Best Surface Pro Alternatives

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Best Surface Pro Alternatives

Microsoft's Surface Pro 6 is one of the best 2-in-1 laptops right now, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the perfect choice for everyone. Despite having the best display and detachable keyboard around, the Surface Pro still has a few weaknesses, such as limited lapability, no USB Type-C port and pricey SSD storage upgrades.

And although its $899 starting price is pretty attractive, you'll want to spend a bit more to get the $1,199 midrange model with an Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB solid-state drive. And that price doesn't include the $100 Surface Pen or the $160 Alcantara Type Cover. That puts the true cost of a Surface Pro closer to $1,459 —  and that ain't cheap.  

So to help in your search for your ideal machine, we've compiled a list of our favorite alternatives to Microsoft's Surface Pro. Oh, and if you're looking out for what's next, check out our Surface Pro 7 rumors roundup. Hopefully all that Surface Pro 7 hype will help push down the price of the Pro 6 models, as we're still seeing deals on the detachable 2-in-1.

News and Updates (September 2019)

HP Spectre x360 (13-inch, 2019)

If detachability isn't a must, but you want a nimble convertible with the brawn of the Surface Pro, the latest HP Spectre x360 is one of the top Surface Pro alternatives. Not only is it more stylish than the Surface Pro, but it features a stable hinge-based display that's a lot more lap-friendly than the Surface Pro's kickstand. And if the x360's gold accent-touched design isn't opulent enough for you, it offers an optional super-high-res 4K display. At 2.8 pounds, though, it's noticably heavier than the 2.4-pound Surface Pro.

Pros: Luxurious design; Outstanding battery life; Thin and lightweight; Vivid 1080p display; Class-leading keyboard; Powerful speakers
Cons: Display could be brighter; Bezels are a bit thick; Bloatware

Key Specs - Display: 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 / 4K; CPU: 8th Gen Core i7; RAM: 8GB / 16GB; SSD: 256GB / 512GB; Ports: 2x Thunderbolt 3, 1x USB 3.1, headphone jack, SD memory reader; Battery Life: 12:07; Weight: 2.8 pounds

Lenovo Yoga C930

The Lenovo Yoga C930 — the best Surface Pro alternative — may not detach, but it's got so much to love that you won't care. With over 10 hours of battery life and speedy 8th Gen Intel CPUs, the C930 is both long-lasting and plenty powerful. It's also quote the looker, with an aluminum chassis that feels sturdy. Oh, and it trades its predecessor's watchband hinge (which looked nice, but didn't do anything) for a soundbar that keeps your music sounding great, even in tablet mode. Oh, and a built-in pen slot means no losing your stylus.

Pros: Stylish, premium design; Thin and lightweight; Strong performance; Long battery life; Versatile speakers; Webcam cover; Integrated pen slot

Cons: Shallow keyboard; Display could be brighter, more vibrant

Key SpecsDisplay: 13.9 inches 1080p / 4K;  CPU: 8th Gen Core i7-8550U; RAM: 12GB / 16GB; SSD: 256GB; Ports: 2x Thunderbolt 3, 1x USB 3.0, headphone jack; Battery Life: 10:10;  Weight: 3.1 pounds

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

If you can work in Android — or in Samsung's desktop-like DeX mode — its Tab S6 tablet with attachable keyboard is a must see. Not only does its (optional) keyboard actually pack a touchpad, but the S Pen proves mighty useful with tricks for operating its camera from afar. And at just under a pound, it's super-light in your bag.

Pros: Fast performance; Integrated S Pen charging; BookCover Keyboard has a touchpad; Powerful speakers; Excellent cameras

Cons: No headphone jack; Cramped keyboard; Battery life could be better

Key Specs - Display: 10.5-inch, 2560 x 1600 screen; CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855; RAM: 6GB; SSD: 128GB; Ports: 1x USB Type-C, microSD memory reader; Battery Life: 8:58; Weight: 0.95 pounds

LG Gram 14 2-in-1

LG's consistently delivered exceptionally light laptops, and the Gram 14 2-in-1 is probably its best stab yet. Combining terrific endurance (over 11 hours of battery life!) with speedy performance and a light-but-durable design, this convertible might just convert you to believing in LG. But while we like its colorful, crisp display, that panel could stand to be brighter. 

Pros: Durable, extremely lightweight design; Great battery life; Strong performance; Vivid display with sharp detail

Cons: No Thunderbolt 3; Screen could be brighter; Weak audio

Key Specs - Display: 14-inch, 1920 x 1080 screen; CPU: 8th Gen Core i7; RAM: 16GB; SSD: 512GB; Ports: 2x USB 3.1, 1x USB Type-C, HDMI, headphone jack; microSD memory reader; Battery Life: 11:28; Weight: 2.5 pounds

HP Spectre Folio

One of our favorite hybrids, the HP Spectre Folio's innovative look makes it one of the best Surface Pro alternatives. Detaching the display from the rest of the body is as simple as pushing the top of its display back and sliding the bottom until it lies flat against the deck. And unlike the weird secondary modes you get from other 2-in-1s, the Spectre Folio's presentation mode is actually useful, as it still lets you use the touchpad. Sure, this may require a little learning, but much like the Folio's leather surface, it's worth it. 

