Politicians and advertisers have long been known to stretch the truth but we’ve entered a new era along the misinformation superhighway where simple outright lies are accepted as fact. Here’s an example. Microsoft’s new Surface Book 2 is twice as powerful as a MacBook Pro.
That is stated as a fact. Most of us know the drill. There are lies, damned lies, and statistics, and somewhere in the fine print we’ll see the details about what powerful means, right? Twice as fast? Types twice as fast? What, exactly, is twice as powerful?
When trying to unseat a market leader, a newcomer or upstart or simply an improved competitor must do one of two things. Make a much better product at the same price. Make a product perform about the same as the leader at a much lower price. That’s something of a marketing axiom. Microsoft’s new line of Surface computers has suffered the past year or so with declining sales. Windows-based PCs just are not what they used to be and sales reflect the changes in the industry toward mobile devices.
Microsoft on the new Surface Book 2 line:
Gorgeous design meets unstoppable power in this laptop. With the latest 8th Gen Intel Core processors and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 and 1060 discrete graphics options, Surface Book 2 is up to five times more powerful than the original and is twice as powerful as the latest MacBook Pro. All this power and Surface Book 2 still provides all-day battery life – up to 17 hours of video playback. That’s 70% more than the latest MacBook Pro.
No, these are not independent tests that Microsoft quotes. “Five times more powerful than the original” is stated as fact, just the same as “twice as powerful as the latest MacBook Pro.” Put another way, Apple’s old MacBook Pro was 2.5-times more powerful than Microsoft’s old Surface Book for about the same money.
What you get is the latest and greatest that used to come in new Macs. Better display. Faster CPU. Improved GPU. But the same limited 16GB RAM and storage options that Apple was castigated for a year ago when it introduced the last generation of MacBook Pro models. Indeed, Microsoft’s new Surface Book 2 models– 13-inch and 15-inch respectively– offer newer power in a heavier package than the notably lighter MacBook Pro.
What is it that makes Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 twice as powerful as a comparable Mac? Microsoft doesn’t say. It might be the screen. It might be some arcane or obscure benchmark that has no real world benefits. It might be a comparison of a high end Surface model to a low end entry-level MacBook Pro model. It might be imaginary marketing. Whatever it is only Microsoft knows for sure but you would think that something that is twice as powerful would be worth talking about.
Will Excel spreadsheets calculate twice as fast? Will Adobe Photoshop images process twice as fast? Will I be able to type twice as fast? Those are real world considerations for twice as powerful. With Surface sales still going down Microsoft appears to be grasping at imaginary straws. These bragging rights of twice as powerful won’t help.