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Surface Pro 7 vs MacBook Pro (2021): Splurge On A Premium Laptop Or Save With A 2-In-1?

Microsoft and Apple have been competitors for the longest time, constantly trying to outdo each other in terms of software and hardware. The Surface Pro 7 and the MacBook Pro are the most recent proof of this rivalry. While we may never be able to truly crown a winner between Microsoft and Apple, what we can do is help you figure out which laptop is better for you and your needs. Here’s an in-depth comparison of the Surface Pro 7 and the MacBook Pro, taking their design, display, specs, connectivity, and battery into consideration.

Surface Pro 7 vs MacBook Pro Comparison Chart

ModelSurface Pro 7MacBook Pro
 Microsoft Surface Pro 7 – 12.3' Touch-Screen - 10th Gen Intel Core i5 - 8GB Memory - 256GB SSD...2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) - Silver
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Screen Size12.3 inches13 inches
Display Resolution2,736 x 1,824 pixels2,500 x 1,600 pixels
CPUDual-core 10th generation Intel Core i3-1005G1Quad-core 8th generation Intel i5
RAM4GB8GB
SSD Storage128GB128GB
ConnectivityUSB-A 3.0 port, USB-C port, microSDXC card reader, and headphone jackHeadphone jack and Thunderbolt 3 ports
Dimensions11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33 inches11.97 x 8.36 x 0.59 inches
Weight1.7 pounds (2.4 pounds with Type Cover)3.02 pounds

Design

The MacBook Pro has a more premium build but the Surface Pro 7 boasts of a 2-in-1 design.

MacBook Pro vs Surface Pro 7 design
The MacBook Pro (right) is 100% laptop while the Surface Pro 7 (left) can double up as a tablet.

If you want to know what premium feels like, just hold the MacBook Pro. While it may not be the most stylish of the pack, there’s no denying that the MacBook Pro is an excellently built machine that feels solid and expensive to the touch. Kudos to Apple as well for improving the touchpad, good news for those who do a lot of surfing and browsing. But as with any laptop, the MacBook Pro does come with some design imperfections. The biggest one would have to be the butterfly keys which still aren’t very pleasant to use despite several revisions. They’re stiff and shallow and are known to break easily.

As for the Surface Pro 7, its design is a little bit of a letdown. While there are some improvements here and there, they’re not very noteworthy and the device is still left looking pretty dated. The bezels are still large and the screen real estate is still low so it’s definitely not a device that fits the ideal aesthetics of 2021. It’s not all bad though because the touchscreen is very enjoyable to use and easily beats that of other Windows laptops. If you do a lot of typing, you’ll be happy to know that its Type Cover is also fantastic and gives the MacBook Pro’s butterfly keys a run for their money.

Aside from its touchscreen and keys, another huge advantage that the Surface Pro 7 has over the MacBook Pro is its 2-in-1 design. Removing the Type Cover instantly turns it into a tablet, something that you simply can’t do with the MacBook Pro. So if portability and working on the go is a big deal to you, there’s no doubt that the Surface Pro 7 is the easier device to carry around.

Display

The MacBook Pro and Surface Pro 7 are neck and neck when it comes to screen displays.

MacBook Pro vs Surface Pro 7 display
The Surface Pro 7 (left) has a resolution of 2,736 x 1,824 pixels while the MacBook Pro (right) has 2,500 x 1,600 pixels.

MacBooks have always been praised for their amazing screen displays and the MacBook Pro is no exception to this. It gives you a respectable resolution of 2,500 x 1,600 pixels, plus it’s bright and high in contrast. Not to mention it supports an impressive range of colors that are represented accurately on screen.

While the Surface Pro 7’s screen is smaller at 12.3 inches, it’s able to boast of a higher display resolution of 2,736 x 1,824 pixels as well as a higher pixel density of 267 pixels per inch. The colors are vivid too which makes streaming even more enjoyable. While its display may not be as bright and dazzling as the MacBook Pro’s, the difference isn’t too significant.

