Microsoft Surface is one of the most recognizable laptop brands in the world, with a diverse selection of products. But what’s the best Microsoft laptop for your needs in 2023?
We are in the best position to answer this question as we review the newest Microsoft Surface devices as soon as they become available.
During the evaluation process, we evaluate the screen’s performance using industry-standard benchmarking software and professional testing equipment. In addition, we spend a minimum of one week with each device to assess its design, battery life, software, and any special features.
If you can’t find a Microsoft Surface laptop that you like, please check back later, as we will update this page when we publish our review of the Microsoft Surface Pro 9.
For a general overview, visit our Best Laptop, Best Ultrabook, Best Student Laptop, and Best Budget Laptop pages. Or if you still need to get your heart entirely set on a Surface, then there’s always our list of the best Asus laptops, the best HP laptops, and the best Dell laptops so you can get a broader look from other manufacturers.
Our Top Picks
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Selecting a Surface device
You’ve decided to join the Microsoft Surface ecosystem, but with such a vast selection of Surface devices, it can be challenging to choose the right one for you. Here are some considerations that should help you zero in on the ideal device.
10 Best Microsoft Surface Laptop 2022
All the other entries in this chart utilize Windows 11, but numerous alternatives exist in our chart of the best laptops. In addition, we have separate guides for 2-in-1s, student laptops, affordable laptops, and business laptops.
However, if you insist on Microsoft hardware, you’ve come to the right place. This guide outlines the best Surface device for specific use cases and provides links to our comprehensive reviews. Microsoft and other retailers offer great discounts on Surface products throughout the year, although they can be pricey.
1. Best Overall: Microsoft Surface Pro 9
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Years later, the original Surface design, with its kickstand and keyboard cover, is still a delight. The Surface Pro 9 effectively bridges the gap between laptop and tablet. The only significant differences between the new model and the Surface Pro 8 (7/10, WIRED Recommends) are an updated processor and a further 5G option.
Each Pro has 12th-generation Intel chips (the 5G model is powered by a Microsoft SQ 3 chip from Qualcomm) and a 2880 x 1920 pixel resolution screen with a document-friendly 3:2 aspect ratio, regardless of configuration. The screen’s refresh rate can be set to 120 Hz (120 frames per second) but doing so will significantly reduce battery life. In addition, there are two USB-C ports, a magnetic charging port, and a 1080p webcam compatible with Windows Hello. As with the model from the previous year, there is no longer a microSD slot. If you want your Pro to be a true tablet-laptop hybrid, you’ll need to purchase the Type Cover keyboard separately (it’s not included).
In our testing, the Surface Pro 9’s battery life was shorter than the previous Surface Pro, which was our only complaint (aside from the lack of a microSD card slot). Microsoft claims the same 15.5 hours of battery with the Wi-Fi model, while the 5G version will last 19 hours. We are currently testing the latter and will soon share our findings.
- 1080p camera with new AI features
- New colors look great
- Design and build quality are top notch
- User-accessible SSD
- Vivid 120 Hz display
- Long battery life
- Pricey (and keyboard / stylus aren't included)
- No headphone jack
- SQ3 processor brings the usual Arm-based drawbacks: lackluster performance and compatibility
2. Best 2-in-1 laptop: Microsoft Surface Pro 8
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If you’re looking for a 2-in-1 Surface device, look no further than the incredible Microsoft Surface Pro 8.
Compared to the Surface Pro 7, there are minor improvements, notably a smaller bezel around the screen. The frame is solidly constructed and features no flex. There have also been notable improvements to the keyboard and stylus, with the former offering more responsive keys with a carbon-fiber layer and the latter featuring a built-in haptic motor to simulate the real-world tactility of a pencil on paper, which works, but not as well as on more specialized drawing tablets.
The display’s refresh rate has been upgraded to 120 Hz. This resulted in a more fluid scrolling experience and enhanced general navigation. Using a colorimeter, we determined the panel’s contrast and brightness to be above average for an LCD and typical for Surface displays. We measured the Pro 8 to cover only 73.4% of the Adobe RGB space and 75.7% of the DCI-P3 space, indicating that this convertible may be better for creative workflows.
We obtained between 8 and 10 hours of battery life from the Pro 8 with and without the attached keyboard cover. This will provide enough energy to get you through an entire workday, but performing more demanding tasks, such as using a 120Hz refresh rate or maximizing the screen brightness, will deplete your energy.
