Microsoft Surface Pro is arguably the most promising productivity-focused tablet available right now mainly because of its Windows 10 OS and a form factor that is easy to carry around. While it is an outstanding device for those who need it, there are plenty of people who want an alternative, maybe for the added cost of its essential accessories or for the lack of a USB Type-C port.
Whatever the case may be, there are quite a few tablets up for sale right now that are capable of catering to a variety of users and their equally varied needs.
Here are the best Surface Pro alternatives across platforms—Windows, iOS, and Android—that you can consider.
The Best Alternatives with Windows
It is particularly hard to find an OS that can help get work done better than Windows on a tablet form factor. What you get with Windows is a full-fledged desktop-class operating system that can potentially take up anything you might want to throw at it. If Surface Pro is not what you want, there are a handful of products that you can look at.
Lenovo Miix 520
What makes the Lenovo Miix 520 an outstanding alternative to the Surface Pro is that it comes bundled with a keyboard cover and the Active Pen 2. From the performance standpoint, the Lenovo tablet is on par with the Surface Pro as it deploys an 8th gen quad-core Core i5 or i7 processor but lacks when display quality or battery life is concerned.
Lenovo has used Watchband hinges to support the tablet’s weight using the Surface-esque kickstand that can recline at any position until 150 degrees. The bundled stylus supports 4,096 pressure levels for a pen-paper like writing and drawing experience but the tablet uses a fiddly holster to hold the pen instead of a more elegant magnetic solution.
If performance is your priority and a premium build is at the bottom of your list then the Miix 520 should be your choice.
Microsoft Surface Go
Coming from Microsoft’s own stable, the Surface Go is the closest you can get to the Surface Pro’s superior design when on a tight budget. The Surface Go retains almost all the design elements of its bigger sibling while compromising on the internals. It comes powered by an Intel Gold processor instead of a Core i-series one and offers base storage of 64GB and 4GB of RAM.
It features a fantastic 10-inch display panel that is great for media consumption, occasional doodling, and getting some work done while on the move. Even though it ships with a more restrictive version of Windows, you do get a one-way option to switch to the standard OS version. Despite all those perks, you’ll be required to buy the Surface Pen and keyboard cover separately. Portability should be your primary objective to get this Microsoft tablet.
The Best Alternatives with iOS
Apple iPad is undoubtedly the most popular tablet in the market and with its expansive product portfolio, the company now caters to almost every market tier. The iPad not only has a superior selection of apps available via the App Store, but it also comes with the most extensive software support from the company. Check out our recommendations for the best Surface Pro alternatives from Apple.
Apple iPad Pro (2018)
The 2018 range of Apple iPad Pro brings a serious redesign to the tablet with thinner bezels around the display and the inclusion of Face ID. Since a couple of years, the Pro series has come featuring a 120Hz display panel which can spoil you, making it harder to use any display with a lower refresh rate. You can get it in two sizes—11 inches and 12.9 inches—depending on your requirements.
Apple has included their A12X processor which has proven it might be even surpassing a few laptop-grade processors when benchmarks alone are concerned. However, iOS continues to be the weakest point of the iPad as it simply isn’t capable of making proper use of that powerful processor as it stays true to its mobile-first identity. Besides this, the tablet is quite pricey, much like any Apple product, so are its companion accessories.
Apple iPad Air (2019)
With the latest iPad Air model, Apple has tried to bridge the gap it created between the cheapest iPad and the premium iPad Pro to offer a product that satisfies the majority. It recycles iPad Pro 2017’s design and comes with a 10.5-inch display, sans the ProMotion feature, and features Touch ID, instead of Face ID, for biometric security.
The tablet is as powerful as the latest iPhone XS-series devices with the Apple A12 processor and has a keyboard connector onboard to utilise Apple’s keyboard series meant for the last-gen iPad Pro. With this addition, you will be able to use this thin-and-light tablet for productivity as well, besides entertainment. The iPad Air has gained support for Apple Pencil but not for the latest one, instead, you can only use the older 1st gen Pencil with the new tablet.
The Best Alternatives with Android
Android has, for sure, lost its charm in the tablet space but a handful of companies like Samsung are keeping the spirit alive with their range of tablets for varied use cases. In contrast to other platforms, Android tablets generally offer a wider selection to choose from depending on your particular usage and needs. The below-mentioned recommendations should work in most cases.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6
Taking inspiration from the Surface range, this year’s Galaxy Tab S6 now also has a solution in place to magnetically attach the S Pen, albeit to its back. The best part is that Samsung bundles the stylus with the tablet itself, thus saving you several dollars. If you don’t specifically need a Windows machine, this Android tablet will serve you alright for basic work in a web browser or with MS Office apps.
The inclusion of Snapdragon 855 processor propels this aspect further along with Samsung’s DeX, which is a mode designed to open certain apps in their desktop form. Samsung aims to replace your laptop and for that, an external keyboard is a must. The keyboard accessory for the Tab S6 now has a trackpad which should let you leave the mouse at home. An impressive 10.5-inch AMOLED display treats you well and it has a fingerprint scanner built-in.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
Despite being launched last year, the Galaxy Tab S4 remains one of the most cherished high-end tablets in the Android space. Coming from Samsung, you’ll be treated with a top-notch AMOLED display measuring 10.5 inches that is surrounded by minimal bezels. The Korean company also bundles its S Pen stylus with the tablet to further increase its feature set with support for 4096 pressure sensitivity points.
The one thing that goes against this tablet is the lacklustre support for Android feature and security updates. Other than this, Samsung, for some reason, used a generation old processor—Snapdragon 835—which has since been outperformed by another high-end SoC from Qualcomm. Samsung has compensated for this by giving the tablet a premium glass build and by including Samsung DeX, giving you a desktop-like experience on a tablet.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e
In the mid-range segment, Samsung recently launched a new tablet for an average consumer called the Galaxy Tab S5e which is a part of the 2019 series of Samsung tablets. Targeted mainly for users looking for an entertainment tablet, the device comes with an excellent AMOLED display that is known to enhance the movie-watching experience and is supported by a quad-speaker setup tuned by AKG.
Even though it is priced in the mid-range segment, Samsung hasn’t compromised on the build quality and has provided a full metal design with the tablet being just 5.5mm thick. You will get a microSD card slot, but it lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack and the support for S Pen. The tablet comes preinstalled with the latest One UI running over Android 9 Pie.
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