Surface Book vs Macbook: The Design Wars

By Erin Regan, Graphic Designer, Data#3 Limited

[Reading time: 2.53 mins]

David vs Goliath. Coca Cola vs Pepsi. Star Wars vs Star Trek. Throughout history there have been countless rivals, but none are more prevalent in the design world than the ongoing Apple vs Windows debate.

Both Microsoft and Apple have created enormous impact in the modern era with their revolutionary technologies, however for many designers, it has always been a clear-cut choice – Apple. This has stemmed from the Stone Age (i.e. the early 80’s) when Apple Macintosh was the first computer to truly allow for digital typography. It was also the platform that birthed Photoshop and thus, for its first two years of infancy, was only available on Apple Macintosh computers.

Photoshop (and the entire Adobe Creative Suite) has come a long way and has since been introduced into the Windows environment; however despite Window’s 89.23% global market share, it seems only a small fraction of this is attributable to the creative industry. I believe this is mostly due to inherited habits of naturally adopting Apple (for the aforementioned reasons) and/or personal preference. For several years, Apple have produced stylish and quality-designed machines in both the Macbook Pro and iMac. Their user-interface and OS work seamlessly with the Adobe Creative Suite and the aluminium body and Aurora Borealis wallpaper complements any hipster’s studio. On the other side of the fence, there have been a plethora of Windows devices over the years (thanks to Microsoft lending its OS to a wide array of vendors), however these devices have seemingly always fell short, despite most coming in at a fraction of the cost. Many of these devices often lacked the same aesthetic design and streamlined quality as Apple devices – that is until October 2015, when Microsoft took to the global stage and announced the release of their first ever laptop and greatest contender to the Macbook to date, the Surface Book.

The Surface Book is the coalescence of ultra-portability (weighing in at 1.5kg) and ultra-innovation (combining the weight of a tablet with the power of a high-end laptop). It is ounce for ounce the most powerful 13” device available on the market, with the top end model boasting an Intel i7 processor, a dedicated graphics card and a massive 16GB of RAM. Impressive numbers and specs aside; its major advantage over Apple devices lies in its detachable touchscreen and stylus. Technically a ‘laptop-tablet hybrid’, the Surface Book’s processing power combined with its touch screen capability means that you no longer have to rely on a drawing tablet for illustrative work and thus are able to create the next digital Sistine Chapel, on the go. The stylus pen has been designed to integrate with programs such as OneNote and Autodesk and for those creatively inclined, there is an option to purchase different pen tips. These have been designed to replicate the sensation of drawing with a different range of weighted leads.

The Surface Book operates on Windows 10 Pro, which has undergone several usability improvements – namely its specialised UI when switching between ‘tablet mode’ and ‘desktop mode’. Windows 10 is now running on over 300 million devices globally, with that number rapidly growing as more business are upgrading to the new operating system; and while Windows 10 is obviously different to OS X, this figure speaks for its usability and rapid adoption.

As a long-time, avid Mac fangirl, I’m feeling a little conflicted and confused that I’ve adapted so well to the Surface Book. And dare I even say it… I’ve perhaps even grown to love the Surface Book. We are living in an era of rapidly changing and evolving technologies and as more businesses are adopting Enterprise Mobility, being mobile is becoming more ubiquitous than ever and thus portability of devices is imperative to the modern-day worker. I genuinely believe laptop-tablet hybrids are going to pave the way of the future and the Surface Book is certainly a strong demonstration of this. To borrow a quote from Microsoft themselves, “I can be productive like a boss wherever I am now”, and that’s exactly how I feel using the device – Like. A. Boss (as I type this from 35,000ft in the air, in the cosy confines of my economy 17F seat).

Watch this space for an update on how my love affair has progressed after 30 blissful Autumn days together. In the meantime, feel free to chat or connect with me via LinkedIn or speak to us today about how you can take advantage of Microsoft Surface devices in your workplace.

Handy tip: If you’re afraid about tarnishing your street cred by sporting a non-mac, it’s so lightweight and portable that it will stow away effortlessly in your Herschel backpack.

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Tags: Microsoft, Microsoft Surface, Microsoft Surface Book