Microsoft’s Versatile Surface Lineup
Microsoft, a renowned name in the technology industry, is not only known for its Windows operating system but also for its range of hardware devices under the Surface brand. While last year’s Surface lineup received accolades from PCMag Editors’ Choice, this year’s release focuses on refining and improving those already successful devices.
For those familiar with the Surface family, it’s easy to get confused due to the specific lingo and similar-sounding product names. For example, “Go” refers to smaller and more affordable options across different categories. On the other hand, “Pro” refers to the original and popular Surface devices that introduced Windows tablets with detachable keyboards more than a decade ago.
To navigate through this diverse range of products, we have compiled all the current Surface devices to help you determine which one suits your needs. Let’s delve into each product category:
Surface Tablets: The Original 2-in-1 Detachables
Although Windows is commonly associated with laptops and desktops, Microsoft created the Surface tablet to showcase its versatility as an operating system for touch-screen devices without integrated keyboards. The Surface Pro, a flagship detachable Windows tablet, has consistently received praise as an Editors’ Choice winner.
The Surface Pro is a sleek 13-inch touch-screen tablet that can be used independently or with an optional detachable keyboard. Its notable feature is the integrated kickstand with a fully adjustable hinge, allowing you to position the screen at various angles. It also boasts compatibility with Windows 11 and works seamlessly with the new Slim Pen 2 stylus.
In 2021, the Surface Pro 8 received universal acclaim as the best iteration yet. However, the introduction of the Surface Pro 9 in 2022 made the landscape more intricate. Microsoft launched two versions: one with the latest Intel CPUs and another with an Arm-based SQ3 chip. The SQ3 version offers exclusive features like 5G support, smart camera technology, and extended battery life. The Intel-based version, while offering advanced performance, lacks these remarkable additions. It’s important to carefully review the specifications before making a purchase.
On the budget-friendly side, Microsoft offers the Surface Go family, which provides most of the Surface Pro features in a smaller and more affordable form factor. The Surface Go 3, the latest iteration, caters to those who prioritize portability and cost savings but may not require a full laptop replacement.
Surface Laptop: Powerful and Stylish
Recognizing that not everyone needs a tablet replacement, Microsoft expanded its Surface lineup to include conventional laptops. The Surface Laptop combines the best aspects of Windows tablets, such as touch-enabled displays, with the convenience and power of laptops.
Now in its fifth generation, the Surface Laptop 5 is available in 13.5-inch and 15-inch screen sizes. It offers multiple colors, but the larger version is limited to platinum and black options. Although the Surface Laptop 5 impresses with its sleek design, it may seem relatively expensive when compared to competitors, as similarly priced alternatives offer superior CPUs, OLED screens, and even GPU options.
For those seeking a more compact and cost-effective option, Microsoft presents the Surface Laptop Go 2. With a smaller 12-inch screen and a starting price of just $549, it provides a respectable range of configurations at affordable prices.
For creative professionals and enthusiasts, Microsoft offers the flagship Surface Laptop Studio. This Windows 11-native device, distinct from the Surface Studio, boasts a haptic touchpad and a 120Hz screen that can be flattened on top of the keyboard. Although it may not be the most powerful device, it showcases impressive capabilities.
Surface Book: The Hybrid Marvel
The Surface Book distinguishes itself as a unique member of the Surface family, combining exceptional computing power with a detachable design that blurs the line between laptop and tablet. Designed for professional multimedia content creators and gamers, the Surface Book 3 offers an optional Nvidia graphics processor unavailable in other portable Surface devices. It resembles a Surface Laptop but features a mechanically locking hinge that allows you to separate the screen from the keyboard base.
Available in 13-inch and 15-inch screen sizes, the Surface Book 3 offers various internal component configurations. However, it tends to be on the pricier side, with some configurations reaching nearly $3,000. While Microsoft considers the Surface Laptop Studio its eventual replacement, the Surface Book is still available for those who can appreciate its unique capabilities.
Surface Studio: Creativity Unleashed
Finally, Microsoft presents the Surface Studio, a powerful device aimed at creative professionals. This flagship product, not to be confused with the Surface Laptop Studio, pushes the boundaries of mobile computing with features like a haptic touchpad and a 120Hz screen that can be laid flat on top of the keyboard.
Microsoft’s Surface lineup offers a diverse range of devices that cater to various needs. Whether you’re looking for a tablet, laptop, or a hybrid experience, there’s a Surface device suited for you. By understanding the nuances of each product category, you can make an informed decision and unlock the full potential of Microsoft’s exceptional hardware.