The very recent introduction of the Microsoft Surface Laptop, the company's education-centric laptop line, means Apple and its MacBook laptops have some completely capable competition in its hands. As a matter of fact, the Surface Laptop is being dubbed the "MacBook Killer" this early.
Display and Design
Anyone who sees the Surface Laptop for the very first time will quickly notice its design. It does not employ the unique Microsoft concepts such as the 2-in-1 form factor of the Surface Pro and the specialized hinges of the Surface Book. The Surface Laptop, however, comes with Alcantara fabric wrapped around its deck and keyboard. This gives a more classy feel and looks for a device aimed at students and people in the academe. The Microsoft Surface Laptop, which comes in four different colors, is made of metal and plastic while the 2016 MacBook sports an aluminum enclosure.
The Surface Laptop has a 13.5-inch PixelSense display with a 2256 x 1504 pixel resolution. The Apple MacBook (2016), meanwhile, sports a 12-inch LED backlit display with a 2304 x 1440 pixel resolution. The MacBook offers a sharper display but has no touchscreen feature which is one thing that will benefit students particularly those who prefer using a pen for drawing or sketching.
The Microsoft Surface is powered by either the latest Intel Core i5 or i7 Kaby Lake processors. It comes with 4GB, 8GB or 16GB of RAM as well as 128GB, 256GB 0r 512GB SSD storage. Those specs are, in theory, equal or better than what the MacBook 2016 (Skylake CPU, 8GB DDR3 SDRAM, 512GB storage) can offer.
As Engadget pointed out, one of the most important features of the Surface Laptop is its operating system. Microsoft introduced its own Windows 10 S OS through the device. The new OS is specifically designed to cater to students and to the education market, in general. The Apple MacBook 2016 runs on the El Capitan OSX.
The yet-to-be-released Surface Book boasts of a 14.5-hour battery life. That is indeed impressive but things are usually different in the real world. The 2016 version of the MacBook greatly improved its battery life without sacrificing its thinness. The Apple laptop's battery lasted for a little over 7 hours in a test conducted by Tech Radar.
The Intel Core i5, 4GB of RAM and 128GB storage version of the Surface Laptop costs $999 while the higher-end version, with Core i7, 8GB, and 256GB, goes for $1,599. The premium 2016 MacBook (Intel Core M5, 8GB of RAM and 512GB storage) sells for $1,599 while the base model (Core M3, 256GB storage) is worth $1,299. The key here is the cheaper $999 starting price of the Surface Laptop. This makes it more the affordable choice between the two. However, as CNET pointed out, the Microsoft Surface Laptop is still too expensive for its target market.