Best Surface Pro Alternatives

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Microsoft's Surface Pro is our favorite detachable 2-in-1 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, a few ports and mediocre battery life. It's also still only configurable with 7th-Generation Intel CPUs, while other 2-in-1s now have newer 8th-gen chips.

And although its $799 starting price is pretty attractive, you'll want to spend a bit more to get the $1,099 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 Type Cover. That puts the true cost of a Surface Pro closer to $1,359 —  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.

News and Updates (September 2018)

Lenovo Yoga 920

The Lenovo Yoga 920 — our favorite 2-in-1 notebook — offers both the laptop and tablet modes you love in the Surface Pro, and it lasts nearly 5 hours longer than Microsoft's detachable. While its sleek watch-band-style hinge and bronze design will catch your eye, its powerful 8th-Generation Intel CPUs (the Surface Pro is still stuck with 7th-gen chips) will help you multitask like a maestro. Unlike the Surface Pro, the Yoga offers both traditional USB 3.0 (Type-A) ports and the modern, reversible USB Type-C ports. And at $1,299 with its (attached) keyboard, it comes in under the Surface Pro with matching accessories.The only real downside is that at 3 pounds, it's a bit heftier than 2.4-pound Surface Pro.

Pros: Fast 8th-gen Core performance; Long battery life; Bright, colorful display; Attractive design; Included stylus
Cons: Heavier than the Surface

Key SpecsDisplay: 13.9 inches 1080p / 4K;  CPU: 8th Gen Core i7; RAM: 8GB / 16GB; SSD: 256GB / 1TB; Ports: 2x Thunderbolt 3, 1x USB 3.0, headphone jack; Battery Life: 12:22;  Weight: 3.05 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

Eve V

Not all competitors come from big-name brands. The upstart Eve V matches the Surface Pro's $799 starting price, but includes the detachable keyboard and stylus that Microsoft makes you pay (up to $260) extra for. We love its slick aluminum design and beautiful screen, which is nearly as colorful as the Surface Pro's, while offering even more brightness than that detachable. The Eve V does come with some caveats. Its battery life is about a half hour shorter than the Surface Pro's 7:30 time, and its Y-Series Intel CPUs aren't as capable as those in other machines. Still, if you can find it on sale, the Eve V is definitely worth a look.

Pros: Gorgeous display; Sleek design; RGB backlit keyboard; Thunderbolt 3 port
Cons: Short battery life; Sporadic availability

Key Specs - Display: 12.3-inch 2880 x 1920; CPU: 7th Gen Core m3 / 7th Gen Core i7; RAM: 4GB / 16GB; SSD: 128GB / 1TB; Ports: 1x Thunderbolt 3, 1x USB Type-C, 2x USB 3.0, headphone jack, SD memory reader; Battery Life: 6:59; Weight: 3 pounds

HP Spectre x360

If you like the flexibility of the Surface Pro but want something that feels a bit more substantial, check out the stylish HP Spectre x360, one of our top Surface Pro alternatives. One of its major advantages over the Surface Pro is its stiff, stable hinge, which allows it to sit in your lap a lot more easily than the kickstand-based Surface Pro. And if you feel like splurging, you can even opt for a super-high-res 4K display or HP's SureView privacy screen, which activates with a single click. The Spectre x360 also offers a fingerprint scanner, which the Surface Pro doesn't (though it does have a IR webcam for Windows Hello). The main downside of the Spectre x360 is that at 2.9 pounds, it's heavier than the 2.5-pound Surface Pro.

Pros: Stylish, lap-friendly design; Comfortable keyboard; Safe View screen privacy; Convenient fingerprint scanner
Cons: Heavier, thicker than Surface Pro

Key Specs - Display: 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 / 4K; CPU: 8th Gen Core i5, / 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: 8:26; Weight: 2.9 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 means it lasts more than 5 hours longer 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 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

Lenovo Miix 720

If you want a detachable that looks just like the Surface Pro that doesn't make you choose between USB Type-C and Type-A ports, the Lenovo Miix 720 is a solid option. Its comfy keyboard and vibrant display come close to matching what you get from the Surface Pro, too. At $1,249 for a Core i7 CPU with 256GB of SSD storage, 8GB of RAM, and a keyboard and stylus, the Miix 729 is $510 more affordable than a similarly configured Surface Pro. The only major problem is the battery life. At 5 hours and 37 minutes, this Lenovo’s endurance is almost 2 hours less than the Surface Pro's (7:30).

Pros: Bright, colorful display; Comfortable typing experience; USB Type-C and Type-A ports; good overall performance
Cons: Below-average battery life; Shrunken right Shift key

Key Specs - Display: 12-inch, 2880 x 1920 screen; CPU: 7th Gen Core i5 / 7th Gen Core i7; RAM: 8GB; SSD: 256GB; Ports: 1x Thunderbolt 3, 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, headphone jack; microSD memory reader; Battery Life: 5:37; Weight: 2.6 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
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5 comments
  • samo Dubai Says:

    1 thing I've learned over 10 years. Lenovo sucks (just attractive specs on paper) after 1 months of usage be ready to infinite problems and bugs and battery problems.

  • Vaibhav Yawalkar Says:

    "Many of these are cheaper than surface pro".
    Really ? Are u kidding me..? almost all are of same or costlier than surface pro.

  • Max Mejia Says:

    I noticed that the Acer Aspire Switch Alpha was not mentioned. Is there a reason for this?

  • Alex Hamilton Says:

    Wait, what about that HP Spectre x2? That's pretty good.

  • Christine Says:

    The Samsung Chromebook Plus is for sale at Best Buy for $387.99, not the Pro.

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