Microsoft offers four Surface device families within its portfolio comprising the Surface Pro, Surface Laptop, Surface Book and Surface Studio. The latest to launch is the Surface Book 2, the updated version of the Surface Book, which comes in 13 and 15-inch versions.
Each Surface has a touchscreen, but only three of them are “mobile”, as one of them is an eye-catching all-in-one that sits on a desk and one of them runs a sandboxed version of Windows known as Windows 10 S.
Confused about which one might be the one for you? No worries. It’s not as complicated as it first seems and to help you figure out the differences between them all and work out which is the best for your requirements, we’ve compared each of the four Surface device families spec-by-spec to give you a better idea of which is best for you.
The Surface Pro is the cheapest Surface device overall. It’s a Windows 10Pro PC that also offers a tablet experience, but it’s definitely not for people who need a workhorse PC or desire a conventional laptop.
The Surface Laptop is more expensive than the Surface Pro and Microsoft’s first Surface device that doesn’t fold into a tablet. It has an excellent touchscreen display though and while it’s not a great business PC, as it runs sandboxed Windows 10 S meaning you can only run apps in the Windows Store, it offers a decent battery life and a solid build quality.
The Surface Book 2 is a professional laptop, and like all other Surface devices, it has a touchscreen. What makes it standout, however, is its solid base and a discrete GPU option. It’s bigger and more expensive than the Surface Laptop, but it offers more in terms of performance.
The Surface Studio is the most expensive Surface device, and it’s primarily for creatives. It’s a gorgeous all-in-one Windows 10 PC with a Zero Gravity Hinge. With a light push, it can be pushed down to a tablet-like position and then used with the included Surface Pen or even the optional Surface Dial to sketch. This device is the first of its kind. But it’s super pricey, and it’s not at all mobile, obviously.
Microsoft Surface Pro
- Dimensions: 292 x 201 x 8.5mm, from 768g
- Display: 12.3-inch PixelSense display; 2736 x 1824 resolution (267ppi)
- Connections: One USB 3.0, microSD card reader, Mini DisplayPort, Cover port, Surface Connect, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Battery: Up to 13.5 hours
- Accessories: Surface Pen, Signature Type Cover, Surface Dock (all sold separately)
- Price: From £799 to £2699
The Microsoft Surface Pro features the same dimensions and standout features as 2015’s Surface Pro 4 model. There’s a kickstand and it works with a detachable Type Cover and Surface Pen, as well as the Surface Dock that transforms it into a desktop PC that can be used with two external monitors, mouse and printer.
The base model features the Intel Core 7th Gen m3 processor, Intel HD Graphics 615, 128GB SSD and 4GB of RAM, but it is configurable up to the Intel Core i7 chip, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, 1TB SSD and 16GB of RAM. All models have a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, 8-megapixel rear camera, dual microphones and 1.6W stereo speakers with Dolby Audio.
The Surface Pro is a Windows 10 Pro PC that also offers a tablet experience. It’s not for people who need a workhorse PC or desire a conventional laptop; it’s for people who want to be mobile and prefer to get done work on a tablet. Consider the level of computational power you need and whether you want a hybrid device before you choose this device.
Microsoft Surface Laptop
- Dimensions: 308.1 x 223.27 x 14.48mm, from 1.25kg weight
- Display: 13.5-inch PixelSense display; 2256 x 1504 resolution (201ppi)
- Connections: One USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, Surface Connect, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Battery: Up to 14.5 hours
- Accessories: Surface Arc Mouse, Surface Dock, Surface Dial, Surface Pen (all sold separately)
- Price: From £979 to £2699
The Surface Laptop serves as a reference design for a Windows 10 S-powered mobile PC. It has a bit of flair, offering up an Alcantara fabric keyboard and multiple colour choices but if you’re considering this device, style options probably won’t matter too much.
The base model of this device features the Intel Core i5 processor, coupled with Intel HD Graphics 620, 128GB SSD and 4GB of RAM but it is configurable up to the Intel Core i7 processor, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, 1TB SSD and 16GB of RAM. All models have a front-facing cameraand they all support biometric sign-in with Windows Hello facial recognition.
The Surface Laptop user values the ability to work on the go and doesn’t need tonnes of computer power. Make no mistake: this is not a business PC. It’s a cross between a MacBook Air and a Chromebook, though it runs sandboxed Windows. The Surface Laptop doesn’t transform into a tablet, but it does have an excellent full touchscreen and a decent battery life.
Microsoft Surface Book 2
- Dimensions: 312 x 232 x 13mm to 23 mm, from 1.53kg weight
- Display: 13.5-inch PixelSense display; 3000 x 2000 resolution (267ppi)
- Connections: Two USB 3.0, One USB Type-C, Full-size SD card reader (SDXC), Mini DisplayPort, Surface Connect, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Battery: Up to 17 hours
- Accessories: Surface Pen, Surface Dial, Surface Dock (all sold separately)
- Price: 13-inch £1449 to £2999, 15-inch £2,749 to £3,149. Check out the Surface Book 2 at PC World.
The Surface Book 2 succeeds the original Surface Book and it is a 2-in-1 convertible device that’s also a professional laptop, thanks to its solid base and a discrete GPU option.
It’s bigger than the Surface Laptop, but it offers more in the performance department.
The base model features the Intel Core i5 processor with dual core performance, Intel HD Graphics 620, 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM, though this is configurable up to the Intel Core i7 processor with quad-core power, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 discrete GPU with 2GB GDDR5 graphics memory, 1TB of SSD and 16GB of RAM.
The top end 15-inch model features GeForce GTX 1050 and 1060 graphics plus 1TB of SSD storage.
All models have Windows Hello face authentication, a 5-megapixel front camera, 8-megapixel rear camera, dual microphones and front-facing stereo speakers with Dolby Audio Premium.
The Surface Book 2 is a high-powered, touchscreen laptop that graphics professionals, in particular, will probably appreciate for work. It’s the right Surface for anyone that needs a mobile workhouse that’ll last all day, though it isn’t cheap.
Microsoft Surface Studio
- Dimensions: 637.4 x 438.9 x 12.5mm (display), 250 x 220 x 32.2 mm (base), 9.56kg weight
- Display: 28-inch PixelSense display; 4500 x 3000 resolution (192dpi)
- Connections: Four USB 3.0, Full size SD reader (SDXC), Mini DisplayPort, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Battery: Power cord with grip-release cable
- Accessories: Surface Pen (included); Surface Dial (sold separately)
- Price: From £2999 to £4249
The Surface Studio is a desktop Windows 10 PC aimed at creative professionals who have a big budget. Similar to Apple’s iMac, the Surface Studio is an upright, all-in-one desktop computer, but it features a Zero Gravity Hinge that transforms it into Studio mode.
With a light push, the Surface Studio can be pushed down to a tablet-like position after which users can then use the included Surface Pen or even the optional Surface Dial to sketch, colour, and mark-up on the screen.
The base model features the Intel Core i5 processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M graphics with 2GB memory, 1TB Rapid Hybrid Drive and 8GB of RAM. It is configurable up to an Intel Core i7 processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M graphics with 4GB memory, 2TB Rapid Hybrid Drive and 32GB of RAM but you’re talking a huge price tag for this top-specced model.
The Surface Studio is the first of its kind and a showstopper machine but its price tag means it targets a niche market so unless you have a lot of cash, one of the other Surface devices might be better suited for you.