Best Microsoft Surface Alternatives in 2020

Sarah Adedun Updated on August 29, 2020
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To purchase a Surface product such as the Surface Go, you must be willing to spend at least $500 with the highest which is Surface Studio 2 going for $3500. Therefore, if the price is not something you are a fan of, it will be best to seek for Surface alternatives.

When seeking for Microsoft Surface Alternatives, the best thing to look out for are the features. The Surface offers flexible 2-in-1 use, portability, fast processing and extended battery life.

With several Microsoft Surface products on the market bearing different monikers, it becomes hard to tell whether Microsoft intends for it to be used as a laptop or a tablet. Let’s take a look at which category fits Surface products.

Recommendation for September 2020

Best Microsoft Surface Alternatives In 2020

Apple iPad Pro 2018 – High Display Refresh Rate

Apple iPad Pro
The Apple iPad Pro 2018 is an alternative you should consider for the Microsoft Surface Pro devices due to its slim build and 120Hz display panel. The tablet comes with lesser bezels surrounding its display and with its fast refresh rate, it will be hard to turn your attention to another device.

Apple also offers you the option of purchasing the tablet in two sizes like in the Microsoft Surface Book. You have the 11 inches and the 12.9 inches in the iPad Pro 2018 while the Surface Book offers 13.5 and 15 inches. So, depending on how large or how small you want your display to you can choose from the options offered.

In terms of processor, the iPad Pro has the A12X which goes head to head with intel Core i5 and i7 present on all the Surface devices. There is also the use of Facial ID recognition like in the Surface Pro 3  and 6 which does not require you to type a password.

Unfortunately for the Apple iPad Pro 2018, the use of the iOS is not its strongest point as it makes it incapable of harnessing the capabilities of its powerful processor. The iPad more or less is more of an upgrade on a phone than it is a bridge to a laptop like the Surface Pro is.

Also, like pretty much every other Apple product, the Pro 2018 comes with its own pricey tag.

Recommended Configuration For iPad Pro

CPU: A12X Bionic Chip | Graphics: Integrated Graphics | RAM: 4GB RAM | Screen: 11-inch Retina display| Storage: 64GB SSD| Operating System: iOS | Battery Life: up to 10 hours | Weight: 1 lbs

HP Spectre x360 – Similar Hardware At Lower Price

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HP Spectre x360
To get the same type of features found in the Surface Pro but within budget, look no further than the HP Spectre x360. It offers the same form as a Surface Pro with its 12-inch display but also improves by including unique colors, faceted edges and corners on the chassis.

Unlike the Surface Pro where you have to purchase the keyboard and stylus pen separately at a costly price, the HP Spectre x360 offers these same features for $500 less.

The Spectre x360 has a 4k screen, 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM and an 8th generation Intel Core chip which all function well to load several tabs and perform tasks without any lag. The benchmark for its performance easily beats out what you get with the Microsoft Surface Pro but it falls short of the performance of the Matebook 13.

Although the HP Spectre x360 offers up to 9 hours of battery life, it is still one hour shorter than what the Surface Pro 6 offers. However, this is still better off than what the Apple iPad Pro 2018 offers.

The audio quality from the speakers are quite clear creating ample sound to fill a conference room. Therefore, it can be used for movie-watching,and music listening.

Another feature you have to look forward to with the Spectre x360 is the presence of USB-C ports which the Surface Pro lacks. Similar to the Surface Pro is the stunning display of graphics and images makes use of Intel HD Graphics 620.

Recommended Configuration For HP Spectre x360

CPU: Intel Core i7-8565U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 16GB RAM | Screen: 13.3-inch 1920×1080 TrueVision IPS display| Storage: 512GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: up to 9 hours | Weight: 1.32 lbs

Lenovo Miix 630 – Upgradeable Option

Lenovo Miix 630
Now, if you want a laptop replacement option like what the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 claims to be, you have the Lenovo Miix 630.

The keyboard is totally detachable from the tablet and it also has a stylus pen which can be used as a Surface Pro alternative for artists. The convertible nature of the tablet is what makes it one of the top competitors with Microsoft Surface Pros.

Also, there is the fact that the port selections are great with the presence of USB-A 3.0 ports, head jack, USB-A 2.0, microSD card reader and Thunderbolt 3 for charging. The Surface Pro does not have a Thunderbolt or USB-C.