The Surface Pro 8’s Intel Core i7-1185G7 processor was adequate for everyday tasks, such as opening dozens of Chrome tabs and basic photo editing. Our benchmark tests also supported this, in which the Surface Pro 8 scored similarly to a Dell XPS 13 OLED on Geekbench 5 and 3DMark Time Spy.
The Surface Pro 8 is an excellent option for a Windows-based iPad alternative with adequate processing power, battery life, and a contemporary design. It’s a convertible that’s worth your consideration. However, it is essential to note that the newer Surface Pro 9 is now available.
- Gorgeous new design
- Amazing performance
- Larger 13" display
- Two Thunderbolt 4 ports
- SSD is easily accessible
- 120 Hz display makes for smoother writing and drawing
- Stylus has a haptic motor and keyboard garage
- Tailor-made for Windows 11
- Supports external devices
- More expensive
- No more USB Type-A
- Longer battery life
- Slim Pen 2 and Signature keyboard sold separately
3. Best 13-inch laptop: Microsoft Surface Laptop 5
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The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is the most recent model of the company’s 13- and 15-inch laptops. The laptop features an Intel Core processor from the 12th generation and Thunderbolt 4 connectivity for the same price as its predecessor.
These minor improvements are sufficient to make the Surface Laptop 5 a better buy than the Surface Laptop 4 at the same price. During testing, we determined that the new chip was powerful for basic productivity tasks, while the sharp screen resolution was ideal for watching videos.
Indeed, you can find better value elsewhere besides the Surface brand. The M1-powered MacBook Air offers more power at the same price, whereas the Dell XPS 13 OLED feels considerably more abundant for only a few hundred pounds more.
But if you’re committed to the Microsoft Surface brand and desire a traditional 13-inch laptop with a clamshell design, the Surface Laptop 5 should still serve you admirably. Despite the minor upgrades, it is prudent to investigate whether the Surface Laptop 3 and Surface Laptop 4 are on sale before purchasing.
- All-day battery life
- Bright, crisp touch display with 3:2 aspect ratio
- Both USB-C and USB-A support
- Chic and lightweight design
- U-series CPU limits performance ceiling
- Webcam is still only 720p resolution
- Still just one USB-C port
- Pricey configuration options
4. Best for Most People: Microsoft Surface Laptop 4
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It is less bright and stylish than the transforming, flexible Surface models that made the brand famous, but a laptop is what you need most of the time. Tablets, kickstands, and clicky magnetic keyboard covers don’t work well in every situation, which is why the Surface Laptop 4 (7/10, WIRED Recommends) is the best pick for most people.
It has a 13.5-inch, high-resolution display, a beautiful keyboard, an excellent glass trackpad, and a slim chassis. Ports are one area where Surfaces fall short (like MacBooks), but you get a USB-C port and a USB-A port. Also included is a magnetic charging port. If you frequently trip over your power cord, this could be a lifesaver. It severs the connection between the wall plug and the computer before the laptop flies across the room like a Frisbee.
It is available with either an Intel or an AMD Ryzen processor. Although each has its strengths and weaknesses, you need more than the difference between them to notice. Whether you choose a Surface Laptop 4 with an AMD Ryzen 5 or an Intel Core i5 processor, it will easily handle most tasks and applications. To learn more about the distinctions between AMD and Intel, consult our laptop buying guide.
Microsoft provides excellent technological standards, such as a Windows Hello IR camera that lets you quickly log in to Windows with your face. Once you get used to that, it’s easier to go back to typing in a password. Even fingerprint sensors feel like a chore after this.
If you desire a larger display, you can upgrade to the Surface Laptop 4 with a 15-inch screen and a Ryzen 7 or Intel Core i7 processor.
- Excellent screen
- Lightweight and affordable
- Strong sound
- Very good keyboard
- Not enough ports
- No Thunderbolt 4 support
- 720p webcam
- Huge bezels
5. Best for Students: Microsoft Surface Go 3
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Surface Go 3 is the most affordable and smallest member of the Surface family. If your needs are minimal or you prefer small computers, you should purchase this product. Despite having slower Intel chips, it performs adequately. This third-generation model lacks the all-day battery life of its predecessor, but the Windows 11 touchscreen experience is more pleasant.
Due to its excellent compatibility with the Surface Pen, the Go is ideal for note-taking. With the Type Cover attached, it is a surprising hybrid tablet and laptop, albeit a tiny one. It may not be able to compete with the iPad Pro in terms of sheer computing power. Still, the Go 3 is reasonably priced and adequate for most college students or anyone who can afford a second portable computer.
