Ed Bott clearly did a lot of work on this article comparing the disk space of the Surface Pro and the MacBook Air, but I’ll tell you this — I’d put the MacBook Air up against the Surface Pro anytime, anywhere.

Watching people fumble around the Surface Pro running Windows apps on a tablet screen? Yeah, bring that on.

  • I don’t go for this at all.

    What competes with a MacBook Air? An “Ultraportable”. A laptop. A “PC”.

    What competes with a Surface? Other tablets. MS has tons of PCs out there. They’re not adding a PC to the lineup. They’re adding a tablet with PC-like abilities. Therefore, treating the Surface and the MBA as apples-apples is a mistake. Tablets and PCs handle a lot of things differently. The criteria for what makes them effective is different because what they do is different.

    Compare a laptop to a laptop. Compare a desktop to a desktop. Compare the Surface to an iPad.

    • rj

      It is unclear that you understand the difference between the Surface and Surface Pro.

      • No, I get it just fine. I know what Microsoft wants me to think, but that’s very different from what people actually think.

  • Dishonest, probably not. Possibly disingenuous, though.


      Recovery partition that comes with Macbook Air is 650 MB and not what ever Mr. Bott first put in his article.

  • “Big surprise: when you do the disk space math, Surface Pro and MacBook Air are practically twins.” So if my twin brother is a psychopath and I’m a psychologist but we’re the same age, we’re exactly the same?…does this equal the comparison he just made?

  • GTWilson

    Some of the arguments for the Surface border on the surreal.

    • JohnDoey

      The design is also surreal. A miniature desktop machine in the age of the pad and tiny notebooks.

  • JohnDoey

    The issue is user expectations, which in tablets are set by iPad.

  • Anandtech’s review was pretty good. They pegged this as a tweener device. I’m there are some that will like the Surface Pro – mainly PC and business users. I don’t think it is a mega-blockbuster seller though. I still have issues with Windows 8 from a conceptual point. I would rather MS just pick something to do well and do it.

  • MacBook air isn’t a tablet. It’s as simple as that.

    • According to a lot of the reviews I’ve seen, Surface isn’t much of one, either.

  • The comparison is about the whining about disk space, not the OS, etc. Those of us who like Apple stuff are ill served by kneejerk fanboyism.

    • Yeah, it seems that on the one hand it’s beneficial when we treat tablets like PC’s because it means Apple is winning.

      On the other hand, we don’t want to treat tablets like PC’s because they’re totally different things that can’t even be compared in terms of how much of their advertised storage space is available to the consumer because we’ll all cry foul.

      Go team.

    • He said the Surface could be compared to the Air. I’m saying bring it on — you can’t have it both ways by only comparing disk space, but not comparing the functionality.

  • My MacBook could beat up your Surface. So there.

  • Kriztyan

    Jack of all trades, master of none. Windows 8!

  • tylernol

    this articles argument inadvertantly exposes the problem of the Surface in a nutshell — is it a notebook or a tablet? If it is a tablet , then it does not compare well against an iPad for the tablet experience. If it is a notebook, it does not compare well against the Macbook Air for a ultraportable notebook experience. Microsoft is trying to take on both at once, but it shows that they made no hard decisions. Metro or Classic Desktop? BOTH! lightweight OS footprint for SSD, or large OS footprint for doing everything? Must do large footprint.

  • Kyle Braund

    Exactly. In politics, this would be called a ‘wedge issue”.

  • rj

    I’ve never used a Surface Pro, and almost certainly would choose my MacBook Air over one (because I like OS X so much more than Windows). But Bott is absolutely correct: this is the right comparison to make.

    He is talking about the Surface Pro – a device that includes full Windows 8, a Core i5 CPU, and the ability to do stuff that regular Windows and OS X can and iOS can’t – virtualization, external displays, multiple apps on screen at once, etc. At $899, it appears the base model doesn’t include a keyboard. But the keyboard/trackpad options are just over $100, meaning a keyboard/trackpad-equipped Surface Pro is about the same price as the $999 entry-level MacBook Air.

  • matthewmaurice

    He lost me at “Surface Pro is a real, no-compromises PC.”

    I think it’s been pretty firmly established that the Surface devices are quite clearly compromised devices. If you’re going to use Microsoft’s marketing language verbatim I’m going to question your objectivity. Does anyone know if he used “fast and fluid” later in the post?

  • Maxi

    I think Ed Bott he is trying to hide the elephant in the Room: Why did he choose to compare 128 GB Devices? The big Problem is that the 64 GB Surface Pro only has 23 GB free for the User. The OS has a certain size-requirement that is constant for different hd-sizes so the company has to select the configuration in a way that User will “feel” that they got their monies worth. I guess the 64GB-Configuration is there to get below the “magic” 900$ mark and was set by some marketing people who played with the variables, not people who thought “what configuration makes sense for the customer”