Operating Systems and Device Blog………
Operating Systems and Device Blog………

Surface Pro 3 vs MacBook Air

I use Windows 7 and 8.1, IOS, OSX, and Windows Phone 8.1 pretty much every day at work and at home.  I also use my Kindle Fire HD and Fire TV as needed for reading and movies (love Amazon Prime).  I’m a little obsessed with gadgets and rotate them through to keep up with the latest.  So I don’t write this as a single OS kind of person.

So looking at the MacBook Air vs Surface Pro 3 reviews was very interesting to me.  Microsoft compared the Surface Pro 3 to the MacBook Air in their marketing, and so many journalists that use MacBooks took the bait, most deciding the MacBook was better.  But I found some things they didn’t like in the reviews about the Surface Pro 3 to be not fully researched.


Seriously, some “tech” writers said the Surface Pro 3 does not have enough apps.  Have they only had a computer for a few years?  Just because and app is not curated in a store, does not mean it does not exist (except for IOS…).  For example, two apps I use daily are not available in the Windows Store – Amazon Music Player and Tweetdeck.  Both are available on the corresponding websites and easily installed for Windows 8.1 or OSX.  Apps are a non-issue for either.  In addition, most apps for Windows 7 and even some previous versions of windows will run on Windows 8.1, so if you can’t find an app that does what you want to do, you didn’t look very hard.


Yes, it is easier in some use cases to have a friction hinged laptop.  No question.  However, in the 24 hours so far with the Surface Pro 3, I’ve used it cross legged in my easy chair just like I use my MacBook Air.  Some positions are more comfortable with the Air and some with the Pro 3.  However, I can flip the keyboard behind the Surface and read or watch a movie without the keyboard in the way.  Plus for traveling, the Surface Pro 3 is about a pound lighter than the MacBook Air. The Pro 3 will be my travel laptop, and I’ll continue to use both at home.

I also find that even with the tradeoffs between the adjustable stand for the Surface Pro 3 and friction hinges found in other laptops with touchscreens (not the MacBooks since they don’t have touch), the Surface touchscreen is more stable in use because it is supported from behind. The screen does not “rattle” when touching it.  Different, but does have some advantages over friction hinged laptops.


The MacBook Air keyboard is more solid when used in the lap, but so far I can type just as fast with either.  It is a matter of preference whether one likes the raised “chiclet” style on the Mac or the flush side-by-side keys. Not a big issue to me even as a touch typist. Trackpad / TouchpadThis is the biggest miss by almost every review I’ve seen comparing the MacBook Air vs the Surface Pro 3. Yes – the touchpad / trackpad on every MacBook made in the last couple of years is best in class.  No one else seems to have the software, hardware, and OS integrated as well as Apple in the MacBook touchpads / trackpads.  But the entire screen of the Surface Pro 3 is a giant touchpad! How can one miss that?  When using my MacBook Air I keep touching the screen and nothing happens. And the Surface Pro 3 comes with a smaller than MacBook but still responsive touchpad in the click on keyboard for use with desktop apps.  And don’t forget the new and improved Surface pen as a pointing device.

Killer App for Surface Pro 3

The new killer app for the Surface Pro 3 is OneNote.  I have a couple of handwriting apps I use with a stylus on my iPad, but they seem pretty weak now compared to OneNote and the Surface Pro 3 pen.  This is an app / pen combo I will use every day, for work and home.  My OneDrive accounts for home and for work roll right into OneNote, but maintain separation.  Very sweet and seamless.  Modern life is blended between work and home. Email, communication, documentation, and customers overlap hours at home.  If the tools I use are not seamless, I just have to spend more time at the office.  The Surface Pro 3 will not make me throw away my MacBook Air, and I still like some of the OSX apps better than their Windows counterparts. But the Surface Pro 3 will be in my backpack and my MacBook Air will stay at home.

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