If you need the Surface Go 3 to serve as your primary computer, there are better options than the $400 model. Its smaller, slower storage drive and limited RAM may make demanding applications and multitasking feel slower. Obtain the $630 configuration if possible.
As with the Surface Pro, the Go 3 does not include a Type Cover keyboard or Surface Pen; therefore, you must purchase these accessories separately.
- Windows Hello webcam with 1080p video support
- Good battery life
- Extremely light and portable
- 1080p webcam
- Good speakers
- Nice design
- Only one USB-C port
- Windows still isn't a great tablet OS
- Accessories sold separately
- Expensive for what you get
6. Best value: Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2
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Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Go 2 is a worthy successor to the original Surface Laptop Go, which was one of our favorite affordable and best budget laptops money could buy.
It retains the diminutive frame of the original Surface Laptop Go and is noticeably smaller than competing laptops. Even though it’s smaller and less expensive than many other laptops, the Surface Laptop Go 2 feels smooth due to its aluminum and polycarbonate composite resin chassis. Only rigid keyboard presses caused the chassis to flex. This laptop’s weight of just over 1.1 kilograms also makes it an excellent option for students and professionals who need to quickly sling it into a bag as they dash from meeting to meeting.
Inside is an Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor or an Intel Core i5 chip of the 11th generation. Despite being an older generation, it provided the Surface Laptop Go 2 with good performance for the price during testing, allowing it to breeze through basic productivity tasks. Microsoft’s smaller contender may not be as quick as the Ryzen-powered Acer Swift 3, but it performs admirably for the price.
With its new processor, the battery life of the new Surface Laptop Go has also been enhanced. The laptop lasted approximately nine hours in a PC Mark 10 Modern Office simulation during testing. This means you’ll be able to get through a workday with a bit of juice left over, although it’s shorter than, say, the Acer Swift 3’s battery life.
The Surface Laptop Go 2 retains the exact 15361024 resolution as the previous model, resulting in images that appear slightly less crisp than they would on a Full HD (19201080) display. However, our colorimeter did measure good contrast and brightness levels, so even though the images are not the sharpest, the overall picture quality is still acceptable.
- Fantastic value for money
- Refreshing choice of colors
- Great for students
- Extremely portable design
- Reasonably priced
- Swappable SSD and chassis parts for longevity
- Supports charging over USB-C
- Solid performance
- Very good built quality
- Tall 3:2 aspect ratio display
- Low-resolution display
- Lack of keyboard backlight
- Updated (but still ho-hum) webcam
- Only 4GB and 8GB RAM options
- Slow charging
7. Best laptop for content creators: Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio
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The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio is the best for content creators requiring a versatile device.
This is mainly due to the Surface Laptop Studio’s clever screen hinge, which enables it to be used as a tablet and a clamshell laptop. The fact that you can pull the screen forward and attach it to the desk with magnets is particularly ingenious and makes drawing a breeze. We also found the hinge to feel sturdy, and the available chassis of the Laptop Studio felt solid thanks to its all-metal build. However, the port selection was limited, with only USB-Cs, a headphone jack, and a Surface Connect port present.
During testing, the screen was excellent, with a 14.4-inch panel, complete with a 2400×11600 resolution. It’s a punchy panel with vibrant colors and some brilliant contrast, measured to be 497 nits and 1669:1, respectively, by our colorimeter. While the sRGB color space coverage is good, the 81% DCI-P3 and 74% Adobe RGB is a fair bit behind rivals such as the MacBook Pro, that’ll be better placed for work such as a photo or video editing.
Inside, the Surface Laptop Studio features an 11th Intel Core i7 H-series processor that offers smooth performance for basic tasks and a respectable showing with more intense workloads. Read and write speeds of over 3000 MB/s were also recorded for the SSD. With that being said, the Studio lags behind the competition with a generation-old processor, and the lack of especially powerful discrete GPUs somewhat inhibits its overall power.
In our battery testing, the Surface Laptop Studio lasted for 11 hours (10hrs 49 minutes, to be exact), meaning you’ll be able to get through a working day with plenty of juice to spare. This is practically double some of the other beefier content creation laptops we’ve tested. However, it is worth remembering that to get such good endurance; the Laptop Studio packs less power than some of its rivals.
