Which One Should You Buy
If you need a machine for work, you can really buy either a Surface Laptop or a Surface Pro as theyll both do well with productivity. But if you specifically need an ultra-portable work PC, Surface Pro PCs are the better buy theyre lighter, and theyll still help you get your work done and help you relax later. But bear in mind that youll need to purchase a Type Cover or separate keyboard to get the most out of it.
If you just need a solid, all-purpose laptop for work and play and portability isnt a concern: Get a Surface Laptop. Its heavier than a Surface Pro but its nowhere near the heaviest laptop on the market. Plus, you wont have to buy a keyboard for it. And with the Surface Laptop 4, youll get the latest Intel Core processors. With the Surface Pro line, youll have to deal with either only Microsoft SQ processors or earlier generation Intel Core processors.
Surface Pro 4 Review: Can You Use It As Your Main Laptop
When comparing the new iPad Pro and the Surface Pro 4, a lot of people say that the iPad is a great tablet that works as a laptop and the Surface Pro 4 is a good laptop that works as a useful tablet. Are they right? Well share our experiences using the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 mostly as a laptop in this review. Dont worry, well also talk tablet usage since Microsoft wants users to get this device and use it both ways.
Price: The Surface Laptop 4 Has A Higher Entry Point But Better Value
While the Surface Laptop 4 is the most expensive of the three, it also has the least amount of add-ons that you need. Heres a breakdown of Surface Laptop 4 pricing.
|Surface Laptop 4 CPU|
As you can see, the Surface Laptop 4 is actually less expensive than the Surface Pro 7 when you compare similar configurations. On top of that, the Surface Pro 7 is using last-gen specs. Also, youll need to buy a bunch of stuff separately with the Surface Pro 7.
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Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 Review: Performance
- 11th-gen Intel Core i7 and 16GB of RAM combine for solid performance
- Benchmarks scores trail behind Dell XPS 13 and MacBook Air and Pro
- Graphics good enough for 30 fps on less demanding games
Unless your job involves playing Cyberpunk 2077 with the settings cranked up, Microsofts Surface Laptop 4 can handle pretty much anything youd throw at it in the course of an average workday. Our review units 16GB of RAM and 11th Gen Intel i7 CPU gave it enough pep to handily tackle as many basic tasks as I could subject it to, including 20+ tabs spread across four Chrome windows arrayed in such a way that I could watch two 4K YouTube videos, a Twitch stream, and keep an eye on my Spotify playlist while writing this review.
The Surface Laptop 4 we reviewed put up a decent score of 4,829 in our Geekbench 5 performance test, which is good but not great when stacked up against similarly-priced competitors like the Dell XPS 13 or even cheaper Windows notebooks like Lenovos convertible ThinkBook 14s Yoga .
The Surface Laptop 4 has enough pep that I could have two 20+ Chrome tabs open, watch two 4K YouTube videos, a Twitch stream and keep an eye on my Spotify playlist while writing this review.
In our performance tests our Surface Laptop 4 review unit delivered an average of 30.46 frames per second playing Sid Meiers Civilization VI: Gathering Storm at 1080p, though that dropped down to a 27.9 fps average when we boosted the resolution up to the native 1504p.
Surface Laptop 4 Compared To Laptop 3
If you’ve got a Surface Laptop 3 and are wondering if you should upgrade to the Laptop 4, then the answer ismaybe? Honestly, the Laptop 4 offers more powerful processors, but it’s not a huge leap from the Laptop 3, and while the newer models offer better value for your money than the Laptop 3 models ever did, if you’re already invested in the Laptop 3 model, that’s no comfort.
One leap however is battery life the Surface Laptop 3 clocked in at around 11 hours, while the Laptop 4 can manage up to 19.
However, if you’re new to the Surface Laptop range, forget the 3, and for the new, more powerful 4.
Read our full review of the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
- Up to 19 hours battery life
- Surface pen compatible
- Subtle upgrade to previous model
Buy on Amazon
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Dont They Both Run Windows 10
Yes and no. The Surface Pro ships with Windows 10 Pro but the Surface Laptop ships with Windows 10 S. They are fundamentally Windows 10, but with some key differences.
Windows 10 Pro is the Windows that most people are familiar with. You can download apps anywhere from the Internet and run them and you can change your default web browser and search engine to anything you like. Compared to Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro just adds business/enterprise features like Client Hyper-V, Assigned Access, Remote Desktop, Group Policy Management, and so on. Basically, stuff that unless the device was issued to you by your office you wont need.
Windows 10 S, on the other hand, is a slightly stripped down version with some important restrictions. It isnt as terrible as Windows RT but we think it is no less insidious. Windows 10 S was designed primarily for low-end devices in the education market. Windows 10 S has a faster setup and login process, but most importantly, only allows users to install apps from the Windows Store. This means you can use other browsers like Chrome, Firefox, or Opera. You also cannot use all the other apps that you might be accustomed to but isnt available in the Windows Store like iTunes, Adobe Photoshop, Steam, and many more. We have a more detailed post about the two OSes here.
