Ever since the inception of Microsoft's Surface line of products, they have been showcase devices. Microsoft isn't necessarily trying to compete with other manufacturers, but it's showing them (and consumers) what can be done with a Windows PC. The original Surface Pro arguably kickstarted the market for Windows tablets, and it's still the best one to this day. The line has expanded to all kinds of devices in the years since. And while Microsoft is no longer coming up with new form factors, it still makes very good PCs with premium build quality and top-notch specs. Surface devices are undoubtedly some of the best laptops and PCs on the market.
Microsoft is very selective with its devices; each one is created with a specific target in mind. While there aren't a ton of Surface devices available, this small selection makes it easier to choose which one best fits your needs. Without further ado, here are the best Microsoft Surface PCs you can buy right now.
The best Surface PCs you can buy in 2023
Surface Pro 9 (Wi-Fi)
Versatile form factor with great performance
The Intel-powered Surface Pro 9 is one of the most beautiful devices Microsoft has ever made, with two unique new colors that look stunning. It also has a fantastic display and 12th-generation Intel processors.
- Tablet form factor makes it more portable and versatile
- Super-sharp display with 120Hz refresh rate
- Four colors to choose from, including a beautiful Forest and Sapphire
- Keyboard and pen sold separately
- No headphone jack
The Surface Pro is how Microsoft first got into the PC hardware market, and it's still one of the coolest devices around. While the Surface Pro 9 doesn't feature many changes from its predecessor, it does include some welcome updates.
For starters, it now packs 12th-generation Intel Core processors, up to a Core i7-1255U with 10 cores and 12 threads, plus integrated Iris Xe graphics. It's even faster than before, and with up to 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, you really won't miss out on much.
The tablet is still under 10mm thin and very portable. In addition, the display is mostly the same 13-inch panel with a resolution of 2880x1920, providing very sharp visuals for this size. It also has a 120Hz refresh rate, which can adjust dynamically. Plus, this model adds support for Dolby Vision IQ and Auto Color Management in Windows. Touch and pen support is also here, including support for Tactile signals on the Surface Slim Pen 2. The cameras remain mostly unchanged, but they're still great. The front-facing camera is a 5MP sensor supporting 1080p video for calls and meetings and Windows Hello, and there's a rear camera with a 10MP sensor that can record 4K video.
The big change with the Surface Pro 9 is the addition of Forest and Sapphire color options on top of the existing Platinum and Graphite. With four beautiful colors to choose from, you now have more options than ever. Another part of the design also changed — the ports. Microsoft removed the headphone jack from the Surface Pro 9, and now, all you get are two Thunderbolt 4 ports and a Surface Connect port. Unless you already have wireless headphones and other peripherals, a Thunderbolt dock or hub might be mandatory here.
The Surface Pro 9 does come with some sacrifices, but it is a beautiful device with a fantastic display and high-end specs, making it an easy recommendation.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 5
A classic form factor with a modern style
The Surface Laptop 5 is a thin and light premium laptop with a classic clamshell design and 12th-generation Intel Core processors that deliver strong performance. It also has a very sharp display with touch and pen support.
- Sharp display with touch and pen support
- Sleek and relatively lightweight design
- 12th-gen Intel processors are plenty fast
- 720p webcam
- It's looked the same for a few generations
For many users, like students, all they need is a great clamshell laptop without the convertible aspect. If that's you, Microsoft's Surface Laptop 5 is a fantastic choice.
On the inside, the Surface Laptop 5 does away with AMD processors, so all you get are 12th-generation Intel Core models, up to an Intel Core i7-1255U. Just as with the Surface Pro 9, it also includes Intel Iris Xe graphics for some lighter GPU workloads. You can configure the Surface Laptop 5 with up to 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD.
Like the models before it, the Surface Laptop 5 comes in two different sizes, 13.5 and 15 inches, but they're very similar aside from that. They have the exact same pixel density (201 PPI), so while the 15-inch model has more pixels, both look just as sharp. The displays all have a 60Hz refresh rate, which is fine, but not quite as nice as the Surface Pro 9, and touch and pen input are both supported. The big letdown is the 720p webcam, which hasn't been upgraded and is still behind other Surface devices.
