Trending February 2024 # Surface Studio Vs 2023 Imac # Suggested March 2024 # Top 11 Popular

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Pros

Cons

Our Verdict

The iMac is a tough all-in-one to beat and with Microsoft going in at even higher price doesn’t help. Whether it’s worth paying extra for the Surface Studio largely comes down to whether you’ll benefit from it’s flexible design, touchscreen, the Surface Pen and Dial.

In October Microsoft announced its first desktop PC in the form of the Surface Studio, an all-in-one PC aimed at creative professionals. Fast-forward to June and Apple has responded, finally updating its iMac line-up for 2023.

Surface Studio vs iMac: Price

The Surface Studio comes in only one size, so we’re mainly going to be comparing it to the larger iMac, but it’s worth noting that the smaller iMac at 21.5in is a significantly cheaper option. To be fair, all iMacs are significantly cheaper than the Surface Studio.

We’ve outlined pricing for the various options below. (Note that the iMac Pro won’t be available until later in the year. 

Microsoft’s all-in-one is not at all priced for the masses, whereas Apple’s iMac – at least in its basic incarnation – arguably is. It’s certainly more affordable for the average Joe, if still priced somewhat out of reach.

It’s almost difficult to believe we’re writing this, but Apple is the clear winner on value. Is it worth the extra cost for the Studio, though?

Surface Studio vs iMac: Design and build

These devices are quite similar in many senses and yet very different in others.

While the iMac sits on a very small and thin stand with all the components behind the display, the Surface Studio is essentially the reverse. It has the core components in the base while the screen is ultra thin because it sits on its own.

The benefit to the Surface Studio’s design is that it’s far more adjustable. The hinge on the back of the screen and the one on the base provides a lot more viewing angles compared to the iMac which just has one hinge behind the display.

Two points of movement will be a big bonus for some, especially if you want to use the display with Microsoft’s Surface Pen stylus or Dial (or both at the same time). The screen can come down into ‘Studio Mode’ like having a digital drawing board.

These are both large computers and weigh a fairly hefty 9.5kg each but you can move them around still. Both come with a wireless mouse and keyboard but the Surface Studio also comes with the Surface Pen stylus.

Surface Studio vs iMac: Specs and hardware Screen

Starting with the screen, Microsoft has gone even bigger than the already large iMac at 28in and the PixelSense display has an aspect ratio of 3:2 and a resolution of 4500×3000 resulting in a pixel density of 192ppi.

It’s also 10-point multi-touch enabled and supports the Surface Pen and Dial – the iMac is not touch sensitive. One interesting thing is that you can change the colour profie of the Surface Studio’s screen on-the-fly between Adobe sRGB, DCI-P3 and Vivid Color profiles.

For its 2023 iMac Apple has updated the entire range with new displays that it says are the best ever. They include 500 nits of brightness, 10-bit dithering and one billion colours.

As previously, though, the 27in iMac has a 5K Retina display with an IPS panel and a resolution of 5120×2880. That’s an aspect ratio of 16:9 and a pixel density of 217ppi. There are smaller iMacs at 21.5in that have either Full HD- or 4K resolutions.

Processor and memory

While the Surface Studio is running sixth-generation Intel Skylake Core i5 and Core i7 processors, the iMac has now been upgraded to seventh-generation Kaby Lake. These chips have higher base and turbo frequencies for improved performance.

As standard the iMac comes with a Core i5 chip, though you can customise the spec for a Core i7 at extra cost.

All the iMac models come with 8GB of RAM (2x4GB) but you can configure up to 16- or 32GB if you’re happy to pay extra. The 27in model will go up to 64GB and this time the modules are not soldered on so you can upgrade it yourself – it will void any warranty, though.

On the Microsoft side of the fence you’ll get either 8-, 16- or 32GB of RAM depending on which model you buy. 

Storage

It’s a similar story when it comes to storage, as you’ll get 1TB for the first two models and 2TB for the top-end with Microsoft and Apple. The 27in iMacs get Fusion Drives as standard, but all 2023 iMacs benefit from 50 percent faster SSDs.

Graphics cards

The 27in iMac 5K comes with a choice of AMD Radeon Pro 570, 575 or 580 graphics cards with up to 8GB of VRAM. Meanwhile the cheapest 21.5in iMac has Intel Iris Graphics 640, and the 4K 21.5in iMac gets a choice of AMD Radeon 555 or Radeon 560 with up to 4GB of VRAM.

Inside the Surface Studio is a Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M graphics card with 2GB of memory but the top-end model has a 4GB GTX 980M.

We’re looking forward to benchmarking the new iMacs to see just how much performance differs.

Other specs

Beyond core specs, there will be hardware elements which affect your choice between devices so here’s what Apple and Microsoft offer in the way of ports, wireless and cameras.

The iMac comes with a FaceTime HD webcam, stereo speakers, dual mics, a headphone jack, SDXC card slot, 4x USB 3.0 ports, 2x USB-C (that support Thunderbolt 3) and an Ethernet port. It’s got 11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2.

