When comparing MacBook vs Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch), the Slant community recommends Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) for most people. In the question“What are the best laptops for Photoshop around $2000?” Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) is ranked 4th while MacBook is ranked 7th. The most important reason people chose Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) is:
The 15-inch version of the Surface Book 2 comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. This is a powerful, VR-ready card that handles intensive gaming tasks. As for real-world performance, Hitman (1920 x 1080, ultra) runs at 71.9 frames per second, Grand Theft Auto V runs at 45 fps. It should also be mentioned that you need to be using the dock in order to do graphic-intensive tasks since that's where the GPU is located; using the laptop in tablet-mode will yield poor results in this regard.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Extremely portable
The laptop weighs just 2 pounds and is 13.1 mm thin. It's one of the thinnest and lightest laptops on the market and it's extremely portable and easy to carry around.
Pro macOS is developer-friendly
macOS is based on XNU (Darwin) kernel, it's a certified Unix and arguably a lot more developer friendly than Windows. Development for Unix is native on macOS.
There's a large selection of great development tools available for macOS. The operating system itself comes bundled with a powerful terminal emulator, called Terminal. Additionally, Apple provides tools, like Xcode, an IDE that contains a comprehensive collection of tools for developing macOS and iOS software, for free.
You can also install Homebrew, an extremely useful package manager.
Pro Amazing display
Everything about the display is very good - from its high resolution (2304x1440) to the brightness (325 nitts), uniform brightness distribution (90%), and high contrast ratio (1000:1) with over 95% of the sRGB spectrum. Overall, a great display which will come in handy for people who work with visual arts.
Pro Excellent trackpad
The MacBook has a large 4.4 x 2.7-inch Force Touch trackpad with a Taptic Engine that delivers haptic feedback whenever the user taps on it to give them the impression that they are actually clicking on it. It also supports gestures and multi-finger swiping.
The accuracy is almost perfect and there's virtually no lag or stutter when using the trackpad.
Pro Decent battery life
The battery lasts around 7h30m of continuous web browsing which is about average for this class of laptops. Where this laptop's battery truly shines though is under heavy stress where it manages to last an impressive 2h35m under a total stress test (maxed out brightness and processor usage - circumstances that you are likely never going to encounter in the real world).
Pro Completely silent operation
Thanks to the Core M processor (which doesn't require a fan) and the SSD storage, there are no moving parts the in MacBook. It will operate in complete silence.
Pro Very good speakers
The speakers, found above the keyboard produce loud and clear sound with minimal to no distortion whatsoever. They can be used for both listening to music and watching movies with no problem at all.
Pro Decent keyboard
Pro Available in 4 colors
The laptop is available in space gray, gold, silver and rose gold (pink) finishes.
Pro Gaming performance on-par with gaming laptops
The 15-inch version of the Surface Book 2 comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. This is a powerful, VR-ready card that handles intensive gaming tasks.
As for real-world performance, Hitman (1920 x 1080, ultra) runs at 71.9 frames per second, Grand Theft Auto V runs at 45 fps.
It should also be mentioned that you need to be using the dock in order to do graphic-intensive tasks since that's where the GPU is located; using the laptop in tablet-mode will yield poor results in this regard.
Pro One of the best performances found on a 15-inch laptop
Equiped with an Intel Core i7-8650U CPU, 8GB (or 16GB) of RAM and an SSD that goes up to 1TB, the Surface Book 2 certainly packs a punch. It handles multitasking perfectly; you can open dozens of Chrome tags, stream video, and draw using the built-in software without experiencing any lag even once.
As far as benchmarks go, on the Geekbench 4 overall performance benchmark, the Surface Book 2 got a score of 12,505, better than the 15-inch laptop average (11,004) coming third after the Dell XPS 15 (13,911) and the MacBook Pro (15,170).
Pro The hinge is quite stable as far as 2-in-1 laptops go
The new fulcrum hinge that Microsoft used for the Surface Book 2 is much more stable than the one found on the previous Surface Book or even other 2-in-1 laptops for that matter.
Pro Great display for creative professionals
This laptop's display is bright and vivid, making it perfect for people who do a lot of drawing, design, or video editing work. The display offers an excellent coverage of 131% of the sRGB colour gamut (the average for this price range is 101%). The colour coverage and the bright display which measures an average of 417 nits really makes colours truly pop out and offers lifelike pictures.
Pro Great tying experience
Even though the keyboard is rather shallow (just 1.2mm of travel), the typing experience is excellent. Keys have a great amount of feedback when clicking and you rarely (if ever) bottom out when typing.
Pro The battery easily lasts a full work day on a single charge
The Surface Book 2 lasts on average 12 hours on a single charge. This should be more than enough to get anyone to the end of their workday on a single charge.
Con Not very powerful
With an Intel Core M processor, the Macbook isn't a serious development laptop. While it will get the job done for lighter tasks, it will struggle with heavier jobs.
Con Connecting more than one thing requires a hub
The laptop comes with a single USB-C port that's used for charging as well as any other peripherals or external storage devices. Connecting more than one thing at a time requires using a USB hub.
Con It's a bit hard to get used to the keyboard
The keys are pretty shallow, with a travel length of just 0.5mm. They still provide good feedback and the writing experience itself is not bad, but it's just a bit hard getting used to, especially if you are coming from a laptop that's not a MacBook.
Con Non-free software
Apple doesn't release the source code for most of their software & firmware. This makes it significantly more difficult to customize, automate tasks, and verify security.
Con No Thunderbolt port
For a laptop aimed at creative professionals, the missing Thunderbolt 3 port is surprising considering the fact that Thunderbolt 3 is used to connect a laptop to peripherals such as external GPUs or power-dual 4K displays.
Con The pen must be bought separately
If you want to use the Surface Book for drawing then you will probably have to buy the Surface Pen which unfortunately does not come bundled with the laptop (it costs an additional $99).
Con Disappointing audio performance
The audio that comes out of the speakers is quite average. It's enough to fill a small room but that's it.