Surface Laptop Studio vs. MacBook Pro: Which high-end laptop is for you?

Now that the brand new MacBook Professional and Floor Laptop computer Studio have hit cabinets, there’s by no means been a greater time to purchase a ridiculously highly effective laptop computer for getting severe work finished. However whereas these two behemoths provide tons of pace, nice keyboards and even look a bit alike, additionally they have some very key variations you’ll have to find out about before you purchase both.

Do you have to go for the Floor Laptop computer Studio’s distinctive folding design and contact capabilities, or spend your money on the MacBook Professional for its plentiful ports and ridiculously quick new processors? After testing the brand new 14-inch MacBook Professional and the Floor Laptop computer Studio extensively, we’re right here that will help you make that call.

The most effective high-end MacBook

The brand new MacBook Professional is good for people who need a few of the quickest processing energy in a laptop computer, a number of ports and a best-in-class webcam. It is also the higher possibility of the 2 for people deeply tied to the Apple ecosystem.

Essentially the most versatile Microsoft laptop computer

The Floor Laptop computer Studio is an efficient match for artists, because of its distinctive 2-in-1 design, tall show and sturdy pen help, in addition to anybody who needs a devoted GPU for higher graphics efficiency.

Michael Andronico/CNN

The Surface Laptop Studio and 14-inch MacBook Pro are each absolute beasts on the subject of efficiency — irrespective of which one you purchase, you’ll be handled to zippy multitasking and sufficient energy for fundamental artistic work on the very least. However the ridiculously quick Apple M1 Professional and M1 Max chips that energy the brand new MacBook Professional are in a league of their very own.

We examined the 14-inch MacBook Professional with an M1 Professional processor, which turned within the highest laptop computer scores we’ve ever seen on the Geekbench 5 common efficiency take a look at. Apple’s laptop computer put up a multi-core rating of 12,463, which is greater than double what we bought from the eleventh Gen Intel Core i7-powered Laptop computer Studio (5,108) — and a giant leap over the M1-powered 13-inch MacBook Professional (7,628). Whereas each of those machines held up nice throughout on a regular basis use, the MacBook Professional’s vastly extra highly effective CPU makes it extra succesful and future-proof for heavy multitasking and power-hungry apps.

Nonetheless, if you need as a lot graphical energy as doable for visually intensive duties (and a few gentle gaming), the Floor Laptop computer Studio could also be a greater choose for you. Microsoft’s pocket book has the benefit of non-obligatory, discrete Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti graphics, which allowed it to considerably outperform the MacBook Professional (51,933 versus 36,326) on the Geekbench 5 OpenCL take a look at that measures visible muscle.

Mike Andronico/CNN

That stated, the MacBook Professional’s M1 Professional chip is way from a slouch within the graphics division. It nonetheless greater than doubled many competing laptops on this benchmark, and matched the Floor Laptop computer Studio’s extremely playable 47 frames per second after we ran each programs by means of the visually wealthy Shadow of the Tomb Raider sport with all graphical settings cranked up.

It’s additionally value noting that the efficiency of each machines might be extremely depending on the way you configure them. The Floor Laptop computer Studio begins at $1,599 with an Intel Core i5 processor, 16GB of RAM and built-in graphics, which is way extra modest than the $2,699 mannequin we examined with a quicker Core i7 chip, 32GB of RAM and devoted Nvidia RTX graphics. The $1,999 14-inch MacBook Professional begins with an M1 Professional processor that is available in just a few totally different variations primarily based on what number of efficiency cores you want, and will be upgraded to the much more blazing M1 Max chip. However primarily based on our explicit take a look at models, the MacBook Professional is the clear winner on the subject of sheer processor pace and multitasking prowess, whereas the Floor Laptop computer has the higher graphics possibility for the value.

Neither of those laptops blew us away when it got here to battery life, however the Floor Laptop computer Studio proved extra dependable for getting by means of a workday on our exams. Microsoft’s pocket book lasted by means of eight hours and 14 minutes of steady 4K video playback on our battery take a look at, which beats out the six hours and 36 minutes we bought from our MacBook Professional by a superb margin. Once more, these numbers will range primarily based in your particular configuration and what you’re utilizing every laptop computer for, however the Laptop computer Studio got here out forward in our private use.