The Surface Studio has a 5Mp webcam which supports Windows Hello face sign-in, 2.1 stereo speakers with Dolby Audio, dual mics, a headphone jack, SDXC card slot, 4x USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, 11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. It also has Xbox Wireless for use with the console controllers.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Surface Studio comes with the Surface Pen and you’ll get a free Surface Dial if you pre-order. The device is a multi-functional tool which works on the Studio’s screen exclusively.

Of course, software is very different here with each firm providing its own operating system in macOS Sierra and Windows 10 Pro. We won’t go into a comparison of those here.

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Surface Studio 2: Tech Specs, Pricing, Details

The Surface Studio 2 is the same amazing all-in-one desktop as the last model, but with better tech specs.

It’s not a secret that Microsoft has been trying to steal some of the Apple market with its Surface devices, and with the Surface Studio being the most impressive and most disappointing device.

Surface Studio 2

Just like its predecessor, the Surface Studio 2 has a premium build quality. You’ll find the one of the best 28-inch touchscreen display in the market. The incredible compact system that houses the processor, graphics, storage, and the power supply. And the unbelievable “Zero Gravity” hinge that allows you to effortlessly reposition the screen from a vertical position down to twenty degrees with no wobble as you draw on it.

The screen is not just excellent for drawing, but delivers a great viewing experience as a regular monitor with excellent color representations and several multi pre-calibrated modes. It’s a little in the glossy side, but it’s very accurate using the ten and the pressure sensitivity is also one of the best in the market.

Also, at the top of the screen, you’ll find the Windows Hello facial recognition camera, which remains a great feature to have along with the “OK” webcam.

At the back of the base, you’ll also find several basic ports, including full-size SD card reader, four USB 3.0 Type-A, and (finally) one USB Type-C.

Although the Type-C port is a welcome addition, it’s a bit in the disappointing side that doesn’t support Thunderbolt 3, which means that you can’t connect a high-speed storage or external graphics card. Also, you don’t get a 10GB Ethernet, just a standard 1GB networking port.

In the box, you also get a Surface Keyboard and a Surface Mouse. The mouse isn’t as ergonomically as, for example, the Logitech MX Master s2 mouse or the Microsoft Surface Precision Mouse, but it works well. However, the Surface Keyboard is a nice inclusion as it has a really good quality build, and if you’ve been using a laptop, you’ll enjoy typing with this Bluetooth keyboard. (Though, it doesn’t include the fingerprint scanner like the Microsoft Keyboard, which are identical accessories.)

Surface Studio 2 tech specs

As for its internals, even though it’s a desktop replacement, the Surface Studio 2 uses an Intel seventh-generation Core i7-7820HQ quad core processor, which is a generation behind, and it’s designed for mobile devices.

You’ll also find the significantly better graphics with the option for Nvidia GTX 1060 or GTX 1070 (designed for mobile devices) that makes the Studio 2 not a bad gaming machine.

This time around, Microsoft is also adding the option of up to 2TB of PCIe NVMe SSD, which is even faster than standard SSDs, and a lot quicker than the hybrid hard drive included with the first generation.

And just like before, you can get the Surface Studio 2 with 16GB or 32GB of memory.

Surface Studio 2 tech specs

Base: 9.8” x 8.7” x 1.3” (250.00 mm x 220.00 mm x 32.20 mm)

Weight21 lbs max (9.56 kg max)

Supports Surface Pen with tilt activation, Surface Dial on-screen interaction, and Zero Gravity Hinge

ProcessorIntel Core i7-7820HQ

32GB DDR4 RAM

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5 memory

2TB PCIe NVMe SSD

Compatible with Surface Dial* on-screen interaction

External display support Up to two 4K UHD (@30Hz) or single 4K UHD (@60Hz)

Xbox Wireless built-in

Enterprise-grade protection with Windows Hello face sign-in

Stereo 2.1 speakers with Dolby Audio™ Premium

SoftwareWindows 10 Pro

Power cord with grip-release cable

Also, the speakers are good, but only as long as you don’t use them at 100 percent volume, as like most build-in speakers, the ones from this all-in-one desktop, the sound quality degrades significantly at 100 percent.

Surface Studio 2 final thoughts 

While it’s frustrating that Microsoft continues to stay a generation behind when it comes to hardware, it’s not all bad, as the Surface Studio 2 is significantly faster than its predecessor, and it’s a good machine for single-threaded tasks, such as for office applications, video editing, and even for playing games, considering that it’s not a device for gamers.

And of course, with the 4:3 aspect ratio, the Surface Studio 2 offers a huge real estate for content creators when working with multiple apps side-by-side and drawing.

However, the lack of additional hardware options, such as more capable processors and graphics, Thunderbolt 3, and the fact that you can’t upgrade anything, as the processor, graphics, and memory are soldered into the main board, it’s hard to recommend for professionals or users working with demanding applications.

Surface Studio 2 pricing

The Surface Studio 2 starts at $3499 for the base model that includes a Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory, and 1TB of storage, while the 32GB of memory model bumps the price to $4199. And if you want the 2TB NVMe SSD, you’ll be spending $4799. You can order a Surface Studio 2 at the Microsoft Store.

