Comparing the MacBook Air 2018 to the Microsoft Surface Pro 6
It’s no secret that I’m an Apple AND a Surface “fanboy”, and now in this Digital Smackdown Comparison, I’m going to compare the two face to face and see which one might be the better option for you.
While there are a lot of articles and videos comparing the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 against the iPad pro, that is not a fair comparison at all. The iPad Pro is a very good device, but with its mobile operating system, it’s still not a computer, or even a computer replacement, at least yet.
The Surface Pro 6 runs a desktop operating system, as opposed to a mobile operating system (IOS). Not that you can’t do many of the same functions, for example, I can use Microsoft Word on both, but it is not a true comparison, and while IOS is fantastic for a phone, it’s still lacking as a complete computing solution.
The new MacBook Air 2018 is the best comparison and sparring partner for the Microsoft Surface Pro 6. So let’s start with…
The design – Both devices are stunning. Apple has always retained its industrial design and the new MacBook is surely not lacking in the looks department. It would definitely score some free drinks at the bar. The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is also a stunning design, especially in the more expensive matte black version. Even the boring silver still turns heads. While both are gonna’ get free drinks, I’m still more attracted to the Surface Pro 6. It has a more modern design overall. Truly this is the machine that Apple should have made.
The Operating System – Let’s face it, die-hard Apple fans will ignore this article because they love the Apple ecosystem. And they have a good point. Everything in “Apple-land” works together. Your phone, your tablet, and your computer are all extensions of the same system. Photos on your phone show up on your computer. It’s much easier. It’s also much safer in terms of viruses and privacy. Windows has the advantage of being much more universal. Even now you still have more software programs which work on windows machines, and even if they are available on the Mac, they probably work just a little better on the windows machine. A lot of companies have software designed specifically for windows machines so corporations might lean towards the windows operating system. As far as safety goes, keep your virus protection updated, don’t download photos of celebrities or respond to phishing attempts and you should be just fine.
The Touch Screen – It’s 2019, and you would think every device has a touchscreen. Maybe the “innovative’ apple missed that text. Signing a digital document? Not on the MacBook. Touching up a report and making notes on the side with arrows and such, again not on the MacBook. So its a 100% win for the Microsft Surface Pro 6 and a 100% loss for the MacBook Air 2018.
The Screen Size – It’s about even here, but with a slight edge for the Microsoft Surface Pro 6. The MacBook Air 2018’s screen is slightly larger at 13.3 inches vs. the 12.3 display. However, the screen size is not the whole picture. What matters just as much is the resolution. The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 resolution of 2736 X 1824 which works out to be 267 PPI, versus the MacBook Air 2018’s resolution of 2560 X 1600 pixels which works out to be a lower density of 227 PPI (pixels per inch). It’s not a huge difference on either machine. Both, by the way, are much sharper than their competitors, after all, they are premium machines. Another measurement of both screens is their relative brightness expressed in ‘nits’. The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 puts out 408 nits, while the MacBook Air 2018 only puts out a max of 300 nits. That means if you operate your computer in a very bright environment, say at the beach, or with the sun shining thru the window at work or the coffee shop, you might have a more difficult time seeing the screen on the MacBook.
The Ports – The MacBook Air 2018 comes with 2 USB-C Thunderbolt Ports and a headphone jack (hooray!). While you’re going to use one of them for charging, the other one is a modern choice to use with an ever-growing amount of peripherals like monitors, memory devices and much more. Of course, dongles can expend these ports much further, but I’m just talking here about what is actually on the machine itself. The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 lacks a USB-C Thunderbolt Port. which is absurd in this day and age for a premium device, and we are expecting a USB-C port for the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 according to rumors. In the meantime, the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 also has a headphone jack, but it additionally has a micro SD card reader, so you can expand the memory relatively cheaply, or switch it out from a camera or other device. It also has a dedicated power port, the type cover port, and a mini display port. So you’re getting a much better selection, with the exception of the USB-C Thunderbolt port. If you want more options and more memory go with the Surface, but for a more modern port, go for the Macbook.
Memory and RAM – Both machines are exactly the same in their entry-level options, 8GB of RAM and a 128 solid state drive.
Size and portability – While the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is just slightly smaller than the MacBook Air 2018, I’ll also give this a rating of about the same.
The Verdict – Obviously if your a fan of the Mac OS, or a fan of Windows your decision is already made. The price might make a difference, I’ve seen the entry-level Microsoft Surface Pro 6 for as low as $800 with the keyboard (usually it’s an extra charge). I’ve seen the MacBook Air 2018 for as low as $1000. But clearly, the MacBook is going to be the more expensive of the two. The “Apple-Tax” always matters.
I hope I’ve given my version of the facts as you go in your purchasing journey. Whichever option you choose, at least you know that both companies believe in quality and performance, so both are great machines.
*Photos from Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Pixel Photos.
Leonard Goffe is an author, writer, and journalist based in South Florida. He is available for your public relations, content development, WordPress design, SEO and technical writing needs.
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