Microsoft may have created and refined the most popular operating system for computers a long time ago, but the software giant took its sweet time when creating its own PC hardware. Despite launching just a few years back, Microsoft’s Surface line of some of the best tablets and best laptops ranks alongside Apple’s finest in terms of quality and performance. Right now, the Surface Go, Surface Pro 7, Surface Book 2, and Surface Laptop 3 are on sale at Amazon and Best Buy ahead of Memorial Day by up to $350 off. With varying specs, power, and price, there’s one Surface device that would perfectly suit your budget and needs, so go ahead and peruse.
The Microsoft Surface Go is the smallest and most affordable among the Microsoft Surface brethren. It may be tiny, but it’s definitely a force to be reckoned with. Combining ultra-portability, remarkable sturdiness, and the impressive Type Cover keyboard, it’s the ideal travel buddy if you don’t want to dive into the Surface Pro’s larger screen (and slightly higher price tag). Basically a 10-inch tablet/laptop hybrid, it runs with a full version of Windows 10 and has an Intel Pentium Gold processor in its heart. Since this is a relatively new device, it comes with a single USB-C port, something lacking in the older Surface Pro.
It sports an aluminum unibody that’s reminiscent of the original iPad, with rounded corners but minus the ultra-slim bezels. Despite this outdated design choice, it looks positively regal, especially since its 10-inch display is drop-dead gorgeous. With a resolution of 1,800 x 1,200 pixels, everything looks sharp (although not as sharp as the Surface Pro, of course). The Surface Go’s display is bright, maxing out at 420 nits in our tests. That’s better than most laptops, especially at this price, and it’s important since the Surface Go is likely to be used in brightly lit spaces, or even outdoors.
Although not bundled, you should definitely get the Signature Type Cover. This detachable keyboard doubles as a kickstand and offers a comfortable typing experience, far better than that of the MacBook Pro, which is more expensive. However, the keyboard layout looks a little cramped, a clear compromise of its ultra-portability, so mistyping can happen. But as with most keyboards, you’ll eventually get the hang of it. The touchpad also works smoothly and precisely.
Now a couple of drawbacks: Performance and battery life. The Surface Go’s Pentium 4415Y chip can handle most conventional applications like Microsoft Word or Photoshop Express just fine, but opening multiple browser tabs simultaneously made the device noticeably stutter. It also doesn’t have a lengthy battery life. During our video loop test, it was able to last just eight hours and an even shorter three hours in our more strenuous web browsing test. The Surface Pro 7 and Surface Book 2 fared far better.
The Microsoft Surface Go is currently on sale at Amazon for $499 instead of $549 — a cool $50 off.
While there haven’t been many significant changes in the numerous iterations of the Microsoft Surface Pro line, we still wholeheartedly recommend the Microsoft Surface Pro 7. Of course, you’re better off getting the Surface Pro X with its tangible refinements both in hardware and performance, but it’s one of the most expensive machines in the market. What you get with the Surface Pro 7 is what we’ve already come to expect: A gorgeous display, top-notch build quality, updated processor performance, and outstanding battery life. And finally, we get a USB Type-C port. This means fewer cables since the USB-C port can handle power delivery, video output, and data transfer at the same time.
As always, Microsoft made sure that the Surface Pro 7 looks terrific. Its aluminum chassis is sleek, and stylish, though the bezels still haven’t been cut down. Still, this is one stunning device.
You probably already know that the detachable Type Cover keyboard remains a mandatory purchase, and normally it’s sold separately. Because as a tablet alone, the Surface Pro 7 doesn’t make much sense. We’re happy to report that this deal comes bundled with it. The keyboard remains gratifying to use, with a layout that never looks cramped, a keystroke that’s precise and snappy, and a touchpad that’s simply one of the best we’ve had the pleasure of gliding our fingers on. Another peripheral you might want to save up for is the Surface Pen, the best-in-class stylus with 4,096 levels of sensitivity and even a built-in eraser.
Nothing has changed when it comes to screen quality, and that’s a good thing. The Surface Pro 7’s 12.3-inch (2,736 x 1,824 pixels) screen is as stunning as the Surface Go’s and Surface Book 2’s — one of the best screens you can find on a 2-in-1 system. Further, for a laptop of this size, the front-facing speakers can easily fill a room with music and provide adequate audio for watching movies.
Microsoft touts the Surface Pro 7 as a true laptop replacement, and it definitely has the processing power to back that up. Even this unit’s entry-level Intel Core i3 processor and 4GB RAM make it a multitasking beast, although we admit its G4-level Iris Plus graphics chipset doesn’t make it not much of a gaming machine.
