No matter what Microsoft says, Surface Pro is not a laptop — it's a tablet

Microsoft's Surface Pro comes bundled with an interesting slogan. No longer is it, "the tablet that can replace your laptop," now it's "the most versatile laptop." I wholeheartedly disagree with Microsoft calling the Surface Pro a laptop, regardless of whether it's calling the device a "versatile laptop."

Microsoft's original tagline for the Surface Pro 4 was honest and straightforward. It explained to whoever is reading it that the Surface Pro 4 is a tablet, but it's such a "versatile tablet" that it can also be a laptop. This explanation makes the most sense, especially when you consider the fact that the Surface Pro doesn't even come bundled with a Type Cover. You have to buy that separately.

If the Surface Pro came bundled with a Type Cover, I'd be willing to let the new slogan slide. But the fact of the matter is when your average Joe goes out to buy a Surface Pro, he's buying a tablet. Only once he realizes that the "laptop" part is an additional extra will he turn that tablet into something that can be used just like a laptop.

The new Surface Pro's slogan is essentially the reverse of what the Surface Pro 4 slogan was. Now Microsoft is calling the Surface Pro a "versatile laptop," which insinuates that it's a laptop first and foremost. The Surface Pro is a tablet before anything else, so that's what Microsoft should call.

Three laptops and an all-in-one

Microsoft calling the Surface Pro a laptop also confuses what the Surface family has to offer too. Microsoft now has four consumer-facing Surface products on the market: the Surface Pro, Surface Laptop, Surface Book and Surface Studio. Microsoft's calls the Surface Pro, Laptop and Book laptops, and the Surface Studio a desktop.

In reality, Microsoft's new Surface family is way more than that. Microsoft offers a tablet, a laptop, a 2-in-1 PC and a desktop in its Surface lineup, not three laptops and a desktop. Why offer general consumers the choice between three very different and distinct laptops? That just confuses the problem altogether. It would make more sense for Microsoft to further differentiate its lineup.

If Microsoft were to market its products as they actually are, I think Microsoft could reach a much wider audience in its marketing materials. A tablet that can be a laptop, a pure laptop, a 2-in-1 that's a pretty good laptop, and a desktop that's just awesome.

Microsoft calling the new Surface Pro a laptop is probably due to a bunch of market research the company did when deciding on how to sell the Surface Pro, but that doesn't make it accurate. No matter how you put it, the Surface Pro is not a laptop. It's a tablet that has an optional keyboard accessory that allows you to use it like a laptop.

Microsoft's new Surface Pro slogan should be "The most versatile tablet." Or the company should have stuck with the Surface Pro 4 slogan of "The tablet that can replace your laptop," which I like much more. That older slogan was a bold statement. The new slogan is just wrong.

What are your thoughts on the new Surface Pro slogan? Let us know in the comments.

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Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • I agree wholeheartedly, no keyboard, no laptop. Simple as that. In fact your breakdown of each device is perfect (although personally I would call the Studio an All-in-One, not a desktop).
  • Mine has a keyboard. I guess it is a laptop.
  • But it didn't come with a keyboard is the point. By your logic the ipad is a laptop.
  • #1: I bought the keyboard. I knew I needed the keyboard. I factored the cost of the keyboard in my purchase decision. I know many other Surface owners that did the same. #2: Surface runs EXEs. iPad does not. #3: I don't own a traditional laptop (or a desktop). I use my Surface 8hrs a day 5-6 days a week as my only device. So despite what you call it, to me functions as laptop by any definition. An iPad could not replace my Surface.
  • #1: Irrelevant #2: Irrelevant #3: Irrelevant The Surface Pro is not a laptop. It's a tablet, that is what the form factor is. The advertising for years has been "the tablet that can replace your laptop". I've been using a Surface Pro 2 for a few years now.
  • I bought my Surface Pro 3 to replace my laptop so for me it's a laptop. After 2 months, it replaced my Nexus 7 tablet so it also became a tablet. Another couple months later, it also replaced my desktop. So now it's my single device to do all but I mainly use it as a laptop. So for me, Surface Pro tag line could be : The laptop that replaced ALL your devices, except phone. Best piece of equipment I ever used 👍
  • This is my experience, although a 6" phone replaced my Nexus 7 and my SP3 can't replace my gaming rig.
  • I had a productivity rig: Photoshop, webdev stuff, virtual machine stuff and what not... Gaming on my Surface goes not further as streaming my Xbox and that works well enough.
  • I think the main reason they are calling it a laptop now (although I disagree with this, same as Zac) is that now Windows 10 is back to its roots being a desktop / laptop OS for the most part. Gone are the Windows 8.1 days where the OS was tablet oriented, with a touch browser and touch versions of Office. Now it defaults to the start menu being the way it was, and essential apps are back to being mouse oriented, with many of the gestures, charms bar, apps gone back to its roots. Also, Win32 apps (mouse) are still a very importamt part of the Windows experience. This is IMO the reason for calling it a laptop.
  • True but the main point of the article is that unlike you not everyone might know that he has to factor in the cost of and buy a separate keyboard to make the Surface Pro also a laptop, because without one we can agree it's not a laptop for sure.
    #3: if the Surface Pro can 100% replace the need for a laptop/desktop is another discussion, nice if thats a yes for you though.
  • What if there were no keyboard option for the Surface Pro 4, would it be a laptop? No, it would be called a tablet pc. It's not a laptop without that keyboard. An iPad is simply a tablet since its not running MacOS.
  • A tablet will never have a full OS.  The Surface does have a full OS.  I never call my Surface a tablet just for that reason.  I want my colleagues who use tablets (Apple/Samsung) to know that my Surface has a full OS.
  • what is a "full OS" ?
  • Full of sh##
  • An OS that is not restricted, without jumping through hoops.
  • A full OS is Windows 10 or MacOS, not iOS. That's what he meant to say. Apple sells iOS as if it is the greatest on earth with all the features. That's false.
