Microsoft Takes on M1 MacBook Pro in New Surface Ad

Posted on January 25, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Mac and macOS, Microsoft Surface with 112 Comments

Microsoft not so subtly mocks the new M1-based MacBook pro in a video ad that designed to look like it was made by a typical YouTube vlogger.

“Today we have the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 and the MacBook Pro,” the video’s young host announces upfront as if introducing a non-biased product comparison instead of an advertisement.

And you can tell things are going to go off in a certain direction when the first topic discussed is touch and pen, two features that are central to Surface Pro and missing from the MacBook Pro. Well, mostly.

“Surface comes with a pen,” the host incorrectly notes: Actually, Surface Pro 7 does not come with a Surface Pen, a fact that is mentioned in tiny type in a disclaimer as he speaks. “Mac gave me this little bar,” he says, noting the MBP’s Touch Bar, “but … why can’t they just give me a whole touchscreen?”

Another Surface Pro advantage cited in the ad is its removable keyboard, while “you’re just stuck with what you got” with the Mac. But the MacBook Pro keyboard and touchpad come with the computer. With Surface Pro 7, you need to buy a Type Cover separately at an additional cost, just as with Surface Pen.

Surface Pro also has the “power to run all your apps,” where apparently the Mac does not, and “it is a much better gaming device.” I’m not sure I’d call either a gaming device of any kind other than casual, but whatever.

And then there’s the price. According to the ad, the MacBook Pro costs $1299, while the Microsoft Surface Pro, which normally costs a crossed-out $1130, can now be had for just $890 on sale. Hm. Looking at the Surface website, I can see that all Surface Pro models except for the base Core i3 model are now on sale, and so I assume the $890 quoted in the ad is the Core i5/8 GB/128 GB model, normally $899.99, but now on sale for $699.99, plus a Signature Type Cover, which is also on sale, now for $119.99. Add $63.99 for Surface Pen, and you land right at $883.97.

As the disclaimer notes in tiny type, this offer is good through January 31 on select Surface Pro 7 PCs.

Where you land on this comparison will depend on your needs and experience. But having used both of these devices, I’d honestly prefer the MacBook Pro (or the less expensive MacBook Air, which is just $999): It has a bigger display, a better keyboard and touchpad, and double the disk space. And Apple’s M1 chipset has proven to be a compatibility and performance champ for the most part. I do prefer Windows to macOS, but the Surface Pro is a bit too small and constrained for my needs.

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