Why Would Microsoft Choose to Compare the Surface Pro 3 to the 13” Macbook Air?

I’m actually starting to feel sorry for Microsoft. This week they had their big announcement of the Surface Pro 3, and it was actually kind of sad. I saw the big unveil and watched about 20 minutes of it. After 7 minutes they were still talking about the kickstand. I’m not saying a kickstand is a bad idea, on a tablet it might be kind of useful actually. I actually buy a case for my iPad that has a kickstand. But I wouldn’t do a keynote presentation about it. The first Surface had a kickstand as did the second, but the giant advancement they were so twitterpated about was that it now supports a lot of different angles. Think about the good lawn chair you bought with all the nice angles to relax. Sure it’s a cool lawn chair, but did you call your friends to tell them about it?
Another problem with the Surface 1 and 2 was that you couldn’t hold it in your lap easily. The vertical angle of the kickstand was the first issue but the magnetic snap on keyboard was kind of floopy, so even if the angle had been good you wouldn’t be able to type on your lap. They’ve redesigned the keyboard magnets so you can kind of fold it around the bottom of the tablet to hold it more firmly in place. So after all this, the Surface Pro can sit on a lap. It’s pretty long now though with the kickstand and the keyboard, looks like it might be impractical at that length.

They actually did have some cool stuff to announce but they spent so much time on kickstands and magnetic keyboards. Impressively the Surface Pro 3 comes in a Core i7 model that’s only 800 grams (1.76 lbs) and .36″ thick. That’s crazy light and thin. The screen on this device is crazy too – 2160 x 1440, or what Microsoft is calling Pixel Free (think way better than retina). Awesome screen.

They’ve decided to market the Surface Pro 3 as better than a Macbook Air. They point out how it’s thinner and lighter (even with the keyboard). They point out that it’s got a higher res display and that it comes with a stylus. They point out it’s got a touch screen. All of this is true. Remember though that while Microsoft Office is touch enabled on the iPad, it is not yet available on the Surface. But ok, all of this is true and a winning argument.

Until you price out the Surface Pro 3. Apple is always slammed for having high prices, but the Surface Pro 3 is WAY more expensive than the 13″ Macbook Air! It’s hard to believe, but Microsoft has priced this between $130 more and $330 more as you go up to the Core i7 model with a 512GB SSD and 8GB of RAM.

chart of prices showing Surface /> Air but $330 at the top end

Source: Microsoft.com and Apple.com

In the announcement Microsoft talked about how much they’d improved the battery life. I’m sure it is a lot better, but it’s 9 hours vs. 12 hours for the 13″ Macbook Air. So, yeah. I think Microsoft made progress with the Surface Pro 3 but they made a big tactical error in choosing to compare it to the Macbook Air.

Scroll to top