Pixel Slate Vs Surface Pro 6

Our Verdict

If you definitely want a lightweight, versatile 2-in-1 device for writing reports, creating presentations, consuming media, and general computer duties, then the Pixel Slate is perfectly capable of this. But once you start to factor in the additional cost of moving up from the base-unit, then adding the keyboard and stylus, the picture becomes murky. At around £900 or more, it doesn’t seem a sensible way to spend that much money.  The Surface Pro 6 has a similar conundrum, in that once you factor in the keyboard and Pen, you’re up in the territory where price tags come with commas. At least with the Surface Pro 6 you’re getting a device that can run almost any software at all and be used as a half-decent gaming PC. In all honesty, we’d encourage potential buyers to take a look at the Pixelbook and Surface Laptop 2 before making a decision. Or, if a tablet is really what you want, then the much cheaper 9.7in iPad just can’t be beat right now.

Google held a hardware launch recently where it announced the Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL,

Price and availability

The Pixel Slate has no confirmed release date at the time of writing, but Google has said that it will appear before the end of the year. 

There’s a range of models, starting at £549/US$599 for the base tablet with an Intel Celeron processor 4GB RAM and 32GB of storage, and going up to £1,549/$1,599 for an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 with 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

Adding the (necessary) keyboard will cost £189/US$199, and the stylus – the Pixelbook Pen – comes in at £79/US$99.

Microsoft’s latest iteration of the Surface Pro is available from 16 October and offers a number of configurations. These start at £879/US$899 for the 8th Gen Intel Core i5 with 128GB of storage and 8GB Ram, and goes up to £2,149/US$2,299 if you want an Intel Core i7, 1TB of storage, and 16GB of RAM.

To get the most from the Surface Pro 6 you’ll also need a keyboard cover (starts at £129.99/US$129.99) and the Surface Pen (£99/US$99).

You can pre-order the Surface Pro 6 from Microsoft.

If you don’t mind a smaller device, then the recently announced Surface Go is another option. This mini-tablet has a 10in display and costs £379/US$399 for the base model or £509/US$549 for the more powerful version.

Again, you’ll need to factor in the price of a Keyboard cover which amounts to £99/US$129, and if you want the Surface Pen that’ll be another £99/US$99.

You can order the Surface Go from Microsoft today, but first you might want to read our full Surface Go review.

Design and build

The Pixel Slate features a 12.3in ‘Molecular’ display, which is comprised of 6 million pixels (3000×2000) and delivers 293ppi for crisp, detailed images.

The metal body is larger than a standard tablet (290mm x 202mm x 7mm), due to the screen size. But, by clever placement of the internals, the balance is well measured and makes the device feel lighter than its 721g.

Twin front-facing speakers adorn the side bezels, while the power button on the top edge also works as a fingerprint sensor. The only other feature on the front panel is an 8Mp f/1.9 camera that features a wide field of view so that video calls with multiple people doesn’t require everyone’s cheeks to be touching.

A Midnight Blue livery covers the back, where you’ll also find another 8Mp camera, this time with an f/1.8 aperture.

Two USB-C ports (one on either flank) are the connections of offer, both with capabilities for Charging, 4K Display output, and fast data transfer. One glaring omission is a headphone jack. Google no doubt has some complicated reason for this, but in all honesty it’s just plain stupid. This is a tablet and as such has room for the simple and useful addition of a 3.5mm port.

The Surface Pro 6 is very similar in design to its predecessor the Surface Pro. Thankfully Microsoft has restored some logic to its naming conventions, hence the reappearance of a number to denote which Surface you’re holding.

The main difference is a switch from the solitary magnesium colouring of the older model, to the option of a cool looking matte black on the Pro 6.  Otherwise, it’s the same 292 mm x 201 mm x 8.5 mm dimensions, 12.3in PixelSense display, and strange lack of any USB-C port at all.

Why this remains the case in 2023 is anybody’s guess, but you’ll once more have to do with a single USB 3.0, mini DisplayPort, Surface Connect, microSDXC card reader, and 3.5mm headphone jack.

We’re still big fans of the built-in kickstand, which remains a ridiculously elegant way to position the Surface Pro 6 at the right angle for typing, watching videos, or resting on your lap.    

Camera-wise, there’s a 5Mp front-facing 1080p unit, which also supports Windows Hello facial recognition, and an 8Mp,1080p shooter on the back. These are accompanied by 1.6W stereo speakers with Dolby Audio Premium.

Features and specs

To get anything like the full potential out of either of these devices requires buying both the external keyboard and dedicated stylus. While the Surface Pro 6 can act happily as a tablet (insofar as Windows 10 is a tablet OS), it’s too heavy to hold for gaming or idly browsing the web, and the amount of optimised apps pales in comparison to the riches of something like an iPad.

It’s a similar story with the Pixel Slate. Yes, you can use it as a tablet, but given the choice between that and the iPad, even the most ardent Google fan would have to admit that the Apple route would be the one to take.

Adding the keyboards does change this equation quite significantly. If you’re a fan of Chromebooks, but want a premium device that can also double as a tablet, then the Pixel Slate is a compelling option. Chrome OS has developed quite substantially in recent years, and the lightweight hardware of the Pixel Slate is a perfect way to experience the productivity and leisure capabilities.

Depending on which configuration you go for, there’s plenty of power on offer, and even the Celeron models should zip along at a decent clip thanks to the lightweight nature of the operating system. However, we didn’t see this in practice when we got our hands on a Slate at the launch.

