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Best Microsoft Surface: Every Surface Compared

Microsoft’s Surface line of computers is excellent but can be confusing if you’re looking to buy one. Here, we take you through the features of each to decide which is best for you to buy

Microsoft has upped its hardware game in the past few years. Today, there are five excellent Surface computers vying for your attention and for you to part with your hard-earned cash.

But the choice is a little confusing given the similarities – and subtle differences – between each one. You might feel like they are all the same product sold at varying prices and designs.

This isn’t completely inaccurate, but there are enough differences between the Surface Go, Surface Laptop 2, Surface Pro 6, Surface Book 2 and Surface Studio to make your decision an important one as each is aimed at a different kind of user used to a certain type of computing.

Whether it’s the convertible kickstand look you want from the Pro 6 or the Go, we’ll explain why one costs more. If you want a normal laptop, we’ll show you the differences and advantages to the Laptop 2 and the laptop-esque Surface Book 2.

And then there’s the hyper-high-end Surface Studio – who needs one of those? Maybe you.

So, let’s take a look at Microsoft’s Surface line from cheapest to most expensive and explain what each offer.

  • Display size: 10in
  • Processor: Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y
  • RAM: 4GB or 8GB
  • Storage: 64GB or 128GB
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615
  • Ports: 1x USB-C, headphone jack
  • Battery life: 9 hours
  • Software: Windows 10 S (upgradable)
The Surface Go is the cheapest Surface. It miniaturises the design of the Surface Pro into a less powerful but more portable 10in screen size. It has a fully adjustable kickstand and the lowest spec Surface Go tablet sells for £379.99.

But it is quite underpowered and you will only be happy with it if you’ll be using it like an iPad for watching video, web browsing and reading. If you want to word process, you’ll need to buy the optional keyboard for £99.99, which has a trackpad. An optional Surface Mobile Mouse is £29.99.

You’ll have to fork out another £99.99 if you want the Surface Pen too, meaning the cost adds up to £609.96 for the tablet and the three optional accessories.

You can also go for a £509.99 more powerful version of the tablet that has more storage and more RAM – so will run faster. It lacks a USB-A port.

It comes running Windows 10 S, a version of Windows that only runs apps in the Windows Store. You can upgrade to regular Windows for a small fee.

The Go is the Surface to go for if you want Microsoft Surface hardware in a compact package at the cheapest price – but you won’t be able to edit video, make music or play advanced games as it is not powerful enough.

  • RRP: From US$899
  • Display size: 12.3in
  • Processor: 8th Gen Intel Core i5, i7
  • RAM: 8GB or 16GB
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 (i5, i7)
  • Ports: 1x USB-A, Mini DisplayPort, headphone jack, microSD
  • Battery life: 13.5 hours
  • Software: Windows 10 Pro
The Surface Pro 6 is the larger, more powerful version of the Go with a 12.3in display. It starts at £879 for the Core i5 version. But if you want a Core i5 or i7 to do more advanced tasks on, then you’ll need to spend more.

As with the Go, the keyboard, mouse and Pen are all optional – and you’ll definitely need the keyboard. Microsoft markets the Pro as a laptop, so clearly thinks you should use it as one.

It is a fanless computer so runs silently and comes with Windows 10 Pro, which is preferable to the stunted Windows 10 S on the Go and the Laptop (although you can upgrade). It also has a USB-A port, but not the newer USB-C.

It’s undoubtedly a powerful machine if you buy a Core i5 or i7 model but consider if you like the form factor – this is not a laptop that you can actually use on your lap. And when the top model costs over £2,000 before accessories it might prove too expensive.

  • RRP: From $999
  • Display size: 13.5in
  • Processor: 8th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7
  • RAM: 8GB or 16GB
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 (i5, i7)
  • Ports: 1x USB-A, Mini DisplayPort, headphone jack
  • Battery life: 14.5 hours
  • Software: Windows 10 S (upgradable)
The Surface Laptop 2 may well be the sweet spot of the Surface line if you don’t want the 2-in-1 look of the Go or the Pro 6. It is more expensive than both, but you obviously get the keyboard for the price.

It’s also touchscreen and compatible with the Surface Pen and Surface Dial, the scroll wheel accessory. It comes in four colours with a unique textured feel to the keyboard area when opened.

With a USB-A port, Mini DisplayPort and headphone jack, it’s a touch light on ports, lacking SD or USB-C connectivity. But it starts at £979, more than the base Surface Pro 6, though it's obviously a full laptop with keyboard.

Of course, that price soars if you add an i7, or more RAM and storage. If you want to play games on the Laptop, you’ll find yourself spending upwards of £1,500 (the most expensive is over £2,500).

But you know where you stand with a laptop, and this one also gives you outstanding battery life and above average speakers. Unless you need a convertible like the Go or Pro 6 to draw on, then the Laptop is a better choice.

  • Display size: 13.5in or 15in
  • Processor: 7th Gen Intel Core i5 or 8th Gen Core i7
  • RAM: 4GB, 8GB or 16GB
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB
  • Graphics: Click for full details
  • Ports: 2x USB-A, 1x USB-C, headphone jack, SD
  • Battery life: 17 hours
  • Software: Windows 10 Pro

The Surface Book 2, as the name suggests, is the newer updated version of the product. It has a different form factor to the Go, Pro and Laptop even though it looks like a laptop.

The display can detach from the metallic hinge to be used as a tablet or reconnected and used as a laptop. The hinge design means the computer doesn’t actually close flat and the design is heavier and bulkier than the Go, Pro and Laptop.

Despite this, it’s the most premium portable Surface in the range and offers the best battery life at 17 hours (which we can confirm is accurate). The Surface Pen works here, and you can use the Surface Dial on or off screen in consumer and professional applications for better control.

It could be overkill if you only need an internet and word processing device, but the high-end models excel at gaming. The Book 2 is practically a desktop computer in portable form.

Starting at £1,149 and going up to a huge £3,149, this is a Surface aimed at professionals with a need for that extra power.

Microsoft Surface Studio
  • Display size: 28in
  • Processor: 6th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7
  • RAM: 8GB, 16GB or 32GB
  • Storage: 1TB or 2TB
  • Graphics: Click for full specs
  • Ports: 4x USB-A, Mini DisplayPort, headphone jack, 1x Gigabit Ethernet, SD
  • Battery life: It’s a desktop!
  • Software: Windows 10 Pro
The Surface Studio is Microsoft’s iMac competitor and is the only Surface desktop in the range. It’s clearly a strictly professional device, albeit an impressive one.

Its unique design lets you fully collapse the Studio from desktop set up to angled drawing board. With the (included) Surface Pen and optional Dial, the Studio becomes a creative workstation for graphic artists and creative professionals.

So, if you just need Facebook and Word, this is not for you. But if you’re looking at a Surface instead of an iMac or iMac Pro then it’s a more versatile choice – no iMac has touchscreen or pen input as they force you to buy separate tablets. Here, you interact directly with the huge 28in display.

Starting at £2,999 it’s also worth noting that the Studio is running 6th Gen processors – two behind the current generation, so it’s due an update and it might be worth waiting.


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