Shockingly, the Surface Pro 7 did not inherit the best thing that has happened to the Surface Pro 6: Its stellar battery life. Although it was able to last a respectable 8.5 hours in our web browsing test, this is an hour shorter than its predecessor. You’ll definitely be able to squeeze out a full day of work with it. Just don’t expect to watch a Netflix movie or TV episode once you’re at home without reaching for the power cable.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 with the Surface Pro Type Cover is currently on sale on Best Buy for $699 instead of $959 — a huge $260 off.
When Microsoft unveiled the original Surface Book in 2015, we all let out a collective gasp and marveled at this machine from the future. Watching the display tear off to become a usable tablet with active pen support felt like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. Now on its second iteration, the company did not dare change the Surface Book’s design for one simple reason: It’s just that good.
Available in 13.5- and 15-inch versions (this deal’s unit is the former), the Surface Book 2’s magnesium chassis is built like a tank. The only other machine that compares to its rock-solid build construction is Apple’s MacBook, although that device’s design isn’t nearly as daring or innovative. It’s also worth noting that the Surface Book 2’s main PC component, the tablet, is completely fanless, which results in a very serious case of coil whine. The amount of electronic buzzing, fritzing, and whirring can be quite maddening, so keep that in mind in case you decide to buy this. Oh, it also doesn’t offer much in terms of connectivity, with a serious lack of a Thunderbolt 3 port. For a $1,000 laptop, that’s going to give some buyers pause.
As expected, you’re getting a typically superb Surface display with this device. The Surface Book 2 retains the same 3,000 x 2,000 (267 PPI) Panasonic panel, resulting in high contrasts, intense luminosity, and vivid colors. Of course, like all Surface machines, it has a 3:2 aspect ratio that’s great for productivity (but with some video letterboxing). The same goes for the detachable keyboard, which has only been changed ever so slightly, retaining its predecessor’s crisp, precise action that’s consistent across all of the keys. The only complaint we’ve got is that it is a bit noisy. The touchpad is even better, with a beautiful glass surface and flawless support of the Windows Precision Touchpad protocol.
This Surface Book 2 runs on an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD, offering a huge boost in both performance and efficiency, especially compared to the Surface Go and Surface Pro 7. What’s more, Microsoft has incorporated a power slider into Windows 10 that has a real impact on performance. Choosing between “Recommended,” “Better Performance,” and “Best Performance” allows the Surface Book 2 to effectively sip on power at varying degrees while remaining lightning-fast, which results in outstanding battery life. On our web browsing test, it was able to last over 10 hours and a jaw-dropping 17 hours in our video loop test.
The 13.5-inch version of the Microsoft Surface Book 2 normally retails for $1,499, but you can take advantage of Amazon’s $350 discount and get it for $1,149.
The 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 (it also comes in a smaller 13-inch model) is Microsoft’s first flagship portable PC that rocks an AMD Ryzen processor. This collaboration initially had us reeling with excitement, especially since AMD’s recent desktop processors and video cards have given Intel and Nvidia some serious competition. However, besides having incredible hardware and possibly the longest-lasting battery life we’ve seen yet on a laptop, its performance is lacking a bit.
Fifteen inches of screen real estate is ideal for creative professionals such as photographers, video editors, and digital artists. This means they also need to have serious power to be able to handle video rendering and programming, designing, and even a bit of gaming. The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3’s Ryzen 7 is powerful alright, but it’s just a four-core processor. While it’s more than enough for basic productivity tasks, it might struggle with photography and video encoding. Even its Vega 11 graphics is a letdown.
We have nothing but good things to say though in terms of design and build quality. Even though this laptop is built like a tank, we were surprised by how light it is at just 3.4 pounds. That means it’s half a pound lighter than the 15-inch MacBook Pro. Its keyboard is also fantastic, with keys that offer plenty of travel and are very quiet and comfortable to use. The touchpad’s pretty impressive as well as. It’s incredibly smooth to the touch and very accurate.
The Surface Laptop 3’s touch display is also an unprecedented delight. Retaining Microsoft’s signature 3:2 aspect ratio, it is packed with 2,496 x 1,664 pixels and is sharp enough for all sorts of uses, including text-based work, digital content creation, and media consumption. That is, if you’re okay with giant black bars above and below the screen due to the unconventional aspect ratio. Finally, battery life is spectacular, capable of lasting the entire workday despite heavy work and with extra juice to spare. This is definitely the laptop you should consider if your main concern is battery life.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 misses the mark when it comes to performance, but if you need a sturdy machine that can last as long as you do, this is for you. Get it for $1,900 instead of $2,100 — a huge $200 off.
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