TLDR: Get the MacBook Professional for the most effective total efficiency for multitasking, or go along with the Floor Laptop computer Studio for the most effective graphics efficiency for the value and barely higher battery life.

Mike Andronico/CNN

One of many largest benefits the Floor Laptop computer Studio has over the MacBook Professional is its dynamic and touch-friendly 2-in-1 design, which makes it way more versatile than any of Apple’s computer systems. Because of what Microsoft calls a “Dynamic Woven Hinge,” the Laptop computer Studio elegantly transforms between a standard laptop computer, a sturdy drawing pill in your desk and a stand-up show for bingeing Netflix and taking notes. It additionally helps various stylus choices, together with the sturdy $129 Surface Slim Pen 2 that has haptic suggestions to raised simulate the texture of pen and paper.

However whereas the Laptop computer Studio appears to be like fairly enticing (and suspiciously Mac-like) for a convertible, all of that performance comes at the price of a considerably bulkier design. Microsoft’s laptop computer weighs round 4 kilos and is available in at 0.7 inches thick, whereas the 13-inch MacBook Professional is a bit sleeker and extra bag-friendly at 3.5 kilos and 0.6 inches thick. Neither of those are the thinnest or lightest laptops on the market, however the MacBook Professional feels noticeably lighter to carry.

Mike Andronico/CNN

When you care about having a number of ports for plugging in equipment, the brand new MacBook Professional is the clear winner right here. In contrast to the stingy MacBooks of earlier years, the newest 14-inch and 16-inch fashions provide three USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports (very best for 4K shows and exterior storage drives), an SDXC slot for transferring media from a digital camera, an HDMI port for much more TV and monitor connectivity and a magnetic MagSafe 3 charger. That’s a complete lot greater than the Floor Laptop computer Studio, which has solely two Thunderbolt 4 ports along with Microsoft’s proprietary Floor Join charging port. We like that each of those laptops have magnetic chargers that detach simply and juice up quick, however you’ll get far more connectivity from the MacBook Professional.

You possibly can’t go improper with both of those laptop computer’s keyboards, that are among the many greatest we’ve ever examined. Each Apple’s Magic Keyboard and the Floor Laptop computer Studio keyboard provide loads of bounce and suggestions, which stored us snug throughout hours upon hours of cramming away at work. We just like the Laptop computer Studio’s keys only a bit extra as a result of their total depth and soft-touch coating, although the brand new MacBook Professional has greater operate and escape keys (and the terrible Contact Bar is gone, fortunately).

TLDR: Get the Floor Laptop computer Studio if you need a convertible 2-in-1 design with a contact display; get the MacBook Professional if you need a sleeker laptop computer with extra ports.

The Laptop computer Studio has a taller show, however the MacBook Professional wins on audio system and webcam

Mike Andronico/CNN

The Floor Laptop computer Studio and MacBook Professional each have massive, vibrant and lovely shows, however Microsoft’s laptop computer will get the slight edge right here. For starters, the Laptop computer Studio’s 14.4-inch, 2400 x 1600 display is noticeably taller than the MacBook Professional’s 14.2-inch, 3024 x 1964 show, because of a novel 3-to-2 show ratio that allows you to see extra directly while you’re poring over spreadsheets. The Floor Laptop computer Studio can also be the one machine of the 2 to supply a contact display for navigating together with your fingers or drawing with a appropriate pen — one thing you continue to can’t do on any MacBook.

Each of those screens provide deep blacks, wealthy colours and loads of element when watching movies and studying massive chunks of textual content, although Microsoft’s laptop computer regarded only a hair extra vibrant after we watched an 8K nature video on each machines facet by facet. These shows each function 120Hz refresh charges, which means you’ll see issues transfer very fluidly when looking the net and swiping by means of your picture galleries. The MacBook Professional has the benefit of a better decision and barely thinner bezels that assist make content material look extra immersive, as long as you don’t thoughts the notch up high (we actually don’t). So that you’re actually selecting between a taller show versus a barely extra seamless one — and so they’re each nice.

