Surface Laptop 4 15-nch vs. MacBook Pro 16-inch: Which Is Better?

Apple tree recently underwent one of its most significant laptop updates in decades, switching all its machines from Intel CPUs to its own M1 processors. The MacBook Pro sixteen now offers a choice between the Apple tree M1 Pro and M1 Max, ii high-speed and efficient CPUs. Microsoft’southward highest-cease clamshell laptop, the Surface Laptop four 15, retains its AMD and Intel CPUs and much of its design from its previous generation.

Both are first-class laptops, but the new MacBook Pro 16 is the more significant update. The question is, how do they measure upwardly?

Specs

Microsoft Surface Laptop iv 15 Apple tree MacBook Pro xvi
Dimensions thirteen.4 inches ten 9.6 inches x 0.58 inches 14.01 inches x 9.77 inches 10 0.66 inches
Weight 3.four pounds 4.8 pounds
Processor Intel Core i7-1185G7
AMD Ryzen seven 4980U Surface Edition
Apple tree M1 Pro
Apple tree M1 Max
Graphics Intel Iris Xe
AMD Radeon Graphics
Integrated
RAM 8GB, 16GB, 32GB 16GB, 32GB, 64GB (M1 Max)
Display 15-inch 3:2 IPS 2,256 ten 1,504 16.two-inch Liquid Retina XDR 3,456 x 2,234
Storage 256GB, 512GB, 1TB solid-land bulldoze (SSD) 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB
Touch Yes No
Ports 1 x USB-C 3.2
1 x USB-A 3.2
i x Surface Connect
one x 3.5mm audio jack
three x USB-C 4 with Thunderbolt 4
one ten HDMI 2.0
1 x three.5mm audio jack
ane x SD Card reader
Wireless Wi-Fi half-dozen and Bluetooth 5.0 Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth five.0
Webcam 720p 1080p
Operating organisation Windows eleven Home MacOS
Bombardment 47 watt-hour 100 watt-hour
Toll $1,000+ $two,499+
Rating three out of 5 stars v out of 5 stars

Design


We’ll gear up bated the question of operating systems. If you’re choosing between these two laptops, then you’re willing to consider either Windows 11 or MacOS Monterey. If either ane of those operating systems doesn’t appeal to you, then your selection is already made.

Looking at the hardware, you’ll find that these are two very unlike machines. The Surface Laptop 4 is meant to exist a very sparse and lite laptop, coming in at 0.58 inches and weighing but iii.iv pounds — both of which are excellent given its 15-inch iii:2 display. The MacBook Pro 16 represents a step in the opposite direction for Apple, which was also striving for thin and light laptops for years. In dissimilarity, the MacBook Pro sixteen got thicker and heavier in this version, upwards to 0.66 inches and 4.8 pounds. It has a 16.2-inch 16:10 display, so it was bound to be a bigger laptop. The thing is, information technology’s only half an inch wider and merely 0.17 inches deeper, meaning it’s non much larger than the Surface Laptop iv.

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Apple finally incorporated thinner bezels to fit into a smaller — if still thicker and heavier — chassis. We’ll note that in that location’s a notch in the MacBook Pro xvi brandish that’s similar to the ane y’all’ll detect in an iPhone, but that’s a trifling business concern overall.

You’ll find that both laptops are well built, sporting CNC machined aluminum bodies that resist all bending, twisting, and flexing. Both hinges can be opened with one hand while holding the displays firmly in place. These are two of the best-made laptops around, and neither has an reward.

In terms of their aesthetics, both are bonny laptops. The Surface Laptop 4 is a streamlined design that comes in two colors, Platinum and Matte Black. It sports simple lines and angles and is quite minimalist in its advent. The MacBook Pro 16 is similar. It, as well, has simple angles and lines and, in fact, is a scrap indigestible — although its rounded corners smooth things out a bit. Overall, the MacBook Pro xvi is more than conservatively elegant, while the Surface Laptop 4 is slightly more extravagant.

The MacBook Pro xvi has the all-time keyboard you can buy on a laptop today. Information technology doesn’t have tons of travel, but Apple tree has tuned the scissor switches to perfection — they’re light withal snappy and guaranteed to be precise without causing fatigue over long typing sessions. The Surface Laptop four’s keyboard is also very good, being deeper and enjoying snappy mechanisms, only it can’t quite keep up. The same holds with the touchpads. The Surface Laptop four has a good touchpad that’south big enough to be comfy and supports all of Windows eleven’s multitouch gestures. But the MacBook Pro 16’s touchpad is enormous, and Apple has perfected its haptic feedback engine to create “clicks” that mimic physical buttons. The Surface Laptop 4’s only input advantage is that its display is touch on-enabled while the MacBook Pro 16’south is non, and information technology also supports Microsoft’s Surface Pen.