The Surface Laptop 5 has the most "standard" design among Surface devices, as it's just a clamshell laptop. However, it still stands out because it comes in four different colors (the 15-inch model only has two), and in the case of the 13.5-inch Platinum model, the keyboard base is covered in Alcantara fabric. The remaining models are all metal, including the new Sage color. In terms of portability, the Surface Laptop 5 starts at 2.8 pounds for the 13.5-inch models and 3.4 pounds for the larger 15-inch versions, so it's fairly portable.
For ports, the Surface Laptop 5 includes one Thunderbolt 4 port, USB Type-A, a Surface Connect port, and a headphone jack. This is the first model in the classic Surface Laptop series to add Thunderbolt 4 support, which is always welcome.
All in all, the Surface Laptop 5 is a great premium laptop with a thin and light design, high-end processors, and some extra features like touch support and Windows Hello.
Surface Pro 9 5G
For working from anywhere
The Surface Pro 9 5G is powered by the Microsoft SQ3 processor, and it's the first Surface device to have 5G support, including mmWave, in the US. It has the same chassis as the Wi-Fi model but a much more efficient processor, making it great for portability.
- 5G connectivity lets you be productive anywhere you go
- Efficient Arm processor delivers great battery life
- Same sharp and smooth display as the Wi-Fi model
- Even more limited ports without Thunderbolt support
- Expensive, especially if you include a keyboard and pen
While we've already talked about the Wi-Fi version of the Surface Pro 9, the 5G model is significantly different, especially in terms of its internals, as the Surface Pro 9 5G is powered by an Arm-based processor, the Microsoft SQ3. This is a tweaked version of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3, bringing huge improvements over the previous generation. In our review, we found the CPU to be about 88% faster than the Microsoft SQ2 and the GPU over two times faster based on our benchmarks. This model also comes with up to 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, a bit lower than the Intel model.
The display is almost exactly the same as the Intel model, with a 13-inch panel, 2880x1920 resolution, and a 120Hz refresh rate. However, that last part is a big upgrade if you're coming from the Surface Pro X. The Pro 9 5G also supports Tactile signals for the Surface Slim Pen 2, but the Arm model lacks support for Dolby Vision IQ and Auto Color Management. While the cameras are similar, the Surface Pro 9 5G has an NPU, which enables some AI-powered webcam effects, like background blur and eye contact.
The only color available for the Surface Pro 9 5G is the classic Platinum. The rest of the design is identical to the Intel model, except there's no fan inside to cool the processor since it's unnecessary. Another significant benefit of the Surface Pro 9 5G model is, naturally, 5G support. This is the first Surface device to support 5G, and in select markets, mmWave is supported, though others may only support sub-6GHz. The physical ports are similar to the Intel model, but this version doesn't support Thunderbolt 4, so you only get standard USB 3.2 Type-C ports.
You have to make some sacrifices to get the Surface Pro 9 5G, but this is still a great device if you want cellular connectivity, plus the Arm processor has some benefits.
Surface Laptop Studio
Plenty of power in a unique form factor
The Surface Laptop Studio delivers great performance thanks to 35W Intel Core processors and optional discrete Nvidia GeForce graphics. It also has a unique display that rotates on a secondary hinge so you can use it as a tablet whenever you want to.
- 35W processors and discrete Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics
- Versatile form factor can be used as a laptop or tablet
- Sharp display with 120Hz refresh rate
- Processors are starting to feel outdated
- More ports would have been nice
The Surface Laptop Studio is one of the most exciting Surface devices, and while it's in need of a refresh, it's still a great choice for creative professionals.
Performance-wise, the Surface Laptop Studio uses 35W 11th-generation Intel processors, up to a Core i7-11370H. It's a more powerful CPU than the 15W models in other Surface devices, but it's getting a little long in the tooth at this point, though a successor should be coming soon. That CPU is backed up by an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti, giving you extra performance for tasks like video editing and gaming. You can also get this laptop with up to 32GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD.
