Surface Pro 2 or Heavily discounted MacBook

mikey71497

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If you had a choice, which would you choose. A MS Surface Pro 2 or a MacBook (air/pro) heavily discounted. No its not stolen, yes, it would be brand new in the box. e.g. 2013 MacBook Air, Core i7, 8gb of Ram 256 SSD 13", Retail 1400ish for 800 cash.

use of the device would be for when I travel for work, travel with family on vacation and at home for youtube, web surfing, streaming content from my home media servers. Currently I have a WP Lumia 928 and the wife has a iPhone 5s. I will be switching back to iPhone come March. We do have a iPad 4 with retina and wifi/LTE. I also have a Lenovo W530 work laptop and personal Dell Latitude E6520. Really looking to get something light, and portable.

Help!
 

limitedaccess

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In my opinion the main selling feature of the Surface Pro is primarily the pen input and wacom digitizer. This is followed then by the tablet form factor and x86 Windows ecosystem. If none of these appeal to you I wouldn't really consider the Surface Pro at all.

In this case I would pick the MacBook Air simply based upon the value (market value) you are getting for what you are paying. Keep in mind the Air is actually lighter and has better battery life. The main trade off you get with going with the Air (aside from the previously mentioned) is the display quality. I actually considered a MacBook Air (a large part due to resale value) but the display really put me off.

Which Surface 2 Pro SKU are you comparing to?
 

mikey71497

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it would be the lowest model Pro 2. 64G I think? I dont need much local storage as I have servers at home that all my content/files reside on. I also have VPN access into my home network from the outside world so having my own "cloud" if you will make it easy for me to grab my data on the fly. screen resolution is not a huge concern for me.
 

wonderfield

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On the subject of display quality, you may want to do some research on the Surface to determine whether Microsoft removed/fixed the adaptive brightness feature from its predecessor. The Surface has a very high quality display, but the original Surface Pro's adaptive brightness feature is excessively annoying in use.

Otherwise, I don't have any specific recommendation.
 

heatlesssun

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Adaptive brightness is flaky on any number of Windows devices or even standalone monitors that support it. It is easy enough to disable in Windows 8.1 fortunately.
 

Aurelius

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Given how immersed you are in the Apple ecosystem, the MacBook Air makes more sense to me. The display isn't spectacular, but you're otherwise getting a tremendous system for the money. The battery life is off the charts, storage is very responsive, and there'll be tighter integration. Sending map directions to your future iPhone, for example.
 

limitedaccess

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Basically unless the pen support and tablet form factor is a real draw for you the Macbook Air makes more sense. In your case you are getting a much higher end configuration for the same price. The largest draw back cited with Macs is basically the high entry price for the specs but in your case this is basically offset. There is also the serviceability factor but in this case the Surface Pro is actually worse. Even if you need the Windows ecosystem you have Bootcamp.

Keep in mind the Air is actually lighter and has better battery life so it is more portable in some way despite not being a tablet. Also having a large rigid base does make it easier to use as an actual laptop (on lap) for keyboarding compared to the Surface Pro.

The Air's display isn't bad per say, it is just low resolution and a TN (Viewing angles are actually pretty good for a TN from what I've seen). It actually is better calibrated out of the box than the Surface Pros I believe. But it is disappointing when Apple's product line in general is high resolution IPS display. My problem was I could already picture the "argh" frustration if they introduce a MacBook Air Retina next year :p
 

450

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Surface, easily. Mainly because it can be your desktop/laptop replacement and replace the iPad all at the same time. I'd rather just have one machine that can do it all, as opposed to multiple machines.
 

heatlesssun

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Basically unless the pen support and tablet form factor is a real draw for you the Macbook Air makes more sense. In your case you are getting a much higher end configuration for the same price. The largest draw back cited with Macs is basically the high entry price for the specs but in your case this is basically offset. There is also the serviceability factor but in this case the Surface Pro is actually worse. Even if you need the Windows ecosystem you have Bootcamp.

Keep in mind the Air is actually lighter and has better battery life so it is more portable in some way despite not being a tablet. Also having a large rigid base does make it easier to use as an actual laptop (on lap) for keyboarding compared to the Surface Pro.

The Air's display isn't bad per say, it is just low resolution and a TN (Viewing angles are actually pretty good for a TN from what I've seen). It actually is better calibrated out of the box than the Surface Pros I believe. But it is disappointing when Apple's product line in general is high resolution IPS display. My problem was I could already picture the "argh" frustration if they introduce a MacBook Air Retina next year :p

A few things. The 13" MBA isn't lighter than the SP2 even with a keyboard. And the MBA displays just aren't that good. Not sure why Apple continues to use TN displays in devices in this price range. And the second position for the kickstand does help with lapability according to a lot of folks.
 

mikey71497

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I am into the iOS7 via iPhone and iPad. I have no experience with OSX devices. Here is another food for thought. I have two servers at home. one is a HP microserver the other a WD 6TB Sentinel. Will I have to make any modifications to the servers file sharing in order for the MAC to see the content? How about a Nikon D5000 DSLR camera. Can I plug the camera in via USB to the MAC and it be recognized and extract the pics off the camera and onto the HDD? I want ease of use as well and if the MAC is not compatible with my existing setup then I dont want it.
 

heatlesssun

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If the servers are running Windows then you have a more integrated experience but your shouldn't have any issues doing what your described with OS X.
 

wonderfield

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Surface, easily. Mainly because it can be your desktop/laptop replacement and replace the iPad all at the same time. I'd rather just have one machine that can do it all, as opposed to multiple machines.
That was my plan, but for what it's worth, I still have my iPad and spend more time using it than I do my Surface Pro.

Your mileage may vary.
 

wonderfield

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I find that the difference and weight and in wake time does make a considerable difference in practice. The Surface isn't slow to wake by any means, but it's not as fast as the iPad, which is almost always instantaneous. For some reason that aspect of immediacy seems fundamental to the tablet experience.
 

limitedaccess

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A few things. The 13" MBA isn't lighter than the SP2 even with a keyboard. And the MBA displays just aren't that good. Not sure why Apple continues to use TN displays in devices in this price range. And the second position for the kickstand does help with lapability according to a lot of folks.

I got the Macbook Air weight confused with the Ipads. I also assumed it was an 11 inch Macbook Air.

I didn't mean the display is good but it isn't "terribad" either for what it is. But yes it is very disappointing considering the price and the rest of Apple's lineup. Could be a worse situation like the Razer Blade :p

Windows machines have really pushed up display quality the last year or so it seems. You have many examples of 1080p IPS displays in the <$1000 category now. But the bad ones are still out there as well.
 
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