Microsoft Surface Book 2 Could Seriously Hurt MacBook Pro Sales [Opinion]

Microsoft is about to release the long-awaited Surface Book 2, which early reviews suggest is a major improvement over the bug-infested Surface Book that was released in 2015. Engadget calls it “the sequel we’ve been waiting for.”

“As you’d expect, both Surface Book 2 laptops [13-inch and 15-inch] handled just about everything I threw at them, be it dozens of browser tabs while streaming video or games like Minecraft.”

The review adds that not only is the hinge less wobbly, but the battery life has indeed improved as well. According to the Surface Book 2 page on Microsoft’s site, a lower-end version starts at $1,499, while the higher-end versions cost $3,000 or more. But whatever Surface Book you choose, it may be worth the high price. There are many reasons why the Surface Book 2 could make the 2017 MacBook Pro irrelevant. Let’s take a look.

Touch Screen Instead of Gimmicky Touch Bar

Let’s face it; the reason why Apple’s new MacBook Pro costs more than it should is because of the touch bar, which has been nothing but a gimmick. Yes, the OLED touch bar strip looks good, but it’s useless. Everything you can do on the Touch Bar you can do by touching the screen or using the keyboard on the Surface Book 2.

Speaking of touching the screen, how come Apple hasn’t included a touch screen on their notebooks like Microsoft has done over the past five years? Consumers want it, and the fact that the Surface line has sold very well is proof of this. A touch screen makes everything feel more natural, and it’s hard to go back to a non-touch screen after you use one.

Microsoft Pen

In 2011, Steve Jobs was quoted as saying that he still believes that customers don’t want a stylus. Not only did Samsung prove him wrong with the release of the Galaxy Note, but the Microsoft Pen also has been one of the huge selling factors of the Surface line. If you ask anybody who owns a Surface Pro or Surface Book, they’ll tell you that they love using the Microsoft Pen to take notes, draw, and do other things. It’s not as capable as the Apple Pencil, but you can’t use Apple’s drawing device on its notebooks anyway.

Detachable Screen

Touch Bar MacBook Pro
The MacBook Pro with Touch Bar doesn't have a touch screen or one that detaches from the base. [Image by Daryl Deino]

Okay, owners of the 2015 Surface Book may be laughing at this. After all, they got used to hearing the death rattle noise every time they tried to detach the screen, which had its own battery life that was very poor. But early reviews say that the screen detaches a lot easier on the Surface Book 2, which you can use as your own tablet. The battery life has also greatly improved.

If you have the new 15-inch version of the Surface Book 2, detaching the 15-inch screen and using it as a tablet will be very cumbersome. But hey, at least you have the option, right?

8th Generation CPU

With the exception of the entry-level version, all Surface Book 2 devices will run on Intel’s 8th generation Kaby Lake-R processors. This is significant because the new processors are not only faster and have better battery life, but they have four cores on them as well. This is significant for people who play graphic-intense games, edit 4K videos, and do other power-hungry tasks.

Higher Resolution Screen

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro devices all have a 2560 x 1600 pixel resolution screen (227 ppi), and the new 15-inch MacBook Pro notebooks have a 2880 x 1800 pixel resolution screen (220 ppi). Compare that to the 13.5-inch Surface Book 2, which has a 3,000 x 2,000 display (267 ppi), and the 15-inch one that has a 3,240 x 2,160 (260 ppi) display.

Apple’s notebooks, however, are known for having the best contrast ratio of any laptops. Still, you’ll be able to see the greater details in 4K videos on the Surface Book 2 than you would on the MacBook Pro.

Better Bang for Your Buck

This may be the most important reason why the Surface Book 2 could take over the market share from the MacBook Pro. Let’s compare the 13-inch Pro at $1,999 to the same-priced Book 2. For that price, the MacBook Pro runs a 7th generation i5 processor, has 8GB RAM, and 512GB of storage. It doesn’t have a discreet GPU. For the same price, you can get a Surface Book 2 that has an 8th generation quad core i8 processor and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX discreet CPU.

It’s true that this version of the the Surface Book 2 has a 256 SSD compared to the MacBook Pro’s 512 SSD. With cloud storage, that shouldn’t matter much. At this price, both devices should include 16GB of RAM instead of 8GB.

Conclusion

You may be a die-hard Mac user who wouldn’t dare go to “the other side” regardless of the price difference. But if you haven’t given the latest version of Windows 10 a try, you should. Shockingly, Microsoft’s latest operating system is just as simple to use as Apple’s.

This isn’t to disparage Apple, who still makes fantastic notebooks and offers impeccable customer service. However, Apple is behind the times. The Surface Book 2 represents the notebook of the future — one that is right around the corner.

[Featured Image by Michel Euler/AP Images]