Again, you can configure the Surface Pro 6 to be a light-use device or production powerhouse depending on which CPU and RAM option you take. But, whereas Chrome OS doesn’t need much in the way of storage and RAM, we’d certainly recommend opting for somewhere a little up the chain if you want the Pro 6 to be future-proofed for a few years.

Here’s a breakdown of the technical specs for both devices;

 Pixel SlateSurface Pro 6Operating SystemChromeOSWindows 10 HomeDisplay12.3in Molecular display 3000 x 2000 (293 ppi)12.3in PixelSense 2736 x 1824 (267ppi)Memory4GB/8GB/16GB8GB or 16GBProcessor8th Gen Intel Core m3, i5 or i7 processor, or Intel CeleronIntel Core i5 / i7 8th GenStorage32GB up to 256GB128GB up to 1TBPorts2 x USB-C, connector for Pixel Slate keyboard1 x USB 3, headphone, mini DisplayPort, Surface Connect, microSD card reader, connector for Type Cover keyboardDimensions291mm x 202mm x 7mm292mm x 201mm x 8.5mmWeight721g770g (784g for Core i7)ColoursMidnight blueBlack, PlatinumBattery lifeUp to 10 hoursUp to 13.5 hoursPriceFrom £549/$599From £879/$899

Software

This is where the rubber will really hit the road for most people. While either device is passable as a tablet, their main use will almost certainly be for getting things done. In that respect you have a clear choice between the full Windows 10 experience that comes with the Surface Pro 6, replete with the wide range of apps that run on the device itself, or the cloud-focussed ChromeOS on the Pixel Slate.

Now, it should be noted that many production apps, such as Google Docs, Sheets, and others, will run offline on Chromebooks, and thus the Pixel Slate. You can also download games, movies, TV shows, and music to enjoy when you’re not connected, but this is where the smaller storage options could cause problems.

Google has also given newer ChomeOS machines, the Pixel Slate included, the ability to run Android apps. This does add a fair amount of content, but these do tend to run in boxes on the screen rather than as optimised full-screen apps. In time we hope this will change, but at the moment it’s not quite there.

Google Assistant is a useful tool though, with its best-in-class voice recognition interface allowing users to launch apps, start emails and messages, or generally control the device without touching it.

The Surface Pro 6 is a fully-fledged PC, and as such will run anything you’d normally expect on a desktop Windows 10 machine. The Pixel Slate is a fancy Chromebook, albeit with an OS that’s been optimised for touch.

Specs Google Pixel Slate: Specs

Google Chrome OS

291x202x7mm

721g

aluminium casing

Midnight Blue colour

Power button with fingerprint sensor

Storage: 32GB / 64GB / 128GB / 256GB

12.3in Molecular Display

3000×2000 pixels, 293ppi

10-point multi-touch

Pixelbook Pen Input

8th generation Intel Core i5 / Core m3 / Celeron Processor

4GB / 8GB / 16GB RAM

Wi-Fi (802.11ac)

Bluetooth 4.2

Two 8MP Full HD cameras, front- and rear-facing

Microphone, Stereo speakers

2x USB-C ports

Pixel Slate Keyboard port

Titan security chip

48Whr battery, up to 10 hours

Microsoft Surface 3 Vs Google Nexus 9

Our Verdict

The Nexus 9 is the cheaper option here and will suit those who a tablet for enjoyment but also need to do the occasional bit of light work. However, the Surface 3 is the better package for working with a more suitable design comprised of the kickstand and Type Cover. A larger screen, more storage and useful ports are all big benefits.

Microsoft’s Surface 3 has arrived as a cheaper alternative to the Surface Pro 3, but how does it compare to the Google Nexus 9 which also has a keyboard dock? Find out in our Surface 3 vs Nexus 9 comparison review. Also see: Best new tablets coming in 2024.

The Nexus 9 and Surface 3 are quite different tablets but both offer a very similar set-up for getting work done when you include their respective keyboard docks. See what we make of each one including price, design, hardware and software.

Surface 3 vs Nexus 9: Price

As usual price is an important element when buying a new gadget. It’s of little surprise that the Google Nexus 9 is the cheaper option starting at £319. The Surface 3 will set you back at least £100 more depending on what model you choose. We’ve outlined the various choices in the table below.

Chances are, you’re reading this article as the Surface 3 and Nexus 9 are two tablets on the market which are potentially good for doing work on, although they are very different. The reason is that they both have keyboard dock accessories which make them more like a laptop in use. However, it’s worth pointing out that neither price includes the extra.

The Surface 3 Type Cover (available in various colours) will set you back £109 while the Nexus 9 Keyboard Folio case is effectively the same at £110 so bear this in mind when making your decision. See also: best budget laptops you can buy in 2024

Nexus 9

Surface 3

16GB

£319

32GB

£399

64GB

£419

64GB + 4G LTE

TBC

128GB

£499

128GB + 4G LTE

TBC

Surface 3 vs Nexus 9: Design – using like a laptop    

The Nexus 9 and Surface 3 look quite different – Google’s tablet is thinner and ligher at 7.95mm and 425g compared to 8.7mm and 622g – but we’re mainly interested in the aspect of using them for work. At lot of this comes down to the keyboard, although there’s also the optional pen for sketching and writing on the Surface. It costs £45 but could come in extremely handy depending on the task you’re doing. It’s far more accurate than using your finger and the physical button can be used to launch OneNote and take screenshots.

