Many people seem to be confused by the Microsoft Surface family of products, asking things like: “Is Surface Go a laptop or a tablet” or, “Is Microsoft Surface Pro better than a traditional laptop?”
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 to answer why a business might want to use Surface devices rather than generic-brand laptops.
Microsoft Surface Pro Vs Laptops: Cost
One of the first comparison points that people make between devices is cost. The cost of a Microsoft Surface product varies based on the specific product—however, at the time of this writing, the base cost of a Microsoft Surface Pro 6 device from the Microsoft store is $899 and a Surface Go is $399. Meanwhile, 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 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 won’t.
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—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.
Microsoft Surface Pro Vs Laptops: Form Factor
The Microsoft Surface family of products is designed to be ultra-light and easy to handle—even on the go. 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.
Compare this to the average laptop, which can weigh anywhere from two to six pounds, depending on the model. 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.
The Microsoft Surface Pro and Surface Go are 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 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.
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, 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. With laptops, screen sizes (and native settings) may vary, which 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 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.
The benefits of Microsoft Surface for businesses can be summed up as:
- Having a uniform set of performance capabilities for the cost—removing the guesswork from ordering company devices for employees.
- Ease of collaboration thanks to every Surface device having a consistent display ratio (3:2) and built-in compatibility for Microsoft’s business software (Teams, Office 365, etc.).
- Being lightweight and optimized for true enterprise mobility.
- Surface Go devices having LTE network capabilities to allow employees to take their work almost anywhere and have a secure connection.