Another positive step astern in the MacBook Pro sixteen’southward design is in its connectivity. Where the previous generations had merely USB-C with Thunderbolt back up, the newest model has a full-size HDMI two.0 port and an SD card reader to go with its three USB-C with Thunderbolt 4 ports. The Surface Laptop 4 has just one USB-C 3.2 port (no Thunderbolt four support), a USB-A port, and the Surface Connect port for power and to connect to Microsoft’s proprietary dock. Both offering Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth five.0. The MacBook Pro xvi has emerged as a real connectivity winner, although yous’ll still demand a dongle for legacy USB-A devices.

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Performance

The back of the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 side view.

The Surface Laptop 4 comes in two configurations: Intel’south four-core/eight-thread Core i7-1185G7 or AMD’due south eight-core/16-thread Ryzen 7 4980U Surface Edition. The MacBook Pro 16 tin can be equipped with either the Apple tree M1 Pro or the Apple M1 Max, both representing the second generation of Apple’s M1 CPU. Apple tree’s options are a fleck more complicated, with the M1 Pro x offering CPU cores and 16 GPU cores and the M1 Max sporting ten CPU cores and either 24 or 32 GPU cores. We tested the Surface Laptop 4 with the AMD Ryzen bit and the MacBook Pro sixteen with the M1 Pro.

In terms of raw operation, information technology’southward non even close. The MacBook Pro xvi obliterated the Surface Laptop 4 in our benchmarks. In Geekbench five, for case, the Surface Laptop 4 scored 1,016 in the single-cadre test and 6,658 in the multi-core test, compared to the MacBook Pro 16 at 1,773 and 12,605. In Cinebench R23, the Surface Laptop 4 scored 1,137 and five,881 compared to the MacBook Pro 16 at 1,531 and 12,343. In the Pugetbench benchmark that runs on Adobe Premiere Pro, the Surface Laptop 4 scored 163 while the MacBook Pro 16 hitting a phenomenal 956.

The MacBook Pro 16 is an incredibly fast laptop, and it beats out about Intel- and AMD-based Windows laptops. Y’all have to equip a very fast 45-watt Intel CPU to even come shut to M1 Pro (not to mention M1 Max) operation levels. Suffice it to say, the Surface Laptop 4 doesn’t play in these leagues. Even in gaming, the MacBook Pro 16 will be a much faster laptop.

Display

The screen of the 2021 MacBook Pro display view.

The Surface Laptop iv has a 15-inch IPS display in the productivity-friendly iii:ii attribute ratio and runs at a resolution of 2,256 ten 1,504. The MacBook Pro 16 has a xvi.two-inch Liquid Retina XDR brandish at 16:10 and a 3,456 x ii,234 resolution. As with performance, the MacBook Pro 16 is in a completely unlike league.

The MacBook Pro 16’s display was brighter at 475 nits compared to 378 nits, information technology had higher contrast at an OLED-like 475,200:1 compared to just 970:1, its colors were wider at 90% of AdobeRGB and 100% of sRGB compared to 73% and 97%, and it was more than accurate at a DeltaE of 1.04 (less than 1.0 is considered splendid) compared to 1.44. Information technology’s too significantly higher resolution, and it’s larger.

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The Surface Laptop four’s display is fine for productivity work. In fact, it’s a very good display. Only it can’t concur a candle to the MacBook Pro 16’s superior brandish that will thrill artistic types every bit well.

Portability

Surface Laptop 4 side view showing display and keyboard deck.

The Surface Laptop 4 is slightly smaller in width and depth, and it’due south quite a bit thinner and lighter. The MacBook Pro 16 isn’t about as portable.

Notwithstanding, the MacBook Pro 16 has twice the bombardment chapters and sports the more efficient M1 Pro CPU. It lasted for 18.v hours in our spider web browsing test, while the Surface Laptop 4 made it to just 13.5 hours. Once once again, the MacBook Pro xvi beats the Surface Laptop 4 handily. It will concluding for a couple of days on a unmarried accuse, while y’all’ll be plugging in Microsoft’s laptop after a single day’south use.

The Apple tree MacBook Pro 16 is expensive but well worth information technology

The Surface Laptop 4 has a starting price of $1,300, configured with a Ryzen 7 4980U CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. At the loftier end, you lot’ll spend $2,400 for an Intel Core i7, 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. Information technology’s a premium laptop, only its high-finish price is still less than the MacBook Pro 16’s entry-level.

Yes, that’s right, the MacBook Pro 16starts
at $ii,499 for an Apple tree M1 Pro CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. Max it out with an M1 Max chip, 64GB of RAM, and a whopping 8TB SSD, and y’all’ll spend $6,099. It’s a stunningly expensive laptop.

At that place’s really no comparison. Again, these are both great laptops, but the MacBook Pro 16 is in a different class entirely. You lot’re going to spend a lot more than money on it, only you’ll find the investment well worth information technology.

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