Microsoft’s Surface 3 Type Cover is by far the simpler solution and snaps on and off quickly with magnets – it just works. You use it completely flat or use the magnets to give it a nice angle like a regular keyboard. It’s worth noting that the kickstand built into the tablet itself offers three different viewing angles whether the Type Cover is attached or not.

A couple of features which it has over the Nexus 9 are the backlit keys and a built-in trackpad. When the cover is closed it protects the screen of the Surface 3.

As the name suggests, the Nexus 9 Keyboard Folio is a full case for the tablet – although it also attaches magnetically. As you don’t need an additional case as you might do for the Surface 3, the Nexus 9 could be be a cheaper option.

The keyboard must sit flat, and there are only two viewing angles for the screen and no backlit keys or a trackpad. Since there’s no physical connection between the case and the tablet, you must pair the two using Bluetooth. This isn’t the end of the world but the Surface method simpler and easier. It also means you need to keep the Keyboard Folio charged up in order for it to work (Google claims it can last up to five months on a single charge).

Surface 3 vs Nexus 9: Hardware and software

Starting with the screen, which is pretty important when you’re trying to get work done. The Nexus 9 is smaller at 8.9in but has a higher resolution at 2048×1536. The Surface 3 is 10.8in and Full HD Plus 1920×1280. Resolution aside, the size is more important when it comes to getting things done so the extra space on the Surface could make a big difference depending on your task. That said, we still prefer the Surface Pro 3 with its 12.1in display over the noticeably smaller 10.8in display.

Storage is also going to be a potentially big deal and it makes sense that the cheaper Nexus 9 has less available with just 16- or 32GB. Opt for the pricier Surface 3 and you’ll get at least 64GB or 128GB if you don’t mind paying more but there’s also a microSD card slot which Google doesn’t offer.

In the engine room, each tablet has 2GB of RAM (4GB on the 128GB Surface 3) and the Nexus 9 is powered by a 64-bit nVidia Tegra K1 Dual Denver processor clocked at 2.3GHz. The Surface 3 has the new Intel Atom x7 which is 1.6GHz but can jump to 2.4Gz with Intel Burst technology. Microsoft’s tablet is the more competent here although it has its limits and we wouldn’t recommend it for video editing.

Like most Android tablets, the Nexus 9 doesn’t provide any physical ports beyond microUSB, but it does have NFC should that come in useful. Microsoft has also switched to microUSB for charging but it offers full-size USB 3.0 and Mini DisplayPort on top, making the Surface 3 much more like a proper laptop.

Battery life is similar here with up to 10 hour video playback on the Surface 3 and 9.5 hour on the Nexus 9 so software is a bigger deal.

While the Nexus 9 comes with stock Android 5.0 Lollipop, the Surface comes pre-installed with Windows 8.1 (the full version, not RT which is now defunct) and will  be upgraded to Windows 10 later this year for free. This is a huge difference and although many apps, including Office, are available for Android, the Surface 3 give you more scope for running software.

Reasons to buy the Nexus 9: Cheaper, better for fun alongside work, lighter and more compact.

Reasons to buy the Surface 3: Designed for work, better keyboard dock, larger screen, more ports, expandable storage.

Specs Microsoft Surface 3: Specs

Windows 8.1 Intel Atom x7-Z8700 processor, quad-core 1.6GHz (turbo to 2.4GHz) Up to 4GB DDR3 RAM Up to 128GB internal storage 10.8in ClearType full-HD-plus (1920×1280, 214ppi, 3:2) multitouch display USB 3.0 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi Bluetooth 4.0 Mini DisplayPort 8Mp rear camera 3.5Mp front camera Stereo speakers with Dolby sound battery life up to 10 hours (video playback) 267x187x8.7mm 622g (without keyboard) 1 year warranty

Best Windows Tablet: Surface Pro Vs. Dell, Hp, And Lenovo Tablets

The five contenders are the Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable, the HP Elite Folio, the Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 1, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7+, and the new Surface Pro 8. We’re still testing a sixth tablet, the Surface Go 3. Historically, we’ve seen Microsoft push hard with generation after generation of new Windows tablets. Third-party manufacturers haven’t been as consistent, but they’ve offered their own improvements, including webcam covers, superior keyboards, and powerful, sophisticated support utilities.

Our individual reviews delve deeply into each tablet’s strengths and weaknesses. In this article, however, we’ll provide a top-down comparison of the five we’ve tested, focusing on the areas that should be of particular interest to a Windows tablet buyer. We’ve also compared all five tablets using our standard benchmark suite, and present our results alongside some traditional laptops.

Best Windows Tablet for COnsumers: Microsoft Surface Pro 8

Surface Pro 8

Read our review

Best Prices Today:

Best Windows tablet for business: Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable

Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable

Read our review

Best Prices Today:

Affordability

The tablets we were sent for review by the four manufacturers varied by price and configuration, but the lowest-priced base option is the Microsoft Surface Pro 7+—though adding a pen and keyboard elevates the price above the Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 1. At the time of our latest update to this article, the two cheapest Surface Pro 7+ options were also sold out, making the standalone Surface Pro 8 the more affordable option.

