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5 reasons to buy Surface Pro and 2 reasons to pass

Microsoft's 2-in-1, the Surface Pro, has been refined through five generations into what we now have, a capable tablet with beautiful display, performance hardware, and plenty of available accessories. Those in the market for a versatile 2-in-1 device might have the Surface Pro on the short list, and there are more than a few good reasons why it's a worthwhile purchase. There are, however, also a few other things to consider that might make you look elsewhere.

Let's weigh the reasons for and against the Surface Pro.

See Surface Pro at Microsoft (opens in new tab)

Reasons to buy Microsoft's Surface Pro

Here are some solid reasons why you should invest in Microsoft's Surface Pro.

1. Surface Pro has plenty of configuration options

Starting at about $800 (opens in new tab), you can get a Surface Pro with a 7th Gen Intel Core m3-7Y30 processor (CPU), 128GB solid-state drive (SSD), and 4GB of RAM. This is a laptop that can handle light duties, and it will look great doing them.

Into the high-end configurations, you can get a model with a 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7660U CPU, 1TB SSD, and 16GB of RAM. If you choose to checkout with a 7th Gen Intel Core i5-7300U CPU, you can add LTE connectivity to the mix. Yes, configurations get quite expensive, but there's a Surface Pro for everyone.

Which Surface pro should you buy?

2. Surface Pro is available with LTE and eSIM

LTE laptops provide a faster connection than tethering

Those constantly on the go will no doubt want to consider a Surface Pro with LTE connectivity. It uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 modem and has a Nano SIM slot as well as embedded SIM (eSIM) technology that allows you to buy data and use it basically no matter where you are.

The rest of the hardware includes a 256GB SSD, 8GB of RAM, and a 7th Gen Intel Core i5-7300U CPU, a well-rounded collection for everyday tasks. Expect to pay about $1,450 (opens in new tab) for this model.

Surface Pro with LTE review: Impressive but not for everyone

3. Surface Pro is highly mobile

Surface Pro 5 (Image credit: Windows Central)

The Surface Pro, with 12.3-inch display and body that's just 0.33 inches thick, is easily slipped under an arm or into a backpack or laptop bag. The heaviest Core i7 model weighs in at about 1.73 pounds (784 g), which really isn't that heavy at all. Even once you add a Surface Pen (opens in new tab) and Type Cover (opens in new tab), you'll hardly notice the laptop is with you.

Despite its size, you can treat the Surface Pro like you would any other laptop, and the Core i5 and Core i7 models shouldn't have any problems tackling a regular day's work.

Microsoft didn't cut corners to ditch the fan in Surface Pro (2017) with Core i5

4. Surface Pro has a knockout display

The Surface Pro's display has a 3:2 aspect ratio, making it look much boxier than the usual 16:9 aspect ratio many laptops these days ship with. Why use 3:2? It's closer to the middle of the road of all popular aspect ratios, and it allows for more real estate, especially when working with virtual books, magazines, and just about any drawing apps. Once you start using the display with a Surface Pen, you can see it was the right move.

Aside from aspect ratio, you're looking at a 2,736 x 1,824 resolution with 267 pixels per inch (PPI), and you're getting full touch functionality for when you're using the Surface Pro as a standard tablet. If a display is high on your list of laptop priorities, you'll do well here.

Why it's time for PC makers to embrace 3:2 displays

5. Surface Pro is compatible with Surface Pen and Dial

11 best Windows apps for Surface Pen users (Image credit: Windows Central)

There are a lot of worthwhile Surface Pro accessories, but perhaps the two most important — especially if you're looking to get creatively artistic — are the Surface Pen and Surface Dial.

The Pen, which costs about $100 (opens in new tab), has 4,096 levels of pressure, supports tilt shading, and is available in four different colors.

See Surface Pen at Microsoft Store (opens in new tab)

When used in tandem with the Surface Dial, which costs about $100 (opens in new tab), you open up a drawer of tools that are easily accessible and customizable. Place the Dial directly on the display, or use it next to you on the desk.