    So, Apple's tablet run a kids OS while the Mac's run a full OS. BUT Surface tablets AND laptops all run a full desktop OS.
  • Just as Microsoft sells windows 10 mobile as the greatest on earth with all the features....oh...wait.  IOS is not as powerfull as windows 10,  or MacOS...but guess does not have to be.  For 90 percent of the people,  it's fine.  You can edit photos, videos, create images, drawings and graphics, print, etc.   create music,  create spreadsheets, documents, powerpoints etc.   So,  its far from useless.   And it's not a kids OS either there fanboy.
  • Yeah, it's not a kids OS. I was just annoyed with the useless comments that bleached guy was making. But even then, iOS is limited compared to Windows 10.
  • Yes and no abhi.  It is limited in the fact that it does not do key programming things...just in the same way windows 10 is limited in the "app" side of things.  I own both, and enjoy both.  For very different things.  The apps I use, IOS wins hands down.  For using a nice large monitor to edit a group of photos or videos...yep 10 is much better.  The point i keep trying to make but get fanboy'ed,  is that there is NO PERFECT system.  I own ALL platforms.  I use ALL platforms.  I enjoy ALL platforms.  Well MacOS not so much.  but I do own a macbook.  Every platform has something it does better than the rest and people sell themselves short of awesome tech because of blind fanboy'ism.  
  • Look at where the name Tablet came from.  You know the old pad of paper that you would grab quickly to do some light writing and note taking in a pinch.  The real work did not get done on a tablet, only assisted the real work that got done at a desk with full sheets of paper and a typewriter.  The Surface can do the real work not just scratching notes and using simple apps.
  • It's not the OS that makes the difference.
    You remove the keyboard part, and keep the display part, it still works, then it's a tablet.
    You remove the display part, keep the keyboard part, it still works, it's a laptop.
  • @feherneoh, that's correct and no is saying its not. The problem is, when people think of "tablet", they THINK that it'll be running a mobile OS just because Apples iPads were famous back in the day and they ran a mobile OS. So, people relate tablets to a Mobile OS. This they relate Surface tablets running a Mobile OS. I guess, Microsoft is trying to change that mentality, but honestly, I didn't like it. "A tablet that can replace your laptop" IS SO. MUCH. COOLER. ✋✊👊 🤛🤜
  • That makes no sense. Microsoft released Tablet PC's a decade ago that ran full Windows. It was a tablet, this is a tablet. What makes it a tablet is the form factor, not the OS.
  • Now a Tablet PC is another animal all together ( they never called them Tablet's always Tablet PC's).  I had two, still have my HP.  And the screens do not detach, they swivel and fold.  Not to be confused with the 2 in 1 of today that can replace your desktop's.  Tablet PC's are extinct.
  • When a keyboard is attached to an iPad, it is functioning as a crappy laptop. When the keyboard is detached from a Surface, it is functioning as a crappy tablet. The iPad is a tablet first, laptop second. The Surface is a laptop first and a tablet second.
  • A tablet is a tablet. Connecting a keyboard does not change that fact.
  • A laptop is a laptop. Removing the keyboard does not change that fact.
  • You have some real issues, man.
  • 1) Agree with Kros.
    2) Besides that Alienwares are more powerful, what are the differences between Surface Pros and Alienwares?
  • Tablet ( ), Laptop ( ), and Desktop ( ) are all just form-factors of a PC (Personal Computer, ). The Surface Pro seamlessly transforms between all 3 of them with its Type Cover and Docking Station accessories. No point impotently trying to categorize it into merely 1 ancient category. In layman's terms: - Surface Pro on its own = Tablet and Digitizer Drawing Board ( ) - Surface Pro + Type Cover = Full-fledged Laptop - Surface Pro + Docking Station = Midrange Desktop (until it gets Thunderbolt 3 to connect to a high-end Desktop GPU) - toyPad + Smart Keyboard = Bastardized Laptop (no trackpad, no ports, bastardized OS, etc.) Simply look at the conventional definitions.
  • Sounds very complicated. How do you say all that in one word that anyone can understand?
  • It's a 3-in-1 PC....
  • I don't​ think the average consumer knows what that is and an uneducated consumer certainly doesn't know what that means. Laptop is the best description. You know it is mobile and highly capable. Tablet means it is mobile and functionally limited. The simplest and most effective way for Microsoft to define the Surface Pro is laptop. Anything else muddies the water.
  • is this alternate fact?
  • @bleached, that way even the iPad Pro is a laptop! But in reality, it's far from it. People have been programmed by Apple in such a way that they think a tablet is just the iPad and so it's not the full OS. So, when MSFT makes a REAL tablet with the full OS, ppl mistake it to be a Mobile OS.
  • Exactly. Apple has programmed people to think that a tablet has a simple mobile operating system. Microsoft can try to fight that image, but they are going to have a hard time when the tablet experience offered by Windows isn't as user friendly as iOS. It would be irresponsible for Microsoft to position the Surface Pro as an iPad competitor. Normal people are going to be disappointed with the experience if they are expecting a simple mobile OS. Microsoft needs to market it honestly. It is a laptop with a removable keyboard. That will give non-technical people the correct impression and make them aware of the experience. Microsoft isn't going to win a marketing war with Apple.
  • I agree with you both here mate. First, if you look at the usage, it's used like a full computer. Having keyboard or not doesn't matter much really.
    Second, in consumers mind, the tablet comes with mobile OS.
  • isn't as user-friendly as ipad?
    How about snapping window? all the shortcut keys? menu key? multi-tasking? more-keyboard-user-friendly?
  • I guess it depends on your definition of user friendly. The iPad is much easier to pickup and operate compared to a full Windows experience. It would be much easier to hand a grandmother an iPad than a Windows machine.
  • Yes, i can agree with you there. Grandma and grandpops.
  • This is why my grandmother has a Windows phone and not Android or iPhone. It is really simple and hard for her to mess up, and she would mess it up if possible!
