Macbook Pro vs Surface Studio

almost 7 years ago from , Designer

Some may say that comparing a laptop to a desktop doesn't make sense. But I almost solely use my mbp in a desktop context (connected to a huge screen), so for for me, hardware-wise, it wouldn't be huge transition. Who do you think won this round?


  • Cody Gallner, almost 7 years ago

    I'm seriously considering a new setup: Surface Studio, Windows 10, Dial, Affinity Designer and Adobe XD.

    28 points
    • Liam FLiam F, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

      I'm almost in agreeance. First thing I did after watching the Apple Keynote was check to see if Affinity will support the dial. Haha. What holds me back is, that its not within my update hardware cycle so I would be buying it out of pure lust.

      I mean the MBP is a fine piece of tech, but if I were to go with what gave me butterflies and what I felt would be an amazing experience to create with... it would be the Surface Studio.

      6 points
      • Evan MacAlpine, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

        +1 on the butterflies. It's been awhile since a pc/mac reveal got me that pumped. Will be interesting to hear how it works irl.

        5 points
    • Braylan GrayBraylan Gray, almost 7 years ago

      If I were strictly freelance, I would totally get the setup you described. Unfortunately, I work in an agency where the ecosystem is Mac hardware and Sketch software.

      1 point
      • David Holman, almost 7 years ago

        Sketch has kept me on the MacOS bandwagon, but I've been moving more into Prod Mgmt and Sketch is less critical ... may be time to jump.

        0 points
        • John PJohn P, almost 7 years ago

          If you're moving into project management I don't know why you wouldn't use a Mac. It's not like you need power anyway.

          It's people who actually create things that are being screwed over here.

          1 point
    • Ryan Hicks, almost 7 years ago

      Append figma to that.

      0 points
    • Mick NMick N, almost 7 years ago

      Affinity designer is fantastic. I'd imagine it would run like a dream on the Studio. Imagine drawing on all that screen real estate. Drool-worthy!

      2 points
    • Wesley HainesWesley Haines, almost 7 years ago

      Would love to see how much people actually use the dial in everyday design tasks... No doubt about it - looks amazing and clearly shows Msft is innovating beyond the normal interaction models, but I have a hard time actually using it for UI Design, which is what I do.

      0 points
    • Varun Arora, almost 7 years ago

      While I am all pro-Windows and Microsoft product right now, XD isn't available for Windows yet. Take a guess on how I know :(

      0 points
  • Adam RasheedAdam Rasheed, almost 7 years ago

    But Sketch...and iMessage... and space bar to preview... and force tack trackpads...

    You have me in your leash for now, Apple.

    15 points
    • Jordan LittleJordan Little, almost 7 years ago

      I've been wanting something like the Touch Bar since the Optimus Maximus (wiki link) keyboard back in the day. Sketch, Sierra, and the iOS integration definitely have me hooked in, too, but I'm looking forward to seeing how all of my favorite apps start using the new LED touch strip.

      1 point
    • Laurens SpangenbergLaurens Spangenberg, almost 7 years ago

      iMessages, Quicklook, and force touch trackpads are relatively minor features in my opinion compared to some of things the Surface Studio can offer.

      1 point
    • James LaneJames Lane, almost 7 years ago

      +1 from me.

      I think there are a lot of things on the Mac OS that simply make daily tasks more efficient. Having worked on a Mac for over 10 years now, I think it would be a big learning curve to get to that level of efficiency on a PC.

      I'm not saying it's impossible, just wondering if I'd want to put myself through that pain!

      4 points
      • Rick KhannaRick Khanna, almost 7 years ago

        Seriously. Windows sure has changed a lot since I last used it. I tried using Windows 10 recently and I didn't know what the hell was going on.

        2 points
    • Christopher JamesChristopher James, almost 7 years ago

      Just thought I'd add that there are plugins for Windows like Seer that replicate the space-to-preview functionality from macOS. I was on the "Macs are just more efficient in this industry" train for a while, but this is less and less the case these days.