See Surface Dial at Microsoft Store (opens in new tab)

Reasons not to buy Microsoft's Surface Pro

There are likewise a couple of good reasons you might want to pass on the Surface Pro in lieu of a different device.

1. There are cheaper options if you just want a tablet

CHUWI Hi10 Pro

Surface devices are generally not particularly affordable. Yes, there's a configuration that starts at about $800 (opens in new tab), but that's still quite pricey and it's mostly designed for light duties only, thanks to the Core m3 CPU and low amount of RAM.

If you're looking for a tablet only, there are far cheaper options available that will serve you well in the long run. Have a look at our roundups of best overall tablets and best cheap tablets for a better idea of what you're in the market for.

2. You'll likely have to invest in port adapters

If there's one thing the Surface Pro is lacking, it's port selection. You're getting a single USB-A 3.0, a microSD card reader, Mini DisplayPort, a 3.5mm audio jack, and the proprietary Surface Connect port. Considering the trend toward USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 and the lack of more than one USB-A port, you'll likely be investing in some adapters or a hub.

We've experienced firsthand the lack of Surface Pro ports, and we've put together a few roundups of the best hubs and adapters you can buy.

More resources

Can't get enough Surface Pro? Be sure to check out these other links for more information.

Cale Hunt
Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.

11 Comments
  • The Surfacebook's existence is another reason to not get the Surface Pro. Bigger screen, better keyboard, and better battery life make the Surfacebook a killer machine for productivity. Price is the only reason I could think to choose the Surface Pro instead.
  • Well how you need to use your device was different enough to me that I went from a surface book (1st generation) to surface book pro. I like actual keyboards but I also needed a lighter device with longer "tablet mode" because I write notes. The surface book tablet battery wasn't long enough and the extra weight of the base didn't make it as light as I wanted it to be. Thus surface pro was the device that fit my needs more. The surface pro keyboard and kickstand is good enough for me to use on my lap if I need to.
  • No. Totally different. Both awesome. The Pro's flexibility is amazing. The keyboard on the SB is the best I've ever used.
  • I own an i5 Surface Pro (2017) and love it … except for the Surface Pro pen. Actually I love the pen too when I wear a digital artist glove. If I use a glove the pen is precise and the tilt function works great, for example. when using pencils in OneNote UWP. But, and this is a big but, without the glove, if you write with your palm on the screen, as most of us do, the pen becomes frustratingly imprecise because the tilt detection function no longer works consistently. So if you are an inker, or want to be, then use a glove (or another N-trig pen) with your new Surface Pro. For those interested in this issue search YouTube for vids on surface pro pen inaccuracy, or the Microsoft Community forum for the thread titled: "Surface Pro - intermittent pen inaccuracy when hand is on the screen."
  • Ha! Didn't know that. Hope they fix that.
  • Nr. 1 reason not to get a Surface Pro (at least not right now): It comes with dual core Kaby Lake CPUs instead of quad core Kaby Lake-R, like most current ultrabooks on the market. It's simply not worth it.
  • I have an i7 Surface Pro 2017. I love it for what it is, but it needs more ports and better battery life. Great for sketches.
  • Great devices, but if you need more memory or storage, gotta look elsewhere. I need a portable infrastructure test lab environment so I'm waiting for the new laptops from Dell or HP that will come with 128GB RAM. Never thought I'd buy a laptop with that spec...or that I'd consider buying an HP again. Hey Windows Central/Dan - can we look forward to reviews when they're released???
  • These two reasons not to get the Pro are non-reasons. Only thing I could think of is the port situation, although that's not a deal breaker.
  • For you, for others the port situation means an extra purchase, also the USB is low power, so a bunch of stuff won't actually run properly off the USB port on the machine.
  • I need 6 cores 12 threads CPU, UHD touchscreen 2 in 1 with pen, 2 RAM slots that support future 64GB Ram upgrade eventually, thunderbolt 3 and Nvidia for tensorflow,Cuda GPU acceleration. I found Dell 9750 xps15 - non 2 in 1. Any other suggestion?