  • Microsoft is definitely improving the tablet part if it. Surprisingly, on a say 10" tablet (held vertically) Windows 10 as a tablet OS seems nice. But in a Surface (horizontally) it doesn't seem that great though it works. They have done work like increasing the spacing, making buttons bigger, etc.
  • Well... iOS is simple and I have no problem people like their phone to be simple.
    But many times... it's inefficient if you know what you are doing or if you are a power user. Hence, not user-friendly, I introduced Nexus to my wife and she can't go back to iOS anymore. * How do you close your Notification panel in iOS? You'd have to move you finger all the way down, from the topmost to the bottom most, then swipe up? Time consuming... how is it friendly? * No common share api. Sharing an image from Google Photo and Apple Photo, why the different apps in the "Activity" list? * how do you perform ctrl+a/x/c/v from your virtual keyboard? * Can you directly scroll your textfield / inputfield if the text is too long? "Address Bar" for instance, in iOS, you'd have to use "Input Caret" to scroll... * How do you go back to previous app after launching another app through current app (e.g. Messenger from Facebook or Browser from url)? In Android, single tap "Back Button". In iOS... etc, etc
  • I think the back button is misused in Android. It should never take you out of an app. That is what the home button or multitask button is for. You should never hit the back button and get the home screen or another app. If you want the home screen then you hit the home button or if you want the last app you double tap the multitask button (Nougat).
  • Zac is right. It's a tablet first, laptop second... even if most people are using it as a laptop replacement.
  • Nope... and who cares.
  • IS a laptop still.
  • No, it's a computer than can replace a laptop. That doesn't make it a laptop. It's a hybrid. 
  • You can use it as a laptop, but it still is a tablet. Putting an LTE modem and phone functionality in a tablet won't make it a phone either.
    The same way a phone running a full desktop Windows 10 with keyboard+mouse+external display connected would be still just a phone.
  • Besides that Alienwares are more powerful, what are the differences between Surface Pros and Alienwares?
  • PS--It's nice that at least one person at WC has the courage to criticize something that Microsoft does. 
  • Me too. Completely agree. The moment I saw that tag line during the live telecast, it just didn't REGISTER in my mind. It felt really weird. This is wrong marketing too. Giving out a wrong message to those are new to Windows10/Surface (Mac people, because they are leaving mac 😁)
  • You don't buy a Surface Pro because you want a tablet. Microsoft is right to make sure people understand it is a laptop first. If someone is buying a Surface expecting an iPad like experience, they will be disappointed. I love my Surface Pro, but I would never call it a tablet. It just isn't a good experience at all in that configuration. It is actually quite poor as a tablet. It wouldn't take much to fix that either. The keyboard needs the most work.
  • Bullshit, I use my Pro 4 as a tablet first and foremost and I enjoy the experience very, very much. It always baffles me that people who claim that Windows has a terrible tablet experience never explain why they think so.
  • You are on this site and commenting so I assume you are a technical person and understand how to use Windows and work around the deficiencies in the touch UI. Do you think your grandmother or other non-technical person is going to have a good experience with a keyboardless Surface?
  • Again you claim Windows' touch UI has deficiencies, but you don't describe which. Seriously, how hard is it to touch the Windows logo in the bottom left corner to show the Start Screen and choose which apps you want to run, swipe left to show all opened apps and swipe right to check notifications and quick actions? "Do you think your grandmother or other non-technical person is going to have a good experience with a keyboardless Surface?" Meh, my mother is going to have trouble using phones, tablets or laptops regardless of the OS underneath - yes, even iOS. Why bother trying to learn simple things like copying text from one place to another when she has a son that can do it in a pinch?
  • @Tales, agree. The tablet experience has improved SO MUCH since 2015. At times, just for a change I use my laptop in the tablet mode and I find it great. Surface makes that experience even better.
  • I think W8 was a better tablet experience just because the edge gestures were still there and you couldn't get stuck with a desktop UI. They really need to work on the virtual keyboard and a make a really simple tablet UI, I mean they should straight up copy iPad. They have the tools, they just need to put them together. Hopefully CShell will bring that.
  • Once you switch to an actual Tablet Mode, the experience is beautiful. Maybe that guy uses it in Desktop Mode. I could see it would be not easy to use Surface as a Tablet while it's in Desktop Mode. I let it switch automatically when I connect or disconnect Keyboard/TypeCover.
  • The reason most people say microsoft is a terrible tablet experience goes back to the same reason why windows 10 mobile is a terrible phone.  Lack of proper apps.   I know,  I know,  beating a dead horse,  but it's the truth.   Apps are either non exsistant or very limited/non functional.   Websites are not as good as true apps.  If Microsoft had the app catalog (and I mean all first party apps, not third party **** apps), I would still be using my 2 surface 3s.  But they don't so my surface 3s went bye bye for 2 ipad air 2s.   My wife and I love our ipads as a tablet.  All the apps work,  and work correctly.  Now, as a "true" laptop,  nope....the ipad does not have the chops,  hence the reason why we bought 2 dell 2 in 1s.   Again,  going back to what I said above...if you fanboy over one system,  you really miss out on what the others have to offer.  
  • See @bleached, THAT'S where you're wrong. This is a tablet and it's VERY GOOD at being a tablet. It can also be used as a laptop. The iPad on the hand even with the "Pro" gimmick is nothing but useless. That tablet is not even close to a laptop even with that stupid keyboard which doesn't even feel nice to type on!! I've tried both and honestly (not because I'm a fan), the iPad pro sucks at the keyboard and at being PRO.
  • It is not good at being a tablet. It is ok, maybe, but just the virtual keyboard makes it very hard to use without the hardware keyboard. Anyone looking for an iPad experience is going to be disappointed and frustrated with the Surface Experience. Consumers need to understand it gives a laptop experience, not a mobile, iPad experience. Microsoft does themselves no favors by going against the modern definition of a tablet.
  • The form factor makes it a tablet. It's really that simple. Why is everyone making a big deal out of this fact?
