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16″ MacBook Pro vs 15″ Surface Book 3



Microsoft announced the refreshed Surface Book 3 models yesterday which included the 15″ model and Apple’s 16″ MacBook Pro was announced last November. How do these two premium powerhouse machines stack up? Let’s examine them both below.

Surface Book 3 15″

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, especially a 15″ one. 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 16″ MacBook Pro.

Surface Book 3 offers a touchscreen that detaches to give you a very large tablet that is great for watching movies and sketching with, whereas the 16″ MacBook Pro does not, if you want a tablet you have to buy an iPad. Good luck finding an iPad as large as the 15″ Surface Book tablet. Graphics wise, Surface Book 3 is stronger with the NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000. The display resolution on 15″ Surface Book 3 is 3240×2160 pixels whereas the 16″ MacBook Pro is only 3072×1920 pixels. Book 3 does support Wi-Fi 6 whereas Apple’s 16″ MacBook Pro does not.

16″ MacBook Pro

Apple’s 16″ MacBook Pro offers 45W 6-core and 8-core Intel Core processors whereas Microsoft only offers a 15W (max TDP is 25W) quad-core Intel Core i7. The 16″ MacBook Pro offers up to a AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 8GB of GDDR6 memory. Apple offers up to 64GB of 2666MHz DDR4 RAM whereas Microsoft only offers up to 32GB of 3733 MHz LPDDR4x RAM. On the Surface Book 2, Microsoft only offered 16GB of RAM so 32 is certainly an upgrade but compared to its rival, it’s just not enough. Apple offers up to 4TB of storage whereas Microsoft only offers up to 1TB of storage.

15″ Surface Book 316″ MacBook Pro
OsWindows 10 Home, PromacOS Catalina
Display15″, 3240×2160 pixels, 260 ppi, 3:2 aspect ratio16″, 3072×1920 pixels, 226 ppi
CPU4-core Intel Core i7, 1.3GHz-3.9GHz6‑core Intel Core i7, 2.6GHz

8‑core Intel Core i9, 2.3GHz

8‑core Intel Core i9, 2.4GHz
GPUIntel Iris Plus Graphics in Tablet

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti with Max-Q Design w/6GB GDDR6 graphics memory

NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 (accessible through business website for everyone)
AMD Radeon Pro 5300M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory and automatic graphics switching

Intel UHD Graphics 630

Configurable to AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory

AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 8GB of GDDR6 memory
Memory16GB of 3733 MHz LPDDR4x

32GB of 3733 MHz LPDDR4x
16GB of 2666MHz DDR4

32GB of 2666MHz DDR4

64GB of 2666MHz DDR4
Storage256GB, 512GB, (1TB, 2TB M.2 2280) PCIe512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB
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) version 3.1 Gen 2

x1 3.5 mm headphone jack
NetworkingWi-Fi 6: 802.11ax compatible
Bluetooth Wireless 5.0 technology
Xbox Wireless built-in (15” only)
802.11ac Wi‑Fi wireless networking
IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible

Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology
Weight4.20 lbs including keyboard4.3 lbs
ColorsPlatinumSilver, Space Gray
Starting Price$2299$2399

After reviewing the specs side by side for the 15″ Surface Book 3 and Apple’s 16″ MacBook Pro we can see that the 16″ MacBook Pro offers a more powerful processor options for only $100 more. Microsoft is still using 15W Intel processors, even though Apple is utilizing 45W Intel Core processors. Microsoft does offer great graphic performance in the NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000, so depending on your needs one factor could trump the other. The capability to sketch on the Surface Book is create for digital artists and designers alike, you would need a separate device to get that capability with Apple’s MacBook Pro.

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Related Reading: Surface Stories



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