The Lenovo Miix 630 design draws its inspiration from the Surface Pro but with a few changes. For one, the material of the tablet is from magnesium and fiber.

Apart from that, the kickstand’s hinges are made from stainless steel which can extend up to 150 degrees. Despite the versatile nature of the hinges, making use of the kickstand while typing offers a shaky experience.

One thing we can be happy about is the fact that Lenovo throws in the keyboard for free unlike Microsoft which makes you pay for it with the Surface Pro.

The major con against this Surface alternative is the fact that the battery life does not match up to the Surface Pro 6 which offers up to 13 hours. The Lenovo Miix 630 can only offer up to 6 hours on a good day.

Recommended Configuration For Lenovo Miix 630

CPU: Intel Core i7-8550U | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce MX130 | RAM: 16GB RAM | Screen: 12.3-inch 3840×2160 4K IPS Ultra HD display| Storage: 128GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: up to 13 hours | Weight: 3.1 lbs

ThinkPad X1 Tablet – Durable Tablet

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ThinkPad X1 Tablet
If you want a Surface alternative that offers many great features like a durable shell, an amazing display and Amazon’s Alexa as personnel assistant the the ThinkPad X1 is the best choice in this list.

Despite the good look, this device has passed 12 military torture tests that makes sure this device can survive drops, spill, dust, cold temperatures and dust storms.

Inside a durable beautifully designed tablet is a powerful Core i7 processor and 8GB of RAM to ensure you can take on any tasks without a problem.

The ThinkPad X1’s screen detects 4,096 different levels of pressure from its digital pen so the accuracy of this device is pretty good aside from its really detailed display so you can watch everything in crisp and detailed quality.

This windows 2-in-1 connects to its included keyboard cover using a special slot in its bottom edge, it has Thunderbolt 3 ports, Micro SD card reader and headset jack. It also comes with LTE connectivity so you can get connected wherever you are.

Recommended Configuration For ThinkPad X1 Tablet

CPU: Intel Core i7-8650U | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen: 13-inch 3000×2000 LED Backlit Ultra HD display| Storage: 256GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: up to 8 hours | Weight: 2.8 lbs

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S – AMOLED Display

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S
Want a friendlier option for your eyes? The Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S comes with an AMOLED display to keep your eyes cool and strain free.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S Pro comes with a keyboard cover like the Surface Pro. It is also slim and lightweight so you can take it with you easily.

Inside this very portable device is an Intel Core M processor and 8GB of RAM which is more than enough to take on everyday tasks you do. The AMOLED display is great for people who prefer it more than IPS.

Aside from windows apps you also gets an Xbox One Gaming Streaming as well as the power for mobile productivity, it comes with a keyboard cover with bigger easier to type keys for a better typing experience.

The 10.5 hours battery life is enough for you to do almost anything within a day without worrying that you’ll run out of battery.

So if you prefer the AMOLED display then this option will definitely be your best pick.

Recommended Configuration For Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S

CPU: Intel Core M3-6Y30 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen: 12-inch 2160×1440 AMOLED HD display| Storage: 256GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: up to 10.5 hours | Weight: 1.5 lbs

Dell Inspiron 13 – For AMD Lovers

Dell Inspiron 13
AMD lover and looking for a Surface alternative? You’re in the right place! The Dell Inspiron 13 is powered by AMD and a very good Surface Alternative if not it is more promising.

This device is for AMD fans in which they claim to beat the Intel i7, well, technically it is possible and it really depends on the other configuration so we will let you decide.

The Dell Inspiron 13 is powered by AMD Ryzen 5 processor and 8GB of RAM so you can take on any computing tasks you may need to do without compromises.

The touchscreen display is IPS so it is brighter and more accurate to ensure you have an immersive viewing experience.

If you prefer Intel processors then this model has Intel version with 128GB SSD and other features are the same.

Just like Surface models it has a support pen and has a flexible keyboard which you can make a stand or hide it on the back.

Recommended Configuration For Dell Inspiron 13

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5-2500U | Graphics: Radeon RX Vega 8 | RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen: 13.3-inch 1920×1080 IPS HD display| Storage: 256GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: up to 10 hours | Weight: 3.8 lbs

CHUWI UBook – Best Budget Option

CHUWI UBook
On a tight budget and have been looking for Surface alternatives? The Chuwi UBook offers the same portability at a very low price!