With Names Like Surface Pro Go Laptop Laptop Go Duo And Studio Microsoft’s Surface Family Of Pcs Tablets And Phones Isn’t Easy To Decipher We’ve Tested Them All To Help You Figure Out Which One To Get
Whether you need a laptop, a tablet, an all-in-one desktop, or even a smartphone, Microsoft has you covered. The company that became a household name via its Windows operating system has been selling actual hardware devices under the Surface brand for many years. The current Surface lineup includes some standout PCMag Editors Choice winners, as well as some niche products that most buyers won’t want to consider.
Whether youve owned many Surface devices in the past or youre contemplating your first one, the current Surface lineup can be pretty confusing, since it employs a bit of its own lingo and many of the products sound similar. The word “Go,” for instance, translates to “smaller” and “less expensive” in Surface parlance, and it applies across multiple product categories. And the word “Pro” actually refers to one of the original and most mainstream of Surface devices that Microsoft pioneered more than a decade ago: Windows-powered tablets with optional detachable keyboards.
Not only are the Surface naming conventions byzantine and samey-sounding , but the Surface family also welcomes new members on a regular basis, adding to the models worth considering. Among the newest Surface siblings are the Surface Laptop Go and the buzzworthy Surface Laptop Studio. To cut through the Surface clutter, we’ve gathered every current Surface device in one place to help you decide which, if any, is the right one for you.
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So Should I Buy The Surface Laptop 4 Or The Surface Pro 7
Its probably also worth noting that theres another, more modern Surface Pro called the Surface Pro X. Its actually one of the best 4G LTE laptops, but while its thinner than a Surface Pro 7, it has an ARM processor. Its really meant more for people that are on the go, and its something of a different use case to either of these PCs.
When it comes down to the choice between a Surface Laptop and an Intel-powered Surface Pro, it comes down to whether you want a laptop or a tablet. In order to need a Surface Pro, you really should want to use the pen. You should be interested in drawing, writing, or doing something else that requires a tablet.
Otherwise, the laptop is a no-brainer. Its got a bigger screen and a better keyboard for anyone that needs a good typing experience. Its also just less expensive, especially considering that it comes with its own keyboard.
The other major downside to the Surface Pro 7 is that its a product thats badly in need of a refresh. Every other premium PC right now is using 11th-gen processors. For some reason, when Microsoft refreshed the Pro 7, it made the new product exclusive to businesses.
The Surface Laptop 4 is just a great product. But ultimately, it comes down to if you want a laptop or a tablet.
Great Tablet Okay Laptop
The iPad Pro has a faster processor and a more capable camera than any other iPad, plus a great-looking screen and access to a wide library of great finger-friendly tablet apps. But coders, web developers, and anyone who needs to use a lot of external accessories are likely to find iPadOS limiting.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $900.
The 11-inch iPad Pro is great if you primarily intend to use your tablet as a tablet, controlling things with your fingers or the excellent Apple Pencil add-on, but you also want decent keyboard and trackpad support in a pinch. All iPads work great with Macs and iPhones in an Apple-centric workplace, and iPadOS is easy to use and simple to update, back up, and restore. It has a huge library of finger-friendly tablet apps, including lots of options for drawing, writing, or editing photos, audio, and video. And the latest version of iPadOS handles keyboards and mice, external storage, file sharing, and web browsing better than previous versions did. But Apples Smart Keyboard Folio has no trackpad and isnt as pleasant to type on as the keyboard covers for the Surface and other Windows tablets, and the much-superior Magic Keyboard is expensive. In addition, iPadOS and its apps are limiting if you do any kind of coding or web development, or if you want to use external monitors or other accessories.
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Why You Should Trust Me
Ive been testing, reviewing, and otherwise writing about PCs and other gadgets for AnandTech, Ars Technica, and Wirecutter since 2011. Ive been building, upgrading, and fixing PCs for more than 15 years I spent five of those years in IT departments buying and repairing laptops and desktops and helping people buy the best tech for their needs. Ive also used every iPad that Apple has ever released, nearly every Surface device that Microsoft has ever released, and dozens of other tablets besides.
V Replacing Your Laptop With Surface Pro : Set Up Microsoft Account
I recently wrote a Quick Tip on using a Microsoft Account on your Surface, see post Set Up Your New Surface: Microsoft Account. And as I said in other posts, you can use different types of accounts but do yourself a favor and take advantage of all of your new Surfaces features and Microsoft services by using it with a Microsoft Account. I mean, OneDrive works flawlessly, Skype auto logs in, your settings follow you to other devices the Surface Pro 3 was simply designed to be used with one of these accounts.
