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Best Microsoft Surface Pro alternatives in 2020

Best Surface Pro Alternatives

If you're looking for a tablet that can double as a laptop, then consider one of the best Surface Pro alternatives. Sure, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is one of the very best 2-in-1 laptops right now, but it's far from not perfect. It has good performance and finally offers a USB Type-C port, but the tablet's SSD is slow and pricey, and battery life has gone down too.  

And although its $749 starting price is pretty attractive, you'll want to spend a bit more to get the $899 midrange model with an Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. And that price doesn't include the Surface Pro Type Cover ($129) and the Surface Pen ($99). Those crucial accessories put the true cost of a Surface Pro closer to $1,127, which is pretty pricey.

So to help in your search for your ideal machine, we've compiled a list of our favorite alternatives to Microsoft's Surface Pro. If you can't find anything on this list, visit our best 2-in-1 laptops page for the best bendback and detachable devices. We also have dedicated pages ranking the best laptops for photo editing and video editing

What are the best Surface Pro alternatives?

We've tested laptops that turn into tablets and tablets that double as laptops. Of the countless products we've come across, our favorite Surface Pro alternative is the HP Envy x360, or if you want to spend more, the HP Spectre x360 13. These laptops have gorgeous designs and fast performance. While not as portable as the Surface Pro, the Envy x360 and Spectre x360 have similar flexibility in that their displays rotate 360-degrees. 

Other laptops with similar functionality include the Lenovo Yoga C940 and the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1. These direct rivals to the Spectre x360 13 might suit you better depending on your needs and preferences. We didn't add it to this list because of its exorbitant price but the Microsoft Surface Book 3 is another tablet/laptop hybrid that deserves your consideration. 

Another great alternative to the Surface Pro is the iPad Pro. Hear me out. Apple's latest tablet adds trackpad and mouse support so you can now navigate with a cursor. The new feature works well but is only fully realized with the extremely expensive Magic Keyboard. Another compelling tablet is the Galaxy Tab S6, which has a lot to offer if you're OK using Android.

The best Microsoft Surface Pro alternatives you can buy

1. HP Envy x360 13 (2020)
2. HP Spectre x360 (Late 2019)
3. Lenovo Yoga C940
4. Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2019)
5. Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch, 2020)
6. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6
7. LG Gram 14 2-in-1
8. HP Spectre Folio
9. Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15
10. Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (13.5-inch)
11. Microsoft Surface Go 2

The HP Envy x360 13 is the best laptop for under $1,000, offering similar benefits to the Spectre at a lower price.

The HP Envy x360 13 is the best laptop for under $1,000, offering similar benefits to the Spectre at a lower price. (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

1. HP Envy x360 13 (2020)

The best 2-in-1 laptop

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 4500U | GPU: AMD Radeon Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB | Display: 13.3-inch, 1080p | Size: 12.1 x 7.7 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 2.9 pounds

Outstanding performance
1080p display is bright and vivid
Stylish and compact aluminum design
Long battery life
No IR camera

The HP Envy x360 13 is the best laptop for under $1,000 and the best alternative to the Surface Pro 7. While it doesn't come with a stylus (neither does the Surface Pro), the Envy is a 2-in-1, which lets you flip it into tent or tablet mode. What makes this such a fantastic value is its entirely aluminum design and Herculian AMD Ryzen processors. 

In our testing, we found that an Envy x360 13 with a Ryzen 5 4500U CPU can outperform laptops with 10th Gen Intel chips. This specific Envy costs just $800 and can outmuscle laptops that cost well over $1,000, including the exorbitant MacBook Pro. Moreover, the Envy x360 13 has a bright, vivid 13.3-inch display and a comfortable keyboard. 

There is very little we don't like about the Envy x360. If you can get over the lack of a Thunderbolt 3 port and IR camera, then it is the ultimate money-saving laptop.

See our HP Envy x360 13 (2020) review

HP's Spectre x360 13 is the best Surface Pro alternatives for its sleek design, fast performance and beautiful displays. 

HP's Spectre x360 13 is the best Surface Pro alternatives for its sleek design, fast performance and beautiful displays.  (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The Spectre x360 13 is the best 2-in-1 laptop ever. Updated with a 10th Gen CPU and a more modern design, the Spectre x360 13 is improved in almost every way over its excellent predecessor. Highlights of this laptop include a stunning design, a bright 1080p display, epic 13+ hour battery life, and fast overall performance. 

