Miscellaneous Opinion Technology

Surface Laptop vs. MacBook: Which Should You Buy?

Surface Laptop 2 is a significant improvement on its predecessor. In particular, the computer boasts better speeds and a revamped keyboard. 

However, Surface Laptop 2 is not alone in the market that boasts spectacular specs. The MacBook Air is a worthy competitor, and it almost seems like the Surface Laptop 2 will have a hard time fighting for the top spot.

Both the Surface Laptop and MacBook Air are not what you can call affordable, especially when you throw-in such specs as a 1TB SSD and Intel Core i7 CPU. But which ultra-portable is best for you?

The Design

Both the Surface Laptop 2 and MacBook Air have an exceptionally slim design that any technological junkie will find quite attractive. 

The sleek matte chassis on Surface Laptop 2 is available in stunning shades of Cobalt Blue, Black, Platinum, and Burgundy. 

On the other hand, MacBook Air Comes with a softer finish on 100% recycled aluminum. The available colors include space grey, gold, and silver. MacBook Air has more rounded corners that make it seem attractive and approachable. The build quality and design are characteristically Apple’s. The brand has a reputation for exceptional design. 

The bezels on both MacBook Air and Surface Laptop 2 are quite similar in that they are both Slim. However, that is as much as the similarities in the interiors go. In other respects, they are quite different.

The Alcantara fabric on Surface Laptop 2 is responsible for making typing so pleasurable. In contrast, MacBook Air comes with an aluminum interior and an oversized touchpad that seems better than its counterpart.

The difference in weight and size between the two machines is negligible. MacBook Air measures 12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches and is 2.8 pounds in weight. The dimensions of Surface Laptop 2 are 12.1 x 8.8 x 0.6 inches, and it weighs 2.7 pounds. 


The size of the display and the resolution varies between the two laptops. While MacBook Air is 13.3 inches, the Surface Laptop 2 is 13.5 inches. Surface Laptop 2 is a bit wider but not by much. However, you may notice the difference in resolution between the two devices.

The Surface Laptop has a resolution of 2256 x 1504 while MacBook Air boasts a better 2560 x 1600 resolution. 

Testing the two laptops gets different results from the display. For example, the Surface Laptop is brighter than its counterpart. Furthermore, the viewing angles on Surface Laptop 2 are much better than on MacBook Air. You may notice a 45° darkening on MacBook Air and nothing on Surface Laptop 2.

And even though both laptops have clear and crisp screens, Surface Laptop 2 comes out on top when it comes to displaying quality. The eGPU On MacBook Air is quite an interesting feature; it makes it possible to install a graphics card that is meant for desktops, thereby improving the graphics performance. 


Both high-end laptops seem to skimp on connection ports. However, they serve different users, or in other words, needs.

The Surface Laptop 2 has a mini DisplayPort, Type A-port, and USB 3.0. There’s also a surface connection port and 3.5 mm audio jack. In contrast, MacBook Air has 3.5 mm audio jack, and USB C thunderbolt ports. 

And since the Surface Laptop 2 has type an A USB port, it is more accommodating for a wide variety of peripherals. This type of USB port is universal. The mini DisplayPort on Surface Laptop 2 is a great addition. However, that does not mean it has an advantage over the MacBook Air. The Thunderbolt 3 ports can also be used to connect displays.

It is important to Note that the Thunderbolt 3 port and the USB C Port make MacBook Air compatible with the next generation of peripherals. It is future proof in terms of connectivity. 

Keyboard and Touchpad

It may take some time to transition into the Mac OS environment, especially with the keyboard and TouchPad that the MacBook Air has. And even though the buttons are well-spaced, the butterfly switches that yield a key travel of up to 0.6 mm may not be sufficient.

In contrast, you get a very comfortable Palm rest with Surface Laptop 2. The typing is also comfortable and seamless. And even though Key Travel is 1.0 millimeters, the typing experience is exceptional.

The only apparent shortcoming is the Alcantara material that tends to get dirty quickly. 

The touchpad on MacBook Air is larger and has haptic feedback that makes the experience of using the machine better. The Surface Laptop 2 has a smaller touchpad with clicks that do not match those of MacBook Air. Therefore, MacBook Air wins when it comes to the touchpad.


The Intel Core i5-8210Y CPU on MacBook Air is inferior to the Intel Core i5-8250U processor in Surface Laptop 2. The Y-series chip has two cores while the U-series has four and that explains the difference in performance.

In terms of raw performance, stats on Gadget Lounge show that MacBook Air has a score of slightly above 7800 while the Surface Laptop is above 12000. The graphics from MacBook Air are less compared to the Surface Laptop 2. However, it still boasts a decent performance compared to its predecessors. 

The battery performance is the same between the two laptops, but you have to give credit to the Surface Laptop 2 since it uses the U-series chip which draws a lot of power compared to the Y-series. Both the MacBook Air and Surface Laptop 2 have batteries that can last as long as 9 hours, and even beyond.


Both the Surface Laptop 2 and MacBook Air are exceptional machines, and they have great specs between them. And even though MacBook Air performs quite well, it is still playing catch-up to the Surface Laptop 2. Therefore, the Surface Laptop 2 emerges as the clear winner based on the display performance and keyboard. That is without considering that MacBook Air has a higher entry price.

About the author


Raymond Negron

Raymond Negron is a computer graduate and a successful entrepreneur from Alice, USA. He runs an electronics gadget shop and happily married with a son.