Once kitted out with a keyboard and optional pen, each tablet is roughly similar in price, though your preferred configuration can alter that price significantly. Only the HP Elite Folio actually includes both accessories as part of the purchase price, however. Lenovo charges extra for a pen ($51.98 on Amazon) with 4,096 levels of pressure, and Microsoft suggests you buy its Surface Pro Signature Type Cover ($139 on Amazon) and Surface Pen ($89 on Amazon) for optimum functionality.

The Surface Pro 8 is designed for use with the $129.99 Surface Slim Pen 2 and a $179.99 Surface Pro Signature Keyboard, which accommodates the rechargeable Slim Pen 2 in a special keyboard cubby. This also means that you won’t be able to use older Surface detachable keyboards (say, from a Surface Pro 4) with the Surface Pro 8. Any detached Bluetooth keyboard, of course, will work just fine.

Dell informed us that while the company provided us with a pen and a tablet for our review, the Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable Travel Keyboard costs an additional $199.99, and its Latitude 7320 Detachable Active Pen also sells separately, for $69.99.

Dell’s Latitude 7320 Detachable is one of two Windows tablets PCWorld recommends.

Mentioned in this article

HP Elite Folio

Read our review

Best Prices Today:

We’ve included the base pricing of our review units below as of press time, excluding the cost of any peripherals, with the price of our review unit in parentheses. Note that Lenovo offers substantial “discounts” for buying direct on its site.

Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable: $1,559 on up ($2,189 as tested)

HP Elite Folio: $1,895 on up ($1,889 as tested)

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 1: $1,819 on up; $1,091.40 after discounts ($2,219.00 as tested; $1,331.40 after discount)

Microsoft Surface Pro 7+: $900 on up; ($1,650 as tested)

Microsoft Surface Pro 8: $1,099 on up; ($1,600 as tested)

We consider the lowest-priced model of the Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable, with 4GB of memory, too skimpy for everyday use. But if you don’t mind a Core i3, the minimum $899.99 configuration of the Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ is certainly feasible.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7+ offers a variety of prices and configurations to serve most budgets. It’s one of the best Windows tablets too.

Weight, portability, and overall design

We prefer the Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ and Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable here, as they offer the best combination of features. Technically, only three are “traditional” tablets:  We’d categorize the HP Elite Folio as a 2-in-1, but the separate tablet and keyboard are wrapped together inside of a faux-leather sheath that connects both the tablet and keyboard as a single unit. Instead of physically separating, the Folio’s tablet can “pull forward” or swivel back like a traditional tablet. The others use integrated kickstands that allow the tablets to recline.

Mentioned in this article

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 1

Read our review

Best Prices Today:

In all, the Folio is stronger and more stable than other tablets, but its design adds weight and removes some of the flexibility, too. On the Dell and Lenovo tablets, the connection between the keyboard and tablet is especially weak, so consider this if you like working with a tablet on your lap.

HP’s Elite Folio plays with the notion of a “traditional” tablet, with a non-detachable keyboard.

If your concern is which Windows tablet is the lightest, the answer is both the Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 1 and Microsoft Surface Pro 7+, which both weigh in at 2.4 pounds. We’ve included the weights below from our scale:

Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable: 1.70lb, 2.50lb with keyboard

HP Elite Folio: 2.95lb

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 1: 1.65lb, 2.40lb with keyboard

Microsoft Surface Pro 7+: 1.75lb, 2.40lb with keyboard

From a peripherals perspective, only the Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable and Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 1 offer Thunderbolt-equipped ports. Both of the others offer more generic USB-C connections. While all of the tablets offer Windows Hello biometric depth cameras, both the Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable and the Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable offer a fingerprint reader as well, for an additional login option.

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Display size and brightness

There are noticeable differences in the displays. Both the Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable and HP Elite Folio offer larger 13.3-inch displays, while the other Surface Pro 7+ and Lenovo tablet include smaller 12.3-inch displays. The Surface Pro 8 splits the difference with a 13-inch screen. Which tablet offers the brightest display? That distinction goes to the HP Folio, with a blazing 1,000-nit option that’s ideal for outdoor work, or the Dell Latitude, with its 500-nit display. (We consider 250 nits the minimum for indoor work.) The tablet with the highest-resolution display is the Microsoft Surface Pro 8, at 2,880 x 1,920, though the others include 1920×1280 displays that look just fine.

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 1 provides a solid mix of Thunderbolt ports and biometric login options, making it a good professional tablet.

Keyboard and typing experience

Personally, I preferred  both the Dell Latitude and Microsoft’s keyboards over the others. The Surface Pro Signature Keyboard designed for the Surface Pro 8 feels the same under your fingers, but grips the tablet tightly. The rechargeable pen is especially useful.

Webcam and audio experience

While we’re not going to show you representative images from all of the webcams here, one tablet stands out: the Surface Pro 7+. Both the Surface Pro 7+ and the Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 1 offer 1080p resolution on their user-facing cameras, but the color and white balance on the Surface Pro 7+ is head and shoulders above the others. The Surface Pro 8 is further optimized for color exposure as well, but overcorrects for skin tone.

