Microsoft offers five devices within its Surface portfolio: the Surface Pro, Surface Laptop, Surface Book, Surface Studio, and Surface Go.
Each Surface has a touchscreen, but only four of them are truly "mobile", as one of them, the Surface Studio, is an eye-catching all-in-one meant to sit on a desk, while another, the Surface Go, which also happens to be the latest Surface device to launch, is a 10-inch touchscreen tablet designed to be portable and user-friendly for all types of people who, quite literally, work on the go.
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 five Surface devices, 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 10 Pro 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.
The Surface Go is a 10-inch touchscreen tablet that, at first look, looks like a smaller Surface Pro, but Microsoft has insisted in its marketing materials that it re-engineered the tablet's size, weight, design, and more, in order to make it more portable. Microsoft is targeting Apple iPad users and Chromebook users with this device, as it's the smallest Surface available and the cheapest.
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 Pro (2017) review
- Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) vs Apple iPad Pro 12.9: What's the difference?
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 camera and 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 Laptop review
- Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) vs Surface Laptop: What's the difference?
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 Book 2 review
- Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) vs Surface Book: What's the difference?
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.
Microsoft Surface Go
- Dimensions: 637.4 x 438.9 x 12.5mm, 522g weight
- Display: 10-inch PixelSense display; 1800 x 1200 resolution (217dpi), 3:2 aspect ratio
- Connections: 1 x USB-C, 3.5 mm headphone jack, 1 x Surface Connect port, Surface Type Cover Port, 1 x MicroSDXC Card Reader
- Battery: Up to 9 hours
- Accessories: Type Cover, Surface Dial, Microsoft Office, and Surface Pen (all sold separately)
- Price: From £379/$399
Microsoft has introduced a new Surface-branded device: The Surface Go. It's out now in the US and will reach UK shores on 23 August. The company is targeting Apple iPad users and Chromebook users with this 10-inch touchscreen tablet that starts at £379/$399.
In terms of specifications, it features an Intel Pentium Gold processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage. There is one other model of the Surface Go available, with 8GB of memory alongside 128GB of storage for $549 or £510. Both models work with the £99/$99 Surface Pen, and they come with a USB-C (non-Thunderbolt) port, a Surface Connect port, and a micro SD expansion slot under the kickstand.
That built-in kickstand can extend up to 165 degrees, as well. Other Surface Go features include a front facing 5-megapixel HD camera, rear auto-focus 8-megapixel HD camera, support for Wi-Fi (LTE option coming this autumn), and Windows Hello. Microsoft is claiming nine hours of battery life, too. Oh, and it works with a new Surface Type Cover(£99/$99 for the cheapest version extra) and Mobile Mouse.
Surface Go's Type Cover comes in standard black (plastic), or you can get it in Alcantara fabric in the following colours: Burgundy, Cobalt Blue, or Platinum. The Surface Mobile Mouse, which has Bluetooth pairing, also comes in Burgundy, Cobalt Blue, or Platinum. As for the Surface Go itself, there are no colour choices, though you can get it with Windows 10 Home in S Mode (upgradable to Windows 10 Home).
Alternatively, business and education users can get Windows 10 Pro(configurable to S Mode). A model with LTE will be available this autumn.