  • Because few of us in this comment section seem to understand what a form factor is in the technological world. All of the components are housed in the screen unlike a laptop and it is designed to be usable in hand. It is a tablet. You'd think people would understand this.
  • Of course we understand it, we are technical people reading a Windows specfic blog. If Microsoft markets this as a tablet and a normal consumer buys it expecting an iPad experience, they are going to be dissapointed. Calling it a laptop is more accurate and descriptive to the 99%.
  • I don't think you do bleached. Microsoft does not dictate the form factor of a tablet any more so than Apple as it has already been categorized and standards have already been set. They can call it a banana for marketing purposes for all I care and it still does not make it true. If it isn't offering a solid experience as a tablet then Microsoft needs to rectify that rather than try and convince people it is something else. Guess what? It isn't the greatest experience in comparison to an actual laptop either. The points you guys are arguing are not that of a tech enthusiast but purely that of a fanatic. In the end, it doesn't matter what you call it but matters on whether it delivers the experience an individual wants from it. Changing the label will not magically change a poor experience. I say this as someone who enjoys my SP4 and use it daily, but I will recognize its faults rather than try and relabel them.
  • laptop computer, sometimes called a notebook computer by manufacturers, is a battery- or AC-powered personal computer generally smaller than a briefcase that can easily be transported and conveniently used in temporary spaces such as on airplanes, in libraries, temporary offices, and at meetings. ---------------------- do some recherche and you'll understand why we can call the Surface Pro "THE MOST VERSATILE LAPTOP"
  • my sentiments exactly. Never has a laptop shipped without a keyboard
  • Of course is a laptop!
    Does everything that laptop does and much more.
    It's clever marketing on Microsoft side. Don't include the keyboard so can lower the price point.
    Stop moaning and celebrate the marvel engineering device. Still the best combo of tablet/laptop money can buy!
  • A few days ago I summarized this article in a comment. I agree. Surface Pro devices (any of them), are awesome tablets that can replace your laptop for the most part. I sold my laptop about two years ago. I haven't bought another and I haven't had a need for one. If any, the only accessory you'd need is an external DVD-RW drive with it.
  • So, electronic devices that require a separate purchase of batteries are not electronic devices?
  • I bet this is because Apple keeps on banging on about the iPad Pro being a modern laptop/computer in their ads and saying there are tonnes of people on Windows that should switch to it. Also for some time in the UK the Pro 4 actually came bundled with a Type Cover.
  • Laptop is a form factor, Surface Pros are tablet form, I have a keyboard and external display for my phone, it's still a phone.  
  • Confusion was always core to Microsoft's communication and advertising... :-) But isn't the change of tag line indicative of what Microsoft is to release next? Surface Pro is not called a tablet anymore because the next Surface is much better understood as a tablet, likely much more mobile than the Surface Pro. From that perspective the new, more confusing tagline makes sense.
  • The only confusion here is how most people here are stuck on a friggin definition debate that is pointless and needless. Who gives a flying farckcicle!!!!!
  • I need the I call it a tablet, do I call it laptop? Im so confused... Im just going to call it dumbphone
  • Removable keyboard: tablet
    Built-in keyboard: laptop Even including a removable one in the package does not qualify the device to be a laptop, and as far as I can tell that's not even the case.
  • Actually, I think the better definition is: how integral is the keyboard to the experience? Take the Pro for example: not only is the keyboard not bundled with the device, but the latter is also fully functional without it. The Book, on the other hand, comes with its keyboard, and detaching the clipboard from it not only substantially reduces the battery power to keep it functioning but you also lose the extra graphical boost provided by the dedicated GPU in some models. As such, I'd call the Pro a tablet with the power of a laptop, and the Book a laptop that can at times serve as a tablet.
  • There are literally dozens of keyboard options. How would they know which to bundle?
  • Zac, you are 100% correct.
  • NOT.
  • Zac is just bored and taking the piss.
  • Windows Central new mantra is "write an article that finds some way to bash Microsoft".
  • This editorial makes the assumption people are totally stupid. I've seen many people with surface pros, none without keyboards so obviously they figured it out. Noone is buying a $800 tablet without a "cover". With the surface the cover is a pretty good keyboard & trackpad. What's the problem?
  • It's called false advertising and it's an offence that can incur heavy fines.
  • You cannot be falsely advertising for a definition, as there isn't one true legally defined definitition of laptop. A surface used without cover can be used on your lap to perform computing activity. Most flaw advertising is due to functionality or features that are false not its label. 
  • Go away.
  • @Aden, you're just another troll. Never seen you here before. New guy probably.
  • Truth advertising......what does that look like?
  • Sigh.... still stuck in the engineers bubble I see... The previous slogan was the perfect fit. This one not only is misleading it is false advertising. Plus it puts a massive question mark on the surface book which first and foremost is a laptop that can be a tablet.
  • False advertising? Can MS be sued?
  • count me in.....I think if we buy the tablet w/o keyboard and sue MS, they will have no choice but to add the kb for free!!
  • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH, Please let me know when you file the lawsuit and what court will be hearing your one and only claim. I would like to be there when the Judge laughs at you and tells you to get lost.
  • It was a joke....but it revealed to me what a mean person you are
  • I have a surface pro 3 I did not buy the type cover as I prefer using it with a dock full keyboard mouse big screen . I don't care what they call it as long as it works
  • Exactly this.  The point is that with this newer form factor and system, they can market it as either.  There's really no need to make a clear distinction.  It's like if we all argued if a 5.7"-6" device is a phone or tablet.  Who cares?  It's a newer form factor we just use.
  • doesn't even come witha keyboard.
  • So what?
    I'm not hung up in the marketing. I'm hung up with how people ACTUALLY use it in real life. If you see someone with a Surface, ask them how often they use it as a tablet. I'd bet its 98 of the time.
  • Depends on the nature of your work, I use mine all the time and I need it, soft keys just don't help.