The webcam on the Surface Pro 7+ offers superior color balance and resolution over the others.

The Surface Pro 7+ does not offer a physical webcam shutter, however, or even a button on the keyboard to turn it off. Both the HP Elite Folio and Lenovo ThinkPad Detachable offer physical webcam shutters.

We simply let our ears be the judge of which tablets offer the best audio. Here, we found that only the Lenovo’s speakers disappointed us. All of the other tablets performed well, with the usual caveat: Don’t expect that much in the way of bass from a flat tablet. You can always use headphones, though.

Battery life

Windows on Arm laptops have a reputation for long battery life, and the HP Elite Folio absolutely lives up to the stereotype. The Elite Folio delivers 932 minutes (15.5 hours) of battery life, which is 54 percent more than either the Surface Pro 7+ or the Dell Latitude Detachable. The Surface Pro 8 slips a bit under those two, tying the Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 1.

Tablets and laptops with Qualcomm Snapdragon chips inside them tend to have long battery life, and the HP Elite Folio certainly does…just not as long as some older Snapdragon-powered devices.

Mark Hachman / IDG

System utilities

You may not care about what sort of applications are bundled with these tablets, but we do. All of them were refreshingly free of the “bloatware” cheaper PCs come saddled with. Two of them shipped with their own vendor-developed system utilities. These apps supplement or replace operating system tools, in that they can be used to update firmware, drivers, or other utilities without Windows getting in the way. Neither the Elite Folio nor the Surface Pro tablets do anything noteworthy here.

Lenovo’s Vantage software and Dell’s suite of Dell utilities are both superb, providing a central repository for warranty information, a hardware and software dashboard, manuals and more. While the Vantage suite is probably a bit more comprehensive, Dell’s utilities are more straightforward.

Overall performance

Aside from the HP Elite Folio, all of the tablets listed in our roundup include an 11th-gen Intel “Tiger Lake” Core chip inside and perform similarly.

The Elite Folio uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G, an Arm chip that doesn’t quite allow you to run all of your preferred applications, even with emulation. (We’ll let the Elite Folio review explain further.) That limits which benchmarks we can run to test the performance of these tablets, and which laptops and thin-and-light PCs we can compare them to.

What we’ve done is use three representative benchmarks: PCMark 8 Creative, PCMark 10 Apps, and Cinebench R20. All three apps ran on all four tablets, giving us a comprehensive view of their performance. PCMark 8 Creative tests everything from general office work to light gaming and video/image editing. (PCMark 10 provides a more up-to-date, comprehensive test suite, but it won’t run on the Elite Folio.) PCMark Apps is a test of pure Office performance in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and the Edge browser. Cinebench is a synthesized CPU test, but it tells us how well a more generic CPU-intensive application will perform.

In the graphs below, we’ve highlighted the four key tablets, alongside some older tablets and a couple of laptops. For a deeper dive into other benchmarks, our Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable review and Surface Pro 8 review includes results of all four tablets, save for the specialized Elite Folio results.

Lenovo captures the top spot in our list of tablets and thin-and-light PCs in the older PCMark 8 Creative test.

Mark Hachman / IDG

In the PCMark 10 Apps test, however, the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 tablet easily tops them all.

Mark Hachman / IDG

Here, Microsoft’s Surface Pro 8 turns in an excellent performance in the Cinebench R20 benchmark.

Mark Hachman / IDG

It’s true that the Arm processor forces some of our benchmark applications to run via emulation, which slows them down. But the performance gap is still profound.

Which Windows tablet should you buy? As you’ve seen, we crowned the Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable and the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 with our Editors’ Choice award for different reasons. The Surface Pro 8 offers cheaper configuration options, a solid keyboard, a high-resolution screen, and the best webcam. It’s best for consumers. The business-focused Dell’s Latitude 7320 Detachable offers more viewable screen area, a great keyboard, Thunderbolt ports, and a decidedly useful suite of utility apps. Of the two, battery life favored Dell’s tablet.

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Your choice will likely be determined by the nuances. Yes, Microsoft’s tablet is far superior for lap work…but your tablet may be most often used on a desk. Do Dell’s robust system utilities matter? Perhaps you’ve already purchased one of our best 1080p webcams, and so Microsoft’s superior integrated webcam won’t influence your decision. Either way, we declare both the Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable and the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 as the best Windows tablets of 2023.

Correction (10/15/2024): Through a miscommunication, Dell informed us that while the company provided us with a pen and a tablet for our review, the Dell Latitude 7320’s detachable keyboard costs an additional $199.99 and its Latitude 7320 Detachable Active Pen also sells separately, for $69.99. Since this is primarily a business-focused tablet, we have not adjusted our rating. Update (10/14/2024): We have updated this roundup to add the Microsoft Surface Pro 8.

Surface Laptop 3, Go 2, Duo, Pro 4 Picked Up March 2023 Update

As part of the March 2023 rollout, Microsoft is now pushing hardware updates for many of its Surface devices, including Surface Laptop 3, Laptop 2, Laptop 1, Laptop Go, Surface Duo, Surface Pro 4, Surface Go 2, and Go 1 to improve stability and fix several problems.

