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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best Microsoft Surface tablets

Microsoft’s family of Surface tablets made waves in the tech industry since the original Surface was released to the public in 2012. While that initial Surface tablet caught the attention of millions of people around the world with its processing power, slim profile, and overall versatility, Microsoft kept up the momentum by greatly improving future Surface models with a range of innovative technologies and chic designs – models that hold their own against trusted tablet makers like Apple, Lenovo, Samsung, and Amazon.

Surface tablets may be known for their vibrant high-end touchscreen displays, stylish designs, and the reliable Windows operating system, but the Surface family of devices has greatly expanded since 2012. Workplace professionals, digital artists, and online students will use a Surface in a different way, and with a variety of Surface tablets, Surface laptops, and other models available, it may be difficult to find the best option for you without a little research.

Microsoft Surface Tablet
Microsoft sells a variety of specialty USB-C ports so users can connect HDMI, VGA, DisplayPort, and Ethernet devices to their Surface device.

Key considerations

Keeping your core needs and how you plan on using a Surface tablet in mind is one of the best ways to compare and contrast Surface models. Here are a few key considerations to keep in mind before you buy:

Do you need a Surface for graphic design, multitasking, or playing PC games?

Surface tablets are available in a wide variety of specs, and there are quite a few professional-grade models available for handling multiple large programs at once. If you need a more powerful Surface for handling professional programs or play, look into the latest Surface Laptops or a Surface Pro tablet.

Do you need a Surface tablet for drawing, taking notes, and instant photo editing?

All Surface tablets feature a touchscreen, but models with a larger display and a more powerful processor are better suited for smoothly crafting digital art. All Surface models are capable of simple handwritten note-taking, but digital artists should seek out options like the Surface Studio 2 or Surface Pro X. The one caveat is that no Surface device includes the comfortable Surface Pen stylus, so be sure to budget for the additional expense.

What size Surface is the best for my needs?

Surface tablets are divided into four size classes: Compact (10 inches or smaller), Small, (10 to 13 inches), Medium (13 to 15 inches), and Large (over 15 inches). Processing power and features aside, buyers should take a Surface’s form factor into account as well.

Small or compact Surface tablets like the Surface Go 3 and Surface Pro 8 are appreciated for their lightweight and portable designs and are must-haves for staying productive while traveling. On the other hand, a larger Surface PC is a top option for daily multitasking between large programs and engaging gaming, such as the Surface Laptop Studio and Surface Studio 2.

The Microsoft Surface family

While Microsoft’s Surface brand is best known for its premium tablets, there are many different devices in the Surface family, and buyers should take the time to identify the best model for their needs while they shop around. Here are the four most common kinds of Surface devices and what each one is primarily used for:

2-In-1 PCs

The classic Surface tablet style is optimized for portability, getting serious work done wherever you go, and its versatile design. These 2-in-1 PCs feature a sleek tablet design at their core, but they were designed around a magnetic type cover keyboard and integrated kickstand for ergonomic typing. Examples include the Surface Pro 8, Surface Pro X, and Surface Go 3.

Dual screen

People who long for the days of Microsoft’s long-discontinued Windows Phone will appreciate the sleek and innovative style of their dual screen Surface PCs. The Surface Duo 2 has a clamshell design with a pair of vibrant touch screens and blazing-fast 5G connectivity, and it runs the entire Google Play library of Android apps.

Laptops

Featherweight, slim, and stylish, a Surface laptop is a must-have for serious typists. These powerful machines include a comfortable backlit keyboard, a bright touchscreen display, and an all-day battery life, making them a top option for business professionals, students, and entertainment alike.

All-In-One

With its gigantic display, powerful performance, and flexible hinged stand, these huge Surface PCs are best reserved for dedicated digital artists. If you have the space, a Surface Studio 2 is a gorgeous and versatile easel for everyday creation via the Adobe suite of programs.

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DID YOU KNOW?
Gamers should consider joining Xbox Game Pass for PC to play over 100 games on their Surface like Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, and Killer Instinct.
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Tips

  • LTE connectivity. Users who need an ultra-portable Surface tablet for mobile work may encounter times when a local WiFi connection is unsecure or nonexistent, making it essential to invest in a model that supports LTE connectivity. When the WiFi is down or only available from sketchy sources, someone with a Surface Pro X or Surface Go can easily connect to their LTE mobile network to securely work online.
  • Look for ports. While all Surface devices feature at least a single USB-C port, buyers who need to connect a variety of devices to their tablet should look for models equipped with a headphone jack, as well as USB-A and Thunderbolt ports.
  • Match your style. Many Surface models are available in a variety of eye-catching colors and textures. For example, the Surface Laptop 4 is offered in a cool metallic finish or wrapped in silky Alcantara fabric, and buyers can select Sandstone, Matte Black, Platinum, and Ice Blue as color options, so keep an eye out for a Surface device that fits your tastes.
Microsoft Surface Tablets
Although some Surface tablets are equipped with Windows 10 out of the box, recently released models are easily upgraded to Windows 11.

FAQ

Q. What accessories should I get for my Surface tablet?

A. Some of the best accessories to buy for a Surface tablet include a Type Cover or keyboard for smooth ergonomic typing, a portable mouse such as the Microsoft Arc Mouse or Modern Mobile Mouse, and a protective bag for mobile users.

Q. What should I expect from the average Surface tablet’s battery life?

A. Any worthwhile tablet or laptop should provide at least eight hours of battery life to get you through work or school at the bare minimum. The good news is that the vast majority of Surface devices feature between 10 to 13 hours of battery life, with premium Surface products like the Surface Laptop 4 and Surface Book 3 lasting for well over 17 hours on a single charge.

Q. What is Windows Hello?

A. Although all Surface tablets include a webcam, some models have integrated Windows Hello to securely log in users without using a PIN, fingerprint, or password. Once Windows Hello has been set up, you simply need to glance at your Surface’s webcam, and the device will automatically sign in to your profile.

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