- The tablet positioning on this laptop is a lot more convenient than on a typical two-in-one
- Surprisingly detailed speakers
- First-class stylus experience
- A great 120Hz screen with Dolby Vision
- Groundbreaking haptic touchpad
- Robust digital stylus support, including magnetic holder
- Long battery life
- Runs quiet
- Thunderbolt 4
- Stylus costs extra
- Runs hot for very little power boost
- Tops out with 35W quad-core CPUs
- No AMD CPU option
- Slim Pen 2 doesn't come included
- Upgrading SSD on your own voids warranty
- Charger is underpowered
- Thick chassis
- Limited ports
8. Best All-in-One Desktop: Microsoft Surface Studio 2+
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The Studio 2+, the all-in-one computer for graphic designers, differs little from its predecessor, which debuted four years ago. It features a 28-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 4500 x 3000 pixels and stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos. In addition, you will have access to three USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB-A ports, a 3.5-mm headphone jack, and a gigabit Ethernet port. Using the Surface Studio 2+’s external display support, you can connect to three 4K UHD monitors with a 60-Hz refresh rate.
Under the hood is an Intel Core i7 11370H processor of the 11th generation running Windows 11. Microsoft offers 50 percent faster CPU performance than the Surface Studio 2. It is not the most recent chipset on the market. The company claims the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card offers twice the graphics performance. We’ll need to put it through its paces to determine if these numbers are accurate. Additionally, this expensive machine comes with a Surface Pen, Surface Keyboard, and Surface Mouse. We will soon reveal our thoughts on Studio 2+.
- Elegant all-in-one digital creation solution.
- Snappy performance.
- Super-thin, spectacular display that reclines.
- Accurate touch input for art/design work.
- USB-C support.
- Bundled Surface Pen.
- CPU could be beefier, considering separated base.
- Video out via USB-C, not a dedicated port.
9. Most versatile: Surface Book 3
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The Surface Laptop Studio replaced Book 3 in Microsoft’s product lineup. The foundation of a great laptop experience is a gorgeous display, an excellent keyboard, and a solid port selection.
However, performance could be more consistent. Book 3 performs admirably in most situations, but its gaming performance is a severe letdown. Typically, this would be fine, but Microsoft has specifically advertised its gaming capabilities.
This is by no means the only disadvantage, with chunky bezels, mediocre speakers, and the absence of a fingerprint scanner being among the most notable.
However, significant discounts make it easier to overlook these flaws. Choose this device if you desire an utterly detachable laptop display. It will operate flawlessly with Windows 11 and is reasonably future-proof.
- Solid performance
- Will get Windows 11
- Very good battery life
- Detachable screen with 3:2 aspect ratio
- Extremely pricey
- No Thunderbolt 3 support
- Design is getting dated
10. Still a great PC: Surface Laptop Go
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The superiority of its successor renders the original Surface Laptop Go un-recommendable for most consumers, despite the availability of substantial discounts.
However, you will need to pay significantly more than the base price for a worthwhile model. Battery life is also an issue, as the device struggles to last an entire workday on a single charge.
Despite this, the Surface Laptop Go has several redeeming qualities. The performance of the top-of-the-line model is solid, and the inclusion of a great keyboard and screen in a chassis so thin is genuinely remarkable. The Dolby Audio speakers and dual studio mics also provide an excellent audio experience.
Numerous other laptops also excel in these areas, and many of them are more affordable or provide a better overall experience.
- CPU is fast across all models
- Will get Windows 11
- Extra-tall 3:2 aspect ratio display
- Attractive styling and excellent build quality
- New fingerprint reader works as well as a camera
- USB Type-A port
- Solid battery life
- Class-leading keyboard
- Consumers limited to 8GB of RAM
- Maxes out with 256GB of storage
- Less-than-1080p display
- Fan pitch is a little whiny
- No face recognition camera or keyboard backlighting
- GPU is OK
- USB-C hub may be needed for I/O expansion
- Base specs underwhelm
- No embedded LTE option
Microsoft Surface Laptop: 7 things you need to know
Microsoft has long claimed that its Surface Pro tablet series can replace a laptop, but for those who don’t want to go the 2-in-1 route, the tech giant has just unveiled a massive new product.
Microsoft unveiled its new flagship product, the Surface Laptop, last week.
According to Microsoft’s chief of devices, Panos Panay, the Surface Laptop was developed in response to student requests for a sleek, functional laptop. And it certainly doesn’t hurt Microsoft to have its high-end laptop competing with the MacBook and Chromebook for market share.
The Surface Laptop is now available for pre-order in various configurations before going on general sale on June 15. Here is what you must know before spending your hard-earned $999.
