The best Microsoft Surface tablet

Adam Reeder

If you think you may have a need for a Surface pen, look into a Microsoft Surface tablet model that includes one in the package.

Microsoft Surface tablets run the full Windows operating system, while offering the same functionality as a laptop computer. If you haven't tried out one of these tablets, then you've missed out on some of the most exciting tech of the past few years.

We can help you choose the best one for your needs. Read the following helpful buying guide, and check out the reviews of our favorites at the end. You're sure to be as impressed as we were with our Best of the Best pick, the Microsoft Surface Pro 6.

Considerations when choosing Microsoft Surface tablets

Personal vs. work use

Whether you want a Microsoft Surface tablet for personal use or work may have an impact on which one you should choose. The CPU specs you require will change based on what you need. If you only need basic personal functions such as streaming video and internet browsing, then you can likely get a less expensive tablet that utilizes an Intel M or Intel Gold CPU.


Whether you plan to regularly multitask should affect your choice. If you think you'll need to run multiple applications at once on a regular basis, then look for a Microsoft Surface tablet with at least 8GB or RAM. If you think you will be constantly multitasking, then it may be safer to opt for 16GB of RAM.

WiFi access

With Microsoft Surface tablets, you have the option of getting one with only WiFi connectivity, or getting one that also supports LTE connection. If you plan to only use the internet on your tablet in places where a WiFi connection is available, then WiFi connectivity alone will suffice. Otherwise, you'll need to get one that has LTE capabilities.



All Microsoft Surface tablets come equipped with a vivid touchscreen. This is one of the biggest advantages of any tablet.

Surface pen

The Microsoft Surface pen comes with only a few models of Microsoft Surface tablets. It has to be purchased as an additional item with most. The Surface pen is useful to use as both a stylus, but also as a drawing device with Surface tablets. Not all Surface tablets have a "holster" for a Surface pen, so check the specifications.

Micro SD port

Surface tablets have a port to read Micro SD cards. This is the quickest and easiest way to physically transport files from one device onto your Surface tablet, or vice versa.


MS mouse and keyboard: The Surface Pro Signature Type cover is a flexible tablet cover that doubles as a virtually flat keyboard. This is a great accessory to give your tablet a whole new dimension of utility. You can also purchase other types of MS keyboards, as well as a mouse for use with your tablet.

Mini displayport to HDMI adapter: This peripheral is helpful if you plan to connect your Microsoft Surface tablet to either a television or a projector. Because Surface tablets don't have HDMI ports, you need one of these mini displayport to HDMI adapters to send a signal to a TV or projector.


Most Microsoft Surface tablets will cost between $600 and $1,600, depending on the model that you choose. As processor speed and RAM increase, so does the price. A less expensive model has an Intel Atom processor and 2GB of RAM. A mid-range version will have an Intel i7 processor and 8GB of RAM. The most expensive models will have similar specs to the mid-priced Surface tablet, though they often have up to a 12 inch screen size.


Q. Should I use Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro with my Microsoft Surface tablet?

A. The answer depends on your needs. Windows 10 Pro has additional features, like Group Policy Management, Device Encryption, and Remote Desktop. These are add-ons that are likely reserved for professional use, or more technically adept users. The basic user is probably fine with Windows 10 Home.

Q. Do Surface tablets incorporate a headphone jack?

A. Yes. Surface tablets currently incorporate a traditional headphone jack. However, this may change in the not-too-distant future, so keep aware of product changes.

Microsoft Surface tablets we recommend

Best of the best: Microsoft Surface Pro 6

Our take: Fast, fast, fast, with a host of other positives.

What we like: Incredible crisp resolution, virtually silent operation, and 10-12 hour battery life.

What we dislike: Useful accessories are not included in the price.

Best bang for your buck: Microsoft Surface Pro 5

Our take: The best option when you need performance without the price tag.

What we like: Magnetic stylus holder, oversized screen, and high resolution make this an all-around great machine.

What we dislike: Edge bleed on the screen can be distracting to some.

Choice 3: Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Intel Core i7

Our take: A good price, but some sacrifice because it's an older version.

What we like: Highly portable and note taking function works well.

What we dislike: Processor doesn't work as well as newer iterations.

Adam Reeder is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

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