  • I have a serious problem calling something where lap usage is an afterthought a "LAPtop." Any device that requires a stand to keep the display upright is not a laptop and certainly not designed with lap usage as the primary scenario. The device doesn't even come with a keyboard and only half of the Surface tablet owners buy the keyboard according to JD Power. Surface is a tablet with a keyboard accessory. The marketing is offensive. If they wanted to call Surface Pro the most versatile computer that would be acceptable. Calling Surface tablet a laptop is only acceptable to people who don't understand what a laptop is.
  • Waht percentage of people actually use their laptops in their laps?
  • It has a kb you can pay for it separately, or pay for it bundled, the end result is still the same. You are too hung up on advertisement wording. Look past it, and don't let glamour words confuse you.
  • You don't get my point. The main reason I said that it cuz they call it a laptop and yet it doesn't come with a kb. So why call it a laptop and not a tablet? That's the point I'm trying to make and not my own preference.
  • You can still use it on your lap just fine, when did people decide that Laptop means clamshell device? I prefer it to be sold without the TypeCover so Im not forced to get yet another one. Ill decide if i want to get a new typecover, it shouldnt be forced on me
  • You can use it on your lap, but that obviously wasn't the primary usage the device was designed for. If Surface Pro was designed for lap usage it would look a lot more like the Surface Book. If you're looking for a PC to be typed on primarily on your lap then Surface Pro is a poor choice relative to other devices that don't require a stand.
  • I wouldn't be surprised if more p[eople actually use their tablets on their laps than people with "laptops" do.
  • I 100% agree with you but as history shows us marketing isn't microsoft's strong point.
  • I recently recived a survey from Microsoft, specifically about my surface device. There was question that stood out to me: What do you call your Surface Pro 4: a) A Laptop, b) A Tablet - I obviously answered a tablet. There is no debate on it :). I am assuming they are attempting to update their marketing.  
  • I disagree with your disagreement 😜. I hate tablets - waste of space, mostly annoying and that's why people don't want them anymore. So, in saying that, I LOVE the Surface Pro 4, but It's DEFINITELY NOT a tablet, but it's also definitely not a laptop. That's the awesome thing about it. However, the new Surface Pro could be considered more a laptop than a tablet in my humble opinion. It's obviously a tabtop. So suck it *******. I tend to agree with MS on this Zac....
  • Legally speaking it is a tablet as the keyboard is an additional accessory, which has to be purchased at a steep price point in order to qualify the Surface Pro as a Laptop. Therefore it is false advertising, an offence that incur heavy fines.
  • WTF..this is not a question of law you ****** bag. Legally it isn't poop. It's not false advertising and the only thing offensive is your stupid viewpoint. Someone should fine you for impersonating a ******, In a bag, of douches...
  • I wouldn't be so sure, in the UK Microsoft could face fines for calling Surface Pro a laptop. This is 100% false advertising and the UK is much more stringent than the US on lying to consumers in advertising.
  • Cite this "law" you are referring to.
  • Yeah I agree with Microsoft as well. Also I don't it really matters. Consumers and businesses are buying them and using them as a laptop overwhelming. This argument is pointless.
  • Thank you 👌
  • The NFL certainly isn't using Surface Pro as a laptop.
  • Surface is 100% a tablet, so apparently you like tablets, you just don't like the word.
  • Sorry, Microsoft isn't properly marketing something? Standing headline, no?
  • When there are laptops like Surface Book and Surface Laptop, they don't have to put this in a laptop category! They should call it "Best Tablet" because its true!
  • nope, it's a convertible or 2in1
  • Pogo poo poi poo pop poo. See what I did there? Same logic as you.
  • Calling it laptop is stupid, it must be the first laptop in the world that doesn't come with a keyboard. Oh that's right, because it's not a laptop. It's better!
  • Laplop
  • Its a laplet
  • It's a bagel.
  • The real issue is calling it a tablet means by definition its only real attribute is to run tablet apps which they see advertised on tv etc. And when they realize uwp has essentially none of the apps they really expect to be there they see it as something essentially useless. But I will agree if changing the marketing to draw a more general audience that this is a laptop they must bundle the keycover with it.
  • It's not the apps that make something a tablet. If it was that way, noone would call any of the Android tablets tablets, as about 2% of the apps they run are actual "tablet apps"
  • "And when they realize uwp has essentially none of the apps they really expect to be there they see it as something essentially useless." I honestly feel this is overblown. I get it that the Store is missing many apps people expect to have on tablets, including some important ones like Youtube, but it has Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Messenger, VLC, OneNote, Disqus, Netflix, Deezer, Dropbox, TuneIn Radio, Todoist, and many others, to say that it has essentially none of those apps is not really a correct assessment, especially when you consider that many apps the Store doesn't have, like Snapchat, are actually stretched out phone apps, not really adapted to take advantage of the bigger displays of tablets.
  • It's both guys. It's a 2 in 1 and you have the option to us it as you please. What a great gift MS gave us...options! Enjoy and stop trying to be Anti anything that Microsoft does.
  • Aren't we talking about a pretzel
  • The average consumer doesn't care. When you buy a laptop you get a keyboard with it. Don't make the price look lower by not including the most fundamental part of a laptop.
  • So, because this non argument is just non, here is some news...HP Elite X3 is cheap(er) here: for any Aussies that want this awesome phone, that is not really a phone. I think because you can't slam it down in the middle of a phone call to make a deafening effect on the other person it couldn't be considered a phone. So, where's that false advertising guy when you need him???
  • That's why iShit.
  • I agree with some above.. I've always considered the SURFACE, tablet first laptop 2nd.. The SURFACE PRO series is too big to be a proper Tablet.. It has more laptop characteristics than a Tablet.. I own a Surface 3 and I love it and will be upgrading to a Surface Pro in the next 6months. I don't really care about how they define it. I'm just happy that this product is getting a more global push.
  • Well said.
  • I'm with MS. It's a versatile laptop and I don't want to pay extra cost if it comes with keyboard. I plan to use my SP4's. Just pick up keyboard when you buy if you need it.