The display on the Surface Laptop Studio is a 14.4-inch panel, and it has a 3:2 aspect ratio. It's a very sharp screen, at 2400x1600 resolution, and it has a 120Hz refresh rate, which makes everything from animations to transitions look much smoother. It also supports Dolby Vision, touch, and active pens, including tactile signals in the Surface Slim Pen 2, which mimic the feel of a pen on paper. Above the display is a 1080p webcam with Windows Hello support. It's not quite as good as the Surface Pro family, but a step above the standard Surface Laptop series.
Design-wise, the Surface Laptop Studio uses a dual-hinge form factor that allows the display to (partly) pop out of its enclosure, letting you use the laptop as a tablet or in studio mode, ideal for watching videos and movies. The laptop is a bit heavier than other Surface devices, starting at 3.87 pounds, but it still looks sleek and extremely modern. The ports include two Thunderbolt 4 connections, a Surface Connect port, and a headphone jack, so you may need a dock, but it could be worse.
It's a bit old, but if you want a creator laptop from Microsoft and you can't wait, the Surface Laptop Studio is the one for you.
More power, at a cost
The Surface Studio 2+ is an all-in-one computer powered by 11th-generation Intel processors and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics. It's arguably too expensive for what it offers, but it's also the most powerful computer in Microsoft's lineup.
- The most powerful GPU in a Surface device
- Super-sharp 28-inch display is perfect for content creation
- Easily adjustable display with zero gravity hinge
- Sleek and compact
- Incredibly expensive
- Still using mostly laptop components
If you want the power to be a creative professional and you have a lot of money to spend, the Surface Studio 2+ may be worth considering.
The Surface Studio 2+ is powered by an Intel Core i7-11370H, the same processor that powers the Surface Laptop Studio. It's a big upgrade over the previous generation, but it's still a laptop processor. Additionally, the graphics have been upgraded to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU, which is also a big upgrade over the GeForce GTX 1070 in the previous top-tier model. Aside from that, you get 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD for storage.
The Surface Studio 2+ has a 28-inch panel with a 3:2 aspect ratio, and it comes in a super-sharp 4500x3000 resolution. This is also a touchscreen, and it supports the Surface Pen, as well as on-screen interaction with the Surface Dial. The "zero-gravity" hinge lets you easily adjust the screen on the Surface Studio 2+ so it comes down over the table, and you can use it to draw or paint, with the Surface Dial offering easy controls in certain creative apps. Above that display, the Surface Studio 2+ uses a 5MP webcam, so you should look great during video calls, and it supports Windows Hello.
The design of the Surface Studio 2+ is one of the best things about it. Core elements of the computer are housed in the base, which is very compact and sleek. The Surface Studio 2+ also introduces Thunderbolt 4 support, with three Thunderbolt ports on the back supporting up to three 4K 60Hz displays, in addition to two USB Type-A ports and gigabit Ethernet.
With a price tag of $4,500, the Surface Studio 2+ is definitely not for most people, but if you need the kind of power, display, and experience it offers, it might just be worth it.
Microsoft Surface Go 3
Lightweight and cheap
The Surface Go 3 is an affordable tablet that's also very thin and light, making it perfect for carrying around. It also comes with some premium features you might not expect, like a sharp 3:2 display and a 5MP webcam.
- Very thin and light, weighing under 1.2 pounds
- Full HD+ display is sharp for its size
- 5MP webcam is a rarity in this price range
- Performance isn't on the same level as other Surface PCs
- Keyboard and pen cost extra
The Surface line is known for its premium devices, but the Surface Go 3 is a great budget device that delivers the experience where it matters.
Performance is one area where it may falter a bit, with an Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y processor in the base model, with an upgrade option for an Intel Core i3-10100Y. If you're just browsing the web and writing up a document occasionally, it's good enough. The base model of the Surface Go 3 also includes 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage, but we'd recommend upgrading to the 8GB of RAM and 128GB SSD if you can afford it, as you'll get far better performance.
