Microsoft Surface to take on Apple in South Africa

Microsoft’s Surface range has finally arrived in South Africa, with both the Surface Pro 7 and Surface Laptop 3 recently launching in the country.

These laptops are aimed at high-end users, offering premium hardware designed to offer maximum performance and portability as well as deep integration with Microsoft’s ecosystem.

Microsoft has partnered with Tarsus Distribution to distribute its Surface devices in South Africa, and the company told MyBroadband that it is excited for the consumer and commercial launch of these products locally.

“We know that our customers and Windows fans have been excited about the launch of  Microsoft Surface products in South Africa,” Tarsus said. “We are thrilled to finally be making available two key product lines of the portfolio.”

“Even though we are facing challenging economic times, we believe that there is a pent-up demand for the capabilities that Surface brings in terms of design, customisation, the range of accessories and most importantly the Windows 10 experience.”

These devices are aimed at the premium market, meaning they are set to compete with devices such as those in Apple’s MacBook lineup locally.

When asked whether it thought Surface devices would take on Apple’s MacBook range in South Africa, Tarsus said that it competes with the Surface devices as well as other premium notebooks.

“We compete with a strong product offering with the Surface Portfolio but also strong premium offerings from internal OEM’s like HP, Lenovo, Dell, Acer, etc., who have a strong Windows Premium device products,” Tarsus said.

Both the Surface Laptop 3 and Surface Pro 7 are available to purchase from Incredible Connection and Vodacom in two colours – Platinum and Matte Black.

Accessories including the Surface Keyboard Cover, Surface Pen and Surface Arc Mouse are also available to purchase from these stores.

To determine how well the new Surface hardware stacks up against Apple’s local offerings, we compared the Surface Pro 7 and Laptop 3 with the Apple iPad Pro and MacBook Air, respectively.

Surface Pro 7 vs iPad Pro

We compared the entry-level 12.9-inch version of the Apple iPad Pro with the cheapest Microsoft Surface Pro 7 configuration available in South Africa.

Pricing for these devices was sourced from iStore South Africa and Incredible Connection for the Apple and Microsoft devices, respectively.

It is important to note that the iPad Pro uses the same mobile chipset that ships in Apple’s iPhone smartphones, which means it is difficult to compare performance across processors.

Additionally, Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7 runs Windows 10, while the iPad Pro runs a specially-built operating system which evolved from the company’s iOS mobile operating system.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7, therefore, supports wider functionality and app support.

Both devices have front- and rear-facing cameras, as well as detachable keyboards and optional styluses.

These accessories are priced as follows:

  • Surface Pen – R1,999
  • Surface Pro Type Cover – R2,799
  • Smart Keyboard Folio for iPad Pro – R4,599
  • Apple Pencil – R2,999

Below are the specifications and pricing for the entry-level Surface Pro 7 and Apple iPad Pro.

Specifications Surface Pro 7 iPad Pro 12.9-inch Wi-Fi
Operating System Windows 10 Home iPadOS 13
Display 12.3-inch 2,736 x 1,824 touch 12.9-inch 2,732 x 2,048 touch
CPU Intel Core i3-1005G1 A12Z Bionic
RAM 4GB 6GB (estimated)
Storage 128GB SSD 128GB SSD
Network Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
Cameras 8MP Rear, 5MP Front 12MP + 10MP Rear, 7MP Front
Ports 1x USB-C, 1x USB-A, 3.5mm headphone jack, 1x Surface Connect, 1x Surface Type Cover port, MicroSD 1x USB Type-C
Battery Up to 10.5 hours of typical usage Up to 10 hours of web surfing
Dimensions 292 x 201 x 8.5 mm 280.6 x 214.9 x 5.9 mm
Price R17,999 R21,999

Surface Pro 7 vs iPad Pro

Surface Laptop 3 vs MacBook Air

We compared the entry-level Surface Laptop 3 with the cheapest MacBook Air configuration available from iStore South Africa.

These devices sport similar specifications and prices, but there are a number of important differences which buyers should note.

The Surface Laptop 3 has a touchscreen display while the MacBook Air does not, and the CPU in the Surface device is more powerful than the chip in the Apple laptop.

The MacBook Air we used in this comparison is slightly more affordable than the Surface Laptop 3, however, and it sports two Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Below are the specifications and pricing of the entry-level MacBook Air and Surface Laptop 3.

Specifications Surface Laptop 3 13-inch MacBook Air
Operating System Windows 10 Home macOS 13
Display 13.5-inch 2,256 x 1,504 IPS touch 13-inch 2,560 x 1,600 IPS
CPU Intel Core i5-1035G7 Intel Core i3 10th-gen
Storage 128GB SSD 256GB SSD
Network Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0
Ports 1x USB-C, 1x USB-A, 3.5mm headphone jack, 1x Surface Connect 2x USB Type-C (Thunderbolt 3)
Battery Up to 11.5 hours of typical usage Up to 12 hours web surfing
Dimensions 308 x 223 x 14.5 mm 304 x 212 x 15.6 mm
Price R22,999 R21,999

Surface Laptop 3 vs MacBook Air

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Microsoft Surface to take on Apple in South Africa