  • Isn't part of the problem that 2in1's aren't consistently included in either the pc/laptop or the tablet categories when the bean counters count them? Doesn't this help by saying " Hey, bean counters, include this device in the pc/laptop category!"
  • If Microsoft were to market the Surface Pro as "Magical," as Apple does with many of its products, would that be closer to the truth?  To me, it doesn't matter how it is marketed.  I've dealt with enough companies to know that marketing is all about lying to deceive your customers enough so that they'll buy your product. Should Microsoft market the Surface Pro as an "iPad replacement"?  Maybe they can claim, "The Surface Pro is the device that can replace your iPad and MacBook Pro!"
  • It doesn't really matter what the device physically is, what matters is how people actually use them. And the fact of the matter is, the vast majority of Surface Pro users use them just like they would a laptop, not a tablet. Thus, it's a laptop. Mircosoft is just being pragmatic about it. Apple says the same about it's iPad Pro. You know how many times the word "tablet" appears in the iPad page? All the things you can do with it? It's all things you'd do on a laptop. Or at least that's how Apple want's you to use it. Thing is, even Apple sees the Surface Pro as a laptop, so that's how they're positioning the iPad Pro. (Although, to be fair, most people don't use their laptops on their lap so the laptop name is itself a bit silly)
  • I mostly use my laptop as a desktop PC. Does that mean it's a desktop PC, not a laptop?
  • This^
    A similar argument can be applied to the surface book as well - I mostly use it in tablet mode and for notes.
  • No because the category comes primarily from the design, not your usage. If I only use my Lumia 950 as a desktop connected to monitor keyboard and mouse that doesn't give Microsoft the right to market the Lumia as a desktop PC. Obviously Lumia 950 was designed to be a phone even though you could with accessories use it as a desktop. Same is true for Surface Pro.
  • Exactly. I don't ever do anything on my lap anyway. It's either on a proper desk or I do the work later.
  • I mostly use my Tab S2 tablet with a physical keyboard, does that make it a laptop?
  • I entirely agree with every word in the article especially the slogan. The versatile laptop isn't just "wrong," it sounds dull compared to 'The tablet that can replace your laptop.' The latter doesnt just sound better but it also builds more curiosity for people to check it out and be impressed and it doesnt make it sound like just another laptop. When the general consumer buys this "tablet" they will be very impressed to know how it stacks up against other tablets and EVEN laptops. Sometimes I wonder how Microsoft does their hiring -__-
  • Category police cant call it this, you can't call it that, you can't compare this you cant compare that..... Everyone please go back to your nicely labeled boxes please, and don't think outside of it.....
  • I dont think its wrong to call it a laptop. It certainly can be a laptop. I use mine as a laptop constantly. I do think its selling it short to call it just a laptop because its much more than a laptop. 
  • Its a laptop, i use it on my lap... checkmate
  • What a ripoff. Imagine how many people would go buy it only to realize that the keyboard costs extra!
  • Probably very VERY few considering it tells you that the Cover and Pen are sold separately when buying it. If you ignore that then you deserve what you get
  • And i disagree with the article. Because old type covers work with newer screens. So why sell the screen with the tablet and cost ME more money??!! You can buy a cover with it, so i actually disagree with your entire article. If your an existing Surface Pro owner. You can choose to buy just the Screen part and use your current Cover fine. If your a new buyer and want to but a Surface Pro with a cover to replace your laptop you can. As a normal bundle. So a versitile selling platform that benefits everyone does not mean this is NOT a laptop. Because an old laptop isn't versitile at all and you always had to have a new keyboard doesn't mean this new era isn't a laptop because you can buy it without one.
  • I agree. It is also easier to choose which cover you want if they don't bundle them. There are so many choices, especially when you take the NFL covers into consideration. If they want to make it customizable, then bundling doesn't make sense.
  • Is it so hard to call it a Tablet PC?
  • Well tablet pc's were invented and on the market along time ago, but the freaked normal people out and the name confused them. 
  • I don't think I agree with Zac on this one.
    It's not like there is an IEEE standard definition of what a laptop is or should be; it is all 'convention' that we have sort of accepted over time due to the hitherto stagnation in design evolution of this category. Is the standard non-removable clamshell form-factor the proper or 'true' definition of a laptop? Who says so? So what is the surface book then? Afterall, it is a clamshell AND has a bonafide removable screen. Does that make the surface book not a true laptop? Is it the rigidity of the detachable keyboard that differentiates the surface book from the surface pro? So MS can argue that it is possible functions rather than form that determines what a laptop is.
    What I can tell you is that everyone I know who has a surface pro (including myself) has either sold their traditional laptop or does not use the laptop again. This is highly indicative of the fact that in essence, it is a laptop since it indeed replaces the former traditional laptop.
    I think MS is on the right track with this message. Get a surface pro and I bet you won't bother with your traditional laptop anymore.
  • They need to market it as a laptop because that is the experience it offers. It does not offer an iPad like experience and they are only setting themselves up for failure if they market it that way. No one should be buying a Surface expecting an iPad like experience and it is Microsoft's​ responsibility to inform people of that.
  • Yep, when i have shown people surfaces or had to decribe them, I had to tell those people (non tech nerds) it was a laptop for them get it.
  • Very true
  • where can i get these wallpapers of the surface family image?
  • I wondered the same thing. they always have gorgeous wallpapers ... :)
  • Of course the Brit is the one to write such an article. Who cares man ? Microsoft is killing it in terms of introducing various iterations of what we know as a computer. Consumers could walk in and pick whichever they deem appealing in their eyes. Stop trying to label everything and enjoy the ever expanding beautiful Surface family
  • The typecover (yes, that should be bundled!) is *the* component that makes the Surface versatile. Without, it's just a tablet with PC power and limited in versatility.
    For me it doesn't matter how Zac calls it. Most important is that Surface Pro is superior to iPad and MacBook together.
  • seeing this lineup i wonder if they would name a possible surface 'phone'ish device simply "Surface"... It could extend the surface family to beeing truely one the device for every device... (well lets wait some more years and look and see :D )
  • 100% on point Zac! Thank you for writing this. Microsoft should be proud of creating the tablet that can replace your laptop. No need to lie that Surface Pro is a laptop because for a lot of people Surface Pro is much better than just a laptop or just a tablet.
