Microsoft has a new ad comparing the Surface Pro 7 with the MacBook Pro. It's a bit of a strange comparison, since one is a tablet that runs Windows with a cover that can be used as a keyboard, and the other is easily the most powerful laptop you can buy right now for less than $1,300.
Microsoft made a point of mentioning that price point--since the Surface Pro is cheaper--but it's worth mentioning that it means the MacBook Pro in question is sporting Apple's new M1 processor. It raises an interesting question: How do you compare two things that are not at all like each other? And, maybe more important, why would you?
The Surface Pro 7 is actually a really good piece of hardware that manages to bridge the gap between a tablet and a laptop as well as any device has. It's not necessarily great at either, and it's certainly not the best laptop you can buy, but it's well made and the perfect device if you happen to need its unique combination of features.
It's not, however, a competitor for the MacBook Pro. Microsoft knows that. It knows the Surface isn't a better computing device than the MacBook Pro by any of the usual ways you would measure performance. It doesn't get better battery life. It's not faster. It's not even that much lighter with the Type Cover (2.5 pounds versus three pounds).
So, instead, Microsoft is gaslighting you.
I know that sounds harsh, but that's exactly what it is when companies try to make you question reality through the use of selective facts. The dangerous thing about gaslighting, especially in marketing, is that all of the words you use might be true. They just don't tell the truth.
How do you know it's gaslighting? Because Microsoft obviously knows better. That's something no brand should ever do.
Microsoft could have made a direct comparison. Microsoft makes laptops. It's actually pretty good at it, to be honest. The Surface Laptop 3 is a good laptop. It's not exceptional, but it's very well made. It has Windows Hello, which is a wonderful way to unlock a laptop. It even has a touchscreen.
There are plenty of comparisons to make between a Surface Laptop 3 and a MacBook Pro. Then again, it runs on Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, which means that the logical comparison that most people will make is on things like battery life and performance. In both of those areas, the MacBook Pro crushes the Surface Laptop 3. It's not even close.
On the other hand, Apple makes a thing that is very much like the Surface Pro. It's called an iPad. The iPad Air and iPad Pro, especially, are very comparable to the Surface Pro. They are touchscreen devices. They can be used with a pen (well, an Apple Pencil), and they have detachable keyboard accessories.
The problem is, there's almost no scenario in which the Surface Pro is better than the iPad Pro, unless you need to run Windows on a tablet. That's it.
The Surface Pro isn't faster. It doesn't get better battery life. It just runs Windows. Which for some people is a necessity, but chances are, you can find much better devices if that's the most important thing.
Instead, Microsoft is hoping you won't notice that it's making a non-comparison between two devices that almost no one is considering next to each other when looking for their next computer.
Sure, if you need a Windows device, made by Microsoft, that has a touch display and a detachable keyboard, and can be used with a Microsoft pen, then the Surface Pro 7 is for you. If that's the case, however, you're not considering a MacBook Pro as an alternative.
It would be like comparing a bicycle with a Tesla. "Look, you never have to charge this bicycle. You can even park it anywhere, even on the sidewalk. It's so light you can carry it down a flight of stairs. It's also less than one-10th the price of the Model 3."
All of that might be true, but it conveniently overlooks the fact that you don't have to, you know, pedal a Tesla--which happens to come in handy when you're on a road trip. Or that it's pretty tough to get a family of four on a bicycle when you're headed to your daughter's soccer game.
Almost no one considering a Tesla is comparing it with a bicycle. Any bicycle maker who tries isn't telling you the truth. Just like Microsoft.