Microsoft, at its education focused event in New York, unveiled the lightweight and secured operating system Windows 10 S. Competitor to Google Chrome OS, the operating system is designed to take on Chromebooks. Being a lightweight OS, Windows 10 S has minimum hardware requirements, and can run smoothly on low-end and entry-level laptops. Along with the new operating system, Microsoft also unveiled the new Surface Laptop with prices starting at $999 (approximately Rs 65,000). Also Read - Apple Watch Series 8 to bring infrared blood glucose sensor, suggests reportAlso Read - Apple delays MacBook Pro, AirPods 3rd gen shipments to October 29, but why?
The Surface Laptop is a premium offering from Microsoft, but it sits below the Surface Pro 4 tablet and the convertible Windows 10 laptop, the Surface Book. During the presentation, Microsoft did take a dig at Apple by competing the Surface Laptop with MacBook Pro, but price wise, its real competitors are MacBook Air and the Chromebook. We compared the Surface Laptop with the last generation MacBook Air (early 2015) to see how it fares. Also Read - Apple may not launch iPhone SE 3 next year, instead bring iPhone SE Plus with 5G support
On the design front, Microsoft has ensured that the Surface Laptop looks and feels as premium as it can. The display lid and the chassis of the laptop is made from strong and sturdy aluminum, whereas the keyboard and the area around if features suede-like Alcantara fabric material. The Surface Laptop weighs about 1.25kg, making it easy to carry around. On the connectivity front, you get a regular USB 3.0 port, a DisplayPort, a 3.5mm audio port and a Surface Connect port. ALSO READ: Microsoft Surface laptop with Intel core i5, i7 processor, Windows 10 S launched: Prices, specifications and features
The MacBook Air, on the other hand, is made from an all-aluminium design, which not only gives it a premium look and feel, but also gives the required sturdiness. It weighs 1.35Kgs, slightly more than the Surface Laptop. In terms of connectivity port, you get two regular USB ports, a ThunderBolt port, SD card reader and a 3.5mm audio jack. ALSO READ: Microsoft unveils View Mixed Reality app that will support augmented reality on any Windows 10 device
The Surface Laptop features a 13.5-inch display PixelSense display running at a resolution of 2256x1504pixels, and aspect ratio of 3:2. One of the good things about the display is that it is touchscreen enabled and supports the Surface Pen stylus, allowing you to sketch and doodle whatever you want with the stylus.
The MacBook Air, on the other hand, features a 13-inch display running at a resolution of 1440x900pixels. Sadly, it does not support touchscreen functionality. ALSO READ: Microsoft Teams gets specialized for classrooms with new collaboration features
The base mode of Microsoft s Surface Laptop is powered by Intel s seventh generation Core i5 processor paired with 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD. Higher configuration models are also available powered by Intel s Core i7 processor, 8GB / 16GB of RAM and 256GB / 512GB SSD. These models are priced between $1,299 (approximately Rs 83,400) and going all the way up to $2,199 (approximately Rs 141,100). Microsoft claims that the battery on the Surface Laptop can last for up to 14.5 hours on a single charge. ALSO READ: Windows 10 S vs Windows 10: Here is what s different and all you need to know about the newest OS on the block
The MacBook Air, on the other hand, is powered by Intel s fifth generation Core i5 processor paired with 8GB of RAM and 128GB / 256GB SSD. Apple claims that the MacBook Air can offer a battery life of up to 12 hours on single charge. On the pricing front, the MacBook Air base variant will set you back by Rs 80,900, whereas the top end model is priced at Rs 96,900. However, if you scan through e-commerce sites, you can get the base model for as low as Rs 55,000.
One of the biggest differentiators here is the operating system. The Windows 10 S looks and feels like Windows 10 / Pro but there are quite a few differences. To begin with, you get the Start Menu and Live Tiles interface, virtual assistant Cortana and more. However, when it comes to app, you can only download and run the ones that are present on the Windows Store. Also, there is no option of side-loading, meaning you won t be able to use apps and programs from external third-party providers.
Also, while there are plenty of third-party web browsers on the Store that you can download, the default browser will be Microsoft Edge, and default search engine will be Bing. This also means that you will not be able to run Google Chrome browser, unless Google lists it on Microsoft Store. ALSO READ: Microsoft Windows 10 S wants you to stick to its default browser
The MacBook Air, on the other hand, runs on macOS Sierra. The operating system is designed with usability and simplicity in mind. It also comes with Apple s virtual assistant Siri, let s you seamlessly connect your iPad, iPhone and other Apple devices with the MacBook Air. The macOS also includes its own App Store from where you can download and install apps.
Overall, the MacBook Air may be a little outdated, but it still looks like a good option to go for, and the fact that it can be purchased for around Rs 55,000 further sweetens the deal. The macOS is very lightweight, supports multiple gestures and is very snappy in its operation. If you always wanted to buy a MacBook Air but felt it was out of budget, now could be the right time to buy it. ALSO READ: Microsoft Windows 10 S: Redmond s new low cost OS that caters to education
We haven t used the Windows 10 S OS yet, so there it is difficult to comment on how snappy it is. Also, Microsoft has listed the number of countries where the Surface Laptop will be released, and sadly, India is not in the first wave of countries.