This 2-in-1 Surface alternative is a couple of folds cheaper but the quality and functionality will amaze you! Si if you need just a portable device to go with you anywhere then Chuwi UBook got your back.

Powered by Intel N4100 processor and 8GB of RAm so you can do what you must do even when you’re out or in commute the productivity never stops.

The 11.6-inch IPS display with anti-glare is perfect for sensitive data when accessing them in public.

The Surface models are bigger and weighs more so the Chuwi UBook is more portable and does what the Surface does.

Definitely a good alternative for people who doesn’t want to spend too much for a portable productivity device.

Recommended Configuration For CHUWI UBook

CPU: Intel N4100 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen: 11.6-inch 1920×1080 IPS HD display| Storage: 256GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: up to 6 hours | Weight: 1.76 lbs

HP EliteBook x360 – Enormous Storage

HP EliteBook x360
Want an ultimate device that could replace any Surface model? The HP EliteBook x360 can easily replace any Surface in terms of power and quality.

Want a portable 2-in-1 device that has enormous storage capacity? Whatever your reason is, the HP EliteBook comes with a 2TB SSD to fulfill your storage needs.

Comes with the enormous storage is the powerful configuration that it offers, inside is a powerful Core i7 processor and massive 16GB RAM, this configuration allows you to do what a full fledged laptop can do and on top of that the portability is on your side too.

The display is IPS so it is pretty much great for viewing and binge-watching movies aside from everyday productivity.

The Pen is pretty accurate and really for designers, the precision is on point so you can design on this device without compromise.

In terms of power, build and functionality it even surpasses many Surface models, so you can really make up your mind on this device.

Recommended Configuration For HP EliteBook x360

CPU: Intel Core i7-8650U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 16GB RAM | Screen: 13.3-inch 1920×1080 IPS HD display| Storage: 2TB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: up to 9.5 hours | Weight: 2.99 lbs

Lenovo Yoga – FingerPrint Reader For Fast Login

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Lenovo Yoga C740
Getting tired of inputting your password every time you log in to your device? This Surface alternative comes with FingerPrint reader so you can login instantly without hassle.

Want the latest technology to be fitted on your next portable device? The Lenovo Yoga C740 comes with the latest 10th Generation processor so you can make sure of its future proofness.

Powered by the latest Intel Core i5 processor and 8Gb of RAM, you can have this device as your workstation easily, portable and powerful in one device.

Also the FingerPrint Reader is very helpful for those who find it annoying to enter a password every time you login to your device or you’re just lazy then here you go with just one tap you’re in.

The Lenovo Yoga cones with metallic body and great hinge that compliments the design, you’ll feel the premium design and capability of this device for under $700.

Recommended Configuration For Lenovo Yoga C740

CPU: Intel Core i5-10210U | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics | RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen: 14-inch 1920×1080 HD display| Storage: 256GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: up to 6 hours | Weight: 3.09 lbs

Apple iPad Pro 2020 – For Power User

Apple iPad Pro
Want the flexibility of Surface and the power of Apple iPad? The Apple iPad Pro can simply be an alternative to Surface models or it is more premium than any Surface but it comes with a price.

Want the fastest 2-in-1 device that could beat the Surface model? The Apple iPad Pro is simply the best in terms of power.

Powered by A12Z Bionic chip that is more powerful than those full pledged laptops around, backed by 6GB of RAM so multitasking and other heavy computing is  easily handled.

The Retina display is one of the most beautiful display in terms of mobile displays, it offers LTE so you can be connected wherever you go.

Though you need to purchase the keyboard and stylus separately, it is worth every penny if you want a quality 2-in-1 device.

So, if money isn’t a problem then the Apple iPad Pro is the ultimate solution for your need of a powerful portable device.

Recommended Configuration For Apple iPad Pro
CPU: A12Z Bionic Chip | Graphics: Intel Iris Graphics | RAM: 6GB RAM | Screen: 12.9-inch Retina with True Tone display| Storage: 512GB SSD| Operating System: MacOS | Battery Life: up to 10 hours | Weight: 3.19 lbs

Picking The Best Microsoft Surface Alternatives In 2020

Battery Life

In order to be a Surface alternative, any device that we should choose must have a long battery life in order to have that Surface experience. Most of the devices on the list have at least 8 hours of battery life and 13 hours for the longest battery life.

Surface models have decent battery life too so we opt to choose the alternative to have similar or better battery life than Surface models.