      0 points
  • Rolando MurilloRolando Murillo, almost 7 years ago

    Only if you could run macOS in Surface Studio.

    10 points
  • Onur SentureOnur Senture, almost 7 years ago

    I wouldn't take a serious decision before see the actual product.

    Here are the other Microsoft promises:

    Kinect vs Actual Kinect

    Hololens vs Actual Hololens

    8 points
    • Liam FLiam F, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

      Yeah, this is where my dilemma comes from. I have had more years of success with Apple products than Microsoft. So there needs to be a lot of trust in picking a "new" product up especially at those price points.

      The proof will be in the pudding I guess, they both have ways to go, I still think Microsoft need more polish on their OS, and Apple need to do... something more than what they are advertising to that demographic Microsoft are trying to steal away.

      2 points
  • Kris KimKris Kim, almost 7 years ago

    It seems like MS did a great job on even making people consider getting Surface or Macbook(or iMac).

    4 points
  • Stuart McCoyStuart McCoy, almost 7 years ago

    Let's see. Can you take your Microsoft Surface with you? I'll say it, even though you brought it up in the first sentence (and abruptly forgot), you cannot compare a laptop to a desktop.

    4 points
    • Evan MacAlpine, almost 7 years ago

      Well...I can actually. Similar price point. For a lot of professional users, similar use cases. Obviously Microsoft chose it's product reveal with the hope of competing with what they knew Apple would be releasing today. And by looking at the Surface Studio thread on the front page, you can see that it has a lot of people contemplating (if only in theory) abandoning there mbp's. Portability's a pretty small part of the equation for a lot people out there who work at a desk all day, and given the lack of development on the iMac side of things, I think, up till now, many professionals have defaulted to mbp's.

      4 points
    • Liam FLiam F, almost 7 years ago

      I think you missed his point that he uses his laptop in a desktop fashion, the title could of easily been iMac versus surface studio.

      4 points
    • Ryan Duffy, almost 7 years ago

      I get that a lot of people use their laptops like desktops (I do as well), but this is still a really a bizarre comparison. It's like comparing a house with a foundation to a mobile home. They both have upsides the other can't possibly have.

      0 points
  • Sheffield LeithartSheffield Leithart, almost 7 years ago

    My ideal setup right now would be a 12" Macbook and either a Mac Pro or iMac 5K. After Apple's last two keynotes, though, I'm starting to consider jumping ship.

    3 points
  • Brian HintonBrian Hinton, almost 7 years ago

    Two different goals. One is a desktop and one is a laptop.

    3 points
  • Cristian MoiseiCristian Moisei, almost 7 years ago

    The surface studio looks great, but I don't really see the point of the Dial. Most of the stuff you use it for (selecting colours, rotating an image), could easily be done with your fingers, eliminating the need for having a separate device).

    Am I missing something?

    2 points
    • Kyle CaseKyle Case, almost 7 years ago

      It demos well. I don't see a use in reality. In fact, I could see it having a negative impact - causing menu items to be hidden behind the mysterious dial from a UX perspective.

      0 points
  • Noureddine AzharNoureddine Azhar, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

    To me, the Surface Studio seems like the perfect tool for an Illustrator. Someone who currently uses a graphics tablet as their main tool for creation. Looking at it realistically if you don't fit into that category, the majority of the awesome features in the Surface Studio wouldn't make a difference in the way you work.

    I have the same setup as you at home (plus a windows 10 laptop) and I don't fall into that illustrator specific category, so for me, upgrading to a Surface Studio is not something I would do. Also being both a Mac and Windows user, Sierra beats 10 any day for me.

    2 points
    • Evan MacAlpine, almost 7 years ago

      This is basically where I'm at too. I'm happy with my setup now and as a ui/ux/front-end dev guy the benefits would not really be there for me. I think it just gets me pumped to see a product that's pushing the envelope in a bit of stagnent market. Hopefully it will inspire other players to up their game.

