The Microsoft Surface family of devices encompasses many kinds of computing and business collaboration tools—including desktop computers, laptops, laptop/tablet hybrids, and mobile hub devices that can act as digital whiteboards.
The major Microsoft Surface device types are:
- Microsoft Surface Go. A small, compact hybrid laptop/tablet device with touchscreen capability. Designed as a turnkey “Microsoft business on the go” tool for people who need an easy-to-carry device that can be used almost anywhere. These tend to be the least expensive Microsoft Surface business devices.
- Microsoft Surface Pro. The premium hybrid laptop/tablet device from Microsoft. Surface Pro devices are larger and more powerful “Microsoft business on the go” tools for remote workers who need more processing power or prefer larger screens for graphic design work.
- Microsoft Surface Laptop. Surface laptops are high-end portable computing devices that have a variety of customizable features for RAM, system storage, processing power, and dedicated graphics processors to suit a multitude of business needs. The Surface laptop is ideal for employees who work primarily from the office, but may need to take their work home or abroad on a moment’s notice.
- Microsoft Surface Book. A more powerful laptop computer with a stronger processor and dedicated graphics card—which can be upgraded to an NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 card—that is ideal for graphics or processor-intensive work, both in the office and on the go. Often favored by employees in graphic design fields. It can be used as a laptop, or folded over to turn it into a large-scale tablet device.
- Microsoft Surface Studio. A powerful desktop device for the office, the Surface Studio features a clean, modern design that looks simple—but provides extremely powerful processing features and lightning-quick load speeds thanks to its use of a solid-state drive (SSD) storage solution. A 28” PixelSense™ display with 10-point multi-touch provides extremely high-quality images and touch controls. Tends to be the most expensive personal-use devices in the Microsoft Surface family.
- Microsoft Surface Hub. This Microsoft Surface business tool is designed to help facilitate team collaboration and improve internal meetings by providing a best-in-class digital whiteboard for employees to use. Because the display shares the same 3:2 screen ratio used by all other Microsoft Surface devices, presentation materials created on one Surface device can be easily shared to the Hub without having to adjust its aspect ratio. Its built-in camera, microphone array, and crystal-clear speakers (with subwoofer) help improve teleconferencing for the office as well.
The question is: “Which of these Microsoft Surface business tools is the best fit for your team?” Well, the answer depends on your needs. To help you choose the right Microsoft Surface device for your team’s needs, here are a few things that you should keep in mind.
Your Budget for Acquiring Microsoft Surface Devices
Price is always a factor for businesses when choosing business productivity and collaboration tools. In this category, the Microsoft Surface Go is the clear winner. This Microsoft business on the go tool has the lowest overall cost—with an unmodified Surface Go having a price tag around $399 dollars—plus a little extra for a keyboard/cover and a mouse.
This does come at a performance cost compared to most of the rest of the Microsoft Surface devices, but it is still more than powerful enough to run Microsoft Office and Teams software. This, combined with the portability of the device, makes it ideal for companies that need to outfit large teams of remote workers who only need basic Office software.
Adding LTE network capabilities to the device further enhances its suitability for equipping remote workers. In fact, Microsoft Surface with LTE allows employees to access online collaboration tools from anywhere they could get a cellphone signal.
Your Computing Power Needs for Individual Employees
In terms of raw processing power and graphics capabilities, the Microsoft Surface Studio is far and away the best choice for an individual user. However, it’s capabilities may be overkill for any employee who isn’t in a dedicated graphic design, video editing, or similar role that requires a very powerful graphics and data processing setup.
The Microsoft Surface Book 2 is a similarly-powerful device for (at base) roughly half the cost of a Studio desktop. In fact, it is often preferred for graphic design team members who work both in the office and remotely.
For team members who mostly need to use Microsoft Office or Teams on a regular basis, any one of the Surface family of devices is suitable. This is because all of them are designed around the use of Windows 10 and Microsoft’s suite of business productivity and collaboration software.
The Level of Enterprise Mobility That You Need
If your enterprise heavily leverages remote work setups, this will most likely affect your choice of Microsoft Surface devices. Here, the top two choices are the Microsoft Surface Pro and Surface Go mobile devices. These “Microsoft pro mobile” options provide extremely high portability and enough computing power to handle most Office software computing tasks.
Additionally, both the Microsoft Surface Pro and Surface Go have optional LTE network capabilities to further enhance their mobility. Using Microsoft Surface with LTE allows employees to connect to their business collaboration software (such as Microsoft Teams) from virtually anywhere they can get a cell signal by connecting to LTE network towers. This has the added benefit of improving the security of remote connections because it circumvents the use of easily-compromised public Wi-Fi networks.
Your Team Collaboration Needs
One of the biggest reasons to use Microsoft Surface devices is that they’re heavily-optimized for improving collaboration in a business. Each device has a 3:2 aspect ratio to ensure that shared images and other files have a consistent appearance from one device to the next. Each device is also designed around the use of Microsoft Office and Teams for enabling live collaboration on PowerPoint, Excel, and Word files in real time.
However, for internal office collaboration, the Surface Hub is an indispensable tool. The Surface Hub makes it easy to create and share presentations on a large, easy-to-view screen. Additionally, the suite of microphones and speakers in the Surface Hub can enhance teleconferences—helping to bring employees who are miles away “into the room” virtually so they can share their insights with as few obstacles as possible.
Which Microsoft Surface Device is the Overall Best?
Again, the Microsoft Surface business tools that you choose should be aligned with the needs of your team as a whole and the requirements of each individual team member. However, bestproducts.com put together a solid summary of which Surface devices are best for specific situations. Here’s a paraphrasing of their list:
- Best Budget Buy. Microsoft Surface Go.
- Best Splurge. Microsoft Surface Book 2.
- Best Design and Tactility. Microsoft Surface Laptop 2.
- Best for Desktop Use. Microsoft Surface Studio 2.
- Best Overall. Microsoft Surface Pro 6.
Need help choosing the best Microsoft Surface business tools for your own organization’s needs? Schedule an introduction with Protected Trust today!