Surface Laptop Studio vs MacBook Pro: Can Microsoft beat Apple?

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Microsoft unveiled the Surface Laptop Studio recently, with a new hinge mechanic designed specifically for creators.

But how does the Surface Laptop Studio stand up when compared to the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro?

While we are yet to review either laptop, we’ve rounded up all the specs, features and design quirks so you can find out which is the best laptop for you. Check out the major differences below.

Intel or M1?

The latest 13-inch MacBook Pro comes with the M1 chip , while the larger 16-inch model is still using Intel’s 10th Generation H-Series Intel Core processor.

Meanwhile, the Surface Laptop Studio packs Intel’s 11th Generation H-Series processor, which is designed for heavy workloads.

It’s hard to compare the performances of these laptops without testing them ourselves, but we know this Intel chip is designed for intensive workloads, while the M1 prioritises battery life more.

The M1 is no slouch of course, and offers a leading performance for ultra-portable laptops. But if high-end content creation is your focus, then you may want something else, or at least wait for the launch of the M1X MacBook Pro.

The more important factor here is that the Surface Laptop Studio features a dedicated GPU, while the 13-inch MacBook Pro does not. This makes the former the better option for graphics work.

Windows 11 is available

Since Microsoft has been working on Windows 11, it’s no surprise to see that the company’s newest laptop features the operating system. Windows 11 features a more streamlined layout, a seemingly macOS-inspired central taskbar and app dock.

The MacBook Pro will, of course, be running on Apple’s macOS software, with Big Sur being the latest iteration.

There isn’t really a winner here, as personal preference will play a role. But Apple owners will have better integration with macOS, with integrated apps like iMessage and Facetime coming pre-packaged on the MacBook.

You can move the hinged screen

The Surface Laptop Studio doesn’t feature a detachable screen, unlike the Surface Book 3, but instead uses a hinge you can slide the panel on top of the keyboard.

The MacBook Pro is more traditional, with the 13.3-inch screen directly connected to the keyboard. There isn’t even a touchscreen here, so you won’t be able to sketch or draw on the display with a stylus.

Higher refresh rate

The Surface Laptop Studio has a refresh rate that can climb as high as 120Hz, which should result in a smoother and more fluid experience than a standard display when scrolling through applications or using the web.

The MacBook Pro caps out at 60Hz, similar to a lot of the higher-end laptops currently available. That’s not really a surprise though, since Apple’s laptop doesn’t have a touchscreen and isn’t designed for gaming.

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