On the flip side, Microsoft packed the Surface Go 3 with a sharp 10.5-inch display with Full HD+ resolution and a 3:2 aspect ratio. And since it's a tablet, it also supports touch input and the Surface Pen. The Surface Go 3 also has good cameras, with a 5MP webcam up front and an 8MP sensor on the back. The front camera even supports Windows Hello, just like the Surface Pro 9.
The design of the Surface Go 3 is closer to the classic Surface Pro design, with its magnesium build and the flat edges designed to accommodate the Surface Pen on the left side. It's also the lightest Surface device, at just 1.2 pounds, and it's just 8.3mm thin. You can truly take it anywhere, even if you add the Surface Go Type Cover. For ports, you get one USB Type-C port, a Surface Connect port, a headphone jack, and a microSD card reader. That's good for a tablet, but for a PC, you're probably going to need some adapters if you want to connect an external monitor or a peripheral that uses USB Type-A.
The Surface Go3 makes some smart sacrifices to deliver a great experience considering the price, and it's great for anyone on a budget.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2
Affordable and lightweight, with solid performance
The Surface Laptop Go 2 is a decently powerful budget laptop with a 3:2 display and the iconic Surface design. It cuts some corners to reach a lower price point, but still delivers strong performance and a solid experience overall in a very portable package.
- Intel Core i5 processor delivers good performance
- Premium-feeling and lightweight design
- Tall 3:2 display
- The display isn't very sharp
- 720p webcam
If you're the kind of user who tends to value performance in your budget laptops, and you just want a classic laptop, the Surface Laptop Go 2 might just be for you.
That processor is an Intel Core i5-1135G7, a quad-core, eight-thread processor that can boost up to 4.2GHz. It's far ahead of anything in the Surface Go 3 and a big improvement over the first-generation model, thanks to the inclusion of Intel Iris Xe graphics. The base model comes with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, a substantial improvement from the eMMC storage in its predecessor. We'd still recommend springing for the 8GB of RAM for the best experience, though.
The 12.4-inch display on the Surface Laptop Go 2 keeps the typical 3:2 aspect ratio of Surface devices, but it comes in an odd 1536x1024 resolution that's usable but not very sharp. You do get touch support, but not the Surface Pen, though that's not a huge loss. The webcam is, unfortunately, a 720p sensor, and there's no Windows Hello support. Some Surface Laptop Go 2 models include a fingerprint reader, at least.
The Surface Laptop Go 2 uses a combination of aluminum and a resin made of polycarbonate and glass fiber, but it still looks and feels like a Surface laptop. At 2.48 pounds, it's fairly light, so it's a great laptop for school. It also comes in four different colors, which is good if you want something a bit more unique to you. As for ports, there's one USB Type-C port, USB Type-A, Surface Connect, and a headphone jack. That should cover most basic needs, even if it's not exactly impressive.
All in all, the Surface Laptop Go 2 is a good value proposition if you want something that's affordable but still decently fast. This combination of performance and a tall 3:2 display is already quite good for the price.
Best Surface PCs in 2023: Bottom line
These are the best Surface devices you can get right now. The Microsoft Surface family does a great job of covering a variety of use cases without being too confusing. We chose the Surface Pro 9 as the best overall laptop for a few reasons. Firstly, it's what you think of when you think of the Surface line; it has the performance and versatile design that made the Surface family popular in the first place. It also comes with a fantastic display, great cameras, and beautiful colors to choose from.
Surface Pro 9 (Wi-Fi)
Versatile form factor with great performance
The Intel-powered Surface Pro 9 is one of the most beautiful devices Microsoft has made, with two unique new colors that look stunning. It also has a fantastic display and 12th-generation Intel processors.
If you're looking to save some money, the Surface Go 3 and the Surface Laptop Go 2 are great options. The Surface Go 3 is more portable and has a great screen and cameras, making it a terrific device for staying in touch with family and friends. On the other hand, the Surface Laptop Go 2 is much faster, and it may be better for getting schoolwork done, for example.