We put the Spectre x360 13 up against some of our other favorite 2-in-1 laptops, including the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 and Lenovo Yoga C940, but neither of these fantastic competitors could dethrone the HP. Our only reservation with the Spectre x360 is that the Envy x360 13 gets you a lot of the same features but at a lower price. If you want the fanciest, classiest laptop around, go with the Spectre, otherwise, save some cash on the Envy. 

See our HP Spectre x360 13 (Late 2019) review

2. HP Spectre x360 (Late 2019)

The best 2-in-1 laptop

CPU: Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: Intel Iris Plus | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB | Display: 13.3-inch, 1080p or 4K | Size: 12.1 x 7.7 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 2.7 pounds

Stunning, ultraportable design
Epic battery life
Bright, vivid display with thinner bezels
Fast overall performance
Lots of bloatware

The Spectre x360 13 is the best 2-in-1 laptop ever. Updated with a 10th Gen CPU and a more modern design, the Spectre x360 13 is improved in almost every way over its excellent predecessor. Highlights of this laptop include a stunning design, a bright 1080p display, epic 13+ hour battery life, and fast overall performance. 

We put the Spectre x360 13 up against some of our other favorite 2-in-1 laptops, including the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 and Lenovo Yoga C940, but neither of these fantastic competitors could dethrone the HP.

See our HP Spectre x360 13 (Late 2019) review

Lenovo's Yoga C940 (14-inch) refines a proven formula, making it one of the best 2-in-1 laptops around.

Lenovo's Yoga C940 (14-inch) refines a proven formula, making it one of the best 2-in-1 laptops around. (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

3. Lenovo Yoga C940

The best 14-inch laptop

CPU: Up to Intel Core i7-1065G7 | GPU: Intel Iris Plus | RAM: Up to 16GB | Storage: Up to 2TB | Display: 14-inch, 1080p or 4K | Size: 12.6 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 3.1 pounds

Slim, premium design
Beautiful 4K display
Fast performance
Crisp, dynamic speakers
Stylus is difficult to remove

With the Yoga C940, Lenovo took a proven formula and refined it. Subtle design improvements, longer battery life (up to 11:46) and refreshed 10th Gen Intel processors make the Yoga C940 a worthy successor to last year's excellent Yoga C930.

As you'd expect from a Yoga-series laptop, the C940 has a premium, ultra-portable chassis and a unique hinge that doubles as a soundbar speaker. As a 2-in-1, that hinge can rotate 360-degrees to convert the Yoga C940 into a proper tablet. When it comes to viewing content, the Yoga C940's 1080p and 4K displays are crisp, vibrant and bright -- just beware, the UHD display drains the battery.

For all the basics it gets right, my favorite things about the Yoga C940 are its extra features. Those include a webcam cover (no more need to buy tape), a slot for the included stylus and a fingerprint sensor.

See our Lenovo Yoga C940 (14-inch) review.

Best 2-in-1 laptop: Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2019)

Another excellent option is the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2019), a convertible laptop that goes toe-to-toe with the Spectre x360.  

4. Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2019)

Another fantastic alternative

CPU: Intel Core i3/Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: Intel Iris Plus | RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB | Display: 13.4-inch, 1920 x 1200 or 4K | Size: 11.7 x 8.2 x 0.5 inches | Weight: 2.9 pounds

Slim, ultraportable design
Strong performance
Bright 13.4-inch display
Long battery life
Few ports

The new XPS 13 2-in-1 is the best 2-in-1 laptop around right now. It’s ridiculously sleek, it boasts strong performance, thanks to its 10th Gen Intel Core processor, and it has a gorgeous 16:10 display, emitting over 500 nits of brightness. 

On top of having a sequential hinge, it also features a variable torque that allows the lid to be lifted open without the machine wobbling or moving. Combine that with its 0.3~0.5-inch thin chassis, the XPS 13 2-in-1 is one of the best 2-in-1 laptops. Read our face-offs to see how it compares to the Spectre x360 13 and Yoga C940

See our full Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 review.