Battery life is crucial for any device, you wouldn’t want to pay for something that dies off instantly as you are using it so choosing a device specially as an alternative to Surface models, battery life must be considered.

Flexibility

Surface models are known for their flexibility, so choosing an alternative must come with a flexibility feature as well. You can stick with the tablet-turned laptop or the detachable ones, whatever you choose, just make sure it qualifies your needs.

Flexibility is one feature that most people want in terms of second devices for such a sticky situation where you need to head out but still got something to do, these devices above are pretty flexible so you can use it as a tablet or laptop.

In terms of flexibility, the Surface models have detachable keyboard and stylus Pen to boost productivity, so we gather some alternatives that has the same feature as well. The devices above do meet the required flexibility to be an Surface alternative, it’s up for you to choose what you prefer.

Portability

Portability is a very important factor in choosing an alternative to Surface models, everything that is under 3 pounds is considered lightweight so we choose those alternatives to be at least 3 pounds less, these models are for on the go use so you need it to be thin and light.

People buy Surface tablets or laptops because they use it for on the go projects or sticky situations where you need to go out and still go on with your work, and having a portable device you can carry anytime and anywhere is convenient. That is where these recommendations on the top go in, all of them are portable enough for you to carry anywhere and some even have powerful specs that could beat full pledged laptops in the market.

Processing Power

Surface models vary in processing power but every model there is, is capable of doing from everyday tasks to most heavy usage. In this list we gathered ten devices that can be used for light usage to heavy tasks and ofcourse they vary in price too.

Powerful ones are expensive while the entry-levels are cheaper, depending on your use-case you must choose something that is capable of what you want it to use for and of course must adhere to your budget to avoid spending too much for unnecessary features or power.

If you need something for just light usage like web browsing or data entry tasks then you won’t really need a powerful processor and you can stick with entry level machines while if you need a powerful processor then go for Core i5 and up or AMD Ryzen 3 and up for better performance. But don’t forget that the RAM is important for multitasking so choose a device that has at least 6GB of RAM so you can do more.

Display

Last but not the least, Surface models have excellent display, so consider a device that is at least 12-inches large with a minimum of 1080p resolution. All the recommendations on this list have at least 1080p and others are higher if you want your Surface alternative to be more realistic in terms of display.

4K resolutions are quite an overkill but still if you prefer 4k resolution then we have something for you on this list, you can choose between AMOLED or IPS it is up for your preference. AMOLED displays provide better viewing angles than IPS but cost higher since it is difficult to produce than IPS but IPS provides sharper images.

Every machine on the list varies in display quality but we made sure it can match if not surpass the quality display Surface model is offering.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does The Surface Pro 6 Have A Fan?

Yesm the Core i5 version of the Surface Pro 6 is without a fan. However, the Core i7 version of the Surface Pro 6 has a fan due to the heat it generates.

Can I Connect HDMI Cables To My Surface Pro 6?

Yes, you can connect your Surface Pro 6 to HDMI inlets. All you have to do is make use of a docking station to connect a VGA or HDMI cable to the USB-C port of the Surface device.

Is The Microsoft Surface A Laptop Or A Tablet?

In the past, it was quite easy to separate a tablet from a laptop due to build. However, in the present day, tech manufacturers like Microsoft are trying to bridge the gap between laptops and tablets.
The bulk often associated with laptop is steadily being chipped away to create slimmer designs such as the Surface Go and Book 2. The keyboards are also detachable leaving you with a body that seems more like a tablet.
If you were to now consider the first slogan used by Microsoft to market the first Surface products “the tablet that can replace your laptop”, then it is easy to conclude that originally, the Surface was a tablet. But, then, Microsoft moved to marketing the next set of products as “the most versatile laptop.”
The release of the new Surface Pro 6 saw a change in marketing as the manufacturer simply focuses on pushing the product as an “ultralight and versatile” bearing the capabilities of both a tablet and a laptop. Therefore, it is a hybrid product.

Conclusion

Looking for a suitable option for a Surface Device is quite easy if you know what you want. Whether you are looking for an affordable option or sharper display for artists, the market is filled with several alternatives as seen above.

Sarah Adedun
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Sarah Adedun is a technology enthusiast. When she is not reviewing tech products, you can find her sharing personal thoughts on Medium and researching ways to merge Finance and Technology together.

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