Protect your device
This is a biggie. Just like any other Windows device, you need to make sure you protect your Surface Pro 3 from Viruses and Malware, see post Do You Need Anti-virus Protection For Your Surface. So, install a good anti-virus software on your tablet and if you want to take it even a step further, use encryption on it, see post on encryption on Surface tablets. Always use an account with a password and, if you store sensitive information on your Surface, always make sure you encrypt that data .
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Why Trust Our Journalism
Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.
Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.
Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.
We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors code of practice to underpin these standards.
There Is A Surface For You
The world is more connected than ever before. This has led to branches of business needing to rely on top technology to get the job done. Microsoft Surface offers a wide range of work solutions, no matter the industry. From crystal-clear video calls to responsive touch screen display for easy and accurate input, Microsofts ultra-light and versatile 2-in-1 business laptop adapts to the ways you work. Surface devices run all Windows-friendly desktop software including full versions of Microsoft Office plus Windows 10 apps.
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Performance And Battery Life
The performance of the Laptop Studio is a mixed bag. As tested with its highest specification, including the Core i7-11370H quad-core processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics chip, it sails through every day work, complex image-editing and other fairly demanding general tasks, as expected.
While it can handle everything I would want to do, it is limited on raw power compared to workstation competitors of a similar price, which typically have more performant 6 or 8-core processors. For those looking to render or convert lots of video, process large 3D models or compile mountains of code the Surface comes up a bit short. It cant manage AAA games with anything greater than low graphics settings, either.
The Laptop Studios battery life is surprisingly good, lasting almost nine hours of light work, including lots of browsing, note taking, document and spreadsheet-editing and a short bit of image-editing. Thats longer than the 13.5in Surface Laptop 4, but miles behind the 14 hours of the 14in MacBook Pro.
More demanding work, such as advanced photo manipulation in studio mode, reduces the battery life to about three hours, while you could expect more than 10 hours of just watching video.
Where Will You Be Using It
If you need to take your Surface device out and about, then obviously the Studio 2 is no good, but let’s go beyond that. The main thing here is going to be size and weight, The Surface Pro 8 is lighter than a lot of laptops, coming in at around 890 grams with the keyboard cover, whereas the Surface Book 3 is a hefty device weighing over double at around 1905 grams.
Whether you expect to be at a desk or using the device on your lap matters a lot too. The convertible devices, with the exception of the Surface Book, are quite difficult to use on your lap due to the kickstand design. The Laptops and Surface Book on the other hand will be great for either scenario.
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Microsoft Surface Laptop : Two Minute Review
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 has arrived at kind of a weird time when many people have found themselves working from home due to a global pandemic. Ultrabooks like it have traditionally shined in the commuting world, which means that theyve lost a bit of their gleam.
Lucky for the Surface Laptop 4, lockdowns dont last forever. Many will surely adopt a more hybrid work model, splitting the work week between their home and the office. So, having something thats light and portable as well as powerful and long-lasting will be key. And, thats when the thin and powerful Surface Laptop 4 will truly shine.
This Surface Laptop is thin and portable yet powerful enough to see you through most everyday workloads and a pleasure to use thanks to the gorgeous PixelSense display and one of the most comfortable keyboards we’ve ever typed on. Its exactly the laptop we see ourselves taking to the office once that’s a possibility again. Even in the shadow of the upcoming Surface Laptop Studio that was announced in the Microsoft Sept 22 event.
The best part is that it’s pretty reasonably priced for what it is. At the ground level, you’re paying $999 , and that will get you the 13-inch Surface Laptop 4 with a Ryzen 5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.
That’s what our workload looks like, and it’s a big reason why this is one of our favorite laptops right now.
Microsoft Surface Pro Vs Microsoft Surface Laptop: Collaboration Features
Whether you choose the Surface Pro or Laptop, youre going to have access to a lot of handy collaboration features. Every device in the Surface line is designed with Microsoft Teams and Office in mindso you can expect them all to work well with these important team collaboration tools.
Additionally, all three of the devices being compared here have cameras and microphones for capturing live video and conducting video conferences. Here, the Surface Pro devices have a slight edge in camera quality over the Surface Laptop 3. Where the Microsoft laptop has a forward-facing camera that captures 720p HD video, the Surface Pro X and Pro 7 both have a front-facing camera that captures 1080p HD video. The Surface Pro 7 also has a rear-facing 8.0 MP camera, while the Pro X has a 10.0 MP rear-facing camerathe laptop only has the single, front-facing camera.
Combined with the portability of the Surface Pro, these rear-facing cameras make Surface Pro devices more ideal for employees who need to capture high-resolution images while on the job.
For example, site surveyors and safety inspectors who need to document photographic evidence for their reports would likely prefer the Surface Pro to the Surface Laptop for this reason.
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