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Apple MacBook Air (M1) Vs. Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio

The CRN Test Center compares Apple’s MacBook Air (featuring the M1 chip) with Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop Studio, which comes with Intel Core H processors and runs Windows 11.

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MacBook Air Vs Surface Laptop Studio

On Oct. 5, Microsoft will launch both a new Windows operating system and a new lineup of Surface devices. The new operating system, of course, is Windows 11—the successor to Windows 10 that includes a major overhaul to the user interface design. And as part of the new Surface lineup, Microsoft is debuting one brand-new model featuring a different take on laptop convertibility: the Surface Laptop Studio, which features a pull-forward display. With the Surface Laptop Studio, which will come preloaded with Windows 11, Microsoft is seeking to stand out in the highly competitive laptop market—where Apple’s MacBook Air with the M1 chip is among the heavy hitters. Apple’s M1 processor provides the MacBook Air with a big boost to performance and battery life, making it one of the chief rivals for Microsoft’s newest Surface Laptop model.

Which of the two laptops is the ideal fit for you? In the following slides, the CRN Test Center compares the Apple MacBook Air (M1) vs Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Studio on price and specs.


Some of the biggest differences between the MacBook Air and Surface Laptop Studio are on the display. The Surface Laptop Studio’s pull-forward display is unusual in the laptop market but not totally unique, with HP’s Elite Folio and Spectre Folio among the other laptops using this method of convertibility. With this design, the display on the Surface Laptop Studio can be brought forward to lock into position closer to viewing—while still allowing for use of the touchpad. The touch display can also be brought all the way forward to lay down flat (which is where the “Studio” part of the name comes from—Microsoft’s Surface Studio desktop offers something similar for its display). The MacBook Air—like all other Macs to date—is a standard clamshell that does not offer any type of convertibility and does not come with a touch screen.

The display on the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio is also 8 percent larger at 14.4 inches, versus the 13.3-inch screen on the MacBook Air. Other display differences include a refresh rate of up to 120Hz on the Surface Laptop Studio—double the 60Hz refresh rate of the MacBook Air—and resolution of 201 pixels per inch on the Surface Laptop Studio, which is below the 227 ppi on the MacBook Air.

Both notebooks offer vibrant LCD display technology. The Surface Laptop Studio features Microsoft’s PixelSense Flow display with support for Dolby Vision, while the MacBook Air offers Apple’s popular Retina display with True Tone color enhancement and P3 wide color support.

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