There is no denying Microsoft and Apple have been rivals for at least the past three decades. This year is no exception: both companies revealed their new flagship laptops just a few hours apart, with the hope of tempting customers away from the other.
Microsoft unveiled the Surface Book i7, a revamped version from last year's flexible laptop with a funny hinge, on Oct. 26. Representing Apple, on the other hand, is the latest MacBook Pro variant complete with a new Touch Bar display right above the keyboard.
But which is the better option?
Microsoft has not changed the physical appearance of the Surface Book i7 model. It still has the matte gray color and dynamic hinge, a spring-like system that folds into itself, leaving a noticeable gap between screen and keyboard when closing the laptop, in which the tech giant takes pride.
More importantly, users can completely detach the screen from the keyboard, leaving a 13.5-inch tablet to use, something that the MacBook Pro 2016 does not offer.
Meanwhile, Apple slimmed and lightened the MacBook Pro 2016 and added a new Touch Bar feature above the keyboard that changes the controls it shows according to the application currently in use.
For example, bookmarks and favorites appear when opening the Safari browser, while editing tools show up when viewing photos. It can also display emoji suggestions or predicted words when typing out sentences.
In terms of size, the MacBook Pro is available in 13-inch or 15-inch variants whereas the Surface Book i7 only has the 13.3-inch model. As for the resolution, the former can render up to 2,880 x 1,800 pixels while the latter has 3,000 x 2,000 pixels.
Specs and Battery Life
Both laptops use Intel's latest 6th generation i7 and i5 chipsets. Both devices use SSD drives and dedicated graphics cards for gaming and video rendering: NVIDIA GTX 965M for Microsoft and Radeon Pro 455 for Apple. In fact, both devices are so alike that it is difficult to exactly pinpoint which performs better straight out.
One thing the Surface Book i7 has an advantage over the MacBook Pro is battery life: the former reportedly lasts up to 16 hours while the latter only promises 10 hours of laptop usage.
To put it mildly, pricing for both laptops is quite expensive. The entry level Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch with Touch Bar display costs $1,799 while the 15-inch variant costs $2,399. A 13-inch MacBook Pro sans the feature retails for $1,499.
Microsoft's Surface Book i7 starts at $1,899 for the 8 GB RAM and 256 GB storage option, while the higher 16 GB RAM and 1 TB variant retails for a whopping $2,999 thanks to a $200 discount.
Microsoft clearly edges out Apple in terms of pricing. As regards specs too, it would appear that the Surface Book i7 is slightly better with its superior battery life and screen resolution than the MacBook Pro 2016.
Of course, there are other things to consider such as software, operating system, and compatibility with other devices. Apple's MacBook Pro would work better with an iPhone or iPad. For those who want more customizability and compatibility options, Microsoft's Surface Book i7 could be a better choice.