From www.imore.com

A blue microsoft surface laptop opened to its colorful display

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft has this week unveiled its first-ever Arm-powered consumer laptop, a device it hopes will take the fight to Apple’s inimitable M3 MacBook Air

After several weeks of rumblings about the power of the Snapdragon X processor lineup, Microsoft took the covers off its new Surface Laptop at its event on May 20, and at a glance, the new seventh iteration of its Surface Laptop line is indeed impressive. 

Available for pre-order now from Microsoft and debuting on June 18, the new Surface Laptop comes in two sizes, 13.8 and 15 inches, just like Apple’s own Macbook Air. On board, you’ll find Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon X processor. You can choose between the Plus or the more powerful Elite variant, all housed in a chassis that’s thicker and heavier than the MacBook Air but comes in more vibrant colors. Benchmarks will be key to determining the power of the Snapdragon X compared to the M3, but Qualcomm and Microsoft both seem confident in its supremacy. Indeed, the more potent X Elite variant is certainly more powerful on paper, thanks to its larger number of CPU cores. A throwaway slide in the keynote claimed the new Surface Laptop was “58% faster than the MacBook Air M3” at… well, something. Live batch editing tests appear to show a Surface Laptop handling a set of photos “almost twice as fast” as Apple’s M3 Macbook Air. 

Microsoft takes aim at the MacBook 

The impressive specs don’t stop there. The Surface Laptop ships with 16GB of RAM as standard (versus Apple’s 8GB), and it also comes with a covetous 120Hz display, offering juicy scrolling performance and smooth operations currently reserved for Apple’s MacBook Pro line.

The Surface Laptop also boasts Wi-Fi 7, as opposed to Wi-Fi 6E on the MacBook Air. With several hefty hardware advantages compared to Apple, you might well be asking yourself just how much more expensive this Surface Laptop is compared to Apple’s $1,099 M3 MacBook Air. The answer? It’s cheaper. While the usual swathe of RAM and SSD upgrades will run you up a bill just as high as Apple’s best MacBook configurations might, the base spec Surface Laptop is cheaper respectively than both Apple’s 13-inch and 15-inch equivalents. Microsoft’s offerings start at $999 and $1,299 respectively, compared to Apple’s $1,099 and $1,499 price tags. 

Naturally, Apple and Microsoft’s offerings are most sharply divided by their operating systems, macOS and Windows. With Apple expected to unveil its own Apple AI features at WWCC 2024 next month, Microsoft has set the bar high with a new Copilot Plus PC brand that embeds AI hardware and features into all of its new laptops, as well as those of OEMs like Dell, Lenovo, and Samsung. With powerful neural processing units (NPU), what Apple calls its Neural Engine, the new generation of Windows PCs will offer more than 40 AI models, powering new tools like Microsoft’s new Recall model, a searchable, “photographic” memory of all the things you’ve seen and done on your PC.

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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore’s latest breaking news regarding all of Apple’s products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9

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The post MacBook Air under threat — Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 7 boasts 16GB of RAM, 120Hz, and a chip to match (or even beat) M3 first appeared on www.imore.com

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