Product review between Apple's MacBook Pro 2016 and Microsoft's Surface Book. Image Source: Pocket Lint

Apple’s fourth generation MacBook Pro 2016 with Touch Bar and Microsoft’s brand-new Surface Book with Performance Base just launched last month. The duo is set to lock horns in the field of high-end laptops.

On October 26, Microsoft announced the Surface Book with Performance Base at the Microsoft Windows 10 event. The new version of the Surface Book features an updated Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M discrete GPU along with 2GB of VRAM.

One day later, Apple presented the MacBook Pro 2016 with Touch Bar during a press event on the Apple Campus, the company’s headquarters. Most notably, the fourth-gen models introduced the Touch Bar to replace the function keys.

Apple, Microsoft, iPad, Surface Pro
Microsoft and Apple go at it again with their new ads. Image credit: Windows central.

Design and build quality comparison

Thinner than last year’s MacBook Pro, the new Apple laptop keeps its elegant, slim and minimal design. Nevertheless, it comes with the Touch Bar and a different port layout. The Touch Bar is a touch-sensitive OLED bar located at the top of the keyboard.

Meanwhile, the Surface Book with Performance Base has a reptilian design that brings to mind those of the early 1990s. Even though the keyboard borrows too much of the MacBook Pro, it looks good.

Microsoft’s laptop features USB 3.0 ports, SD card slot, and Mini-DisplayPort. Apple’s MacBook Pro has 2 or 4 USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports depending on the model, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

New Macbook Pro review
New Macbook Pro review. Image credit: Apple/TheUSBPort.

Regarding weight, the Surface Book (1.65kg) is slightly heavier than the equivalent MacBook (1.37kg). However, Microsoft compensates it with a larger screen.

MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar vs. Surface Book’s touchscreen display

All 2016 MacBook Pros, except for the 13-inch model with function keys, have the Touch Bar. It replaces the hardware function keys as well as the Escape key. The icons displayed on the strip, and the functions they perform, change depending on the application users are running.

The Surface Book has no such feature. In turn, Microsoft’s laptop offers a detachable touchscreen display and the Surface Pen stylus. Apple has always refused the idea of a touchscreen Mac, but Microsoft is aiming at design works.

Sometimes, people think it would be easier to do something on a computer just by touching the screen. Well, the Surface Book allows them to prove their point. Taking notes and signing or collaborating on documents should now be quicker and simpler.

Microsoft is reportedly working on its own ergonomic keyboard as well. Image Source: PC Support
Microsoft is reportedly working on its own ergonomic keyboard as well. Image Source: PC Support

Specs and price

Both the 13-inch and 15-inch model of the MacBook Pro have larger trackpads than the previous iterations. They also include faster sixth-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, and improved graphics with Radeon Pro 450 and 455. The 15-inch models can opt for 460, too.

Although there are no upgrades to the processors, RAM or storage in the new versions of the Surface Book with Performance Base, they offer improved battery life (from 12 hours to 16), and better screen resolution than the Apples.

In the United States, the Surface Book models start at $2,399 for 8GB RAM and 256GB storage, rising to $2,799 for 16GB RAM and 512GB, and $3,299 for 16GB RAM and 1TB. The MacBook Pros are cheaper, going from $1,499 to $2,799.

Source: Macworld UK‎