Two of the hottest ultraportable laptops for sale now are the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S and the updated 12-Inch MacBook. CNET gave the TabPro S a four-star rating and is especially impressed with its display. Wired gave the MacBook four-and-a-half stars, claiming that less is better. Both devices have their advantages and disadvantages.
The biggest advantage for the Galaxy TabPro S is the 12-inch Super AMOLED screen, the first one ever for a Windows 10 tablet. To say it's beautiful is underestimating the screen, which looks at you more than you look at it. Think of the screen on the Galaxy S or Galaxy Note devices and imagine it enlarged to 12 inches. The only slight problem is the 2160 x 1440 pixel resolution, which would be great for 2013. However, in 2016, we currently have some 12-inch devices such as the Razer Blade Stealth that have 4K screens.
That said, the MacBook has an almost similar 2304 x 1440 resolution. However, given that it has a higher pixel density than the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, it is sometimes easier to appreciate than the TabPro S. However, even though the MacBook has the best LED screen available on a laptop, an LED screen just can't compare with AMOLED screen, which is perfectly viewable under the sunlight.
The TabPro S runs an Intel Core M processor that clocks in at 2.2 GHz. It was hard to find a major difference in speed when using programs such as Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Office, and, at times, even Photoshop. One could tell a difference if doing more advanced Photoshop work, but for 90 percent of Windows 10 users, the TabPro S is fast enough.
The MacBook also runs an Intel Core M processor. However, without Turbo Burst, the entry-level version runs at 1.1 GHz. It does feel faster than the 2015 MacBook, but the slow speed certainly makes itself known when using programs such as Photoshop and online streaming services. The MacBook is capable of playing 4K videos (even though the screen isn't 4K), but they still stutter once in a while.
The TabPro S is a laptop/tablet hybrid and works well as a standalone tablet. The AMOLED screen is perfect for viewing videos, and the speakers are decent enough for playing music. Samsung is supposed to release a C-Pen device for handwriting, but no release date has been set. Unlike other laptop/tablet hybrids such as the Surface Pro 4, the TabPro S comes with a keyboard cover that's decent but not outstanding. The keyboard's biggest problem is that it only allows for two viewing angles.
The MacBook is a pure laptop and doesn't pretend to be anything else. It would be great if Apple allowed a touchscreen on their devices, but the outstanding and responsive trackpad, which may be the best one ever on a laptop, almost makes up for it. The "butterfly" keyboard has been divisive, but once one gets used to it, the keyboard is just as easy to use as the best ones available. They keys don't have a lot of travel to them, but they are different keys that don't need travel like traditional ones.
It's important to note that the MacBook comes with 8GB of RAM, where the Galaxy TabPro S comes with 4GB. Both only have one USB-C port, which may be controversial now, but represents the future of laptops. The TabPro S costs $899 and is better for the money than the 12-inch MacBook, which starts at $1,299. Still, those who are used to OS X may want to spend the extra money on the MacBook. However, both devices are excellent ultraportables and represent the future of computing.
[Photo via Daryl Deino]