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The 6 Best Alternatives to a Surface Pro

Microsoft‘s Surface Pro line of 2-in-1 laptop/tablet hybrids has long been a popular choice for those seeking versatility and power in a portable device. However, Surface Pros can be quite expensive, leading many to seek out more affordable yet still capable alternatives.

In this guide, we‘ll explore six of the best alternatives to the Surface Pro across a range of prices and feature sets. We‘ll look at options from HP, Dell, Acer, Apple, Samsung, and even Microsoft itself.

How We Chose the Best Surface Pro Alternatives

When selecting the best alternatives to the Surface Pro, we considered several key factors:

  • Performance – The device needs to offer smooth overall system performance and be able to handle demanding tasks like photo/video editing, 3D modeling, etc.

  • Features – Important features like display quality, battery life, port selection, and included accessories were evaluated.

  • Value – More affordable options that still provide robust capabilities were preferred.

  • Portability – Compact, lightweight designs were favored for maximum portability.

Keeping these criteria in mind, we chose six devices that provide the most compelling combinations of performance, features, value, and portability in the 2-in-1 laptop/tablet category.

The 6 Best Surface Pro Alternatives

1. HP Spectre x360 – Best Overall

The HP Spectre x360 is our pick for the best overall alternative to the Surface Pro. This premium 2-in-1 delivers excellent performance thanks to 11th Gen Intel Core processors and Intel Iris Xe graphics.

Configurable with up to 16GB of RAM and 2TB of SSD storage, the Spectre x360 can handle demanding creative and productivity workflows with ease. The 13.5” 3000×2000 touch display provides a crisp, vibrant viewing experience with narrow bezels for an immersive feel.

With a claimed battery life of up to 17 hours, the Spectre x360 can easily last through a full work or school day on a single charge. Weighing just 2.95 lbs, it’s highly portable. You also get Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2, and HDMI ports for versatile connectivity.

If you’re seeking a premium 2-in-1 with fast performance and long battery life, the HP Spectre x360 is a top choice.

  • 11th Gen Intel Core i5/i7 processors
  • Up to 16GB RAM, 2TB SSD storage
  • 13.5" 3000×2000 touch display
  • Up to 17 hour battery life
  • Weighs 2.95 lbs

2. Dell XPS 13 – Best Build Quality

The Dell XPS 13 has long been renowned for its premium design and build quality, and the latest model is no exception. Available with 11th Gen Intel Core processors, the lightweight XPS 13 is a capable performer.

But where it really shines is its sturdy yet slim CNC machined aluminum chassis, which is both stylish and highly durable. The virtually borderless InfinityEdge display helps keep size and weight down, while providing an immersive viewing experience.

Configurations with up to 32GB RAM and 2TB SSD ensure ample power for demanding tasks. With up to 14+ hours of battery life, the XPS 13 is ideal for anyone who prioritizes premium build quality and portability. Thunderbolt 4 connectivity allows fast data transfers and support for external displays.

  • 11th Gen Intel Core i5/i7 processors
  • Up to 32GB RAM, 2TB SSD storage
  • 13.4” InfinityEdge up to 4K touch display
  • Up to 14+ hour battery life
  • Sturdy, lightweight aluminum design

3. Microsoft Surface Pro 8 – Best Display

Microsoft‘s own Surface Pro 8 is a strong alternative to the Surface Pro lineup. The latest model now features 11th Gen Intel Core processors for improved performance over previous models. But the star of the show is the stunning 13" 2880×1920 PixelSense touch display withAdaptive Color Technology.

With a 120Hz high refresh rate and 1500:1 contrast ratio, the Surface Pro 8 display looks brilliant whether working, creating, or watching movies. Up to 32GB RAM and 1TB storage provide ample power for demanding workflows. With fast Wi-Fi 6 and Thunderbolt 4 connectivity, you‘ll enjoy blazing speeds.

The Surface Pro 8 provides the best display you can get in a Surface Pro alternative, making it a great choice for graphic designers, photographers, and content creators. Just note that the Type Cover keyboard is sold separately.

  • 11th Gen Intel Core i5/i7 processors
  • Up to 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD storage
  • 13” 2880×1920 120Hz PixelSense touch display
  • Up to 16 hour battery life
  • Thunderbolt 4, Wi-Fi 6 connectivity

4. Acer Spin 5 – Best Value

The Acer Spin 5 provides solid performance and an excellent feature set at a more affordable price point compared to many premium 2-in-1s. Configurable with up to a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, and 1TB SSD, the Spin 5 can tackle demanding tasks.

The 13.5” 2256×1504 IPS touch display provides vivid image quality, while the battery promises up to 15 hours of use per charge. Weighing 3.3 pounds, the aluminum-clad Spin 5 is still reasonably lightweight for a budget-friendly 2-in-1. Acer‘s Active Stylus can be used for drawing or note-taking.