 

iPad Pro 2020

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

5. Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch, 2020)

The best tablet for power users

CPU: A12Z Bionic | Display: 12.9 inches, 2732 x 2048 | Storage: 128GB (starting) | Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 x 0.2 inches | Weight: 1.4 pounds | Ports: USB-C

Stellar performance
Intuitive and useful trackpad support
Vivid and superbright display
Awesome cameras
Expensive

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the best tablet for power users, by some distance. It might not be a major improvement over its predecessor, but the new A12Z Bionic chip still performs well against full-fledged laptops. 

The biggest improvement has more to do with software. Added cursor and trackpad support mean the iPad Pro is finally a true laptop replacement. You can now connect any Bluetooth mouse or wireless trackpad (like the Magic Trackpad 2) and use a cursor to navigate iPadOS 13.2. The feature will feel complete when Apple releases the Magic keyboard attachment with trackpad later this year (although it'll cost $349). 

Another new feature is the lidar sensor, which accompanies two rear-facing cameras. Designed to improve AR apps, the potential of this sensor will be realized in the years to come. Apart from those features, the iPad Pro is exactly what we've come to expect; It has an excellent 12.9-inch display, awesome performance and long battery life. 

Read our full 12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro (2020) review.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

6. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

Android lovers get a good option

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 | Weight: 0.95 pounds

Fast performance
Integrated S Pen charging
BookCover Keyboard has a touchpad
Powerful speakers
Cramped keyboard

Samsung's Galaxy Tab S6 ($649) has a gorgeous 10.5-inch display, fast performance and an included S Pen stylus that charges on the back of the tablet. We also appreciate the touchpad on the new BookCover Keyboard accessory and the DeX desktop interface makes the Galaxy Tab S6 a viable laptop replacement.  

Android tablets are harder to find, but the Galaxy Tab S6 makes a case for the rare breed. If you can find a good deal on it, the Galaxy Tab S6 might be a better value than any iPad or Surface tablet on the market.

Samsung is expected to reveal a new Galaxy Tab S7 in the coming days, so be on the lookout for this new model. And if you're looking for something cheaper, consider the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite.

Read our full Galaxy Tab S6 review.

LG Gram 14 2-in-1

7. LG Gram 14 2-in-1

So light, so fast

Display: 14-inch,1920 x1080 screen | CPU: 8th Gen Core i7 | RAM: 16GB | SSD: 512GB | Ports: 2x USB 3.1, 1x USB Type-C, HDMI, headphone jack | Other: microSD memory reader | Battery Life: 11 | Weight: 2.5 pounds

Durable, extremely lightweight design
Great battery life
Strong performance
Vivid display with sharp detail
Screen could be brighter

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.

The Gram 14 2-in-1 also lacks a Thunderbolt 3 port, a future-proof connection that should be a given on any premium-priced laptop. Still, few laptops are as featherweight as the Gram 14 2-in-1, which puts it in a class of its own. 

Read our full LG Gram 14 2-in-1 review.

HP Spectre Folio

8. HP Spectre Folio

Beautiful leather design

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 | Weight: 3.4 pounds

Stylish, premium leather design
Extremely versatile
Excellent battery life
Surprisingly comfortable keyboard
Tinny audio
Middling performance

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.

Read our full HP Spectre Folio review.

samsung galaxy book flex 15

(Image credit: Future)

9. Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15

An excellent 15-inch convertible

Display: 15.6 inch, 1080p (QLED) | CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7 | RAM: 12GB | SSD: 512GB | Ports: 2 Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, microSD, headphone | Battery life: 15:44 | Weight: 3.5 pounds

Built-in S pen
Super-bright screen
QLED display
Epic battery life
Quiet speakers

It's bigger and pricier than the Surface Pro 7, but those potential reasons to skip the Galaxy Book Flex 15 are easy to overlook when you consider everything it has to offer. It all starts with the gorgeous 15-inch, 1080p QLED display, which is both bright and vivid. Matching those bold colors is the Book Flex 15's stunning royal-blue aluminum design, which is slim and lightweight.

Somehow Samsung found a way to fit an S Pen slot within the chassis and made the touchpad a wireless charger. On top of that, you get some of the battery life we've ever seen from a laptop, at 15 hours and 44 minutes. 

See our Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 review

Microsoft's Surface Laptop 3 is an ultraportable clamshell laptop with a gorgeous screen and solid battery life. 

