To the Point – Is the Microsoft Surface better than the Apple MacBook Air M3?

Many tech users are curious, and should be curious, about the question: “Is the Microsoft Surface better than the Apple MacBook Air M3?” Microsoft and Apple are leaders in technology, consistently pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. In today’s competitive market, consumers are looking for powerful, practical, and affordable technology.

Microsoft’s Surface and Apple’s MacBook Air M3 each have their strengths. However, Microsoft has presented compelling reasons why their Surface Laptop might be the better choice for certain users.

Choosing the right laptop is crucial for everyone, from students to professionals. The market is saturated with options, making it hard to determine which laptop offers the best value for your needs. With the launch of the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7 and the Apple MacBook Air M3, consumers face two highly compelling choices. How do you decide which is right for you?

The confusion starts with the specifications and marketing hype that surround each product. Apple’s MacBook Air has been celebrated for its design, performance, and user-friendly ecosystem. Microsoft’s Surface Laptop series has made its mark with flexibility, touch support, and seamless integration with Windows. Both promise top-notch performance, but the details reveal significant differences.

Is the Microsoft Surface better than the Apple MacBook Air

Is the Microsoft Surface better than the Apple MacBook Air M3?

Launch and Context:

  • Microsoft has been comparing its new Qualcomm Snapdragon Elite X-powered Surface Laptop 7 to the Apple MacBook Air M3.
  • Performance benchmarks were conducted at Microsoft’s Build 2024 developer conference.

Performance Benchmarks:

  • Cinebench:
    • Surface Laptop 7: 980
    • MacBook Air M3: 650
  • Geekbench 6 (Multi-threaded CPU):
    • Surface Laptop 7: 14,000
    • MacBook Air M3: 12,000
  • HandBrake ToS Benchmark (4K video encoding):
    • Surface Laptop: 5 minutes 8 seconds
    • MacBook Air M3: 6 minutes 26 seconds
  • Comparison with previous Surface models:
    • Surface Laptop 5: 10 minutes 30 seconds
    • Surface Laptop 4: 13 minutes 32 seconds
      • Surface Laptop 7 completed the task 1.5 minutes faster than the MacBook Air M3.
  • Microsoft claims the Surface Laptop will beat the MacBook Air M3 by:
    • 50% in Cinebench multithreaded workloads.
    • 16% in Geekbench 6 multithreaded tests.
    • 58% faster overall performance with Copilot Plus PCs.


  • MacBook Air:
    • 13.6-inch: 2.7 pounds, 0.44 inches thick
    • 15-inch: 3.3 pounds, 0.45 inches thick
  • Surface Laptop:
    • 13.8-inch: 2.96 pounds, 0.69 inches thick
    • 15-inch: 3.67 pounds, 0.72 inches thick
  • Winner: MacBook Air for being lighter and thinner.

Battery Life:

Battery life is a major consideration. Based on internal personal testing (which may vary depending on usage and model), the Surface Laptop 7 generally lasts longer than the MacBook Air M3:

  • Web Browsing:
    • Surface Laptop 7: ~16.5 Hrs
    • MacBook Air M3: ~15hrs
  • Video Playback:
    • Surface Laptop 7: ~20 hours
    • MacBook Air M3: ~18 hours
  • Microsoft claims Copilot Plus PCs with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite processor will offer “20% more battery life than the latest MacBook Air 15-inch.”

Components and Performance: Surface wins

  • Processors:
    • MacBook Air: Apple M3 (8-core CPU, 4.05GHz)
    • Surface Laptop: Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite (12-core CPU, 3.8GHz) and Snapdragon X Plus (10-core CPU, 3.4GHz)
  • Graphics:
    • MacBook Air: 8-core or 10-core integrated graphics processor (IGP)
    • Surface Laptop: Adreno IGP capable of up to 4.6 TFLOPS
  • Memory and Storage:
    • MacBook Air: Up to 24GB RAM, 2TB SSD
    • Surface Laptop: Up to 64GB RAM, 1TB SSD


  • MacBook Air:
    • Retina displays (LED IPS, 500 nits, 224 ppi)
  • Surface Laptop:
    • PixelSense Flow (LED IPS, 201 ppi, 120Hz refresh rate, touch support)

AI Performance:

    • Microsoft claims the Snapdragon X Elite NPU in the Surface Laptop 7 is 2x faster than the AI acceleration tasks in the M3.
    • The upcoming M4 chip from Apple is expected to focus heavily on AI capabilities.
  • Procyon AI Score:
    • Surface Laptop: 1,745
    • MacBook Air M3: 889
  • Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite has 45 TOPS (trillions of operations per second) of AI acceleration performance, compared to 18 TOPS on the M3.
  • Inferencing Efficiency (Capacity to process information):
    • Surface Laptop: 4.5x inferencing efficiency for Phi Silica model prompt processing over the M3.
    • Surface Laptop: 24 TOPS/watt of peak inferencing efficiency.

Ports and Features

  • MacBook Air:
    • 2 USB4 ports, MagSafe power port, 3.5mm audio jack, Wi-Fi 6E
  • Surface Laptop:
    • 13-inch: 2 USB4 ports, audio jack, Surface Connect, USB Type-A
    • 15-inch: Adds microSD card reader, Wi-Fi 7
    • Copilot AI functionality
  • Winner: Surface Laptop for more ports and advanced AI features.


