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13″ MacBook Pro vs 13.5″ Surface Book 3

Microsoft announced new Surface Book 3 models yesterday and the day before Apple announced thier refreshed 13″ MacBook Pro. Today we want to compare them and see how Redmond’s most powerful laptop stacks up against Cupertino’s.

Surface Book 3 13.5″

Microsoft’s 3rd Generation Surface Book is more of an iteration, a refinement if you will. There is no question that Surface Book is a kick ass laptop with the added benefit of having a detachable tablet for a display. The key travel is superb, it has a unique look all unto itself, it can handle CAD and Video applications with ease, but Surface Book 3 doesn’t live in a vacuum, the people that buy this will be looking at other high-performing, well-designed laptops like Apple’s MacBook Pro.

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Surface Book 3 does offer a touchscreen that detaches to give you a large tablet that is great for watching movies and sketching with, whereas MacBook Pro does not, if you want a tablet you have to buy an iPad. Graphics wise, Surface Book 3 is stronger with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 with Max-Q w/4GB GDDR5 graphics memory as opposed to only the Intel Iris Plus Graphics in the 13″ MacBook Pro. The display resolution on Surface Book 3 is 3000×2000 pixels whereas the 13″ MacBook Pro is only 2560×1600 pixels.

MacBook Pro 13″

Gone is the polarizing butterfly keyboard in favor on Apple’s new “Magic Keyboard,” which is really just the mechanism from the 2015 era MacBook Pro. The butterfly keyboard was prone to missed keystrokes and a myriad of other reliability issues. Now Apple finally remedied the issue with today’s refresh. Beyond the Magic Keyboard there are a number of other additions that users are sure to welcome, sadly the camera is still just the 720p unit found in the MacBook Air.

Apple’s 13″ MacBook Pro has 45W Intel Core processors whereas the Surface Book 3 only has 15W processors so there is definitely a power difference between the two. Apple has optional configurations up to a 10th Generation quad-core 2.3GHz Intel Core i7 with Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz, Microsoft only offers a 10th Gen quad-core Intel Core i7,
1.3 GHz-3.9 GHz. Apple also offers up to 4TB of storage as opposed to Microsoft offering only up to 1TB of storage.

Specs Comparison

13.5″ Surface Book 313″ MacBook Pro (2020)
OSWindows 10 Home, PromacOS Catalina
Display13.5″,3000×2000 pixels, 267 ppi, 3:2 aspect ratio13.3″, 2560 x 1600, 227 ppi
CPU4-core 10th Gen Intel Core i5, 1.2 GHz-3.7GHz

4-core 10th Gen Intel Core i7,
1.3 GHz-3.9 GHz
1.4GHz quad‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz, with 128MB of eDRAM

2.0GHz quad‑core 10th‑generation Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz, with 6MB shared L3 cache

Configurable to 1.7GHz quad‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz, with 128MB of eDRAM

Configurable to 2.3GHz quad‑core 10th‑generation Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz, with 8MB shared L3 cache
GPUIntel Iris Plus Graphics in tablet

Intel Core i7-1065G7 models: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 with Max-Q Design w/4GB GDDR5 graphics memory

Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645
Memory8GB of
3733 MHz LPDDR4X

16GB of 3733 MHz LPDDR4X

32GB of 3733 MHz LPDDR4X
8GB of 2133MHz LPDDR3

16GB of 3733MHz LPDDR4X

32GB of 3733MHz LPDDR4X
Storage256GB, 512GB, (1TB M.2 2280) PCIe256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Connectivityx2 USB-A version 3.1 Gen 2

x1 USB-C version 3.1 Gen 2

x1 3.5mm headphone jack

x2 Surface Connect ports (one on keyboard base, one on tablet)

x1 Full-size SDXC card reader
x4 Thunderbolt 3 (USB‑C) ports

x1 3.5mm Headphone Jack
NetworkingWi-Fi 6: 802.11ax compatible
Bluetooth Wireless 5.0 technology
802.11ac Wi‑Fi

Bluetooth 5.0
WeightIntel Core i5: 3.38 lbs including keyboard

Intel Core i7: 3.62 lbs including keyboard
3.1 lbs
ColorsPlatinumSilver, Space Gray
Starting Price$1599$1299

When it comes down to it, both of these machines will get the job done. For you the choice may come down to if the software you need is available for either Windows 10 or macOS. If you only use cross platform applications and want tablet functionality then get the Surface Book 3. If you don’t need tablet functionality then either get the MacBook Pro or any other non-touch laptops for that matter.

A former industry insider and tech industry enthusiast.

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