MacBook Pro 13in vs Surface Pro 3 review: Which is better?

Ports + Connectivity

Neither device is bursting with physical ports. The Surface Pro 3 includes a microSD card reader and a Mini Displayport to hook up a display. However, it's got just one USB 3 connection and this isn't enough when you want to use this in the office as desktop replacement.

Being a laptop, you'd expect the MacBook to have significantly more USB ports, but it maxes out at two. There are 2 x Thunderbolt 2 connections and an HDMI port. Plus there is space for an SD card.

Wireless connections are tied with Wi-Fi 802.11ac/a/b/g/n together with Bluetooth 4 included as standard. There are no options to have 4G connectivity integrated.

Winner: MacBook Pro - It's got more USBs (only just) and HDMI as standard.


The beautiful unibody designs come with a catch. They are difficult to open and once you're inside you'll find key components, like the battery, are fastened with glue. You can easily cause more damage when trying to replace components and this results in the devices sharing a repairability score of 1/10 on teardown site iFixit.

Choose your specification wisely at the time of purchase because you won't be able to upgrade or repair it without splashing out.

Winner: Draw - Both are a nightmare to open and repair.

Pricing & Warranty

There's a big gap between the entry-level pricing for the products but all is not as it seems. The Surface Pro 3 starts at 639 for the standalone tablet with a Core i3 processor, 4GB and just 64GB of internal storage. Then you have to factor in 110 for the Type Cover, so realistically the minimum amount you'll spend on a Surface Pro 3 is 750.

Apple's 13in MacBook Pro (with the Retina Display) starts at 999. However, it has a faster Core i5 processor as standard, double the RAM (8GB) and 128GB SSD.

When you compare like-for-like specifications, the Apple device ends up being cheaper. The 13in MacBook with a Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD retails at 1,199.

The Surface Pro 3 model with Core i5 processor, 8GB and 256GB SSD is 1,109 plus the 110 for the Type Cover. This bring the total cost of the Pro 3 to 1,219.

Warranty options aren't as comprehensive as business OEMS like Dell and HP. Apple offers a standard 1-year warranty and 90 days of telephone technical support. It's also possible to drop in to an Apple Store for help during this period. Extended warranties are available via the AppleCare Protection service.

Microsoft offers a 2-year limited warranty and Microsoft offers 90 days of technical support. We haven't seen any options to extend this.

Winner: MacBook Pro - The Apple device is cheaper when the specs are compared.

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.