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MacBook Pro 2021 vs Surface Laptop 4: The key differences

At the last Apple event, we were finally introduced to the MacBook Pro 2021, which is being hailed as one of the most powerful options from the company when it comes to high-intensity tasks.

Microsoft also came out with the Surface Laptop 4 earlier this year, boasting an 11th-generation Intel processor and a touchscreen display. The Surface Laptop 4 isn’t made for professional creators, but is still a good option for students or office workers.

Keep scrolling to see how these two laptops compare and which one is best for you.

Performance

Out the gate, it’s important to know that the Apple MacBook Pro is being targeted at professional creators; people who will be using their laptop to edit video and photos or create 3D renderings.

All of these tasks are high intensity and require more power to run, so it’s no surprise that the MacBook Pro features the new M1 Pro and M1 Max processor options, which offer more power than the standard M1 chip.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 is aimed at students or office workers as it wouldn’t be able to run high-intensity tasks at the same level as the Pro, since it’s not built for that.

m1 max

The Surface Laptop 4 runs on Intel’s latest 11th-gen processor, which will allow for a speedy productivity performance during basic office tasks or web browsing, making this a reasonable option for anyone who just uses their computer for work.

The integrated Intel Xe graphics still allows the Surface Laptop to dabble with the likes of video editing, but the performance won’t be anywhere near as speedy as the MacBook Pro.

Screen

The first thing to note is that the MacBook Pro is available in both 14-inch and 16-inch models. The Surface Laptop 4 is available in slightly smaller 13.5-inch and 15-inch sizes.

The MacBook Pro also includes ProMotion with refresh rates up to 120Hz, so the laptop will be able to adjust the refresh rates depending on what tasks you’re running.

The MacBook Pro also has a liquid retina XDR display with a resolution of 3024×1964, making it a great choice for entertainment.

Surface Laptop 4

Meanwhile, the Surface Laptop 4 is limited to a 60Hz refresh rate. It’s also got a lower resolution, with the 15-inch model seeing 2496×1664 pixels.

The MacBook Pro also uses Mini LED technology, which should boast better colour accuracy and brightness than the LCD screen on the Surface Laptop 4.

Design and ports

The biggest advantage of the Surface Laptop 4 over the MacBook Pro is its weight. The 13.5-inch and 15-inch Surface Laptops weight 1.3kg and 1.5kg respectively.

In comparison, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops weigh 1.6kg and 2.1kg respectively. This means if you care more about portability than performance, the Surface Laptop 4 is probably the better bet.

However, the MacBook Pro wins in terms of ports, offering an SDXC card slot, HDMI, 3.5mm headphone jack, MagSafe 3 and 3x Thunderbolt 4 (USB‑C) ports.

The Surface Laptop 4 only has 1x USB-A, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, Surface Connect port and one USB-C – and there isn’t even Thunderbolt support with the latter.

MacBook Pro 2021

For anyone not in the loop here, Thunderbolt is a connectivity standard made by Intel. Currently, Thunderbolt 4 is the most recent generation.

Thunderbolt looks like a standard USB-C type port, but has extra functionality. It can power devices as well as transfer data at speeds up to 32Gbps.

Microsoft has started to enable Thunderbolt 4 support on its Surface devices, but the Surface Laptop 4 unfortunately launched too early to receive the upgrade.

Price

The MacBook Pro is not a cheap device; the starting price of the 14-inch model is £1899, and the 16-inch version is an even heftier £2399.

However, we wouldn’t expect everyone and anyone to buy the latest Pro. Considering its impressive graphics power, this is a laptop that you should only buy if you need that much power, which will mainly apply to the creators out there.

The Surface Laptop 4 has a £999 base price, which is pretty standard for a higher-end laptop that’s aimed at the regular consumer.

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