- Superior screen: larger, higher resolution, higher refresh rate
- Writing is a pleasure
- Good audio, with louder speakers
- New optional keyboard cover integrates the pen well
- Webcam may need some adjustments
- Pen and keyboard still cost extra
- It's still expensive
Microsoft's Surface tablets were already at the top of our list of the best 2-in-1 laptops, but Microsoft remade the Surface Pro 8 in a number of ways by adding a larger, higher-resolution and faster screen, a pair of Thunderbolt ports that replace the old Surface connector, and a new pen experience, among other features.
Although this generation of the Surface Pro tablet dispenses with an always-connected LTE option, as well as the choice of a cheap Core i3, performance still skyrocketed to the top.
Benefits like how the screen's higher refresh rate improves typing are subtle improvements that matter, too.
It's the most dramatic overhaul of a Surface in years, and it's for the better.
Read our complete Surface Pro 8 Review
Ah, here we are with the million dollar question.
Do you buy a basic Chromebook or do you lean towards a Windows laptop with more features?
Well, it really depends on your personal lifestyle and what you plan to use your laptop for.
For example, Chromebooks are a great low-cost option for those who just want the basics.
If you travel a lot for work, it's probably a good idea to invest in a laptop with good battery life.
If you're still not sure, don't worry.
I've put together a list of quick tips below.
What type of laptop should you buy?
The first question you should ask yourself is what type of laptop you are looking for.
There are traditional laptops, 2-in-1s, Chromebooks, and much more.
Convertible laptops (also known as 2-in-1s), for example, can rotate 360 degrees.
This allows you to use the laptop as a tablet.
They can also be placed as a tent to watch movies or participate in video calls.
Chromebooks, on the other hand, only run Google's web-focused Chrome OS and are generally used for everyday tasks.
All you need is a Gmail account and voila, you're in.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each of them.
Chromebooks are affordable and generally have good battery life, while convertibles are typically lightweight and portable.
How much processing power will I need?
If you are looking for processor power, choose those with higher numerical names.
A Core i7 is better suited for gaming and more intense work than everyday tasks.
Intel processors are available in Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 and Core i9.
The higher the number, the more powerful the processor.
If you don't need a lot of power, Intel Core i5 processors are your best option, as they offer good performance at a decent price.
A Core i3 works perfectly for basic office work and web browsing.
As for AMD options, the Ryzen 3 is good for basic productivity and web browsing, while the Ryzen 5 chips are a solid rival to Intel's Core i5.
If you need more power, the Ryzen 7 chip is suitable for content creation such as video editing.
What is the difference between discrete and integrated graphics?
You'll need a discrete graphics card for hardcore gaming or video editing.
It is separate from the processor, so you can expect superior performance.
On the other hand, integrated graphics are attached to the processor and as a result consume less power, which is perfectly adequate for everyday tasks.
What about memory?
8GB of RAM is enough for general use.
If you have a gaming laptop, 16GB of RAM is ideal.
How big should my screen be?
If you are a video editor or someone who does a lot of multimedia work, you should opt for a screen that is between 15 and 17 inches.
However, the sweet spot is really between 13 and 14 inches.
The larger the screen, the heavier your laptop will be.
How long should my laptop last on a single charge?
If you plan to take your laptop with you anywhere, look for something that can last 10 to 12 hours on a single charge.
That's more than a full work day, so theoretically it should help you survive long flights or a day of school.
Obviously, more battery time is always better. Just keep in mind that the larger the battery, the heavier the laptop will be.
How much should I spend?
The price really depends on your budget.
If you're short on cash, opt for a Chromebook or entry-level business laptop.
These laptops are good options for students or young professionals.
If you can afford to spend more, the versatility of a 2-in-1 laptop is really worth it.
What about connectivity?
A wide variety of ports is always a plus in my opinion as it eliminates the need for an adapter.
I would recommend a laptop that has both USB-C and USB-A.
An HDMI port is good too.
This is especially useful when you want to connect to an external monitor.