The MacBook Professional and Floor Laptop computer Studio even have equally booming audio system, however whereas Microsoft’s pocket book will get a bit of louder, the MacBook Professional did a greater job preserving the finer particulars of our favourite rock tracks.

So far as webcam high quality goes, it’s not even shut. The 14-inch MacBook Professional has nearly the most effective laptop computer digital camera we’ve examined, producing precisely colourful and sharp photographs that even outdo a few of our best webcam picks in sure situations. The Floor Laptop computer’s 1080p shooter is okay for video calls however appears to be like much more pixelated by comparability — particularly in low gentle.

Microsoft’s laptop computer does have the benefit of Home windows Hey performance, which makes use of the webcam to allow you to immediately log in to the machine with a fast facial scan. The MacBook nonetheless doesn’t have this functionality (regardless of Face ID being a factor on each different Apple gadget), although it does have a fingerprint reader for fast logins.

TLDR: Get the MacBook Professional if you need the most effective audio system and webcam yow will discover on a laptop computer; get the Floor Laptop computer Studio if you need a barely taller and extra colourful show that additionally gives contact controls.

Mike Andronico/CNN

{Hardware} is only one a part of the equation, and your alternative between the Laptop computer Studio and the MacBook Air simply would possibly come all the way down to your preference between Windows and macOS.

The Laptop computer Studio ships with the brand new Windows 11 software program, which occurs to borrow quite a bit from the Mac. The consumer interface is sleeker and extra colourful, it’s simpler to shortly modify settings like brightness and quantity and you may even create a number of desktops (akin to one surroundings for work apps and one other for gaming) identical to you may on macOS. We discover Home windows 11 to really feel extra intuitive than macOS for on a regular basis multitasking, and should you care about gaming — which the Laptop computer Studio is completely able to — there’s a a lot wider number of titles right here.

Macs proceed to be the higher possibility should you personal a number of Apple gadgets akin to iPhones and iPads, as you may sync your photographs, notes and emails throughout all of them and even ship iMessages and begin FaceTimes proper out of your laptop computer. The newest macOS Monterey replace provides some helpful options, together with a extra sturdy FaceTime app that allows you to invite Windows and Android users, AirPlay help for beaming content material out of your telephone to your Mac and customizable Focus modes that allow you to decrease distractions when you’ll want to go heads down on work. And should you’re a artistic, sure apps akin to Closing Reduce Professional and Pixelmator are unique to Mac.

TLDR: Get the Floor Laptop computer Studio for a greater multitasking and gaming expertise; get the MacBook Professional should you’re deep within the Apple ecosystem or need higher artistic apps.

Mike Andronico/CNN

Neither of those laptops is affordable, however the Floor Laptop computer Studio is the extra inexpensive of the 2 with a starting price of $1,599. For that value, you’re getting an Intel Core i5 processor, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD) and Intel Iris X graphics — that’s first rate for on a regular basis efficiency, however you’re not getting numerous storage, and people built-in graphics gained’t assist a lot with demanding visible duties and PC video games.

The 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,999, which will get you an Apple M1 Professional chip with an 8-core CPU and 14-core GPU (the extra cores the higher, and there are just a few improve choices), 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. That’s fairly corresponding to the equally priced $2,099 Floor Laptop computer Studio configuration that has the identical quantity of RAM and storage, however there are some notable discrepancies. The MacBook Professional’s M1 Professional chip runs circles across the still-speedy Intel Core i7 you get within the Laptop computer Studio at this value, however this model of Microsoft’s pocket book additionally packs a devoted Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti graphics chip that may outperform the M1 Professional on sure duties.

If cash isn’t an object and also you wish to equipment your laptop computer out to oblivion, the MacBook Professional provides you extra room to take action. Apple’s laptop computer will be upgraded with the higher-end M1 Max processor for much more processing and graphics energy, as much as 64GB of RAM and as much as a whopping 8TB of storage, all of which might internet out to a hefty $5,899. In the meantime, the Floor Laptop computer Studio maxes out at a $3,099 configuration with a Core i7 processor, Nvidia RTX graphics, 32GB of RAM and 2TB of storage.

TLDR: Get the Floor Laptop computer Studio if you wish to pay a less expensive beginning value; go for the MacBook Professional if you wish to splurge on a number of processing energy and storage.

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