People who appreciate the convenience and versatility of 2-in-1 laptops had been limited mostly to the Microsoft Surface series of touchscreen computers. But with the recent release of the Samsung Chromebook Pro, Microsoft’s dominance in this niche market segment has been put to a test.
Samsung Chromebook Pro vs New Surface Pro (2017)
|Microsoft||New Microsoft Surface Pro (2017)||725|
|Samsung||Samsung Chromebook Pro||499|
If you’re looking for a 2-in-1 laptop in the second half of 2017, chances that your list of candidates includes both the Samsung Chromebook Pro and the new Microsoft Surface Pro, probably somewhere near the top, are sky-high. Selecting one over the other can be surprisingly difficult because the two devices are so different, despite being so similar. Let’s dive deep into our comparison of Samsung Chromebook Pro and the New Microsoft Surface Pro to learn more about the difference between these two 2-in-1 laptops.
Two Takes on the Same Concept
Both the Samsung Chromebook Pro and the New Microsoft Surface Pro have approached the 2-in-1 design from a completely different angle. With its detachable keyboard and a built-in kickstand, the Surface Pro clearly shares more DNA with tablets than laptops. The 360-degree hinge utilized by the Chromebook Pro is a natural evolution of the basic laptop design for the tablet generation.
Because the hinge permanently attaches the keyboard to the display, you deal with the weight it adds even if you just browse the web using touch gestures or watch a movie. On the other hand, the hinge can keep the display in place without any additional support, which, in the case of the Surface Pro, is usually provided by the kickstand resting against either your legs or the surface of a table. Neither take on the 2-in-1 concept is superior to the other. If you spend more time in the tablet mode, the Surface Pro will fit your workflow better. And if you spend more time in the laptop mode, the Chromebook Pro will spare you fiddling with the kickstand.
Below the Surface
The real difference between the two 2-in-1 laptops is below the surface. That is, below the surface of their magnesium bodies and 12.3-inch displays with high resolutions (2400 × 1600 in the case of the Chromebook Pro, and 2736 ×1824 in the case of the Surface Pro).
For starters, each convertible greets users with a different operating system. As the name suggests, the Chromebook Pro comes with Chrome OS, which now lets you install Android apps. Unfortunately, Android apps also cause an identity crisis for the convertible laptop. In some apps, you can right-click to bring up a context menu, while the same action does nothing in others. Other apps let you drag and drop files between app windows, but don’t expect this to work across all apps. We’re sure Google will fix this over time, but, for the time being, the value of Android apps for serious productivity on Chrome OS is questionable. With the Surface Pro, you get the same Windows experience you’re already familiar with, so no surprises there.
The Chromebook Pro and the Surface Pro both come with a stylus. Samsung includes the same S-Pen as the one that comes with the Galaxy Note 5 smartphone. Microsoft includes their Surface Pen, made of aluminum. The S-Pen has twice as many pressure levels as the Surface Pen (2,048 compared to 1,024), but it doesn’t exactly feel like a tool for a serious artist. It works great as a smudge-free substitute for fingers, but drawing and writing feels more natural with the noticeably thicker and heavier Surface Pen.
One look at the specifications of the high-end Surface Pro compared to the Chromebook Pro should be enough for you to understand that comparing the two devices in terms of their raw performance isn’t exactly fair. The top-end Surface Pro comes with 16 GB of memory, an Intel Core i7 processor, and up to 1 TB of storage space. The Chromebook Pro comes only with 4 GB of memory, an Intel Core m3 processor, and 32 GB of storage space, which is roughly the configuration of the entry-level Surface Pro. Things get more interesting when you consider that the entry-level Surface Pro costs twice as much as the Chromebook Pro, and the high-end model will cost you three times as much.
For everyday tasks such as web browsing, basic image editing, and multimedia consumption, both convertibles perform equally well. But the further you go from passive content consumption toward active content creation, the more the Chromebook Pro starts to feel underpowered. In reality, we expect that most won’t ever reach its performance limit. Partially because most of the professional apps that require powerful hardware to run well aren’t available for Chrome OS, and partially because the Chromebook Pro seems to attract writers and students over graphics artists and 3D designers.
The impression you get from these two convertible laptops will largely depend on how you use them. Microsoft’s offering is better suited for professional content creators and artists willing to pay extra for excellent performance. The Chromebook Pro doesn’t reach the same level of performance, but it certainly doesn’t disappoint when it comes to its build quality, reliability, and versatility. Writers, students, and casual users wanting to get as much value for as little money as possible won’t make a bad choice if they decide to go with the new kid on the block.
+ Build quality
+ Battery life
+ Simple operating system
– Limited performance
– Limited operating system
– Limited storage space
New Microsoft Surface Pro (2017)
+ Build quality
+ Battery life
+ Windows apps
+ Multiple models to choose from
+ Surface Pen
– The kickstand takes some getting used to