The Surface Laptop is a lightweight notebook with a sleek, tapered design that measures 14.5mm at its thickest point. It weighs only 2.7lb or 1.25kg, and its LCD touchscreen is reportedly the thinnest ever to be included on a laptop. Its delicate design will appeal to students carrying it in their backpacks, as it is primarily geared toward the educational market.
Microsoft claims that the Surface Laptop is 50 percent faster than the MacBook Air. The 7th-generation Intel Core processor is available in both i5 and i7 configurations, and the operating system’s elimination of background applications improves its performance. After the initial boot-up (which takes only 15 seconds), the Surface Laptop claims to be operational in less than five.
It utilizes an entirely new operating system.
The Surface Laptop will be compatible with Windows 10 S. Windows 10 S, essentially a streamlined version of Windows 10, is optimized for safer app use and web browsing. Only apps downloaded from the Windows Store will be accessible, making it ideal for those desiring a more straightforward user experience and organizations wishing greater user control. (Presumably, teachers are attempting to keep sneaky Minecraft players on task.)
Users of the Surface Laptop can upgrade to the full version of Windows 10 – for free until the end of the year or for $49 after – if they desire the whole Windows experience.
It features a touchscreen.
The 13.5-inch PixelSense display on the laptop has 3.4 million pixels. Although it does not meet the latest 4K standards, it is superior to 1080p.
It does not have the best resolution of the Surface family, but it does have some other valuable features, and its lower resolution will help you conserve battery life when you’re on the go.
It has a 3:2 aspect ratio, which allows multitaskers to view two documents side-by-side. And if you prefer something more precise than your fingertip, it also supports Microsoft’s Surface Pen stylus, allowing you to draw with greater precision on the screen.
It has impressive battery life.
Due to the lower resolution, lightweight operating system, and powerful processors, the Surface Laptop has a battery life of 14.5 hours and can enter sleep mode without consuming power.
It has secret speakers.
Due in large part to the absence of visible screws and hinges, this device exudes a level of sophistication commensurate with Apple’s sleekest competitors. There are also no visible speaker grilles, but music lovers need not worry; the Surface Laptop’s speakers are neatly concealed beneath the keyboard and emit sound from beneath your fingers.
Microsoft’s efforts to make this device durable are logical, given that the company primarily focuses on the education market. “It’s going to last you,” Panos said. It will last for the students from the day they begin until they walk across the stage and receive their diploma four years later.
If you have owned a luxury automobile, you are likely familiar with Alcantara®. It is a material commonly found on the steering wheels of sports cars and used on the Surface Laptop’s keyboard. This material has been specially treated to resist spills and stains. Don’t worry too much if you eat a messy lunch while working.
Its aluminum casing makes it portable and durable, and its corner-to-corner Gorilla® Glass 3 helps protect your laptop’s display from scratches and bumps.
Best for creators: Surface Laptop Studio. The Surface Laptop Studio is hands-down my favorite Surface device ever, and while it didn’t get a refresh in 2022, it’s still one of the best Surface devices you can buy. This is the most powerful Surface laptop yet, and it comes in a unique form factor that’s simply great.
After months of speculation and leaks, Microsoft finally announced the Surface Pro 9 on October 12th, 2022, a little over a year after the Surface Pro 8 was launched. Pre-orders are already live, so you can buy it right now.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 will be available to buy in stores from 25th October 2022.
Most experts estimate a laptop’s lifespan to be three to five years. It may survive longer than that, but its utility will be limited as the components become less capable of running advanced applications.
The Surface Laptop is a traditional laptop with a display fixed to a keyboard base. The Surface Pro is a detachable laptop and is actually more of a tablet than a laptop
The Surface Laptop 4 is a laptop computer made by Microsoft. It is the fourth generation of Surface Laptop which launched on 13 April 2021. It succeeds the Surface Laptop 3, which was released in 2019.
As a result of the superiority of its successor, we recommend the original Surface Laptop Go to only some consumers, despite the availability of substantial discounts.
However, you will need to pay substantially more than the base price for a model worth purchasing. The device’s battery life is also a concern, as it struggles to last an entire workday on a single charge.
Despite this, the Surface Laptop Go still has much going for it. The performance of the top-of-the-line model is solid, and the inclusion of a great keyboard and screen in the body of such a slim profile is genuinely remarkable. The Dolby Audio speakers and dual studio microphones provide an excellent audio experience.
However, numerous other laptops excel in these areas, many of which are more affordable or provide a better overall experience.