  • According to the J.D. Power study from April about 49% of Surface Pro owners don't even own or use the keyboard accessory at all. Calling this device a laptop is some of the most dishonest marketing Microsoft has ever done. The original Surface slogan was much more honest and accurate. What's next are they going to market Xbox Scorpio as a Windows 10 PC? I imagine if Playstation sales started plummeting Microsoft would believe game consoles were dead and do just that.
  • Zac, good insight! Microsoft picked up so many accolades for pioneering the 2-in-1 form factor... They should keep embracing terms that define the diversity of their innovation rather than trying to position it for broader market appeal.
  • "The tablet that can replace your laptop." I think Microsoft's own advertising settles this debate. It doesn't matter what they want to call it now, it's a tablet.
  • Must be a slow news day to write this article ! First, you are writing to a techie audience, and they get the differences. If you want a true understanding of the issue, look at the overall consumer audience which is who Microsoft needs to embrace to actually drive Surface Pro sales. To the average consumer, a tablet is a cheap device that works mainly on the web to do a few simple tasks, watch movies, read news, and generally be entertained. They can be found in virtually any type of store and are pretty cheap. When a consumer goes to a computer store, they say they need a new notebook computer, and if you use the word "tablet" they go "no, no, no. I have to do work on it." They could care less about form factor. And most have no clue that a Surface Pro does so much more than a tablet until they actually see it. So ... yes it is a device that can "replace your notebook". I've had notebooks for years, and even a Surface Book, but now my travel device is a Surface Pro 4. I rarely use it in a tablet mode. I settled on it because of it's size, weight, and the ability to do everything I need to do with real windows software applications, including coding. I can take it anywhere, and it is fully expandable to a large screen monitor, full keyboard, and mouse; or I can slip it into a backpack with the type cover and pen and not notice the "weight" or "bulk". So ... marketing used an approach that doesn't limit the appeal of this device. People don't buy based on marketing, but they may refuse to even look at a device if the "label" tells them it's not what they are seeking. They may not be "informed", but they represent a far greater marketplace than the readers of this blog, and their purchases keep Microsoft productive..
  • I'm kinda partial to Toaster Fridge. Still love the Pro-E demo Panos did at the SP4 launch...
  • A desktop can come with or without a keyboard. Does that mean we don't call it a desktop when it doesn't come with one? Or is it still a desktop computer because the keyboard does not define what it is. A keyboard does not define a tablet or laptop because if it did then the iPad with a purchased keyboard is also a laptop. Function, power, performance, size. These define the difference.
  • I agree.
  • So what could a Surface Hub be considered. Even though not general consumer product
  • By Zac's logic, if it came without a keyboard it would be a tablet.
  • But once you buy a keyboard with it, you bought a laptop.
  • It's a 2 in 1, right ?
  • This. A 2-in-1 is both, neither laptop nor tablet is outright wrong. And even if they were, stop with the tedious articles about semantics already
  • Agree 🤝 🤓😣
  • Let's look at the other way round. The New Surface Pro is basically a laptop that is put under the form factor of a tablet.
    If you refer to it as a tablet, you talk about external look.
    If you refer to it as a laptop, you talk about its internals.
  • Guys, stop impotently trying to categorize it into 1 ancient device category. Tablets ( ), Laptops ( ), Desktops ( ), and Smartphones ( ) are all just form-factors of a PC (Personal Computer, ). The Surface Pro seamlessly and practically transforms between the former 3 of them with its Type Cover and Docking Station accessories. In layman's terms, it's a 3-in-1 PC: - Surface Pro on its own = Tablet and Digitizer Drawing Board ( ) - Surface Pro + Type Cover = Full-fledged Laptop - Surface Pro + Docking Station = Midrange Desktop (until it gets Thunderbolt 3 to connect to a high-end Desktop GPU) - toyPad + Smart Keyboard = Bastardized Laptop (no trackpad, no ports, bastardized OS, etc.) Sooner or later, Smartphones will be able to seamlessly and practically transform between ALL 4 form-factors. The ASUS Padfone ( ), the Acer Switch Alpha (fanless Intel Core i7U 2-in-1, ), the HP Elite X3 ( ), the SyncPhone ( ), the GPD WIN ( ), the Akyumen Holofone Phablet ( ), and of course Windows 10 on ARM ( ), are all paving the way to that future. Stop impotently trying to categorize them into 1 ancient category of technology.
  • I agree with you for the most part. The Surface line is a convergence device.  On the other hand those terms were clearly defined long before the Surface and iPad were conceived, and the Surface Pro is a tablet just as the crappy Archos 9 was.  Adding a kickstand doesn't change that.  Even the Asus Transformer TF101 fit the description of a tablet, despite its detachable keyboard.  My problem is writers have been redefining what a tablet is for the past 7 years, and I've yet to read a piece correcting any of them.  Why start now, when the tablet market is almost dead.
  • Not sure how anyone else feels about it, but I'd like a smaller surface studio, current one has a screen that's almost too big.
  • It's a laptop if MS is trying to change direction on marketing because there will be a real tablet (Surface Mini reboot?) coming later in the year with LTE built in (ARM). For now, it's still a full size tablet but if a new Surface device does show up that is a true tablet the Surface Pro will be a laptop, sorta thingie. :)
  • TSA doesn't treat it like a tablet. Therefore it isn't. Besides, they will make the Surface tablet eventually, which is a phablet that converts to a full tablet.