Pros: Stylish, premium leather design; Extremely versatile; Excellent battery life; Surprisingly comfortable keyboard

Cons: Tinny audio; Middling performance

Key Specs - Display: 13.3 inches 1080p;  CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8200Y / 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8500Y; RAM: 8GB / 16GB; SSD: 256GB; Ports: 2x Thunderbolt 3, 1x USB Type-C, headphone jack; Battery Life: 10:18;  Weight: 3.4 pounds

HP Envy x2 (Qualcomm)

The Qualcomm CPU and LTE modem in the HP Envy x2 give it the gifts of ubiquitous internet and astonishing battery life. And not only does it last longer on cellular than it does on Wi-Fi, this detachable comes with a great keyboard and a gorgeous display. The only hiccups, though, are that its performance is slower than we expect at this price, and its 32-bit system doesn't run some apps. 

Pros: Amazing battery life; 4G built in; Comfortable keyboard; Beautiful display; Runs cool
Cons: Sluggish performance; Doesn't run some Windows apps

Key Specs - Display: 12.3 inches, 1920 x 1280;  CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835; RAM: 4GB; SSD: 128GB; Ports: 1x USB Type-C, headphone jack, Nano SIM, microSD reader; Battery Life: 15:05 (LTE), 14:22 (Wi-Fi);  Weight: 2.7 pounds

Surface Book 2 (13 inch)

If you really want a laptop from Microsoft, but one that's simply easier to use in your lap, the Surface Book 2 is right for you. When it's time to switch from laptop to tablet mode, you just click a button on its keyboard and get the option to detach its screen. Not only does it beat the Surface Pro on ports (with USB Type-C and USB 3.0), but its screen is sharper and almost as colorful and bright. The best part about the latest Surface Book 2 is its 13-plus hours of battery life, which makes it an ultimate Surface Pro alternative, with more than 5 hours more juice than the Surface Pro (7:30). On the downside, it's 0.9 inches thick (the Surface Pro is a thinner 0.5 inches), and its $1,499 -- which now nets you an 8th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU, thanks to a recent upgrade from Microsoft -- starting price may put it out of your reach.

Pros: Best-of-both-worlds design, Impressive battery life; Comfortable keyboard; Safe View screen privacy; Convenient fingerprint scanner
Cons: Expensive; Much heftier, thicker than Surface Pro

Key Specs - Display: 13.5-inch, 3000 x 2000; CPU: 7th Gen Core i5 / 8th Gen Core i7; RAM: 8GB / 16GB; SSD: 256GB / 1TB; Ports: 1x USB Type-C, 2x USB 3.1, headphone jack; SD memory reader; Surface Connect; GPU: Optional Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU with 2GB of VRAM; Battery Life: 13:07; Weight: 3.6 pounds

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

Another solid option in the bend-back, non-detachable 2-in-1 field, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 packs a lot to love. Its nearly bezel-free InfinityEdge display continues a strong tradition from the company, with good color output and brightness ratings (though the Surface Pro goes a bit above and beyond). At $999, the entry-level XPS 2-in-1 costs $60 less than the Surface Pro with its keyboard and stylus ($1,060). And with a time of 8 hours and 27 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery test, the Dell lasted nearly an hour longer than the Surface Pro (7:30). On the downside, that model packs a 1920 x 1080-pixel screen that's less sharp than the 2736 x 1824-pixel panel in the Surface Pro.

Pros: Compact design; Comfortable keyboard; Vibrant InfinityEdge display; Impressive audio;
Cons: Camera is placed under the display

Key Specs - Display: 13-inch, 1920 x 1080 / 3200 x 1800; CPU: 7th Gen Core i5 / 7th Gen Core i7; RAM: 4GB / 16GB; SSD: 128GB / 512GB; Ports: 1x Thunderbolt 3, 1x USB Type-C, headphone jack; microSD memory reader ; Battery Life: 8:27; Weight: 2.7 pounds

HP EliteBook x360 G2

If you're looking for a 2-in-1 that's great for business, the HP EliteBook x360 G2 is a solid option. It's got all the security options your IT department could ask for (fingerprint reader, facial recognition, smart-Card reader, vPro and TPM), as well as HP's SureStart technology for a self-healing BIOS. The x360 G2’s solid 9-plus hours of battery life mean it lasts more than 1.5 hours longer than the Surface Pro (7:30), and its comfy keyboard will help you get a lot of writing done during that time. Its biggest downside is its display, which is much dimmer than the Surface Pro's.

Pros: Beautiful design; Long battery life; Variety of security options; Great keyboard
Cons: Comparatively dim display

Key Specs - Display: 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 screen; CPU: 7th Gen Core i5 / 7th Gen Core i7; RAM: 8GB / 16GB; SSD: 128GB / 256GB; Ports: 1x Thunderbolt 3, 2x USB 3.0, smart-card reader, headphone jack, microSD memory reader, HDMI; Battery Life: 9:17; Weight: 2.8 pounds


 

Author Bio
Henry T. Casey
Henry T. Casey,
Henry is a senior writer at Laptop Mag, covering security, Apple and operating systems. Prior to joining Laptop Mag — where he's the self-described Rare Oreo Expert — he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. You can find him at your local pro wrestling events, and wondering why Apple decided to ditch its MagSafe power adapters.
Henry T. Casey, on