Microsoft made some pretty bold claims when it unveiled its latest Surface Pro 3 tablet-laptop hybrid on Tuesday. Without a doubt one of the biggest claims was that the Surface Pro 3 will outperform Apple's Macbook Air 13in laptop in close to every way.
Considering the popularity and very recent refresh of the Macbook Air line, many buyers have been left wondering whether the Surface Pro 3 has the on-paper specifications to make good on Microsoft's claim.
Surface Pro 3: 292x201x9.1mm, 800g
Macbook Air 13in: 320x227x17mm, 1.35kg
Apple has constantly prided itself on the Macbook Air designs, claiming that they are among the lightest and most elegant laptops in in the world. Aware of this, Microsoft has looked to outdo Apple, designing the Surface Pro 3 to be lighter and thinner than the Macbook Air 13in.
Surface Pro 3: 12in ClearType Full HD screen with 2160x1440 resolution
Macbook Air 13in: 13.3in LED-backlit glossy widescreen with 1440x900 resolution
Microsoft has made a lot of claims about the Surface Pro 3's 12in screen, one of the most interesting of which is that, despite being smaller, it will let users view and interact with "six percent more content than they can on a 13in Macbook Air". This is apparently due to its custom 3:2 aspect ratio and, if true, will make the Surface Pro 3's display one of the best currently available on a laptop-tablet hybrid.
Surface Pro 3: Windows 8.1
Macbook Air 13in: Mac OS X Maverick
Both the Surface Pro 3 and Macbook Air 13in run on the latest version of their respective companies' operating systems. This makes picking which is better difficult as the answer is determined mainly by user preference and the ecosystem in which they are already embedded.
Surface Pro 3: Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 options
Macbook Air 13in: Intel Core i5 and i7 options
The Surface Pro 3 comes with more varied chip options than the Macbook Air, being the only one of the two currently available running Intel's affordable Core i3 as well as its more premium Core i5 and Core i7 processors.
Surface Pro 3: 5MP and 1080p HD front- and rear-facing
Macbook Air 13in: 720p FaceTime HD front-facing
The Surface Pro 3 is the only one of the two devices to come with a rear camera. However, considering our experience using previous tablet cameras, we're not holding out high hopes regarding the Surface Pro 3's imaging quality.
Surface Pro 3: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB internal storage options
Macbook Air 13in: 128GB or 256GB internal storage options
The Surface Pro 3 comes with a more diverse range of storage options than the Macbook Air 13in. The two devices are also evenly matched when it comes to price, with the 128GB Core i5 model of the Surface Pro 3 and Macbook Air 13in both costing £850. However, for those willing to sacrifice a bit on storage and performance, the Surface Pro 3 is the more affordable option, with the 64GB Intel Core i3 model costing a more modest £639.
Surface Pro 3: Up to nine hours
Macbook Air 13in: Up to 12 hours
On paper the Macbook 13in easily beats the Surface Pro 3 and will last a full three hours longer on one charge.
On paper there is a lot to like about the Surface Pro 3, even when compared with Apple's ever popular Macbook 13in. However, being powered by Windows 8.1, an operating system that is far from universally loved even by diehard Microsoft fans, many may still opt for Apple's current flagship Air laptop irrespective of the two devices' hardware when the Surface Pro 3 is released this August.
Check back with V3 later this year for a full review of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3.
By V3's Alastair Stevenson
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