You’re interested in alternatives to the Microsoft Surface Pro 9?
The Microsoft Surface Pro 9 is currently the best Windows tablet on the market thanks to powerful 12th-generation Intel processors and the excellent performance that comes with it. However, it’s also pretty damn expensive.
We present you some interesting alternatives to Microsoft’s flagship with Windows, iPadOS and Android. If you know what you want in a tablet and which features you can live without, you will save a lot of money.
It is also worth looking outside the Windows universe for alternatives because tablets with iPadOS and Android also offer great features.
The best Microsoft Surface Pro 9 alternatives: An overview
- Best Surface alternative with Windows: Microsoft Surface Pro 8 (on Amazon*). The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is a great alternative to the current Surface model. This is because the new Surface Pro 9 only offers a few subtle changes compared to its predecessor. Except for the newer processor and a few additional colors, the Intel models of the Surface Pro 8 and 9 are pretty much the same. You can still use the full range of Windows features and demanding programs like Adobe Photoshop on the Pro 8 and save several hundred dollars compared to the current model.
- Best performance alternative: Apple iPad Pro 12.9″ (on Amazon*). The Apple iPad Pro 12.9″ is a real premium tablet in terms of hardware performance, build quality, screen, and the selection of apps. It has an excellent mini-LED screen with great contrasts, vivid colors, a refresh rate of 120 Hz and a very high brightness and can handle even the most demanding tasks. The optional Apple Pencil 2 and keyboard covers are also positive features. Furthermore, Apple is known for supplying its devices with software updates over a long period of time. Apple’s strong hardware and software philosophy make the iPad Pro very durable.
- Best Android tablets and display champions: Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ and S8 Ultra (on Amazon*). The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ is an excellent tablet with its Super AMOLED display of 12.4 inches, a resolution of 2800 x 1752 pixels and 120 Hz. The Galaxy Tab 8 Ultra even goes a step further and has a display with a diagonal of 14.6 inches and a resolution of 2960 x 1848 pixels, also with a refresh rate of 120 Hz. Both tablets impress with their excellent displays and are leaders in the Android tablet market. It is also great that the high-quality stylus is already included, unlike Apple’s iPads. The optional keyboard cover is also very good. Samsung’s software philosophy is also great, as the company promises four major Android updates for the S8 series and provides security updates for five years.
- Big screen for little money: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE (on Amazon*). If you want a large 12.4-inch display without spending too much, then the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE is the ideal tablet for you. You get a nice LCD screen with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels and a refresh rate of 60 Hz. The screen is also fully laminated. However, the performance of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 FE is not outstanding, but it is sufficient for everyday apps and Office work.
- Inexpensive tablet with Windows: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 3i (on Amazon*). If you are looking for a tablet with a keyboard and Windows at an affordable price, the IdeaPad Duet 3i can be considered for simple office tasks. It offers a nice design with a folding stand, a 10.3-inch screen and a good keyboard with touchpad. However, the performance is not sufficient for more demanding apps. If you choose Chrome OS, iPadOS or Android, you will find much better performance in the same price range. However, if you absolutely need Windows and don’t need much performance, the IdeaPad Duet 3i is a good choice at an attractive price.
The best Microsoft Surface Pro 9 alternatives: All the details
Let’s check them out in detail.
Microsoft Surface Pro 8: The best alternative
Since the new Surface Pro 9 only brings a few more subtle changes, the predecessor is also worth a look due to the lower price. Except for the processor and a few new colors, the Intel models of the Surface Pro 8 and 9 are pretty much the same.
The Surface Pro 8 has a slim and elegant design. It weighs 891g without accessories and it’s 9.3mm thin. The build quality is on a very good level and feels premium.
We are also impressed by the chic 13-inch display with a resolution of 2880 x 1920 pixels and 120 Hz. The screen is very bright and offers excellent color reproduction and nice contrasts. It’s also fully laminated.
The tablet is equipped with an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor of the 11th generation and thus offers a very good performance that is still sufficient for most use cases. Both chipsets have Intel Iris X graphics. You can choose between 8GB, 16GB and 32GB RAM, as well as a variant with 128G, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB SSD.
This means you can easily perform demanding tasks like 4k video editing or rendering 3D models with the Surface Pro 8.
However, the Apple iPad Pro with the M1 chipset is more powerful in all benchmarks. Nevertheless, the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is the strongest Windows tablet on the market after the Microsoft Surface Pro 9.
It achieved a runtime of 5.5 hours in our battery test. We set the maximum brightness and 120 Hz and ran an HD YouTube video in an endless loop. The battery lasted about one hour longer with 60hz.
The tablet ships with Windows 11 by default.
Apple iPad Pro M2 12.9 inch: The strongest tablet on the market
The Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch has a large and high-quality mini-LED display that offers a resolution of 2732 x 2048 pixels, 264 ppi and 120 Hz. Thanks to the mini-LED technology, the iPad Pro delivers excellent contrast levels, vivid colors and a deep black level that is comparable to OLED displays. The display is also fully laminated and the maximum SDR brightness is 600 nits. Mini-LED technology even allows for up to 1,600 nits of peak brightness when displaying HDR content.