According to the Surface update history support page, these updates are available for Windows 10 version 1903 or higher and Android 10 for the case of Surface Duo.

Here are the improvements available for the Laptop 3 in March 2023:

Intel Smart Sound Technology Audio Controller – System device 10.24.0.4813: Improves audio performance and battery life.

Intel Smart Sound Technology OED – System devices 10.24.4813.245: Improves audio performance and battery life.

Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 160MHz – Network adapters 22.20.0.6: Improves Wi-Fi reliability and stability.

Intel Wireless Bluetooth – Bluetooth 22.20.1.1: Improves Bluetooth reliability and stability.

Realtek Hardware Support Application – Software components 11.0.6000.92: Improves audio performance and device stability.

Realtek Device Extension – Extn 6.1.0.9: Improves integration between system services.

Realtek High Definition Audio (SST) – Sound, video, and game controllers 6.0.9083.3: Improves audio performance and device stability.

Detection Verification – System devices 1.0.1709.0: Improves Cortana voice activation scenarios.

Surface Trusted Platform Module 2.0 – Security devices 7.2.2.0: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Surface Laptop 2 March 2023 update

These are the improvements and changes available for the Laptop 2 in March 2023:

Intel HD Graphics – Display adapters 27.20.100.8681: Improves graphics and system stability.

Intel Display Graphics Adapter Driver – Extension 27.20.100.8681: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Intel ICLS Client – Extension 1952.14.0.1470: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Intel ICLS Client – Software devices 1.62.321.1: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Intel Management Engine Interface – System devices 2040.100.0.1029: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Surface ME – Firmware 11.8.82.3838: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Surface Laptop 1 March 2023 update

These are the fixes and enhancements available for the first generation of Surface Laptop in March 2023:

Intel HD Graphics – Display adapters 27.20.100.8682: Improves graphics and system stability.

Intel ICLS Client – Extension 1952.14.0.1470: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Intel ICLS Client – Software devices 1.62.321.1: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Intel Management Engine Interface – System devices 2040.100.0.1029: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Surface ME – Firmware 11.8.82.3838: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Surface Laptop Go March 2023 update

Here are the improvements available for the Laptop Go in March 2023:

Intel Smart Sound Technology (Intel SST) OED – System devices 10.24.0.4813: Improves audio performance and battery life.

Intel Smart Sound Technology (Intel SST) OED – System devices 10.24.4813.245: Improves audio performance and battery life.

Realtek High Definition Audio (SST) – Sound, video, and game controllers 6.0.9083.3: Improves audio performance and device stability.

Realtek Hardware Support Application – Software components 11.0.6000.92: Improves audio performance and device stability.

Realtek Device Extension – Extn 6.1.0.9: Improves integration between system services.

Surface Integration – System devices 29.30.139.0: Improves integration between system services.

Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 160MHz – Network adapters 22.20.0.6: Improves Wi-Fi reliability and stability.

Intel Wireless Bluetooth – Bluetooth 22.20.1.1: Improves Bluetooth reliability and stability.

Surface Pro 4 March 2023 update

These are the improvements and changes for the Pro 4 tablet in March 2023:

Intel iCLS Client Extension 1914.13.0.1063: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Intel ICLS Client – Software devices 1.56.87.0: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Intel Management Engine Interface – System 1914.12.0.1256: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Marvell AVASTAR Bluetooth Radio Adapter – Bluetooth 15.68.17018.116: Improves connection stability and enables the support of new products.

Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller 15.68.17018.116: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Surface ME – Firmware 11.8.70.3626: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Surface UEFI – Firmware 109.3192.768.0: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Surface Go 2 March 2023 update

The second generation of the Go tablet is getting this changes in March 2023:

Intel UHD Graphics 615 27.20.100.8681: Improves graphics and system stability.

Intel Graphics Driver – Extension 27.20.100.8681: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Intel ICLS Client – Software devices 1.62.321.1: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Intel Management Engine Interface – System devices 2040.100.0.1029: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Intel Management Engine Interface – Extension 1952.14.0.1470: Improves integration between system services.

Surface Setting – System devices 1.0.13.0: Resolves system orientation issue.

Surface ME – Firmware 11.8.82.3838: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Surface UEFI – Firmware 1.0.1.4: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Surface Go March 2023 update

The Surface Go brings these change and improvements:

Intel HD Graphics 615 27.20.100.8681: Improves graphics and system stability.

Intel Graphics Driver – Extension 27.20.100.8681: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Intel ICLS Client – Extension 1.62.321.1: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Intel ICLS Client – Software devices 1952.14.0.1470: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Intel Management Engine Interface – System devices 2040.100.0.1029: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Surface UEFI – Firmware (LTE) 1.1.20.0: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Surface ME – Firmware 11.8.82.3838: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Surface UEFI – Firmware (Wi-Fi) 1.0.30.0: Addresses security updates and improves system stability.

Surace Duo March 2023 update

The rollout version is 2023.115.53, and it is available for AT&T locked device:

Addresses scenarios outlined in the Android Security Bulletin – February 2023.

Improves Surface Duo UI stability.

Improves single tap touch experience.

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