Microsoft's Surface Laptop 3 is an ultraportable clamshell laptop with a gorgeous screen and solid battery life.  (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

10. Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

Another excellent Surface

Display: 13.5 inches, 2496 x 1664 | CPU: Intel Core i7 | RAM: 16GB | SSD: 256GB | Ports: 1x USB Type-C, 1x USB-A, headphone jack, Surface Connect | Battery Life: 9:17 | Weight: 2.9 pounds

Elegant, premium design
Sharp, vivid display
Good performance
No Thunderbolt 3 ports
Expensive

No, it's not a 2-in-1. It doesn't detach or flip around. But if you want the same high-end build quality and similar portability as the Surface Pro 7, then go with the Surface Laptop 3. This 13.5-inch version has a gorgeous display, fast performance and decent battery life. 

Compared to the Surface Pro 7, the Surface Laptop 3 gets you a larger screen and an attached keyboard. You might not be able to use it as a tablet but the Surface Laptop 3 does have a touch screen. 

See our Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 review

Microsoft Surface Go 2

Microsoft Surface Go 2 (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

11. Microsoft Surface Go 2

The perfect budget alternative

Display: 10.5 inches, 1920 x 1280 | CPU: Intel Core m3 | RAM: 8GB | SSD: 128GB | Ports: USB-C, Surface Connect, microSD card, headphone | Battery Life: 10 hours (rated) | Weight: 1.2 pounds

10.5-inch display
Affordable
Premium metal design
Battery life could be better
Dated processors
Keyboard and stylus sold separately

Just because the Surface Pro 7 isn't for you doesn't mean you should abandon Microsoft. Especially with the Surface Go 2 hitting shelves; This $399 budget tablet might not give you the performance of the Surface Pro, but it has the same general design and even slimmer display bezels. 

Compared with the Surface Go, the Surface Go 2 has a larger display, faster Core m3 processors and battery life rated at 10 hours. The Surface Go 2 might not give you everything these other Surface Pro 7 alternatives provide, but it's essentially the same tablet at a much cheaper price, albeit, with lesser features and performance.

See our Surface Go 2 first impressions  

How to choose the best Surface Pro alternative

The Surface Pro is a tablet that can convert into a laptop, so you want to look for something with similar flexibility. You can stick with the tablet-turned-laptop by opting for the new iPad Pro, which will soon be sold with a Magic Keyboard with touchpad. Or you can opt for the more common 2-in-1 hybrids, which start as a laptop but rotate into a tablet. 

Whichever you choose, there are certain specs you'll need to get a similar experience to the Surface Pro. First, the laptop or tablet needs to be lightweight. Anything under 3 pounds is generally considered portable, although tablets should weigh close-to or under 2 pounds. You'll also want something thin -- anything at or below 0.6 inches will do the trick. 

Battery life is another key component of any good Surface Pro alternative. If you plan to take the device on the go, don't count on there being an outlet!  Consider a laptop or tablet that gets at least 9 hours of battery life, which should be enough to get you through a full day. 

When it comes to specs, we recommend buying a laptop with an Intel U-series or H-series Core i5 CPU, at least 8GB of RAM (16GB is great) and a minimum of 256GB of storage. AMD is coming in hot with its 4000-series chips, so keep an eye out for those.

The Surface Pro tablets have excellent displays, so consider a device with a display that is at least 12 inches large with a minimum 1080p resolution. 

How we test laptops

We put each laptop through extensive benchmark testing — both synthetic and real-world — before they end up in the hands of our reviewers. We evaluate each aspect of the laptop, including its performance, battery life, display, speakers and heat management.

In our benchmark testing, we use a Klein K10 colorimeter to detect the brightness and sRGB color gamut of the laptop's display. For performance testing, we run the laptop through a gauntlet of benchmarks, including Geekbench 4.3 and 5.0 and 3DMark professional graphics tests. 

To determine real-world performance, we task the laptop to convert a 4K video to 1080p resolution and to duplicate a 4.97GB multimedia file. Our real-world graphics test is the Dirt 3 benchmark with medium settings at 1080p resolution. 

We also run heat tests by playing a 15-minute full-screen video and measuring temperatures in different areas of the laptop. Last but not least, our battery test consists of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. For MacBooks and premium Windows 10 laptops, a runtime of over 9 hours is considered a good result whereas gaming laptops and workstations that can stay powered for longer than 5 hours deserve praise. 

These tests are complemented by extensive hands-on testing from our reviewers who critique everything from the laptop's materials to the feel of its touchpad.