I took a huge risk when I sold my 13-inch MacBook Pro With Touch Bar in order to purchase the Surface Book 2. One month after owning Microsoft’s new 13.5-inch laptop (it also comes in a 15-inch version), I can say that this has been one of the best technology choices I have ever made.
The biggest fear I had was giving up macOS for Windows 10. I knew Microsoft has improved its latest operating system, but didn’t know what it would be like to use full time. After being stuck with the latest edition of Windows 10 for a month, I can say that the smoothness, ease-of-use, and speed is just as good as macOS. It’s obvious that Microsoft has moved past the divisivedays of Windows 8 and Windows Vista.
But the biggest draw of the Surface Book 2 over the 2017 MacBook Pro is the hardware. Yes, the MacBook Pro is lighter. But the Surface Book 2 is both a tablet and a laptop. Detaching the screen gives you a tablet that’s not only bigger than anything Apple has come out with, but it’s also as light as the 2nd generation iPad from 2011. And it runs full desktop apps.
Of course, once you attach the screen to the keyboard, the device weighs more than most ultra-portables of this size. But you also get truly all-day battery life. When streaming movies over Netflix on repeat with brightness levels set at 70 percent, Microsoft’s new Surface Book has produced over 10 hours of battery life, which is the most ever for a notebook of this size. My MacBook Pro with TouchBar produced almost seven hours of power, which is still great for a notebook as thin as light as Apple’s. But the Book 2 is an all-day device, and the MacBook Pro, no matter what Apple tells you, simply isn’t.
Although I was quite impressed with Apple’s new butterfly keyboard on the MacBook Pro, I can’t explain what a pleasure it has been to use full keys with travel again. The keyboard on the Surface Book 2 is the best one ever built. While the touchpad isn’t as fluid as the one on the MacBook Pro, it’s still ranks up there as one of the best.
Then, there’s the screen. The Book 2 has a screen that displays 260 pixels-per-inch (PPI), while the MacBook Pro’s screen displays 227 PPI. Those who say you can’t tell much of a difference on a 13 to 13.5-inch screen are clearly wrong; 4K videos are noticeably sharper on the Book 2. However, Apple’s screen has a better contrast ratio and more vivid colors. Apple’s screen also shines better in the sunlight.
There is one thing I do miss about the MacBook Pro — Final Cut Pro. I’m not a professional video editor, but I did use the software for editing personal videos. However, CyberLink PowerDirector on the Book 2 is actually easier to use than Final Cut Pro, although I would still prefer to use the latter if I could.
Finally, there’s the price. The 2017 13-inch MacBook Pro regularly costs $1799 with Touch Bar, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, a 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, and integrated Intel graphics. With my usual Microsoft discount (this is easy to get if you do just a little bit of research), I was able to get the 13.5-inch Surface Book 2 for the same price. My Book 2 includes a touchscreen, 8GB of RAM, a 256 GB SSD, an 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, and a discreet Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics chip.
I may not be considered the “coolest” guy on the block anymore without my artsy MacBook Pro with the shiny (but gimmicky) Touch Bar, but I am confident in knowing that I have the best 13-inch laptop on the market today.