      1 point
  • Dragos Gavrila, almost 7 years ago

    Don't be silly, you have to compare Surface Studio to a Wacom, NOT to a MBPro laptop :)

    2 points
  • Sam SolomonSam Solomon, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

    I was at the mall and dropped by the Windows store last night.

    I saw the Surface Studio in person, and it really was an incredible piece of hardware. The dial has a good weight to it—it feels solid—and has just enough feedback that you can tell when the dial has crossed to another menu item.

    For illustrators using a Wacom tablet and an iMac or a Cintiq, I think this will be a contender. The ability to change brush strokes, rotate the image and alter opacity without hunting and pecking at the menu is impressive.

    The woman I was talking with a the store said she did not know if Adobe's applications would work with the dial.

    Another thing that struck me was all of the hardware in the Windows store was really well done. I remember the Surface Book as these silly blue plastic tablets. New new ones are aluminum and look great. The Xbox One S is one of the most beautiful devices I've seen.

    Apple definitely has some competition.

    2 points
    • Joseph Decker, almost 7 years ago

      I wonder how flexible the Dial really is. Imagine the routine of a Illustrator — he/she will use specific tools in order to Illustrate, such as the Brush, Pen tool, etc... all of these tools have been hardwired into them via keyboard shortcuts.

      The dial would replace the keyboard shortcuts, but will it make it faster/easier than actually just using the keyboard shortcuts? Can you pick a tool via 1 press or will it be 3 levels deep?

      I don't see the point of Dial as is right now, since the keybinds are way more efficient. The only improvement would be the freedom of placement for your keybinds, meaning that your keyboard/numeric pad will always be placed horizontally on the most handy spot while the Dial can be placed anywhere you like.

      What do you think?

      0 points
    • Joseph Decker, almost 7 years ago

      Regarding color, Illustrator can open up a nice panel that has all the color options the designer needs. Might be an area that needs improvement, but it can be dealt with via a panel within the program itself.

      0 points
  • Ale UrrutiaAle Urrutia, almost 7 years ago

    Microsoft surface looks like an interesting piece of industrial design and technology, from that perspective seems to be a few steps over the new MacBook Pro but when I remember that comes with windows...

    2 points
    • Connor Tomas O'BrienConnor Tomas O'Brien, almost 7 years ago

      When I see the seamless and elegant software integration with the Surface Dial, it makes me cautiously optimistic about the direction of Windows. That said, the cruft! It pains me whenever I see assets or workflows in modern versions of Windows that are holdovers from Windows 95 (or earlier!). I'm pretty torn!

      3 points
  • Noah C, almost 7 years ago

    If it had sketch support . . . game over

    2 points
  • NordWood Themes, almost 7 years ago

    I'd pick Surface definitely, seems like a design/art dedicated concept.

    1 point
  • Laurens SpangenbergLaurens Spangenberg, almost 7 years ago

    A better question to you guys: MacBook Pro vs SurfaceBook. OS aside, the SurfaceBook looks very tempting to me.

    1 point
  • Gabriel AnghelGabriel Anghel, almost 7 years ago

    I think Surface Studio is a nice thing to consider. But seriously no SSD for that price, not even an upgrade option? Even with their "Rapid Hybrid Drive " they will not even come close to the speeds a SSD can provide.

    And for the macbook pro, I don't think the price increase is worth it. I wanted to buy one, but I was disappointed with the new exaggerated price.

    0 points
  • Kyle CaseKyle Case, almost 7 years ago

    For me the decision is: Do I want a $3k computer I can draw on, that is terrible at all other things design? Or A computer that is the best at all things design, and a 5¢ piece of paper that is the best for drawing?

    0 points
    • Jérémy LUMET, almost 7 years ago

      I really think your wrong. You cant not say Win10 is terrible at all, i'm using both of OS for a long time and they are now both good. Also, digital painting are so far different from paper for professional use.

      The right question is : can I do everything I need to do (or what I'm doing on my current hardware) with this brand new hardware, plus new things (or even faster/better). Do it really add something useful to me, or I just want it because it's new, and it's looking so cool ?

