Spec Showdown: Surface Book vs MacBook Pro vs Dell XPS 13

Yesterday was a big day for Microsoft, as it showed the next generation of its hardware, which includesthe next generation of the Surface line, which now features a hybrid laptop.

Dubbed the ultimate laptop by Microsoft, the Surface Book had an immensely positive reception across the board, with praise for its outstanding design, minimal footprint and exorbitant performance. How does it fare, though, when pitted against two leading laptops in the industry, the MacBook Pro by Apple and the XPS 13 by Dell?

As far as the size and the weight of the Surface Book are concerned, it is, as Microsoft's Panos Panay put it, "pounds by pounds, the fastest 13-inch laptop." That statement is largely true, given the sleek dimensions of the tablet and its insanely low weight. The design of Microsoft's first laptop is extraordinary and is sure to turn quite a few heads.

The display of the Surface Book triumphs over its competition, with a screen boasting more pixel density than the 13-inch MacBook Pro's Retina display and is comparable to the XPS 13's display.

Powering the Surface Book is a sixth-generation Intel Core i5 or i7, and it is the only laptop at the moment from the three that sports Intel's new Skylake platform. That is sure to change soon, as Apple updates its products but, for now, it allows Microsoft to have an impressive gain of allegedly 50% better performance compared to the MacBook Pro.

You can also get a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GPU, though the exact graphics card has not yet been specified by Microsoft, for even more graphical horsepower - that, however, will bring up the price to an astounding $1,900 or more. Still, it is the only laptop among the bunch to feature a dedicated graphics card.

The other features, such as connectivity and I/O, are mostly similar across the board, but what sets the Microsoft Surface Book apart from the bunch is its ability to morph into a tablet, courtesy of its scorpion-like hinge. Add to that the outstanding inking support via the Surface Pen and the Surface Book becomes any professional's dream laptop.

All that horsepower and flexibility will not come cheap, however. Apple products often occupy the highest percentile of their market segment and are often indicative of the maximum price consumers will pay for a certain product. As such, topping even Apple's pricing in the category, one can be sure that the Surface Book is not a cheap device. It's unique features, such as the touch screen, the dedicated GPU and the detachable screen, are more than enough to justify the added premium but whether consumers will agree remains to be seen.

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