In 2012, Microsoft debuted the Surface series, attempting to shake Apple of its dominant market share over laptops and tablets.
Consumers who wanted a name-brand computer — but didn't want to pay Apple prices — turned to the Surface Pro. But was it worth jumping ship? Does it really do more, like the commercials allege?
We tested several iterations of the MacBook Pro and compared it to the Microsoft Surface Pro 6.
Here's what we found: What's better all depends on how invested in Apple products you already are. That is, do you own and love your iPhone and/or iPad ? If yes, then invest in a MacBook Pro (and not the Air — even if it is cheaper).
If no, skip ahead to the next section.
(And if you really love Apple products, you can pre-order the newest iPad and save $125.)
The main drawback to the Surface Pro was that we couldn't take advantage of the seamless integration between our other iOS devices and the laptop.
We couldn't update iNotes, keep in touch via iMessage, or manage photos in iCloud. That's a major drawback if you're already fully entrenched in the Apple system.
There were other drawbacks as well, like a sensitive connection area where the screen connects with the keyboard. This quirk led to several error messages, erroneously warning the user that they were about to disconnect the screen and activate tablet mode.
Also, the pen is a seldom-used feature that won't actually be useful for many.
For the non-Apple users: The Surface Pro is a high-powered, intuitive computer that is a great option for a personal laptop.
The screen/resolution stands out and is higher quality than the price-point would suggest (only $618 if you buy the 5-series model). Also, the touchscreen is durable and doesn't smudge easily.
It also moves quickly between functions and has impressive battery life.
Finally, being able to detach the screen to make it a tablet proved to be a useful feature. It was particularly beneficial when we tested it while flying, as it allows the user to keep working when taking off and landing while others had to put their full-sized laptops away.
So, what should you avoid when buying a new laptop? The Apple MacBook Air is not worth it.
Like anything made by Apple, their stripped-down laptop is expensive (it's usually well more than $1,000 — but it's available for $999.99 right now on Amazon), but it doesn't come with the durability or computing power of the Pro laptops.
If price is your #1 consideration: It's simply not worth it. There are tons of other worthwhile options out there for cheaper (see below).
And if you insist on having an Apple product, then it will be worth it to spend the extra $200 on the MacBook Pro than opting for the slower Air.
If you don't care to buy either a MacBook or a Surface, there are still plenty of worthwhile options available to you. We've selected three that appeal for different reasons.
For those who love the idea of a 2-for-1 laptop: Samsung Notebook
This model from Samsung is only $698 but can operate as both a tablet and a computer. Its specs are impressive (great for students and runs quickly for most users).
For those who just want something that works: Dell Inspiron
Dell makes great computers for those who simply want results. It's a preferred brand by businesspeople across the country, and this model will run programs without issue. It also comes with a touchscreen (even if it doesn't fully convert to tablet mode), which can be helpful in all sorts of scenarios.
For those who don't want to spend much money at all: ASUS Chromebook C202
You may have heard of a Chromebook before they shook up the budget computer market when they released in 2011. But we should warn you: If you're going to have demands beyond web surfing, light streaming, and word processing — you'll probably want something with more computing power, as the Chrome OS is all web-based. This ASUS model looks like a fully-loaded laptop but only costs $218.
Jacob Palmer is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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