Good news, everyone! Microsoft has dropped another one of those ads. You know the score by now: a cheery youth explains the benefit of buying a Surface while noting what the equivalent Apple product lacks.
The first point is that the MacBook Air doesn’t have a touchscreen. Yes, Apple continues to not offer touch on its laptops, as it prefers to keep tablets like the new iPad Pro 2021 separate. The only conceivable reason to have a touchscreen laptop is if you have a fancy folding hinge that allows the screen to life flat, or bend around your machine to use it as a tablet.
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Sitting at a desk and occasionally jabbing a touchscreen button is one thing, but for long term use touchscreen laptops are not practical. It has, however, become a rod with which PC manufacturers beat Apple because apparently everyone wants to smear finger grease all over their monitors for the benefit of, erm, rotating a 3D model on the screen? If you like suspending your heavy arms in the air for hours to rotate models around, a PC is for you.
You can also game on a Surface Laptop 4. This in itself is something of a bold claim, given that it lacks discrete graphics and relies heavily on Intel’s integrated processors. While gaming is certainly an option, selling the machine on this basis seems like a flawed bit of logic. It’ll do it, but if you’re looking for a AAA experience you’ll be disappointed. Our review points out that you’ll get 30 fps more than likely but general benchmarks trail the M1 Air and Dell XPS 13.
Some of the things that Microsoft fails to point out — and you can understand why — is the extra battery life you get on the Macbook Air. We’ve tested this in our Surface Laptop 4 and MacBook Air reviews and we got less than 11 hours on the Surface Laptop 4 and about 14.5 hours on the Air.
And then of course there’s the old dongle argument. It’s certainly true that the Surface has a USB-C port and USB-A. The Air, on the other hand, has two USB-C ports, pointing it in the direction of the future. The Air also has Thunderbolt 4, the Surface 4 does not. That means no external GPU for you, gamer dude.
Overall. the Surface Laptop 4 is a good laptop and is on our best laptop list right behind the MacBook Air. But we're getting tired of these incessant comparisons with the Mac. Hey, Microsoft, how about you tell us how your laptop stacks up to other Windows machines or just what makes your system stand out, period?