With a robust feature set at a more affordable price, the Acer Spin 5 is a great value-oriented alternative to the Surface Pro.

  • 12th Gen Intel Core i5/i7 processors
  • Up to 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD storage
  • 13.5” 2256×1504 IPS touch display
  • Up to 15 hour battery life
  • Includes Acer Active Stylus

5. Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 – Best Android Tablet

For those who prefer Android over Windows, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 is a powerful tablet alternative to the Surface Pro. It‘s equipped with a fast Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor and up to 12GB RAM for smooth performance. The 11" 2800×1752 LTPS TFT display looks brilliant, while the svelte 5.7mm thick chassis is easy to handle.

The Tab S8 differentiates itself with unique Samsung features like DeX mode which provides a desktop-style experience, and S Pen stylus capabilities for drawing and note-taking. Battery life is strong at 13 hours. There‘s also an optional Book Cover Keyboard that provides a laptop-like form factor.

With class-leading hardware and Android tablet capabilities, the Galaxy Tab S8 is compelling for those looking for a capable Android alternative to the Surface Pro.

  • Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor
  • Up to 12GB RAM, 256GB storage
  • 11" 2800×1752 LTPS TFT display
  • S Pen stylus & DeX mode included
  • 13 hour battery life

6. Apple iPad Pro 12.9" – Best Display & Performance

The latest Apple iPad Pro 12.9" provides stellar performance and display quality for users invested in the Apple ecosystem. Apple‘s speedy M2 chip blows through demanding tasks and iOS multitasking. The 12.9” 2732×2048 Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED display leverages advanced mini-LED backlighting for exceptional brightness, contrast and HDR support.

An improved 12MP Wide camera, Thunderbolt port, Face ID, and 5G connectivity provide premium features. While you‘ll need to shell out extra for the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil, the iPad Pro offers best-in-class performance and display quality for Apple devotees. Just note that iPadOS has limitations compared to full Windows.

  • Apple M2 chip delivers blazing performance
  • 12.9” 2732×2048 Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED display
  • Up to 16GB RAM, up to 2TB storage
  • Thunderbolt port, 12MP Wide camera, Face ID
  • Stellar performance but runs iPadOS not MacOS

What to Consider When Choosing a Surface Pro Alternative

Performance Requirements

Consider what tasks you plan to perform regularly. Will you be doing intensive work like video editing, 3D modeling, programming etc? Or more basic productivity and web browsing? Your performance needs help determine what hardware specs to look for.

Higher-end alternatives like the HP Spectre x360 and Apple iPad Pro will provide maximum processing power for demanding creative work, while more affordable options may suffice for general tasks.

Operating System

The Surface Pro runs Windows, offering full desktop capabilities. Alternatives like the iPad Pro run mobile operating systems like iPadOS, which have limitations compared to MacOS or Windows.

Make sure the OS can support the programs and capabilities you need. Those invested in the Apple ecosystem may prefer iPadOS for its tight integration with other Apple devices.

Display Quality

Look at aspects like resolution, maximum brightness, contrast ratio, and color reproduction. Alternatives like the Surface Pro 8 and iPad Pro 12.9” offer extremely high quality displays perfect for design work and content creation.

For basic tasks, a 1080p display with 220+ nits brightness like on many midrange 2-in-1s will suffice. Prioritize display quality if visual accuracy is important to your work.

Portability

Consider the overall size, weight, and battery life. Look for devices under 3 lbs for easier mobility, and aim for 10+ hours of real-world battery life.

The most portable alternatives like the Dell XPS 13 can be taken anywhere for on-the-go work sessions. Bulky, heavy devices with short battery life hamper mobility.

Accessories

Many 2-in-1 alternatives offer digitizer stylus capabilities for drawing/note-taking. Others work with detachable keyboards to enable laptop-style functionality.

Check what accessories are included or available for purchase. iPad Pro works with Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard, for example, so factor these costs if needed.

Price

Surface Pro alternatives range from premium models around $1000+ like the HP Spectre down to budget 2-in-1s under $600. Determine how much you can spend for the performance, build quality and feature set you desire.

Setting a firm budget prevents overspending, but more expensive alternatives like the Spectre x360 offer capabilities that cheaper devices can’t match.

The Verdict

The Surface Pro remains a popular, capable 2-in-1, but there are excellent alternatives available that better fit different budgets and needs.

For a premium prosumer 2-in-1, the HP Spectre x360 stands out as the best overall alternative, delivering speedy performance and excellent battery life.

The Dell XPS 13 impresses with its durable premium design and vivid display in an ultraportable chassis.

Creative pros who prioritize display quality will appreciate the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 and Apple iPad Pro.

More affordable options like the Acer Spin 5 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 provide robust specs and capabilities at lower prices.

Carefully assess your needs and budget to find the right blend of performance, features, and price. Any of these capable Surface Pro alternatives can make an excellent portable productivity and creativity companion.