In case you were wondering whether Microsoft overpromised and underdelivered with its first full-fledged laptop, billed as two times faster than the competition, it turns out… it’s not as simple as that. As is often the case with pompous marketing claims, a series of disclaimers and footnotes are required to verify the statement.
First of all, exactly what should we pit the Surface Book against? The MacBook Air line? No, that’s obviously too weak. A top-shelf 15-inch MacBook Pro configuration with dedicated AMD graphics in tow? Besides the footprint disparity, Redmond made it clear its “ultimate laptop” aims to close in on the “future of computing” by also adopting the “unprecedented versatility of a tablet.”
13-inch MacBook Pros aren’t detachable, so they’re not quite OS X-powered Surface Book doppelgangers, but they fit the general description of the 13.5-inch Windows 10 machine’s challengers. At $1,500, a Core i5/8GB RAM Retina MacBook Pro 13 is only 200 bucks cheaper than a similar Surface Book, which however manages to heavily outperform its arch-rival in a few speed tests conducted by PCWorld.
A discrete Nvidia GPU helps Microsoft’s beast display Tomb Raider action-adventure gaming at more than thrice the MacBook’s frame rate. The graphics performance gap narrows a little in synthetic benchmarks like Heaven 4.0 or LuxMark 3, but the winner is still a clear, comfortable and expected one.
Then again, a number of CPU-focused evaluations show there’s not much to choose between the two powerhouses, so basically, Windows enthusiasts have their bragging rights, while at the same time Apple fanboys can always laugh in their faces. A win-win situation… of sorts.