Many people seem to be confused by the Microsoft Surface family of products, asking things like: “Is Microsoft Surface Pro a tablet or laptop" or, “Is Microsoft Surface Pro better than a traditional laptop?” Perhaps most importantly, you may have found yourself wondering: "Is a Laptop or Surface Pro the right device for my business and its needs?"

To help answer a few of these questions, we thought it would be a good idea to compare the benefits of Microsoft Surface Pro vs laptop computers. So, to find out why a business might want to use Surface devices rather than generic-brand laptops, let's look at three three key factors:

  1. Cost
  2. Form Factor
  3. Collaboration Features

3 Key Differences Between Microsoft Surface Pro and Laptops

1. Microsoft Surface Pro Vs Laptops: Cost

One of the first comparison points that people tend to make between devices is cost. After all, if you're going to invest in a new piece of hardware, you want to make sure you'll see a positive ROI. Keep in mind that the cost of a Microsoft Surface will vary based on the specific model you choose and its capabilities—however, at the time of this writing, the base cost of each Surface product is as follows:

On the other hand, a low-end computer with the bare-minimum processing power might run ~$300-$400 in price. On the surface of this price comparison, it looks like the Surface Pro is not as good a deal as a generic laptop. However, there’s much more to a mobile computing device than its price. There are things that the Microsoft Surface Pro (and Surface Go) have to offer that a price-comparable laptop just won’t. While sticking to the budget is certainly important, if you want to achieve the results you're looking for, you need to ensure you're choosing the device with the features and capabilities that actually align with your needs.

One main difference between a Surface Pro and traditional laptops is that with laptops, the tech specs you get for the cost can be all over the place depending on the supplier/manufacturer. For example, one high-end $899 laptop might have a dedicated graphics card for processing videos and other graphical data, while another might not. Processor speeds and other features may vary wildly as well.

Meanwhile, the Microsoft Surface Pro and Surface Go have standardized features that make them easy to anticipate and integrate into your business’ processes. So, there's no having to guess if a shipment of devices ordered on May 23 will have the same features and capabilities as one ordered on April 23. This way, you can gain peace of mind knowing that all of your employees will have access to the same features and functions they need to get their jobs done effectively—even if some team members were hired at different times than others. 

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2. Microsoft Surface Pro Vs Laptops: Form Factor

The Microsoft Surface family of products is designed to be ultra-light and easy to handle, making them ideal for working on-the-go. Whether you're working from the office, your home, the airport, or virtually any other location, Surface devices were made with the needs of modern, mobile professionals in mind. This is so important because in today’s workforce where remote working is the new norm, secure business mobility is key for success. 

For example, the Surface Go weighs a paltry 1.17 pounds for the LTE Advanced model that can tap into wireless networks, and the Microsoft Surface Pro weighs in at 1.73 pounds for the i7 model—and these are the heaviest versions of each device.

One of the newest devices in the Surface family of products, the Surface Pro X for Business, is only 5.33mm and 1.68 pounds. This makes the Surface Pro X the thinnest, lightest, and most mobile Surface device created thus far. Furthermore, with lightning-fast built-in LTE, remote workers can avoid the need to connect to unsecured public Wi-Fi networks altogether—helping them to avoid "Man-in-the-Middle" attacks and keeping your confidential data safe.

Compare this to the average laptop, which can weigh anywhere from two to six pounds depending on the model and will typically rely on traditional Wi-Fi connectivity. Higher-end laptops (the ones that tend to have dedicated graphics cards, improved cooling systems, big screens/keyboards, and other such features) are often heavier than lower-end laptops that are just powerful enough to handle a basic word processor software.

To align with the needs of modern professionals, the Microsoft Surface Pro and Surface Go were designed to be small and light enough to be carried and used anywhere—whether that’s a comfy chair in the user’s living room, a traditional office cubicle, or a cramped seat on an international flight while they’re preparing for an important business meeting.

Plus, with built-in touchscreen technology and the ability to effortlessly switch between “laptop” and “tablet” modes, the Surface Pro and Go can be used in situations where the bulk of a laptop would be too much—such as reading a book in tablet mode while standing or using touch-screen controls in settings where a mouse would be difficult to use. This freedom and flexibility is a key difference between Microsoft Surface Pro and laptops that can result in true enterprise mobility for your organization!

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3. Microsoft Surface Pro Vs Laptops: Collaboration Features

One of the biggest points of confusion between Microsoft Surface Pro vs laptop computers is this: Since both platforms run Windows (or at least usually, in the case of laptop PCs), shouldn’t they both be capable of running the same software?

Technically, yes, a laptop should be capable of running Microsoft Office 365 for Business, Microsoft Teams, and other collaboration software on the Windows 10 operating system. However, there’s one major difference—Microsoft Surface Pro and Surface Go devices are purpose-built for MS Office and Teams. Every last part of the Surface family of devices is designed around creating ease of use and collaboration across Teams and Office software.

For example, every current-generation Surface device uses a screen with a 3:2 aspect ratio—including the new Surface Hub device. This means that graphics and presentations designed on one Surface device will have a consistent design across every other Surface device in the organization. The result? The ability for all of your employees (whether they're working from the office or a remote location) to seamlessly share presentations without having to worry about changing the format to fit another team member's device.

On the other hand, with regular laptops, screen sizes (and native settings) may vary—which often means extra time and effort needs to be spent on getting presentation materials just right or making graphics that have a responsive design that can shift as needed to fit the right aspect ratio. 

The Surface Go takes remote collaboration a step further than the average laptop by using an LTE Advanced network connection. This allows companies to use cell phone data plans to have their Surface Go-using employees connect to the internet (and thus their Microsoft Teams collaboration tools) from anywhere they can get a cellular signal. 

Not only does this LTE network connection improve enterprise mobility by freeing up employees to work from almost anywhere, it removes their dependency on easily-compromised public Wi-Fi hotspots. This, in turn, helps improve security for remote workers.

Yet another Surface device designed to improve collaboration is the new Surface Laptop 3. With improved front-facing cameras, OmniSonic speakers, and dual far-field Studio Mics, your employees will be able to experience crystal clear sound and audio during remote meetings, presentations, and brainstorms.

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The Overall Benefits of Using a Microsoft Surface Pro

When looking at a Microsoft Surface Pro vs normal laptop, there are a lot of differences that will affect the way you and your employees do business. Overall, the benefits of using Microsoft Surface Pro devices can be summed up as:

  • Having a uniform set of performance capabilities for the cost—removing the guesswork from ordering company devices for employees.
  • Being lightweight and optimized for remote workers, resulting in true enterprise mobility.
  • Ease of collaboration thanks to every Surface device having a consistent display ratio (3:2), built-in compatibility for Microsoft’s business software (Teams, Office 365, etc.), and enhanced audio/video capabilities for better remote meetings, presentations, and brainstorms. 
  • Surface Go devices having LTE network capabilities to allow employees to take their work almost anywhere and have a secure, stable connection that doesn't put your business data at risk.

Ready to Experience the Difference Between Microsoft Surface Pro and Laptops in Your Own Organization? 

If you're ready to equip your employees with a true business collaboration solution that improves mobility, teamwork, and data security, Protected Trust is here to help!

Visit our online store to purchase your new Microsoft Surface device today, or if you still have some questions before you're ready to make the switch from traditional laptops to the Surface family of devices, schedule a meeting with one of our experts.

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