Fair enough, but lets be fair about everything in between. Microsoft was late to the PC hardware game and the first round of Surface notebooks did not sell too well. Meanwhile, as the PC industry was figuring out that touchscreen notebooks and desktops might have a market worth exploring, Apple chugged along with record Mac sales for years.
Then, almost without warning, and after a number of stutter starts to get it right, touchscreen PCs and notebooks became a trending topic and Microsoft became the darling hardware vendor (a status that Microsoft’s PC vendors probably do not appreciate).
Microsoft Surface fanboy Jake Swearington tells the tale of Apple’s highly touted and much criticized “What’s a Computer?” TV commercial:
It was aggravating for a lot of reasons — that kid knew what a computer is, damn it! — but it was especially eye-rolling for anybody who has actually tried to use an iPad Pro as a full-time computer.
Agreed. But Apple was trying to make a simple point, one that resonates well with customers who like the freedom and simplicity of a tablet, but not all the complexity of a traditional PC notebook.
Computers are bleh. iPads are sweet. But only if you don’t want the complexity of a PC operating system.
From the funky way iOS handles file storage to the fact that the iPad Pro keyboard doesn’t have a trackpad, the iPad Pro is fantastic tablet but a poor laptop — I’d never recommend anyone use it for a full-time work machine.
That, of course, depends upon what kind of work you do. An iPad is not a Mac or a Windows PC. Likewise, a Windows PC is not a tablet. It’s a computer.
The Surface Pro, meanwhile, is a good tablet and a great laptop — lightweight, long battery life, and with enough processing power to do most of what you need to do, unless your work involves a lot of high-end graphics processing.
No, the Surface Pro or Surface Go or anything Surface is not a good tablet. As a tablet, they all are anemic at best and the iPad is The Gold Standard. But it doesn’t matter. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then capability is in the eye of the critic.
Most of the non-Surface Pro– translate that as anemic power— touchscreen notebook tablet hybrids are merely lame and underpowered PCs, bred of the netbook era, incapable of doing what Macs do.
If there’s anything that I might recommend over a Surface Pro to a dissatisfied MacBook user, though, it would be the clamshell Surface Laptop 2. It can go toe-to-toe with anything being put out by high-end PC manufacturers like HP or Dell. The screen looks beautiful, its battery life is impressive, and it’s lightweight and sports an impressive amount of battery life, all for $999.
That’s not a tablet. It’s a notebook with a touchscreen that seldom gets used, as always, priced a few hundred dollars less than a comparable MacBook but when has that not always been the case? To be fair, Microsoft has stuck with an expanded the Surface line to include an iMac-like Surface Studio 2 from $3,499, but the rest of the line seems to bump into itself or overlap between models.
For example, the aforementioned Surface Laptop 2 is $999 while the Surface Pro 6 is $899. The pro level Surface Book 2 is the closest to a MacBook Pro model and similarly priced starting at $1,199. It’s Touch Bar vs touchscreen, folks; otherwise, it’s Intel Inside.
If you really want to see what rabid fanfolk can do to a brand, check out Daniel Eran Dilger’s piece on the double-standard Apple has to deal with when Surface PCs are compared to the Mac line.