Specs and Performance

The entry-level MacBook Pro has more impressive specs but you can always upgrade the Surface Pro 7 for a fraction of the price.

MacBook Pro vs Surface Pro 7 specs
The Surface Pro 7 (left) comes with 4GB of RAM while the MacBook Pro (right) has 8GB.

The entry-level Surface Pro 7 runs on the dual-core Intel Core i3-1005G1 CPU and gives you 128GB of SSD storage and 4GB of RAM. If your work demands a more powerful processor and bigger storage, you can always upgrade to the i5-1035G4 or i7-1065G7, bump up your RAM to 8GB or 16GB, and increase your SSD storage to a maximum of 1TB.

As for the MacBook Pro, the entry-level version now comes with a quad-core 8th generation Intel i5 processor as well as 8GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD storage. Not to mention it’s equipped with Intel Iris Plus Graphics 654 too. But if that’s still enough for you, you can choose to level up to the 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7 CPU with 16GB of RAM and 2TB of SSD storage.

The entry-level MacBook Pro is a lot heavier on the wallet than the entry-level Surface Pro 7. But as you can see, that extra $500 gets you double the amount of RAM as well as a much more capable processor. However, you can always upgrade the Surface Pro 7 and doing so will still cost less than buying the entry-level MacBook Pro. It’s worth noting as well that Microsoft has equipped the Surface Pro 7 with Intel’s 10th generation chip while the MacBook Pro only has the 8th.

Connectivity and Battery

It’s a tie when it comes to battery life but the Surface Pro 7 beats the MacBook Pro in connectivity.

MacBook Pro vs Surface Pro 7 connectivity
The Surface Pro 7 (left) has a USB-C port which is missing on the MacBook Pro (right).

When it comes to connectivity, you’re going to need quite a bunch of adapters if you’re using the MacBook Pro. It goes for the bare minimum, equipped with just a headphone jack and Thunderbolt 3 ports. As for the Surface Pro 7, you’ll have an easier time connecting external devices to it, thanks to its USB-A 3.0 port, USB-C port, microSDXC card reader, and headphone jack.

Battery-wise, both models leave plenty of room for improvement. For some reason, the MacBook Pro’s battery now has a smaller capacity than previous versions. The Surface Pro 7 got a battery downgrade as well, lasting around an hour less than its predecessor when it comes to web browsing. While both the MacBook Pro and the Surface Pro 7 should be able to get you through a decent number of working hours, you should definitely keep the power cord nearby.

Verdict

While the MacBook Pro is an impressive machine, the Surface Pro 7 wins when it comes to value for money.

Don’t get us wrong, the MacBook Pro is definitely up there with the best of the best. It’s sleek, it’s built to last, its display is out to impress, and it packs a lot of power. However, it does cost a lot of money so it’s not exactly accessible. Which is why the Surface Pro 7 is our winner for this comparison. Even though it’s a more affordable 2-in-1, it’s able to outperform other laptops in the same price range. It gets plus points too for being portable and easy to use. While you do have to buy additional accessories if you want to use it as a laptop, it still won’t cost as much as the MacBook Pro.

FAQs

📌 Which has better design, the MacBook Pro or the Surface Pro 7?

The MacBook Pro definitely looks and feels more premium but if you’re after portability, you’ll like the Surface Pro 7’s 2-in-1 design.

📌 Which has better screen display, the MacBook Pro or the Surface Pro 7?

It’s neck and neck when it comes to screen display. While the Surface Pro 7 has a higher display resolution, the MacBook Pro impresses with its brightness, high contrast, and vibrant color display.

📌 Which has better specs, the MacBook Pro or the Surface Pro 7?

The entry-level MacBook Pro has a more powerful processor and double the amount of RAM than the entry-level Surface Pro 7.

📌 Which should you buy, the MacBook Pro or the Surface Pro 7?

If you’re willing to shell out a hefty sum for a more premium design and a more powerful processor, the MacBook Pro is a good choice. But if you’re looking for value for money, go for the Surface Pro 7.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Denise Jose

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Researcher and yoga teacher passionate about article writing, photography, wellness, and mindfulness.