Surface Laptop vs. Surface Pro: Which is Better?

Posted on June 21, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 57 Comments

Surface Laptop vs. Surface Pro: Which is Better?

I’ve been switching back and forth between the Surface Laptop and the new Surface Pro this week in Haarlem, and thinking about which is the better road companion. And I think I’ve found a clear winner.

That winner, of course, is the new Surface Pro.

And it’s not about Windows 10 S, since anyone who purchases a Surface Laptop can upgrade to the more useful and powerful Windows 10 Pro for free. And most will. Windows 10 S is a non-factor in this decision.

Surface Pro is just the more versatile device, very much in keeping with Microsoft’s new marketing slogan. It’s smaller and lighter than Surface Laptop, but it provides an excellent and full-sized typing experience, killer battery life, and the same connectivity as its laptop-based cousin.

Surface Laptop features a bigger screen, which I do prefer. And it has a more traditional laptop form factor, which I like. But that fact is offset by Surface Laptop’s lack of additional connectivity. There is plenty of room on this device for another USB port, and certainly for a USB-C port. Surface Laptop should save me from the dongles that Surface Pro also necessitates.

I’m mostly positive on the Alcantara keyboard deck that can be had with both machines. But at least with Surface Pro, you can replace that keyboard easily if the Alcantara gets stained or messy: The Type Cover comes right off and can be interchanged at any time. Better still, you can change your mind after the fact. With Surface Laptop, you’re stuck with what you chose at purchase time.

Surface Pro can be used with Surface Pen, and with Surface Dial on the screen, should you need such a thing. Surface Laptop cannot do either, not really: Yes, the Pen is compatible, but no one is going to write on a laptop screen, especially one that cannot lay flat.

Ultimately, the choice and versatility of Surface Pro are what put this device over the top. It’s also a known quantity, a proven and established product that fulfills a need.

Surface Laptop is gorgeous, and it’s new. But it’s also an unknown. And it feels like a 1.0 product, one where there are color choices, but only on some models. For some reason.

Both Surface devices are expensive, premium PCs that are well made and desirable. But if I had to choose, the new Surface Pro is the better device. And it’s the one I feel a lot more comfortable recommending to others.

That may change over time, of course. But for now, Surface Pro is the clear winner.


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