Since the introduction of the original way back in 2012, Microsoft has worked to expand its own Surface PC product lineup — with impressive results. Today, the product family spans from the entry-level Microsoft Surface Go 2, which costs less than $500, all the way to the feature-packed Surface Studio with a price tag close to $5,000. In between, you'll find 2-in-1 PCs made for portability, traditional laptops, and even a desktop.
Best Microsoft Surface Products
The Best Overall Surface: Microsoft Surface Pro 7
The Budget Surface: Microsoft Surface Go 2
The Ultimate Surface: Microsoft Surface Book 3
The Most Elegant Surface: Microsoft Surface Laptop 4
The 4G LTE Surface: Microsoft Surface Pro X
The Desktop Surface: Microsoft Surface Studio 2
The Compact Clamshell Surface: Microsoft Surface Laptop Go
The Surface Phone: Microsoft Surface Duo
Designed and developed entirely in-house by Microsoft, every member of the Surface lineup has sophisticated design and impeccable craftsmanship. The latest PCs also have a robust set of wired and wireless connectivity features on board.
Top Surface Features
PixelSense touchscreen: a sharp and vibrant display panel with 3:2 aspect ratio and top-notch color accuracy
Surface Pen: a precise and comfortable stylus that's a powerful tool for creative tasks
Surface Dial: a customizable accessory that brings a whole new world of interaction with a multitude of compatible applications
Surface Connect charging port: the port makes every Surface effortlessly easy to charge, and it's compatible with optional accessories like the Surface Dock 2
Also, because the products are made by Microsoft, the PCs deliver a clutter-free Windows 10 experience without bloatware. They are also the first to get the platform’s latest updates and features.
To help you choose the best Microsoft Surface laptop or tablet for your needs, here is our breakdown of the different products out there today.
The Quintessential Surface
10th-generation Intel Core i5/i7 CPU; Intel UHD/Iris Plus Graphics
12.3-inch PixelSense IPS touchscreen with 267 pixels per inch
Up to 16GB of RAM; up to 1TB of SSD storage
This elegant slate has all the qualities that made the Surface product family popular with consumers: looks, craftsmanship, power, and versatility. Like its predecessors, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 can instantly transform from a tablet to a laptop via an optional keyboard cover.
Microsoft offers the Surface Pro 7 in a plethora of hardware configurations, ensuring that you can find one that fits you budget. All variants feature Intel’s 10th-generation processors. The entry-level picks (best for casual use) go for less than $1,000, but the more powerful offerings designed for demanding pro users will balloon in price. A top-shelf Pro 7 with maxed out specs with cost you almost $2,000.
By equipping the slate with a USB-C port, Microsoft addressed one of its predecessors’ biggest shortcomings. The 10.5-hour maximum battery life of the Pro 7, however, is not as impressive. We also still wish that Microsoft didn’t charge extra for the super Type keyboard cover, as well as for the Surface Pen.
The Budget Surface
Intel Pentium Gold 4425Y/Core m3 processor (dual-core); Intel UHD Graphics 615
10.5-inch PixelSense IPS touchscreen with 1,920 by 1,280 pixels
4/8GB of RAM; 64GB eMMC storage; 128GB of SSD storage
Priced below $400, the Microsoft Surface Go 2 has the same design and impeccable craftsmanship as its pricier relatives, but in a considerably more compact form factor with a 10.5-inch display. Curiously, the latter makes the tablet feel a whole lot like the original Surface Pro from 2013.
Compared to its predecessor, the Surface Go 2 has a bigger screen with slimmer bezels, longer battery life, and a more futureproof Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. My colleague Brandon Carte tested the Surface Go 2 and noted that it is “a nicer machine overall that packs a more powerful processor and a larger 10.5-inch touchscreen — fortunately without increasing the base model’s $399 asking price.”
Because it's equipped with an Intel Pentium Gold or a Core m3 processor, the Surface Go 2 is best suited for casual use or light productivity work. If you're looking to edit large image and video files on the go, this is not your best option.
The Ultimate Surface
10th-generation Intel Core i5/i7 CPU; up to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics
13.5- or 15-inch detachable PixelSense IPS touchscreen
Up to 32GB of RAM; up to 2TB of SSD storage
The Surface Book 3, like the original and the second generation, is the most capable portable computer Microsoft currently makes. Available with a 13.5- or a 15-inch display panel, the convertible laptop has a distinctive design, a magnesium build with exceptional quality, and versatility that its rivals simply cannot match. It’s the one to go for if your budget has no restrictions.
Rather impressively, you can detach the Surface Book 3's display from the keyboard base and use it as a tablet with the touch of a button. When you need to work on more demanding tasks, you’ll need to dock the screen back, as the base is the home of the NVIDIA graphics chip.
Every Surface Book 3 has Intel’s latest quad-core CPUs, so it’s a great option for power users. Variants equipped with NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics are legit gaming rigs, too, delivering a solid gameplay experience — especially considering their elegant and versatile form factor. The 15-inch Book 3 also has built-in Xbox wireless connectivity, which will let you easily connect an Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 to play your favorite games.
The Microsoft Surface Book 3 starts at $1,600 for a 13.5-inch model with Intel graphics and 8GB of RAM, so it's pricey. Variants with NVIDIA graphics and more memory easily surpass the $2,000 mark, while a fully loaded 15-inch Book 3 will set you back north of $3,000. Oddly, Microsoft has opted to not include the Surface Pen in the notebook’s retail package, despite its hefty price tag.
