- This article originally appeared on Windows Central and has been inducted into our Back to School guide
We're big fans of Microsoft's Surface family of products and have used every entry since the very first Surface tablet. Spending thousands of hours with Surface, we've accumulated bags of experience to recommend the right Surface for you.
The Surface Pro 6 and Surface Book 2 are two very different devices, targeting two very different groups of consumers. If you prefer a tablet experience, don't need to do inking, won't use the device with a physical keyboard much and would like to save some cash, Surface Pro 6 is the better option.
Should you want to go all out and enjoy the signature Windows 10 on Surface experience, nothing beats the Surface Book 2 — so long as your pockets are deep for the more expensive configurations.
Similar numbers on Surface
|Surface Pro 6||Surface Book 2|
|Display||12.3-inch PixelSense Display||13.5-inch PixelSense display / 15-inch PixelSense display|
|Display resolution||2736 x 1824 267ppi||13-inch: 3000 x 2000 at 267 PPI / 15-inch: 3240 x 2160 at 260 PPI|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-8250U / Intel Core i7-8650U||Intel Core i5-7300U / Intel Core i7-8650U|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB SSD||256GB, 512GB, 1TB SSD|
|Memory||8GB or 16GB RAM||8GB or 16GB RAM|
|Native graphics||Intel UHD Graphics 620||13-inch: Intel HD Graphics 620, NVIDIA GTX 1050 / 15-inch: NVIDIA GTX 1060|
|Front camera||5MP Windows Hello||5MP Windows Hello|
|Audio||Stereo speakers with Dolby Audio Premium||Stereo Speakers w/ Dolby Audio Premium, Windows Sonic for Headphones, Dolby Atmos for Headphones compatible|
|Xbox Wireless||No||13-inch: No / 15-inch: Yes|
|Ports||1x full-size USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, Headset jack, Surface Connect, microSDXC card reader||2x USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen1), Full-size SDXC card reader (UHS-II), Headphone jack (3.5mm), 2x Surface Connect|
|Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1||Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1|
|Battery life||Up to 13.5 hours||Up to 17 hours|
|Pen||Surface Pen||Surface Pen|
|Dimensions||292 x 201 x 8.5 mm (11.50 x 7.9 x 0.33 inch)||13-inch: 312 x 232 x 23 mm (12.3 x 9.14 x 0.90 inch) / 15-inch: 343 x 251 x 23 mm (13.5 x 9.87 x 0.90 in)|
|Weight||1.73 lbs (784 g)||13-inch: 1,642 g (3.62 lbs) Tablet: 719 g (1.59 lbs) / 15-inch: 1,905 g (4.20 lbs) Tablet: 817 g (1.80 lbs)|
Surface Book 2 is the more powerful device, without question. Both devices can be configured with the same Intel Core i7 processor, but the Surface Book 2 has the advantage of a dedicated GPU and better overall computing. It's designed for extended power use, while the Surface Pro is more of a tablet you can use for intensive tasks irregularly.
Because there's no dedicated GPU inside the Surface Pro 6, you'll need to rely on the Intel iGPU, and the Surface Pro 6 doesn't have Intel Iris graphics. This isn't a decision made by Microsoft, but Intel with its 8th-gen line-up of processors. If you need to rely on graphics processing, the only choice here is Surface Book 2.
Surface Pro 6 is more versatile and incredibly powerful tablet — you try running the full desktop Adobe Photoshop suite on an iPad — and while it does offer a battery life of around 13 hours, the Surface Book 2 edges out in front with upwards of 17 hours. It's not a huge difference, but worth considering if you're often found without power outlets.
Something to bear in mind is pricing, which is where the Surface Pro 6 wins big time. The tablet starts from just $900, while you can expect to pay $1,150 for the Surface Book 2. Surface Pro 6 is almost as good as the Surface Book 2 and can even be kitted out with better internals than the base model Surface Book 2, but Microsoft's 2-in-1 notebook is simply better overall.
Surface Pro 6 for tighter budgets
Microsoft's Surface Pro 6 isn't a slouch, but a powerful tablet with massive potential in the right hands. It's also the cheaper of the two devices, when not including the optional Type Cover and Surface Pen. If you're all about a lighter, tablet-like Windows 10 experience, the Surface Pro 6 is likely the better choice.
The ultimate Windows 10 experience
Microsoft did so well with the Surface Book 2, we gave it a full five-star rating and raved about all of its features. Sure, it's the more expensive device in this comparison, but you get so much more in terms of configurations with the addition of discrete GPUs, making it a killer notebook.