Two laptops from Apple and Microsoft reignite the rivalry between the two IT brands – Le Devoir

Apple and Microsoft are going strong this fall. Both companies are trying to establish themselves as benchmarks at the top of the laptop market. This clash between the M3-based MacBook Pro and the Surface Laptop Studio 2 couldn’t better mark the 40th anniversary of the Mac-PC rivalry.

In fact, it was the launch of the Macintosh 128K in 1984. The launch made its mark thanks to an advertising campaign by director Ridley Scott, inspired by George Orwell’s novel 1984. A year later, Microsoft released the first version of its Windows system, whose graphical interface bore strange similarities to that of the Mac.

40 years later…

The rivalry between Mac and PC was born. Between 2006 and 2009 it experienced a second resurgence, thanks to an Apple advertising campaign in the US that left its mark. This fall it returns with the almost simultaneous launch of two laptops, each a flagship of what Apple and Microsoft do best.

Apple introduced a new MacBook Pro, the main feature of which is the M3 processor, a third generation of computer chips developed internally by Apple and based on an ARM architecture, previously more common in small computing devices.

For its part, Microsoft has presented the Surface Laptop Studio 2, a laptop with an attractive technical sheet and whose most fascinating feature is its folding touchscreen that transforms the device into a simple monitor or a numeric keypad on which you can write, draw or doodle with your finger or one Pen.

The two machines have many differences, but they have one thing in common: their price. A well-equipped MacBook Pro will save you $3,250. A comparable Surface Laptop Studio 2 costs $3,500.

So who, Apple or Microsoft, will win this new duel at the top (of the price scale)? Of course it depends on what you’re looking for on your PC…

Apple MacBook Pro M3

The MacBook Pro is available in a 14-inch screen format and another with a 16-inch screen. This is already an important decision. The larger of the two is not very portable. It’s the smallest, but it’s not particularly light. Your work bag had better have a padded shoulder strap, otherwise your chiropractor will occasionally have to reposition your shoulders.

The ideal equipment for this laptop is the M3 Pro chip with maximum RAM and good internal storage. The intermediate model with 1 terabyte under the hood should give its buyer a good service life of a decade. The M3 Max chip is a bit more powerful. In particular, it can be used to connect four external monitors to the Mac. The M3 Pro is limited to two external monitors. That’s enough.

Aside from this detail, the performance gain between any previous-generation MacBook Pro and the MacBook Pro with the M3 Pro chip is so great that the difference between an M3 Pro and an M3 Max is almost trivial. Its display, sound system and USB-C Thunderbolt ports set it apart. Its autonomy of 17 hours between two charges and, above all, its standby autonomy of a week make it a very reliable laptop. And the money saved by not choosing the highest quality device is enough to buy an external monitor or even an iPhone, why not, which when combined with a Mac becomes an excellent quality webcam.

Like the iPhone 15 Pro, this MacBook Pro with M3 chip has Apple dreaming of the day when video game enthusiasts consider using its devices to replace their old PCs. You definitely have the muscles. Dreaming is allowed…

Surface Laptop Studio 2

The Surface line of personal computers deserves to be known. Microsoft seems to be demonstrating that it is possible to design PCs that are something other than beige boxes. The Surface Laptop Studio is a seemingly classic laptop, but its 14.4-inch screen slides forward to hide the keyboard and transform it into a fairly versatile touchscreen media monitor. All that’s missing is the pen.

The Surface Laptop Studio 2 is the more powerful, but also larger and heavier revision of this model. In particular, it has two USB-C ports and one USB-A port. The entry-level mechanics are ordinary. Doubling the RAM and storage and then swapping out the base Intel Iris graphics card for a more powerful Nvidia card is expensive, but recommended. Multimedia tasks benefit significantly, including video editing, which is made easier thanks to a new free app included with Windows 11 called Clipchamp. It is similar to Apple’s iMovie application.

The Core i7 processor that Intel provides for the Studio 2 is 13th generation. We already know that the next generation will perform better, especially artificial intelligence applications like Copilot, the new digital assistant for Windows 11 inspired by GPT, from OpenAI. That’s a disadvantage.

When it comes to portability, the Surface Laptop is not a lightweight at almost 2 kilos. In English we say “laptop” because we can hold it on our thighs. Due to the ventilation slots under the case, this position is not very natural on this laptop. After all, we get a battery life of 16 to 18 hours per charge, plus a few days of standby time.

In short: the Surface Laptop Studio 2 performs well compared to the MacBook Pro. It gains in versatility what it loses in pure performance. We won’t revive the Mac-PC rivalry, but Mac v. “Surface” seems entirely appropriate.

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