  • I never got the argument of having it come with a keyboard. Ok so take the scenario with the keyboard in it. They'll add another 160$ regardless at least to the price to make it a "laptop" by, apparently everyone's, definition. This makes Microsoft have to make 4 different bundle SKUs. From a business perspective this doesn't seem smart to do. Especially if you consider the Surface Pro upgraders. I have a SP3, I'm prefectly fine without having to buy another keyboard again since it's backwards compatible with it. Saves me another 160$. Oh no pen? That's fine, my SP3 pen still works well. So yes Surface only this time. Yes I use it on top of my laptop, there for it is a laptop computer. If Microsoft had to bundle all these things together, and they didn't sell some of some SKU then they would have to write more off. For people upgrading it wouldn't make sense forcing them to keep buying more peripherals either.
  • ^ this
  • I disagree,  It fits on my lap and runs 32 & 64 bit programs.  It drives 2, and possible three or more monitors.  It accepts a wired ethernet connection. Heck, it probably fits on my lap better than many of the early "laptops", and it's more portable.  Just because the keyboard is detachable doesn't make it any less a laptop, just like having a detachable floppy drive doesn't make the Commadore 64 any less of a computer.  (It's simply less of a computer just due to what it is) :-) Alhough I loved playng some of it's games...
  • I thought they might emprais this now when the Laptop arrived. I am surprised that that the Surface Pro isent shipped with windows 10 S. Now that the keyboard and the pen is sold sepperatly it would make sense to call it the ultimat tablet, with the Ultimat windows for tablets, Windows 10 S.
  • My laptop looks like a laptop, feels like a laptop, smells like a laptop, hears like a laptop, tastes like a laptop and it is not a laptop, it is a Workstation, so who cares how a laptop is, Surface Pro is just another laptop with dettachable keyboard, wait, that is a Surface Book, wait Surface Book has dettachable base, who cares, it works, so what?. This kind of "articles" cannot be taken seriously. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Its a 2-in-1 to me. So it could be both.
  • Tech bloggers have never corrected each other when it comes to the definition of the term Tablet, why should we hold Microsoft's feet to the fire?    
  • Surface Pro is a versatile laptop as Microsoft puts it. Keyboard does not make it a laptop. If that would be the case, then any other tablet with a keyboard will be a laptop. There is no misleading as this can do what a laptop does with or without the physical keyboard. Can you connect a mouse without the physical keyboard, yes. Surface Pro is not a tablet, that is underselling it.
  • When you buy it, you're getting a tablet pc. When you add the keyboard it's a laptop pc.For example, I can go buy 4 old or new tire rims and they're rims. When I go and buy a oaktop for it and make a table now the rims are a table, ......but not before.
  • Seriously, did everyone HAVE to respond to my initial comment? I woke up this morning to eighty frigging notifications.
  • Make that 81 😀
  • Hey, just got my Surface Pro typecover today from Germany. Awesome!!!!
  • My thought is that MS did this because the tablet market is starting to fade. I think iPad sales are off something like 25%. They must have felt they didn't want to market it as a tablet.
  • This was a decision obviously based on consumer metrics. I know for a fact (working in a tech retailer) that MANY people dismiss the Surface Pro as a laptop replacement because they thought it was "just a tablet". By calling it a laptop, it will be much clearer that this is a uniquely versatile laptop in capability. Who cares that you have to buy a keyboard seperately for it to be used as a laptop? Everyone who gets a Surface Pro is GUARANTEED to buy the Typecover too. In the end, it's about what the machine can BE for consumers, which is definitely a laptop first and tablet second. You know what could more accurately be called "a tablet that can replace your laptop"? An iPad Pro. At least Apple thinks it can...
  • Wow, we could argue back and forth on this forever. Perhaps that means the real problem is not how to classify the Surface Pro, but that the classifications we have and the rigid meaning some people attach to those are no longer adequate. What's the difference between a notebook and a laptop? Between a desktop or an all-in-one (which both sit on the desk..). I can and do use my Surface on my lap, without the keyboard! I do not have to hold it to do this. Where does that leave 'tablet' and 'laptop' labels? Perhaps it's the old labels we need to update now. The Surface is the most flexible form factor PC, I love it whatever you want to classify it!
  • Well the SP has a keyboard and you can use it on your lap. So, I guess, it is a laptop.
  • Zach, now you're just having fun with your readership. After trying many current generation clamshell (pure) and 2-in-1 (360 degree hinge) laptops, including the excellent HP Spectre x360 and Lenovo Yoga 910, and based on my year+ experience with a Surface Pro 3, IMHO I think the new Surface Pro will be one of the best options for those in the market for a device that can be used as a traditional laptop PC for writing long documents or web surfing, and as a "pro" tablet for inking or consumption (reading ebooks or watching videos). The fact that it can do both well is its magic. Specifically regarding its "lapability," as long-time SP3 user, I find this criticism to be overblown. Yes, I can imagine cases where a pure clamshell design would be better. But I also have experienced cases where the SP3 kickstand and no friction keyboard hinge offer a better user experience than a clamshell. In particular, with regards to screen wobble, the SP3 has none. This is most noticeable, and appreciated, when I'm using the keyboard, touch, and pen together, which I often do. It also would be a clear advantage for frequent train riders, or flyers, which, thankfully, I no longer am :)
  • I should add that my personal definition of a "laptop" is a device that can run Windows 10 (or Mac OS or Linus), provides full windowing and mouse support, can be used, comfortably for keyboarding for long periods of time, with the device on your lap or on a table, and  that can, with external monitors, etc. be used as a desktop PC. That Surface Pro can do all of these things. It also -- with keyboard removed, flipped back, or rotated 180 degrees and flipped back (what I do) -- can be used as a tablet, where the kick-stand provides a number of benefits over basic tablets. But this extra set of modes does not make it any less of a viable option for users looking at 2-in-1 laptops, that is a laptop that can also serve as a excellent inking device. 
  • For some reason I can't edit the above. I meant to say that Linux, along with Windows and Mac OS, is an OS that can run on what I define as a "desktop" PC. Although I remain a big fan of Linus ... the Peanuts character!
  • Because of Ipads which are tablets we know that tablet = toy. History tells us that toy < Laptop.  From reviews we know that Surface Pro > Ipad. So the only conclusion must be that Surface Pro = Laptop. No? This is pure math people, can't argue with math.