Two of the top tech companies in the world have both sunk their teeth into designing next-generation laptops. Like the battle between Lenovo vs Dell, Microsoft and Google are two warriors battling for the title of best lightweight laptop.
They want to appeal to business people and students alike, not forsaking style or functionality in the pursuit. If you are looking for a new laptop to take to the office and meetings, or as a companion to your studies, you may have cast a glance at what is available from Google and Microsoft. They are leaders in tech after all.
Let’s take a closer look to see how much you can get when you buy a Google Pixelbook or a Microsoft Surface Pro 6. We’ll break the analysis down into the four main categories to consider when making a tech purchase: design, price, specs, and operating system.
Google Pixelbook vs Microsoft Surface Pro
- Google Pixelbook: An example of great, modern design. It leaves behind the excessively curved edges of 2000’s tech and goes for a more angular look. You can do HD videos and games justice on the 12.3″ HD LCD touch screen display. Unlike a lot of similar new laptops, the screen does not detach from the keyboard to become a tablet. The 360-degree hinge allows for versatile usage, so you can bend it all the way around to use as if it were detachable. As a final design touch that takes a leaf from Apple’s book, the keys light up in the dark.
- Microsoft Surface Pro 6: The display is 12.3″, just like the Pixelbook’s. The difference is that the Surface is actually more of a tablet in its original state. To be able to type on it like on a laptop, you must buy the typing cover separately. It has a stand to prop the tablet up for entertainment, or when you want to use the keyboard with it. Although it is modern, the design is not all that unique, with most new tablets having similar looks.
- Google Pixelbook: At the cheapest, with the lowest specs, these will set you back by $900. If you choose the top hardware, however, then you will be paying $1649. There are tiers in between as well, depending on what your requirements are. There is also a student discount of 10% with StudentBeans if you are looking for a laptop to use for studying.
- Microsoft Surface: The basic specs are about the same as the cheapest of the Pixelbooks’, but $200 cheaper, at $699. It is important to note as well, that the lowest specs on both Google’s and Microsoft’s machines are actually quite high compared to the rest of the market. The top hardware will cost $2099, again, with tiers in between according to needs.
- Google Pixelbook: Buyers have a lot of choices here. You can choose between an Intel i5 or i7 processor and whether you need 8gb RAM or 16gb. The hard drives on offer are all SSD, with a choice of 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB. The battery life advertised is 10 hours, with 2 hours of recharge in the first 10 minutes of being plugged in. Charging is through type C USB.
- Microsoft Surface Pro: You can choose between white (gray), and black. The hard drives go to one terabyte, which is double the highest you can get on the pixelbooks (the choices are 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB). Outside of disk space, the options are the same for the Surface as the pixelbook. Pick between 8GB RAM or 16GB, and an intel i5 processor or an i7. Microsoft one-upped Google on the use time between charges as well, with 13.5 hours of use as compared with the Pixelbook’s 10 hours.
- Google Pixelbook: The operating system is Chrome OS. It has built-in virus protection, integrates seamlessly with pixel phones, and has google assistant. Chrome OS can only use apps at the moment, and it does not run any Windows programs. This can be a major setback, as it denies the user all of the huge number of programs we are used to using (Office, for one). Gaming is impossible unless it is mobile gaming apps that you want.
- Microsoft Surface Pro: With Microsoft Windows 10, you can use any windows compatible software, and has Windows Defender as its built-in antivirus. In addition, you get Window’s assistant, Cortana (admittedly less impressive than google assistant). Microsoft has the advantage when it comes to the OS, as it allows you to use all sorts of specialised programs that originate from outside Microsoft as well. The pixelbook works within google’s ecosystem.
- Google Pixelbook: The Pixelbook is ultra-modern in design, connectivity, and cross-device integration. It works like a laptop and has a good, solid store of apps and games. However, it lacks when it comes to the operating system, which limits the user to browser-based word editors and spreadsheet software. It is not good for gamers either, as most games are developed for Windows users. If you are looking for a high tech internet browsing experience for work or home use, then this is a good choice. Ultimately, the pixelbook is more suited to students than anyone else, but technical software like MatLab will not run on it due to Chrome OS.
- Microsoft Surface Pro: In contrast to the Pixelbook, Microsoft’s Surface Pro 6 is based on Win 10, with all its bells and whistles. It can run Microsoft Office, skype, the Sims, and everything in between. There is the option to buy a larger hard drive than you can with Google, allowing more storage. The drawback of this machine is that it does not include a keyboard out of the box. If you want to type as you would in an office environment, you will have to make a separate purchase. The Surface has a cheaper low-end model and can convert to a laptop with the typing cover attached. It would be more ideal for use by business people who need the Microsoft ecosystem for their work.
I find that the Surface Pro is more geared for use as a powerful tablet than as a laptop. Meanwhile, the Pixelbook is a laptop with great specs but made for browsing.
Microsoft does make a more classical laptop as well, the Surface Laptop, which is on its 2nd generation already. If you’re looking for a more traditional laptop experience with a modern twist, then it may be worth your while to check them out.