tablet portability, laptop functionality, touchscreen interaction, and stylus capabilities makes it a popular choice for professionals, students, creatives, and individuals who value flexibility and productivity in a single device. However, the suitability of the Surface Pro depends on your specific needs and preferences, so it's important to consider how its features align with your intended use cases.