There are so many reviews and comparisons of these two stellar laptops out there that do a great job of spelling out all the specs and such I wanted to offer a real-world usage comparison of both the operating systems and the hardware together.
In full disclosure, I used to be a PC guy. I grew up on Windows and used that OS my entire professional career. However, several years ago when we began selling the crap out of Apple computers (which eventually overtook our PC sales) I figured I had to try one to see what all the hype is about. I assumed I'd suffer through it for a week if I could last that long and eagerly jump back to my PC. Well.. that never happened. I've become a happy Mac fan and never regretted it.
Then Microsoft sent us a demo unit of their Surface Book so I had to try it. This, after all, as a 2:1 laptop/ tablet is supposed to save the PC industry I couldn't resist.
Out of the box its very nice. Well constructed and feels nice in your hands. The packaging looks similar to a Mac too.
Setup was simple enough, much better than previous versions of Windows that involved countless downloaded updates before the computer would be "complete". It did foce me to pull the stylus out of the box, something I don't see myself ever using. My first and only complaint about the look and feel of it is the touchpad. While its larger than most other PC laptops and functions very well, it didn't feel elegant. Its a bit rough to the touch adding some friction to every swipe. To me, Apple has mastered the touchpad in both performance and feel.
After installing Office 365 and my favorite browser I was up and running. Setting up email was almost as easy as the Mac and after getting use to how the multiple desktops work in Windows 10 I was zooming right along. I have to say though, MS Office does work better on the PC than it does on a Mac...
One thing right off the bat, I miss the Apple OS X gestures. I did a quick Google search for Windows 10 gestures and found them to be limited in Windows 10. Maybe I didn't look hard enough, but I spent about as much time on it as I did initially with OS X. Something so fundamental should be intuitive and quick to figure out.
People have complained about the keyboard on Apple's 12" MacBook. I for one don't mind it and have even gotten used to it. The Keyboard on the Surface Book felt clunky and old fashion in comparison.
One feature that stood out for Windows 10 is the Hello feature that if enabled, recognizes you as the authorized user using the video camera. No password required. After posting this article, I'll be looking for an app for my Mac to do the same thing. It seemed odd at first, but became a welcome feature.
One of the key selling features of the Surface Book is that the screen detaches from the keyboard and becomes a standalone tablet. While a 2 for 1 deal is always a good thing, I find that Microsoft still has some work to do for tablet use. To keep it short, I had trouble with simple things like using my finger to "click" on a link and I couldn't for the life of me highlight a word on a webpage and copy it even though it was a snap on my iPad. I do have to say though, that while my MacBook runs real cool, the nicest thing about the Surface Book is all the electronics are in the screen, meaning when you're using it as a laptop, none of the heat is on your lap.
Overall though, I have to keep with my MacBook. I'm a heavy multi-tasker and OS X is much more efficient for me and the MacBook has a better construction and feel for the money.
If you're still undecided, read our Hands on Review of the 12” Apple iPad Pro vs Microsoft Surface Book
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