      If your answer is yes, then the switch can be done without pain.

      The price of the Surface Studio isn't that expensive for a professional use, but if you don't really need this features... just save your money for later, when you really need to get new & useful stuff.

      PS : just in my opinion, Surface Studio can be a crazy good tool for designers.

      2 points
      • Kyle CaseKyle Case, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

        I've been using both OS for quite some time as well. I find I only use my Windows machine for MS Office. I think Surface Studio looks promising, but a lot of people are overlooking a huge amount of functionality that is better on the Mac than PC. It definitely depends on what you do for work. In my experience, drawing on a touch-screen computer is overrated. I also believe the dial (like the touch bar) is a gimmick, that doesn't seem like it'd add a whole lot of value outside of a demo reel.

        0 points
  • Vincent Jouty, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

    As you say it: You're comparing mac running on mobile hardware to windows running on desktop hardware, you're right it doesn't make any sense.

    In a no-mobile context, no way your laptop can fight a desktop. End of story your choice have to be : MS-SS

    Why ? Cause the only thing the new mpb would have just for him is the touchbar. But the MS-SS (my gosh did they even think about it when they choose the name), provide a really nice touch solution with its inclinable screen. And even a cool gadget with the wheel. + You have a better screen already built-in + You have desktop-class perf (and I hope you were talking about the 15" mbp not the 13" with the intel GC) + it would cost you less than re-buy the new 15"mbp with 16gig ram and 4gi GC + a screen as big and good than the one featured with the MS-SS.

    Me I need mobility so if I had to switch I would wait to get real bench-mark comparing ms SB and the new mbp.

    But since I already got a 15"mbp from mid-2013 that I love and who is doing reeeally fine => maybe next update.

    Problem solved.

    P.S : Don't forget you don't have to buy anything

    P.S.2 I'm not talking about the O.S cause I think both are great and everyone have his own workflow. But if you need something that is available only on windows or mac then your choice is done.

    0 points
  • Asher SimondsAsher Simonds, almost 7 years ago

    I have a 12in Macbook for my toss-in-the-bag computer, a Windows 10 custom-built computer at home, and a 13in MBP for work. Now with Affinity and Figma in the mix, I can move between the OSs fairly easier (Adobe aside). The 12in can get you by no problem with anything short of video/motion editing. I wish Windows could pull the Mac software shops in to build great things for it outside the creative sphere (Airmail, Light screenshot, Bowtie, etc) but if the Studio is the start of more considered, well-thought approaches to creation, when my home computer is obsolete I'll be in the market for sure.

    0 points
  • Jrtorrents Dorman , almost 7 years ago

    I'm in the same situation as you. I bought a 15" rMBP last year but it's connected to my 4k Dell monitor for 95% of the time.

    The total cost of the setup cost me almost the same as the Surface Studio. The only real application I would have missed is Sketch.

    0 points
    • Vincent Jouty, almost 7 years ago

      And those 5% when you're working remotely.

      0 points
    • Kyle CaseKyle Case, almost 7 years ago

      You think you'll only miss Sketch, until you're on Windows and realize you also miss: Trackpad, Spotlight Search, Expose, file preview, iMessage, Adobe Apps (running/starting up fast), Fonts rendering correctly, decent system fonts, dev tools, keynote, all the applications you've already paid for in the App Store, and Skech.

      1 point
      • Jrtorrents Dorman , almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

        I might be the only one but I can hardly work with the trackpad on the I mostly use the magic mouse(better precision etc ).

        Im not a developer so I don't care about the dev tools. I've never imessage on my Mac, I mostly prefer whatsapp because thats what most of my contacts use. Neither do I use Keynote.

        Whatever platform you choose there will be positives and negatives.

        0 points
  • Hanu ManHanu Man, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

    Today, Surface line product... surpassed (by much) to the Mac/iPad line

    0 points
  • Ryan MackRyan Mack, almost 7 years ago

    I probably would do it if it weren't for Xcode being Mac only. I could live without Sketch, subbing it out for Affinity Designer.

    0 points