The Most Elegant Surface
11th-generation Intel Core i5/i7 CPU, Iris Xe Graphics; AMD Ryzen 5/Ryzen 7 processor, Radeon graphics
13.5- or 15-inch PixelSense IPS touchscreen with a resolution of 201 pixels per inch
Up to 32GB of RAM; up to 1TB of SSD storage
The recently introduced Microsoft Surface Laptop 4, as its name suggests, is the one to go for if you prefer working on a traditional laptop over a hybrid option. Like its predecessor, the notebook is available with a 13.5-inch or a 15-inch touchscreen. It has a timelessly beautiful design and tactility to match.
Every Surface Laptop 4 has a powerful and up-to-date AMD or Intel chip, as well as outstanding battery life that, depending on the variant, can reach up to 19 hours between charges. Microsoft once again teamed up with AMD to develop Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 processors that are tailor-made for the product. There are multiple hardware configurations to pick from.
The 13.5-inch Laptop 4 is available with the product family’s signature wrist pad covered in Alcantara — a luxurious, sustainably sourced material with a suede-like finish. The 15-inch variants have a more understated, aluminum build that’s available in silver or black. Depending on the color and the hardware configuration you choose, you might get an all-metal 13.5-inch Laptop 4 as well.
The 4G LTE Surface
Microsoft SQ1/SQ2 chip, Adreno 685/690 graphics
13-inch PixelSense IPS touchscreen with 2,880 by 1,920 pixels
8/16GB of RAM; up to 512GB of SSD storage
The Microsoft Surface Pro X is the sleekest member of the product lineup. It has the same form factor as the Surface Pro everyone loves, but thanks to a larger 13-inch touchscreen with ultra thin bezels, the Pro X is even more elegant. With an ultra thin design and LTE connectivity on board, the newcomer is ideal for commuters, as well as those who like to stay connected while away from a Wi-Fi network.
The Surface Pro X has an SQ1 chip with no cooling fans and onboard LTE network connectivity, developed in partnership between Microsoft and Qualcomm. It's dependable and energy-efficient, but not on par with Intel and AMD processors that similarly priced PCs have.
In October last year, the tech giant expanded the Surface Pro X lineup by adding a pricier variant with a more capable SQ2 chip and Adreno 690 graphics. It's better than the SQ1 version, though it could still use faster 5G network connectivity, as well as Wi-Fi 6.
You'll still need to invest in a keyboard cover, as well as a Surface Pen in order to make the most out of the tablet’s capabilities. Microsoft introduced a new Slim Pen stylus alongside the Surface Pro X. You can order a Pro X Signature keyboard that’s bundled with the accessory. It has a dedicated slot for recharging the Slim Pen, but it will cost you.
The Desktop Surface
Seventh-generation Intel Core i7 CPU, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060/GTX 1070 graphics
28-inch PixelSense IPS touchscreen with a resolution of 4,500 by 3,00 pixels; adjustable stand
16/32GB of RAM; up to 2TB of SSD storage
Designed for creativity and productivity work, the Microsoft Surface Studio 2 is the tech giant’s only desktop computer. Even though it's been around since 2018, the all-in-one desktop is still impressive, thanks to an ultra sharp and vibrant 28-inch touchscreen with an adjustable stand.
The PixelSense touch-sensitive display is truly unlike anything else out there. It's equally impressive as a creativity tool (hence the Studio moniker), or as a vastly capable desktop workstation. Well into 2021, it's the only hardware bit that makes the Surface Studio 2 worth considering.
A lofty price tag and and a dated processor are the two biggest downsides of the Microsoft Studio 2. At least in this case, Microsoft has opted to bundle the Surface Pen with the PC.
The Compact Clamshell Surface
10th-generation Intel Core i5 CPU
12.4-inch PixelSense IPS touchscreen with 148 pixels per inch
Up to 8GB of RAM; up to 256GB of SSD storage
The ultra portable Microsoft Surface Laptop Go is a great option for students, as well as anyone who’s looking for a reliable clamshell notebook on a tight budget. As its name suggests, the Go is incredibly portable and smaller than the Laptop 4. It has a 12.4-inch screen and it weighs less than 2.5 pounds.
With an onboard 10th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, the notebook Surface Go is sufficiently powerful for casual use and light productivity. It has up to 13 hours of battery life, an excellent set of wired and wireless features, as well as a handy fingerprint sensor that’s embedded into its power button. However, it could use a sharper display panel.
Microsoft offers the Surface Laptop Go in several hardware configurations that start at a $549.99 — but we highly recommend that you skip the cheapest model. It has only 4GB of RAM and 64GB of slower eMMC storage, so it’s only suitable for casual use.
The Surface Phone
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset
Dual 5.6-inch AMOLED displays with 1,800 by 1,350 pixels (each)
6GB of RAM/up to 256GB of storage
After years of anticipation, Microsoft launched the Surface Duo in the fall of 2020, which was the product family’s first Android smartphone. It stands out among its rivals by rocking a duo of 5.6-inch AMOLED displays and a 360-degree hinge, which make it great for multitasking. The device is also compatible with the Surface Slim Pen.
The unique hinge allows the Duo to transform from a phone to an 8.1-inch tablet with a 3:2 screen, or a viewing platform in tent mode. My favorite part is the ability to convert the device into a small laptop, and use one of its screens as a keyboard. I also like its side-mounted fingerprint sensor.
The Surface Duo is plenty characterful, sleek, and superbly crafted, but far from perfect. Its 2019 Qualcomm chip is dated and it could use a bit more RAM, as well as 5G and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. Its sole 11MP camera could be better, too.
Pricing for the Duo starts at $1,000 for a variant with 128GB of storage.
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