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Why is it so hard for Microsoft’s Surface Book to compete with Apple?

Published Oct 19th, 2015 12:34PM EDT
MacBook Pro Surface Book Price
Image: Microsoft

When thinking about Apple computers, many buyers worry about the expensive price tags. Whether it’s the new 12-inch Retina MacBook or a MacBook Pro, Apple sets prices that aren’t necessarily within reach for many users. However, over the years, Apple has not increased prices for some of them and even slashed entry costs for other models. While that might not be apparent from year to year, it’s more than clear when comparing MacBooks to their biggest rival yet, Microsoft’s Surface Book, which makes the MacBook Pro look cheaper than ever.

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Even though Microsoft said on stage that the Surface Book will offer buyers twice the performance of the MacBook Pro, it failed to mention that buyers will have to pay extra for a discrete graphics card in the dock to get to that performance. Essentially, that meant the cheapest Surface Book offers the same performance as the entry-level MacBook Pro, with both having similar base prices.

More interestingly, ZDNet points out that the higher-end the Surface Book model you choose, the bigger hit your pocket will take. And for some reason, Microsoft can’t match Apple’s prices on a similar MacBook Pro models. Buying a 1TB SSD Surface Book, currently available for preorder, will cost a full $500 more than Apple’s highest-end 13-inch MacBook Pro that offers the same type of storage.

Both devices have Core i7 processors, 16GB of RAM and discrete graphic cards. But Microsoft’s 1TB Surface Book costs $3,199 while Apple’s similar model is priced at $2,699. For $2,699, you can buy a 512GB Surface Book. Sure, Microsoft’s Surface Book will have the latest Intel chips inside, something Apple will match in the next MacBook Pro refresh, but that still doesn’t explain the huge price difference.

On the plus side, Microsoft is throwing money at you to upgrade to a Surface device – here are more details about that offer.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.