    • MacBook Air:
      • 13.5-inch: Starts at $1,099
      • 15-inch: Starts at $1,299
      • Fully loaded 13.6-inch: $2,299 (24GB RAM, 2TB SSD)
      • Fully loaded 15-inch: $2,499 (24GB RAM, 2TB SSD)
    • Surface Laptop:
      • 13.5-inch: Starts at $999 (16GB RAM, 256GB SSD)
      • 15-inch: Starts at $1,299 (16GB RAM, 256GB SSD)
      • Fully loaded 13.8-inch: $2,399.99 (64GB RAM, 1TB SSD)
      • Fully loaded 15-inch: $2,499.99 (64GB RAM, 1TB SSD)
    • Winner: Surface Laptop for better value with higher RAM at lower price points.

Specifications in Tabular form:

Microsoft Surface vs macbook air

Microsoft Surface vs Macbook Air M3:
SpecificationsSurface Laptop 7MacBook Air M3
Display– 13.8-inch, 3:2, 2304×1536 pixels (201 PPI), 120Hz, 600 nits<br>- 15-inch, 2496×1664 pixels (201 PPI), 120Hz, 600 nits– 13.6-inch, 2560×1664 (224 PPI), 60Hz, 500 nits<br>- 15.3-inch, 2880×1864 (224 PPI), 60Hz, 500 nits
KeyboardChiclet styleChiclet style with Scissor Switches
Processor– 13.8-inch: Snapdragon X Plus or Elite<br>- 15-inch: Snapdragon X Elite X1E-80-100, 12-core, 45 TOPs NPU (Qualcomm Hexagon), 3.8 TFLOPs GPU (Qualcomm Adreno)– Apple M3, 8-core, 18 TOPs NPU (16-core), 4.1 TFLOPS GPU (13-inch: 8-core or 10-core, 15-inch: 10-core)
Battery and Charging– 13.8-inch: up to 20 hours, 39W Charger<br>- 15-inch: up to 22 hours, 65W Charger, supports 65W Fast Charging– 13-inch: up to 18 hours, 30W/35W Charger (depending on configuration)<br>- 15-inch: up to 18 hours, 35W Charger, supports 70W Fast Charging
BuildAluminum chassisAluminum chassis
I/O2 x USB 4 / Thunderbolt Ports, 1 x USB 3.1, 1 x Surface Connect, 1 x Headphone jack, 1 x microSDXC card2 x USB 4 / Thunderbolt Ports, 1 x Headphone jack, MagSafe 3 Port
ConnectivityWi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.4Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3
AudioOmnisonic Speakers with Dolby Atmos, Dual Studio Mics with voice focusFour/Six-speaker sound system with Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio, Three-mic array with directional beamforming
Storage and RAM options– 13.8-inch: 16GB + 512GB, 16GB + 1TB<br>- 15-inch: 16GB + 256GB, 16GB + 512GB, 16GB + 1TB, 32GB + 1TB, 64GB + 1TB<br>SSD replaceable– 8GB + 256GB, 8GB + 512GB, 16GB + 512GB<br>SSD non-replaceable
Weight– 13.8-inch: 1.34 kg<br>- 15-inch: 1.66 kg– 13-inch: 1.24 kg<br>- 15-inch: 1.51 kg
Pricing– 13.8-inch: $1,399 and $1,599<br>- 15-inch: $1,299, $1,499, $1,699, $2,099, $2,499– 13-inch: $1,099, $1,299, $1,499<br>- 15-inch: $1,299, $1,499, $1,699

Additional Information

  • Target Audience:
    • Surface Laptop 6: Initially tailored for business and enterprise customers, but also available for home use.
    • MacBook Air M3: Designed for general consumer use.
  • Design and Size:
    • Both laptops are available in 13.5-inch and 15-inch models.
    • The Surface Laptop 6 focuses on higher RAM capacity, appealing to power users needing substantial memory for intensive tasks.
  • The Surface Laptop has built-in fans, aiding performance, while the MacBook Air M3 is fanless.
  • Microsoft did not compare the Surface Laptop against the MacBook Pro M3, which also has fans.
  • The upcoming M4 chip from Apple is expected to enhance AI capabilities and overall performance, making future comparisons relevant.

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The above information must have resolved your query – Is A MacBook Air better than a surface?

Ultimately, the decision between the Microsoft Surface Laptop and the MacBook Air M3 depends on your specific needs and preferences. Microsoft Surface Laptop 6 offers strong competition to the MacBook Air M3 with aggressive pricing, higher standard memory, and advanced AI features.

  • Surface Laptop: Ideal for users who want powerful performance and the flexibility of a touch screen with pen support.
  • MacBook Air M3: Perfect for those who prioritise battery life, and sleek design, and who already have Apple family.
  • Microsoft is positioning its Surface Laptop, powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite, as a superior alternative to Apple’s MacBook Air M3, particularly in areas of raw performance, battery life, and AI capabilities.
  • Real-world testing and reviews will provide further insights into the true performance and efficiency of these devices.

Both laptops offer excellent performance and user experience, but your choice depends on the personal and professional requirements.

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