This model comes with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. Provides up to 12.5 hours of battery life. Offers 4G LTE capability. Roomier screen at 12.3 inches. Operates on Windows 10 Professional. Includes pen and Microsoft type cover.
Heavier model at 8 pounds. Pricey.
Includes Windows 11. The screen is 10.5 inches and has a resolution of 1920 x 1280. Available in 64GB and 128GB storage sizes. Weighs just over 1 pound for easy portability. Boasts a battery life of up to 11 hours.
May not be as high-performance as other options.
Up to 10.5 hours of battery life. Light and sleek. Features dual or quad-core Intel i5 or i7 processors. Charges quickly. Desktop-like performance. Roomy 2736 by 1824 display. Built-in touchscreen.
Its bezels are on the thicker side.
Premium desktop-like performance with an Intel core i7 processor, NVIDIA graphics, and up to 2TB storage. Expansive 3240 x 2160 resolution. Dolby Atmos audio. Detachable keyboard. Optimized for creative apps.
Expensive. Heavy for a tablet.
Excellent resolution, expandable storage, and nearly silent operation. Incredible battery life of 10 - 12 hours. Great for artists and designers when coupled with the ultra-sensitive Surface Pen. It even performs well enough for serious video editing.
Accessories such as the Pen and Type Cover are additional costs, rather than included. Doesn’t have built-in storage for the Pen. Some users would prefer a USB-C.
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.
Microsoft’s Surface tablets are one of the best-kept secrets in the gadget industry. While most people have only had eyes for the iPad, Microsoft has quietly designed a tablet that’s just as thin and light but even more powerful. Surface tablets run full-fledged versions of Windows 10 and 11, and with the right specs, they can be the perfect computer for any job – even high-intensity tasks like video editing are a snap on a Surface.
As with all good tablet brands, there are lots of different kinds of Surface tablets available, each designed to suit specific types of users. That’s good news and bad news: it means that there’s definitely a Surface tablet that’s perfect for you, but it also means you’ll have to sort through the details to find the right combination of features. But that’s what you have us for, so read on for everything you need to know to find your ideal Microsoft Surface tablet, and check out our favorites when you’re done.
Finding the right Surface tablet is largely about understanding how you’ll use it. Before you start shopping, answer these key questions.
To connect to the internet, Surface tablets use WiFi, and in some cases, LTE. If you’re planning on using your Surface tablet only in settings with WiFi, you’ll be fine – all Surface tablets support WiFi.
If you need web access when you’re away from WiFi, things get a little more complicated. You’ll need a Surface tablet that supports LTE from a wireless carrier, and you’ll need a corresponding subscriber data plan. (And if LTE is critical to you, note that the Surface Pro 5 was the last generation to support LTE. Starting with the Surface Pro 6, LTE is no longer an available option.)
If you’re looking for a Surface tablet for basic everyday activities like streaming video, browsing the web, or playing mobile games, you can go for one of the more modestly equipped models (such as those with Intel M or Intel Gold CPUs). If you need a proper machine for work and you want some real horsepower, get a Surface Pro with an i5 or i7 Intel processor.
Random-access memory, better known as RAM, is the memory that computers use to manage multiple tasks simultaneously. Skimp on RAM and you’re likely to find your tablet impossibly slow when multiple applications are running, so buy a Surface tablet with as much RAM as you can afford. We recommend a minimum of 8GB of RAM, but if you have especially high needs, 16GB will be more appropriate.
One of the most confusing things about the Surface brand is that it’s found on several different devices, and they all turn up in one another’s search results, which can make them hard to tell apart. Here’s a rundown of every machine in the Surface line and what they’re each for.
These are the brand’s flagship models. Surface tablets were among the first to put laptop-worthy internals in a tablet form factor, and they’re perfect for both business and leisure. If you want a powerful computer that’s slightly more tablet than it is laptop, get a Surface or a Surface Pro.
This is a smaller version of the Surface that includes LTE connectivity. Older generations of the regular Surface tablet had optional LTE access, but with the release of the Surface Pro 6, Microsoft began limiting LTE access to the Surface Go only. The Surface Go fits in any bag, it’s affordable, and perhaps best of all, it’s the only Surface with a USB 3.1 (aka USB-C) port.
This is exactly what it sounds like: a Microsoft Surface with a permanently attached keyboard. Surface Laptops are even more powerful than Surface tablets, and a lot more expensive to boot. If you’re a professional who needs a laptop with sheer power – and you don’t need the form factor of a Surface tablet – the Surface Laptop may be your best option.
This is a slightly bigger and bulkier version of the Surface Laptop. While it doesn’t have the sleek good looks of the Surface Laptop, it’s got the best display in the family – the 15-inch version is big, beautiful, and sports a resolution of 3240 x 2160. You can also separate the screen and the keyboard. If you want a portable Surface with a brilliant picture, get a Surface Book.
This is a full-fledged desktop computer, albeit one with a giant 28-inch touchscreen. You read that right: while it may look like an iMac, the Surface Studio’s supersized touch interface makes it a truly unique device, and one that’s especially popular with videographers (and, incidentally, kids). If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind desktop computer, consider the Surface Studio.
A. Yes – for now. Although Apple was the first major tech company to offer a mobile device without a headphone jack, others have been following suit in forcing consumers to use Bluetooth headphones. As of this writing, every Surface tablet model available has a standard 3.5mm headphone port, but that’s likely to disappear in future iterations.
A. When Microsoft launched the Surface Pro 6, it was the first Surface tablet to not have the option to include an LTE radio. This was primarily because they launched the Surface Go, a smaller, more portable version of the Surface Pro, which does feature an LTE radio for getting wireless internet. If LTE access on your Surface is critical to you, you’ll either need to get an older generation or consider the Surface Go.
A. There are only a few differences between Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro. Windows 10 Pro includes everything found in Windows 10 Home and adds a few key features for more technical users, such as Remote Desktop, Group Policy Management, and Device Encryption. If you’re a casual Windows user, Windows 10 Home is perfectly fine, but if you’re a network administrator or you do some intense networking at home, you may want to opt for the Pro version.