The sound of the iPad Pro’s four speakers is also impressive.
In our battery test, the iPad Pro came to a runtime of 6 hours while we played a YouTube video in HD at full brightness in an endless loop. When the iPad’s brightness is reduced, you can still get much more out of the battery.
Apple’s premium tablet offers Wi-Fi 6E and is optionally available in a 5G version. It’s the most powerful tablet on the market and features the M2 chip, which is also used in the current Apple MacBook Pros. This chip ensures very high computing power. Thus, the iPad Pro handles demanding tasks like playing hardware-hungry games and computationally intensive apps like the editing program Davinci Resolve easily and very smoothly.
The Apple Pencil 2 is also great, but it has to be purchased separately and is not cheap. The optionally available keyboards also have a high quality and are great for writing.
The build quality, the Face ID facial recognition, the good cameras and the LIDAR sensor are also worth mentioning.
Overall, the Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch is an excellent choice if you are looking for a tablet with a large, fantastic display and the best computing power on the market. However, the iPadOS operating system is less flexible than Windows.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra & S8+: The best Android tablets
You’ll also make a good choice with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 series if you’re looking for a tablet with a great display and strong processing power running Android.
The Galaxy Tab S8+ has a 12.4-inch display and the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra comes with a huge 14.6-inch screen. Both tablets feature a Super AMOLED display with 120 Hz, excellent contrasts and colors, and a deep black level. The Galaxy Tab S8+ has a resolution of 2960 x 1440 pixels, while the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra offers a resolution of 2960 x 1848 pixels.
Media consumption on the two Samsung flagships is also really fun thanks to the four integrated, very good stereo speakers. Both tablets support Widevine Level L1, which means you can watch Netflix and other streaming services in 1080p. They also support HDR 10.
The S8+ and S8 Ultra offer Wi-Fi 6E and there is an optional 5G version.
In our battery test, the Galaxy Tab S8+ and S8 Ultra each lasted 9 hours.
In addition, we appreciate the fingerprint scanner, the good cameras, the high-quality build, and the strong hardware in both tablets, which leaves all other Android tablets behind.
The very good S Pen is already included and there are optionally available keyboard covers.
Both tablets ship with Android 12 and are expected to receive four major Android upgrades as well as five years of security updates.
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ and Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra are the best Android tablets on the market and a great alternative to the Surface Pro 9 if you can do without Windows.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE: Cheap alternative with a large screen
The biggest advantages of the Galaxy Tab S7 FE is probably the beautiful 12.4-inch display and the moderate price.
Whether watching movies, playing games or surfing the web, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE’s large screen is great for its price class. It’s a 12.4-inch LCD screen with 60 Hz and a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels. The screen has good viewing angle stability and is fully laminated. Furthermore, it’s bright enough to still see something outside in the shades but not ideal for direct sunlight.
On the right and left side of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE are two speakers that sound surprisingly good for a mid-range tablet. Thus, gaming and watching movies is fun even without headphones.
The tablet is available in both a WiFi-only and a 5G variant.
In our battery test, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE achieved a good runtime of 7.5 hours at maximum brightness while an HD video on YouTube ran in continuous loop.
The computing power of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 FE is rather average and cannot keep up with tablets like the Galaxy Tab S8 and S8 Plus.
This is also noticeable in games like Fortnite, which can only be played with medium graphics settings.
However, if you mainly want to use the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE for streaming your favorite shows or surfing and working, you will make a good choice with the tablet.
The high-quality casing, the included S Pen, and the optionally available keyboard cover are particularly praiseworthy. For a moderate price, Samsung delivers a good tablet with a chic 12.4-inch screen.
Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 3i: Inexpensive Windows tablet
The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 3i is an affordable Windows tablet with an MSRP price of around $400.
The display has a 16:10 aspect ratio and a FullHD resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels. The display is bright enough and colors are reproduced well. It’s also fully laminated, which means there is no visible air gap between the display and touchscreen.
Also great: The keyboard cover is already included.
One of the strengths of the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 3i is its design, which resembles the Surface Go 2 and is made of high-quality plastic. On the back is a folding stand made of metal that can easily be folded out far and allows the tablet to stand stably and securely on the table. The tablet is very slim and handy with a weight of 890g and a thickness of only 9.9mm.
It also features two USB C 3.2 Gen 2 ports, a MicroSD card slot, and a regular headphone jack.
However, there is no facial recognition or fingerprint reader. The keyboard cover is a great advantage of the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 3i and makes it possible to work productively.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 3i is available in several versions – including one with LTE – which differ in terms of the processor, RAM and storage. There are versions with an Intel Celeron N4020 dual-core processor or an Intel Pentium N5030 quad-core chip, 4GB or 8GB of RAM, and 64GB or 128GB of eMMC storage.
The cheapest version of the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 3i is not suitable for demanding applications like Adobe Photoshop. Those who want to use such applications frequently should consider buying one of the more expensive versions of the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 3i with a more powerful processor or opt for another tablet. However, simple office programs run without problems on the tablet.
In summary, the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 3i is a good option for those looking for an affordable Windows tablet that is suitable for simple office applications.
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